Thursday, 2 August 2018

What if I'm never ready for the next National Crisis? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I'm never ready for the next National Crisis?

I spend way too long thinking about stockpiling.
In case there is ever a National Crisis.

I don’t think I am the only man who does.

But I don’t know for sure, because men never ever talk to each other about the things we secretly store.
Because that ruins our competitive advantage.

There might possibly be a National Crisis coming up.
And I don’t think I’ve got my family ready for it yet.

As a Dad - this is literally my one biological job.
To get food and supplies so that my generation of DNA can survive and succeed long enough to get into the next generation.

But my National Emergency stockpile at the moment is 2 big bottles of water, and 6 tins of paint.

I admit it.
My contingency planning is swayed somewhat by "Buy One Get One Free".

In my defence, it’s emulsion.
So at least I can thin the paint out to make it go a bit further.

I’ve got a problem with the food though.
Because my family keeps eating my stockpile.

Which is exactly what it's there for.
But there's no National Crisis yet.

Also as a committed snowflake, I am really picky.
So the panic buying is taking a lot longer than I’d planned.

We all know the next National Crisis will be the worst we've ever seen.
Will we run out of coconut oil? Leads for the video? Printer toner?
My family will be so grateful that I’ve got those covered when we hit Day 41.

And it's great that we never know how long a National Crisis will last.
It'll be like a National Holiday.
The supermarkets will find a way to cash in.
With empty shelves in the "seasonal" aisle.

I'm gonna get my panic-buying home delivered.
I think it'll still get packed into the crates.
But arrive mainly through our windows.

I need to buy a lot of food that's processed and will last forever.
Basically it'll be like eating in the cinema for a month.
Or 1500 trailers.

My family will also have to rely on me growing all our own food.
Which at the moment is essentially blue mould in the bread bin.

The predictions are that fresh supplies will be blocked in Calais.
My plan is to take a really long day trip there and take a really long time coming back.

My Long-Suffering Wife thinks that’s a stupid idea.
But she’s looking forward to the shortages, because finally we'll stop making a mess in the kitchen.


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What if the bucket man on my doorstep is a burglar? #WeAreTheProblems


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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

What if the bucket man on my doorstep is a burglar? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if the bucket man on my doorstep is a burglar?

On Saturday we had a weird knock on the door.

All knocks on our door are suspicious.

I can't face my house most days - why would anyone else want to be there?

But this bloke in shorts, with bucket and carwash gear says:
"Hello I'm Gary. I'm your neighbour from number 23 and I'm mentally disabled.
They've cut my benefits and I'm raising money by washing cars."

I feel bad about his benefits.
I don’t know why they’re cutting them.
They all seem to get spent.
Isn’t that good for the economy?

But I've no idea why he’s picked our drive.
Our car's so clean it looks like the kids eat their dinners off it.
And then go to the toilet on there too.

Plus car dirt's carcinogenic.
He's mentally disabled now, but if he cleans my heap he'll end up with cancer on top.

Anyway he carried on talking and rambling about stuff that didn't really make any sense.

He wanted money, and I want money too.

We spent all ours on this car, so of course we'd want to protect our investment.
By letting some random self-diagnosed mentally ill guy all over it.

Maybe he thought the time it took to answer the door means I'm cash-rich and time-poor.
I should've pretended that I was The Staff.
Like in Downton Abbey.

But the kids are playing up.
This is the worst time to be dealing with this.
I need mentally unbalanced people offering me childcare.
Not cleaning services.

Stupid Universe not delivering yet again.

But there was something about his story that wasn't adding up.

I said, so you’re at number 23?
"Er... yes, urm Cheltenham Street, it’s a few streets away."

I closed the door and returned to my kids meltdown.

Then I had a meltdown - there is no Cheltenham Street in our town.
There's a street that sounds a bit like that but it's over a half hour walk away.

You’d have to have a mental problem to walk that with a bucket and car wash gear.

And then it hit me: either I’m a terrible person for questioning this...
or this is a plan to burgle us that's absolutely brilliant.

Wouldn’t it be perfect cover - to make you feel bad.

Plus any inconsistencies can just be put down to the mental disability.

Because like the Government, we all love making the disabled answer painfully personal questions.
“Like are you a bit, you know, “Uhh-uhhhhhhh”?
Or is it random and violent?”
“Does asking questions set you off?”

Who knows... maybe his condition means he’d overdo the work.
Maybe I’d come out ahead on this.

But if not - if he is a burglar - this is pure genius.

Either I give him cash on the doorstep...
Or walk him through the house, past all the crucial entry points and confirm where all the keys go.

We're on a meter, he even gets to nick our water.

It’s like the Thomas Crown Affair.
Or Oceans Eleven. With a bucket.

Anyway turns out he does come from a long way away, but he’s a drug addict.

He's not mentally disabled.
He's a local celebrity - infamous on the other side of town.

Maybe he’s looking for fresh cash.
He's a sponge. With a sponge.

But I'm a tightwad.
And my benefits are noisy kids and a filthy car.


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What if the problem is I am a straight white man? #WeAreTheProblems


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Friday, 13 July 2018

What if the problem is I am a straight white man? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if the problem is I am a straight white man?

I got screamed at by a comedian on a Netflix special for being a straight white man.

About how I was ruining her life and the world and everybody on every single level possible.

Which I thought was pretty impressive, given that I'm just parked on my bum, binge-watching a chromecast.

But she's right.
And it's great that my rule of terror is finally over, because I've got a daughter.

And there's no way I want her anywhere near any planet that I've had any part in creating.

But now - as a breeder - looking back, I can't help thinking...
Did I just completely waste my straight white man privilege?

All that extra money I got, I spent on struggling to trick women into breeding with me.

At best trying to impress, but mostly just absolute out-and-out downright utter deception.

And then when I did finally get to procreate, I blew it all on overpriced shoes and piling their bedrooms with plastic.

It's a bitter pill, but maybe... honky baby makers didn't make the best of it.

On the upside, I know my daughter's gonna make us proud.


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What if I want a cheap ticket but the ticket office is shut? #WeAreTheProblems


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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

What if I want a cheap ticket but the ticket office is shut? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I want a cheap ticket but the ticket office is shut?

I needed a Network Railcard so I could get a cheap ticket because I'm cheap.

It's 0820, I need to travel at 1018 and the ticket office is shut.

For the day.

And so begins getting drawn in to arguing the toss and evidence gathering for how this system is skewed against us towards profit for the train company shareholders, and I don't want to get drawn in.

I'm meant to be doing my work.

And then I think they want us to not want to be drawn in, so they can keep the extra money as profit for the train company shareholders.

But I don't want to pay the extra fare when I can get the cheaper ticket, if the ticket office were open.

(** The dull ins and outs are that I have to travel full fare and then go through a claim process to argue the toss to "maybe" get the extra refunded. There's no guarantee for this and why should I do that just because they can't do their work properly. But their work is delivering profits to shareholders, so maybe they're doing their job brilliantly.)

Then I remembered the work I'm avoiding is turning all this into stories.

So instead I lived a little dangerously and tried turning it into a little picture story.



Part 1
Please help!





Part 2
Oh Go On... I'm good for it...





Part 3
I'll do it my way






Part 4
I'm out of my depth





Part 5
I've got a plan...






Part 6
SING LOUDER





(*** even longer and duller, deep breath, you can also get a Digital Network Railcard, but this involves having your phone that works with a signal and uploading a photo - ticket office railcards don't need photos - and when you do buy it you have to choose whether its digital on an app or a hard copy, you can't change this option after purchase and there are no refunds so if like me you rely on railcard fares because part-time commuting is hugely expensive because rail is run for shareholder profit and if your phone is dead or the signal is down or the app isnt working you are not allowed to travel on railcard rates or claim for the excess afterwards. I know it's pedantic but its not right you're committed to a digital railcard for the year instead of the hard copy ticket that you should be able to buy in a station on day of purchase. And why can't you get a hard copy in the post and the digital version for your £30, they both have your uploaded photo on them it's not like my face can be in two places at once unless it's to crack down on the widespread railcard misuse by twins which is plaguing the rail industry.)


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What if I have no idea why I hate the grill so much? #WeAreTheProblems


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Friday, 29 June 2018

What if I have no idea why I hate the grill so much? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I have no idea why I hate the grill so much?

I have spent 3 straight weeks thinking about this.

The people I could have seen... the things I could have done...
But no, I spent 21 days, thinking about how much I hate the kitchen oven grill.

I will never ever use my grill or anyone else’s.
Even if it’s a brand new one and has a tray that fits.
Which it won’t.

And I don’t know where this level of sheer umbrage has come from.

Humans used to either cook stuff inside an oven or, on top of a hob.

When did that change?
Why was this never enough?
In the oven or on the hob.

What made us want to suddenly start cooking stuff under the heat?

Can you imagine explaining that to a caveman.
(Can you still call them cavemen? Doesn't feel very Woke.)

Even I know that heat rises.
So how come the grill's the fastest way to burn stuff?

Nobody asked for it.
It’s only good for melting stuff.
Cheese on toast and tray handles.
Each and every one of them.

I’m with the drip tray, the microwave and the smoke alarm.
Nobody likes the oven grill.

And now, I don't know what I'm going to do with all this time that I've saved.

Yet another reason to hate the grill.
I'll stop.


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What if we're the baddies? #WeAreTheProblems


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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

What if we're the baddies? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if it takes me 10 minutes to work out that we are the baddies?

My kids came home from school and they were absolutely buzzing about Gandhi.

They want to know everything about this amazing hero from India.

And I’m delighted.
Finally, they’re into something where I don’t have to buy more expensive crap.

Optimus Prime and Lego Friends Andrea?
Get out and don’t come back.

Mahatma’s in da house.

And we’re looking up all the videos and movies and cartoons - there are Gandhi cartoons.

When you’ve got one billion people in your country, they’ve got you covered on every level of culture.

And what a brilliant story.

This man’s just in robes, and wears glasses.
And he's a baldy like me!

Using peaceful protest and passive resistance to kick out the army of baddies that shouldn’t’ve been there in the first place and...

It took me ten minutes to work out that we were the baddies.

“Daddy? Why are we running their country?”

When I was growing up, it was all British Airways adverts and Rule Britannia Last night of the Proms...

“Daddy, why were we taking all their stuff away?”

I had a “BRITAIN IS GREAT!” Union Jack top and we had parties in the streets - painting pavements and lampposts - we turned Central London into an actual Union Jack..

“Daddy, why wouldn’t we let Indian people use their own salt?”

And I’m reaching now.
Grabbing at anything so the British Empire doesn’t come off as a total knob.

“Well kids, we uh... did it for the money...
And money’s good, right? And we got all the railways and the big famous stone buildings, and er...”

“Slaves, Daddy. Did we have slaves?”

“Oh, boy. Yes. We, we did slaves. We did slaves real good... But here’s the thing.

Germany came along and did things much worse than crushing a billion people.
And they didn’t even do it for the cash.
And they bombed everything - the big stone buildings and the railways and...

And India worked out great.
They invented Bollywood and call centres so Daddy can yell at the bank down the phone... we practically work for them now.

“So Daddy, what you’re saying is because of the Germans, we completely got away with treating that many people so badly.”

“Yes.
Well, no. Not exactly.
Because I’ve got to explain it to you now, and you’ll have to explain it to your kids, and then their kids will have to explain it too.”

Then the kids are all like where's Optimus Prime and Lego Friends Andrea?

And I know that glasses and robes and a bald head aren't gonna get me out of this one.


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What if I need to treat my T-shirts better? #WeAreTheProblems


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Monday, 11 June 2018

What if I need to treat my T-shirts better? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I need to treat my T-shirts better?

The T-shirt went for “shirt” status and I admire that.
It could have gone for “vest” but it reached for the stars.
And got my armpits.

And then T-shirt went for a hyphen.
Because apostrophe would be pretentious.

T-shirt and jeans is the uniform of my mid-life crisis.

Looking down, midriff crisis.

I am exactly the right age to pull off a T-shirt.
By pull off I mean wear and under no circumstances remove in public.

Bare chests are for youth.

My chest is improved by oblique pictures and/or big numbers.

I buy them from the finest fashion shops:
Anywhere with the words discount and outlet.

They’re called outlets because that’s the closest word to “waste products” and “rage”.
Which also explains my T-shirts' smell.

I can’t help feeling the 5 labels of care advice is... ambitious.

But the tags help me learn all the poorer parts of SE Asia.

The reason I am sharing all of this is that today I have to let one go.

It’s 40% cotton.

It was 100% but now it’s more holes than cotton.

I don’t know why I find it so hard to let my T-shirts go...
...from that special storage place that just happens to be the same distance I can hurl it from the bed.

When they’re in service, I don’t treat them very well.

I love them because they soak up everything.

This one’s got so much of my DNA, I’m surprised it didn’t just write this by itself.


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What if my eyebrows are too long for this world? #WeAreTheProblems


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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

What if my eyebrows are too long for this world? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if my eyebrows are too long for this world?

I got my 9 year old son to pull out my eyebrows, and I really regret it.
Because now I miss them terribly.

I liked brushing them up the wrong way.
Like I used to gel my hair in the 1980s.

I don’t know why straight men are so bad at grooming.
But I do know that’s why we gave it the worst possible word.

And the worst place to do the grooming (ugh, that word...) is the bathroom.

Breeders like me know from birth that this is not a place for us.
It’s where we’re at our most vulnerable.

Have you seen how straight guys treat bathrooms?
The very last thing on our minds is tinkering with our appearance.

I went to my young son for help.
Turns out he had no problem whatsoever with ripping out hair from around my eye sockets.

And I’m glad he did, because it’s the perfect male bonding exercise.
Plus when I’m yelping in pain to my wife, man does she go on about childbirth.

So I’ve got my 9 year old plucking my eyebrows with tweezers.
He’s going at it like some broken game of Operation: one body part and 100 times the noise.

He went for the longest strand first.
“It’s like prison”, he told me, “You’ve got to take the biggest one out first as a sign to the others”.

And he didn’t stop.
Mainly so he could learn the more swearing.

I’m not so sure about it though.
Removing eyebrows is to make you look younger.
To look less experienced in the world.
So you don’t come off as a threat.

Which is kind of sneaky.
It’s like having a nose job before having kids.
And the baby comes out with an unexpected face.

And eyebrows are there for communication.
This is why women pluck theirs more than us.
They’re much better at picking up on the signals.

I need all the help I can get.
Mine had grown to the length of CAPS LOCK.

One day my eyebrows will reunite with my nose hair.
Then my kid won’t know where to start.


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What if I can't even get healthy eating right? #WeAreTheProblem


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Thursday, 24 May 2018

What if I can't even get healthy eating right? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I even get healthy eating wrong?

I drink a smoothie full of kale from the Nutribullet every day.
I just found out raw kale has a chemical that blocks iodine and effectively shuts down your thyroid.

I can't even get Healthy Eating right.
I love the phrase "Healthy Eating".
It shows we managed to screw up even the one thing that keeps us alive.

But I'll keep trying.
I've got a family medical history that makes The World At War look cheery.
And is about the same length.
Filling in insurance forms makes me sick.
But there's no room left to put that in the box too.

I'm not big but when I measure the kids' heights on the wall, they're now tall enough to mark the width of my belly.

Both of them can bounce on it.
It's like a really slow sympathy pregnancy.
That my wife isn't sympathetic about.

On the upside, I can't see my spare tyre over my manboobs.
I hope my daughter will buy me a training bra.

Maybe my belly is protecting me and will grow to distance me from the fridge, or blocking out the adverts on TV.

So I'm trying to do something about it.
I get food advice from podcasts and they're great.
They last about an hour, or 3 to 4 family size Dairy Milks.

I now put coconut oil into my coffees.
The end of every drink looks like a Bounty Bar abbatoir.
It's meant to put more protein into my brain.
So I can think clearly through the palpitations.
It's already pushing out the 1980s clarinet lessons.

I make sure I get a rainbow of fresh food, from puff pastry beige all the way to burnt steak sandwich brown.

I'm taking probiotics with no idea what they do
All I know is the best brand has more billions of bacteria.
And a box that says "Now wash your hands".

All my cheap food I like has wheat in it and that makes my face red.
I look like Mr Strong having a stroke.
And he has got a really firm grip.


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What if I'm too late for solar power? #WeAreTheProblem


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Monday, 21 May 2018

What if I'm too late for solar power? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I'm too late for solar power?

The planet is dying.
Humanity is headed for oblivion.
I will fix this.
By looking into getting some solar panels.

I want them to earn more money during the day than I do.

And turning our house into a power station is much easier than, say, using less electricity.

Not saying our home is rough but if we put the panels there, the roof will come down as well as our bills.

So I want to put them in the garden.

I want to become a solar power gardener.

I’ve got everything we need: a back yard, some shorts, and a really bad energy habit.

Plus two kids who treat the garden with such respect, it’s definitely the best place to put a cutting edge fragile electrical installation.

I can even get them a nice big pylon to play on.

I will have to wash the panels to get more power.

Bragging “I’m a bigwig energy company” while looking like a refugee with a squeegie doing windscreens before the lights turn green.

And then I’d spend all the money we save on an electric vehicle.

Because my kids want their mates to clock them in a brand new disabled assistance cart.

“Come on kids, it’s time for school!
3:30AM!”
beep - beep - beep - beep - beep - beep...

It will be at home with our clapped out electric halogen cooker.

I am so blessed to have something to gently illuminate my dinner.

I like my food cold and senstively lit.

It gives me the strength to watch my gorgeous family blowing more power than a Polish steelworks.

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What if I am an electronic hoarder? #WeAreTheProblem


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Thursday, 17 May 2018

What if I am an electronic hoarder? #WeAreTheProblems



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I am an electronic hoarder?

I have 183GB of stuff on my computer.
And I only need about none of it.

Emails, photos, files, I’m like that documentary man living in his own filth - crawling between piles of stuff that he can’t let go.

I am an electronic hoarder.
But I’m worse than a hoarder because I backup my backups.

So I’m doubling the stuff I’m holding onto.
Onto actual hard drives.

And now it’s actual hoarding, finding actual places to hide them.

It isn’t easy.
That’s why they’re called hard drives.

Because it'd be a calamity if my out of focus people pictures of people I live with fall into the hands of people I don’t live with.

I've got to hide them from burglars who specialise in out-of-date photography.

I am terrified of deleting anything.
But I love it because it’s the one time my PC is even less decisive than me.

“Are you sure you want to delete this?”
The only answer they give you is “Yes” or “No”

That’s because a computer programmer who get a machine into my house is a really successful person.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t make ker-jillions from knowing words like “Maybe?” or “Can we do it after Ice Road Truckers”

I should only get my gadgets from mediocre ditherers.

That forget my stuff now and again.

I need my files on a box built by a chump.


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What if I just don't believe in school? #WeAreTheProblem #SATs


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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

What if I just don't believe in school? #WeAreTheProblem #SATs



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I just don't believe in school?

My mates go a bit weird when I tell them my kids go to a Church of England school.

I’m embarrassed because I know I’m not into God enough for them to be there.
And by enough I mean at all.


So when I get a weird reaction, it’s like I’m being persecuted for my non-beliefs.

If only there was some kind of figure or group of people who’d appreciate that.


And then I feel sorry for the teachers because they’ve got to be good enough for the Government as well as God.
If Ofsted thinks the school’s “Outstanding” and Jesus is like “meh”
Who do we believe?

I don’t know how to say this but, I don’t believe in the Department of Education.

I don’t think we should take their teachings too literally.

I’m just not a regular school-goer.

They’re so judgemental.


So now there’s two reasons we’re gonna get busted, and this is a really good school.
The kids are learning way more than me.

Subordinating conjunctions, determiners, verb inflections...
I haven’t got a clue.

And I’m trying to get them to teach me.
But they don’t want to.

The only way I can do it is by tricking them.
I’m like asking casually “What would the Lord do... if he had a relative clause?”

And they’re not having any of it.
That's not very Christian.
“Wouldn’t He give it to someone in need?”

But now they’re getting all fronted adverbial and I don’t even know what that means.


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What if my wife wants me to get better at lying? And #WeAreTheProblems 204-210


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Monday, 14 May 2018

What if my wife wants me to get better at lying? And #WeAreTheProblems 204-210



My #WeAreTheProblems this week.

Monday 14 May
My son is being confused by an autistic kid repeatedly calling him "gay".
And I don’t even know where to start on whose rights to respect first.
All I know is he won’t say “Oh shut up and kiss me.”

Tuesday 15 May
Interesting choice: It's called Twitter.
Not Finger Pointer.

Wednesday 16 May
I am incapable of reassuring my wife.
I think she wants me to get better at lying.

Thursday 17 May
Men, face it.
Using sat nav is asking for directions.

Friday 18 May
All songs with words about lengths, sizes and measurements are utter filth.

Saturday 19 May
They're not energy levels.
They are lack of fear levels.

Sunday 20 May
I suffer from attention obesity.
I am focus fat.


And if you're affected by any of the issues raised in this list,
All 365 #WeAreTheProblems from this year are here

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Rod Hull and Emu at the BBC


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Friday, 27 April 2018

Rod Hull and Emu at the BBC



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

The most watched video on my Youtube channel at the moment is Boy George on Larry Grayson.

It must be the way I worded it.

But the second best most watched is this, one of the first packages I produced for TV...

It's a montage of Rod Hull and Emu's time at the BBC for a long-forgotten BBC One programme called Aunties TV Favourites with Steve Wright.
(I left out the infamous Michael Parkinson clip, that was played in separately for the show but to me he just comes off as a miserable so and so anyway.)



I went through every show he appeared in and managed to get in his first British TV appearance on Lulu, Ronnie Corbett, Peter Powell, Sing A Song of Emu, Michael Aspel on Ask Aspel, Larry Grayson and the Generation Game, the dogs and presenters Lesley Judd, John Noakes, Peter Purves and Shep, EBC 1 (Emu's Broadcasting Company, Ahhhh!) and Norman Wisdom. I added some more clips which weren't used at 0:58.

Enjoy!

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I am a shareholder. How can I be more ruthless? #WeAreTheProblem


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Thursday, 26 April 2018

I am a shareholder. How can I be more ruthless? #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

I am a shareholder. How can I be more ruthless?

I have 71 shares in a national chain of supermarkets.

I am a fat cat shareholder.

This year, that supermarket chain will stop their staff from having paid breaks.

To make more money for their shareholders.

Which is me.

I could sell the shares.

But that's weak.
I don’t think they’re doing enough.


Not paying the staff for their breaks is a great idea.

It’s not as if they’re doing anything useful.

They’re just resting from making money for me.

How's that going to make more money for me?


Why aren’t we charging them for their uniforms, heat and light and falling below a certain speed?

Why am I even writing this?

We should make the staff come up with more ideas for making money from them.


And charge them banking fees on their wages.

No, pay the staff into the supermarket’s own bank, and then charge banking fees on that.

I know I got the shares when I was working there as staff, but they stopped that scheme to make it more profitable for shareholders - and I want more.

No good work is ever done on an in-breath.
Micropayments only on everyone's out-breaths.


I am an awesome shareholder.

I am so ruthless - I see your ruthlessness.

And I am gonna find even more ruth to lose.


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What if I try and get my kid off video games? #WeAreTheProblem


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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

What if I try and get my kid off video games? #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I try and get my kid off video games?

I know video games are really bad for my young son's development.
But they keep him so quiet.

His little eyes flickering away involuntarily.
It's too cute.

He also loves it when I playfully yank out the cable and bark at him to do something creative instead.
"Why don't you write a list of things I do that annoys you?"
"Okay"
And here is that list, presented without comment.

1 Take the PS3 away.
I know I said I wouldn't comment but I think this is just a warm up beat.

2 Force me to do things.
Okay it's just a little encouragement to express himself. And there it is. I'm so proud.

3 Play GT5
At least Gran Tourismo 5 has a 2-player mode. Not like Need For Speed completely hogging the family telly and-- I mean this is a breakthrough.
A bonding moment with my boy.
With excellent penmanship.
I think I just levelled up.

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What if I am now a dash cam director? #WeAreTheProblem


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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

What if I am now a dash cam director? #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if a dash cam doesn't help us?

It happened. We ended up with a dash cam in our car.
And I cannot be happier.

I need more cameras in my life filming us from more angles.
So that insurance companies can trust us even more than they do.

I am now backing up my backing up.

The picture quality is so good you can see the whites of the cats eyes.

I am the Quentin Tarrantino of dash cam directing.

And every day is a sequel.

Instead of indicating, I scream “Come on, we’re losing the light!”


Dad got it for us, which was incredibly kind.
He’s a London Taxi Driver and wants to live vicariously through our footage.

I will give it to him as a box set.
Something between Doctors and The Chase.

He said it’s to help protect his grandchildren.
But I’m not sure how videoing the collisions keeps them safe.

It’s basically a recorder for all our car conversations.
Like the ultimate judge in family court.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t say that.
I have the videographic evidence right here.
In HD.”

I’m not sure what we’ll do with the footage.
There will be no more Pixar movies until every file is watched.

My kids can use it to learn how to drive with confidence.
And swear with vocabulary.

Every journey now ends with a wrap party.


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What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh? 1 BORIS BIKE CRASH #WeAreTheProblem


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Monday, 23 April 2018

What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh? 1 BORIS BIKE CRASH #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh?

5. Racing Sammy up the council estate slide.
4. Canal boat crush.
3. Bedroom light switch.
2. Lake Tahoe police shootout.
1. Boris Bike crash.

#1 BORIS BIKE CRASH


I came off my Boris Bike at 6pm
, but only found out about it 3 hours later.
This is my number 1 best near death experience because I don’t remember a thing.
All near death experiences should be like this.

I think I was rushed to hospital.
Which was a complete waste of time because I wouldn't have noticed anything until around 11.

I was treated there by the maxillofacial department.
It’s called maxillofacial because when your face is smashed up and you're undergoing maxillofacial treatment, the one word you can’t say is maxillofacial.

I know my head injury was bad, because my biggest worry was “did somebody get the bike docked?”

City of London Police didn't just get it back within the hour.
They even found an empty docking station.
They are tidy.

I love that the City Of London has its own police force.
Because you know, the capital's just that little bit too big for the Metropolitan Police.
“We cannot cope with a single extra square mile.”

That’s why we have different police forces, so they can’t take over the UK.

Maybe a police state isn’t so bad.

I’d like to see their take on running our schools.

They could invite teachers to come in and give talks at assembly.

See how they like it.

And we would still have a Prime Minister.

But they’d make them stand outside all day at Number 10 on the doorstep

What did I learn?
Don't put your heavy bag in the handlebars basket to keep it safe.
Try to ride the bike from there instead.


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What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh? 2 LAKE TAHOE POLICE SHOOTOUT #WeAreTheProblem


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Sunday, 22 April 2018

What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh? 2 LAKE TAHOE POLICE SHOOTOUT #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh?

5. Racing Sammy up the council estate slide.
4. Canal boat crush.
3. Bedroom light switch.
2. Lake Tahoe police shootout.
1. Boris Bike crash.

#2 LAKE TAHOE POLICE SHOOTOUT


All the near death experiences so far involved my family.

This one was all by myself.

I don’t know what was going through my head.

Apart from some high velocity trajectiles.
Possibly nearly.

I was giddy, and British, and just arrived in California.

Our first day - our first afternoon - in Lake Tahoe.

Even better - I went out with some mates who were up for a best animation Oscar.

(I know it was 1998 because we hadn’t seen Titanic and when James Cameron screamed “I’m the king of the world!!” we thought he was cocky.)

Anyway, back to my disaster.
Our first lunch in town. In a restaurant and everything.

But outside there was a commotion.
A hubub.
And some crackle.

Like a good Brit, I knew exactly what to do.

So I dash to the window with my camera...

“Oooh look. Armed police! Right in front of us. Wow. Just like TJ Hooker.”

I’m framing this up - badly.
And snap the photo below.

(It wasn’t until 1999 that they invented focus).

Um, my American friend coughed.
I think we should maybe back off.

But they're pointing away from us.
Yes. And that means...
Oh, right.

It was such a moment of wisdom that I ignored it and got another picture.
An even worse one.




What did I learn?
I didn’t win for best camerawork.


Tomorrow's final near death experience, Boris Bike crash.

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What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh? 3 BEDROOM LIGHT SWITCH #WeAreTheProblem


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Saturday, 21 April 2018

What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh? 3 Bedroom light switch #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I list my top 5 near death experiences for a laugh?

5. Racing Sammy up the council estate slide.
4. Canal boat crush.
3. Bedroom light switch.
2. Lake Tahoe police shootout.
1. Boris Bike crash.

#3 BEDROOM LIGHT SWITCH


My teenage bedroom was decorated and I can't remember how but I think Mum had taken off the main light switch to paint around it.

It was off the wall for a few days, and I know she told me not to touch the bare wires.

I also knew I was way too old to know that already.

By the way this is Mum who told me at midnight when I went downstairs moaning
"Mum, I don't know why but I'm really itchy?"
"Oh yeah, I tried making a padded headboard for your bed for free."
"What... with that insulation from the Housing Association for our roof?"
"Yes."
"It's glass fibre!"
"I know. It didn't work out very well."

Anyway, you know when you go into a room for 10 years and without thinking about it reach for the wall?

I did and BOOM!

Near death experience number 3.

What have I learned?
Mum is where I got all my creativity.
We were close.
Like Kato and Clouseau.


Tomorrow's near death experience, Lake Tahoe police shootout.

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What if my top 5 Near Death Experiences make a good list? #4 CANAL BOAT CRUSH #WeAreTheProblem


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Friday, 20 April 2018

What if my top 5 Near Death Experiences make a good list? #4 CANAL BOAT CRUSH #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if my top 5 Near Death Experiences make a good list?

5. Racing Sammy up the council estate slide.
4. Canal boat crush.
3. Bedroom light switch.
2. Lake Tahoe police shootout.
1. Boris Bike crash.

#4 CANAL BOAT CRUSH


I was 14 and on a canal boat with my family.
It was a sunny day and I was bored.
I was always bored.

This time I was at the front of the long narrowboat and bored.

I was so bored, I put my head back on the roof of the canal boat to look at an approaching iron footbridge from a different angle.

That's the best I came up with.
Even with all the time I had on my hands.

But we were going at 3mph, so this was taking way too long and I sat down on the front bench instead.
Because I was bored.

I looked up and watched the bridge clear the roof by about 3 inches.

I stopped being bored.

What did I learn?

Canal boat life is not for me.
Canal boat death isn't either.
Boredom is good.
3mph is breakneck.


Tomorrow's near death experience, bedroom light switch.

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What if my top 5 best near death experiences teach me nothing? #5 CONCRETE SLIDE #WeAreTheProblem


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Thursday, 19 April 2018

What if my top 5 best near death experiences teach me nothing? #5 CONCRETE SLIDE #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if my top 5 best near death experiences teach me nothing?

#5 CONCRETE SLIDE


My Top 5 Best Near-Death Experiences

"5. RACING SAMMY UP THE COUNCIL ESTATE CONCRETE SLIDE."

Camden Council built our Estate in 1966.
They also made a kids playground.
Entirely out of concrete.

The slide was a cast iron main sewer pipe embedded in a mini tower of brutalism.

I know. Just like Cinderella's Castle.

Around 1978, I raced my mate Sammy to the top and then woke up in our 10th Floor flat.

For research, I asked my Dad about this and he remembers it was definitely a Sunday.

Because he came home from the pub and I was on the sofa with a bag of peas on my head.

Also, when I went to school next day they said it's probably best I went to hospital.

What have I learned?
Don't chase mates up concrete slides, and something something something something.

Next time, Canal Boat Crush.

Previous post...
What if Im just not built to be an Alpha Male? #WeAreTheProblem


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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

What if Im just not built to be an Alpha Male? #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I'm just not built to be an Alpha Male?

All men want to be Alpha Males.
But they don’t say it out loud.
Because as soon as you say “I am the winner. I am the Leader. I am Number 1”
Everyone wants to hack you down.
Only a true Alpha Male is stupid enough to not get that.

So I am a proud Beta Male.
With my limited resources, and second best chances at everything.
It’s the perfect place to watch Alphas running things.
Into the ground.
For their benefit.
Because they say so.

I want to be the best Beta Male.
Which I know sounds a little bit Alpha.
But that means I’m already failing at it.
Which is completely Beta.
I’m thwarted. We're good.

I don’t know which Beta Male quality I like best.
Being indecisive or not picking a choice.

They’re called Alphas because they gave themselves the first letter of the Greek Alphabet.
It’s also the Greek letter that looks the most like a male virile seed.
It’s like a big head with a strong tail.
That thing is gonna impregnate anything.

And the Greek Letter Beta, is the flabby blob trailing behind it.
And, Alphabet?
Alphabet-a?
No. Alphabet. They couldn't even be bothered to squeeze in our whole name.

And this is how low we are:
If you type “Beta Male” into Wikipedia, it redirects you to “Alpha Male”.
We haven’t even got our own page.


A friend came into my work for a coffee, and we bumped into an Alpha Male he used to work for.
After, Alpha asks me for the guy’s contact details, to boss him around some more I guess.
“Sure.” I pull out my phone to get the number.
“No. Just email it to me.”
"I've got it right here."
"I'll get it by email."

If I don’t give it, it’s a battle, that someone’s got to “win”.
And if I do give it, I'm now working for this douche.

Since then he married Britain's biggest Alpha Female and got loads of beautiful kids in a stunning mansion.
But... is he happy?

Also, if I spent less time on her Instagram would I achieve more?
Probably, but that’s not the point.

Women moan a lot about Alpha Male behaviour.
To Beta Males.
That’s our job in Nature.
We are masters of the Friend Zone.

But then the Alphas still get the best breeding opportunities.

If only Beta Males were more assertive, maybe they'd say something like:
“I promise you, I can fix the World in an instant.
Can you just stop doing Alphas for five minutes?”
But we won’t.
And they won’t.

On the upside, I am totally owning it over the Omegas.

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What if I am incapable of looking after my own personal data? #WeAreTheProblem


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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

What if I am incapable of looking after my own personal data? #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I am incapable of looking after my own personal data?

I am completely incapable of looking after my own personal data.
I have given away so much.
I sing like a canary.
I don’t know who has what or why.

I love being data-mined: The electricity company wanted to know my first born’s name and date of birth.
“That's great! Are you going to make him a birthday cake?”
They said “Only if the oven’s electric.”
They’ve got an answer for everything.

They said that in an emergency, they know where all the vulnerable people are.
Yep. They used those words.
Like a serial killer. With the highest tariffs and a 20 minute switchboard hold.
And what emergency?
For what I’m paying, I want them there with a bedtime story and batteries for the DS.

They keep telling us: “You’ve got nothing to fear if you’ve got nothing to hide.”
I’ve got loads to hide.
Doesn’t everyone?
That is a lot of fear.

So, I figured that if I get all of this stuff online for free... with the data I’ve got.
Maybe I could give them even more data to get even more stuff for free.

But now I can’t remember what data I’ve given to what company.

Every time I login I forget my fake details, so I register with them again.
And my details are getting faker and faker.

My bank asked me a really simple question:
“What is your name?”
So I told them.
“Er... uhm. Jehengir. I think. That’s I-t-h-i-n-k.”
“Date of birth?”
“Easy. Bottom of the menu. 1918.”
“And your place of birth?”
“In the woods.
Yes.
And my mother’s maiden name is AwwwwoooooOOO!”

I have created so many other people online...
And they are all doing way better than me.
I hope they get hacked.

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What if no caravan can contain this? #WeAreTheProblem


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Monday, 16 April 2018

What if no caravan can contain this? #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if no caravan can contain this?

I’ve taken my family on Caravan Park Holidays 5 times now because I clearly earn too much money and love my life.

The caravan has wheels but it’s static.
Which means you can’t move it to say, somewhere like, a better place to have a holiday.

My wife already knows every single worst aspect about me.
But now she gets to be locked in a plastic container with it.
For a whole week.

My kids, of course, argued the whole time.
Mainly about which facility they thought will kill them the first.

So we went on long walks.
Sadly the bad weather meant I never made it home.

It was so good, we stayed up all night.
Because the caravan’s curtains couldn't.

And the food is all-you-can-cook.
With the kitchen’s generous none-of-the-utensils.

On the first day I made soup.
It started out as bacon, mushrooms, beans and egg.
But with only one pot, it always came out as soup.
We had soup for every dinner.

And I am totally grateful.
Eating slop on a couch that reeks of dog anus.
It’s the perfect TV dinner.
57 channels and not one fresh vegetable.

The swimming pool was opened by Duncan Goodhew in 1987.
And it will be great when it is finished.

I think it's in his biography, under: “My Gift Of Hell To The Future.”

The water was just the right temperature, for a dead torso with no limbs.
Which is exactly what we thought would be bobbing along right next to us.

In the evenings, it has its own entertainment complex.
And it’s very complex.

For the adults, a bar.
And for the kids, unlimited cash gambling.
Rows and rows of coin pushers, prize grabbers and slot machines.

I tried to cheer the kids up by telling them it’s some kind of theme park.

Where the theme is profanity.

So now the kids are shovelling as much of my cash into these slots as quick as they can.

It was easier for me to lie upside down and jiggle my pockets.
Which ironically is exactly how they were conceived.

If you win a game, the machines pump out tickets.

The tickets are currency you can cash in for a wide choice of prizes:
Candy Canes, Cola Cables or Type 2 Diabetes.

They’re worth about a penny in bulk, and cost me a fiver.
An exchange rate so bad that it makes Brexit jealous.

We went for a break. And now I’m broke.


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What if they just teach on the inset days instead? And #PowerDaydream 197-203


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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

What if they just teach on the inset days instead? And #PowerDaydream 197-203



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

My Power Daydreams this week.

Monday 2 April
"Daddy, you know Inset Days where they teach the teachers what they're meant to be teaching us?
What if they just teach us on the Inset Days instead?"

Tuesday 3 April
What if I am so lazy my best education for the kids is turning off Google's Restricted Mode.

Wednesday 4 April
What if I'm starting the decluttering with my bank account.

Thursday 5 April
What if my train of thought is more like a rail replacement bus service.
But I'm in First Class.

Friday 6 April
I’m the only able bodied man in this coffee shop, while all proper men are at work earning for their families.
What if I feel like a conscientious-objector.
And get a white feather instead of a flat white.

Saturday 7 April
What if men hide today’s newspaper in their DIY, because we know it will slow down that easily distracted future guy taking it all apart.

Sunday 8 April
What if I thought a Dad's job is to keep them alive.
But actually it's only ever about killing all of their time.


And if you're affected by any of the issues raised in this list,
All 365 PowerDaydreams from this year are here

Previous post...
Why you can never delete your Amazon self-published printed-on-demand book. #WeAreTheProblem


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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Why you can never delete your Amazon self-published printed-on-demand book. #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place.

What if you can never delete your Amazon self-published printed-on-demand book?
aka Does Amazon have fake second-hand book sellers?


I wrote a book on Kindle.
Took me ages to get the pen off the screen.

But this was weird -- I self-published a book properly on Amazon instead.

It was an experiment - President Donald Trump tweets: What if I change all exclamations into question marks? (And 9 other major improvements for happiness)

And then I panicked.

In my head one night (at 1am) Donald Trump’s lawyers were going to come after me to sue me.

Right, I know!
Even though I’d just made every one of his 2017 tweets so much better.

But - I reasoned - if I am going to get done, I’d at least want it to be for something even closer to my heart.

It was self-published on Amazon's KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform, and the paperbacks are printed on demand.

So, I thought, I’d just go into the dashboard and un-publish it.

It’s easy, an option on a pull down menu.
But you get a warning.

“We’ll stop printing copies of your paperback to fulfil customer orders.
Third parties may still sell copies of your paperback on Amazon.
That means your paperback’s detail page will stay live on the website”


Well, I’m fine with that - the joke for me was that 4 were only ever printed.

The KDP dashboard tells me the exact number sold.
Ever.
And know where all of them are.

So this is the weird thing:
When I unpublished the book, the Amazon US listing shows that you can buy a copy “new” for $14.56
But I’ve got all the copies.

This feels ominous.



“Langton Distribution” says it has 1 copy left in stock.
Even though I have every single copy ever printed.

And it was only ever printed-on-demand.

Here’s what I’ve learnt.

You can never unpublish a book.

It will always be buyable - at a massive markup, possibly to Amazon.

But now my neuroticism means I’m a Beta Male who doesn't know to fear Amazon’s lawyers or Donald Trump’s lawyers.

On a book that sold 4 copies.

So the answer to the question (if you are searching for this on Google):
Can you unpublish or delete a book you have self-published on Amazon KDP?

The answer is no.

But Amazon doesn’t seem to want to be seen to be keeping it in print, even though (for a hefty price, to you) it is.

By the way, leave a comment or subscribe to my mailing list, and I'll send you a PDF copy of the book for free.


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What if I write a book of lists that I use for story ideas? List of 10 Negative Character Emotions


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Thursday, 29 March 2018

What if I write a book of lists that I use for story ideas? List of 10 Negative Character Emotions



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if I write a book of lists that I use for story ideas? List of 10 Negative Character Emotions

What if humans are the only species on the planet who makes lists?

I am in the middle of my next book, which is a list of the lists that I use for writing stories.

I'm not sure that it counts as writing.

The other problem with lists is that you're never sure when you're finished.

But one list is ready and probably the one I use the most:
Every single negative emotion.

Characters have a want - for example, wanting to write a book of lists.

But something blocks them from getting that want.

And that block looks like it’s something outside of the character:
an external thing that they need to get
- for example all the negative emotions to put into the list of negative emotions.

But really, it’s a negative emotion which is stopping them.

And this is the thing that they really need to get around.

So for me it's "FRUSTRATION" with not feeling that it's complete, that's stopping me from publishing this list.

And knowing which negative emotion is driving your character, helps you come up with a solution to the character's problem.

Even - especially - if it’s a wrong solution.

For instance, publishing the list on a blog before the book is written.

Anyway, here's the list of 10 negative emotions and their correct solutions.

With 7 deadly sins.
And 3 extra for fun.

Enjoy. Hope it helps.

UNCOMFORTABLE
Impatient, Uneasy, Distressed, Embarrassment, Shame
SOLUTION: Change your state. Clarify what you want.
Take pride in experience of shame.

FEAR
Concern, Apprehension, Scared, Terrified, Obedient
SOLUTION: Get prepared. Change your perception: eg it’s excitement.

HURT
Sense of loss
SOLUTION: Expectation not met or sense of loss. Evaluate if it’s really a loss.
Change expectation or communicate needs better.

ANGER
Irritated, Resentful, Livid, Rage
SOLUTION: Your rule has been broken. Clarify your rules or change them.

FRUSTRATION
Held back, Hindered in the pursuit of something
SOLUTION: You’re doing same thing over and again and expect different result.
Change your approach.

DISAPPOINTMENT
Sad, Defeated
SOLUTION: Your outcome won’t happen. Change your expectation or a variable, like a timeframe.

GUILT
Regret, Own rule broken
SOLUTION: Make things right. Change present and future behaviours.
Change your perception.

INADEQUACY
Less than, Unworthy, Perfectionist, Pessimism, Procrastination
SOLUTION: Get up and do something to get better or change criteria.
Make your rules less harsh. Take action like practice.

OVERLOADED
Overwhelmed, Hopeless, Depressed
SOLUTION: What’s most important - Necessity vs. desire.
Prioritise. Take one small action: chunk it down.

LONELINESS
Apart, Separate From
SOLUTION: Need connection with others. Clarify connection you need: friendship, laughter, listener? Change approach or perception.

Embrace your negative emotion and use it to inspire action.

Seven Deadly Sins... + 3 more:
LUST
GLUTTONY
GREED
SLOTH
ANGER
ENVY
PRIDE

(& HYPOCRISY, COWARDICE, MISERLINESS)


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What if every time we have a bath, it empties out into the street? #PowerDaydream


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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

What if every time we have a bath, it empties out into the street? #PowerDaydream



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

What if every time we have a bath, it empties out into the street?

On the doorstep, Neil looks over his Long-Suffering Wife’s shoulder. A foamy torrent rolls down the side of the house, down the street, across the pavement and into the road.

LSW
(horrified)
The whole street knows every time we have a bath.

NEIL
Yeah. Funny isn’t it.

LSW
You’ve seen this already?

NEIL
Um...

LSW
How long.

NEIL
Months?

LSW
The whole street knows every time we have a bath!

NEIL
Oh they don't mind.

LSW
I mind!

NEIL
It's keeping the street clean?

LSW
When, when... can we have a bath without the whole street knowing about it?

NEIL
I fixed the blind.

LSW
But this is worse!

NEIL
I know, but you were worried about the people seeing you through the frosted glass - which you can’t - but I did that first.

LSW
This is so much worse!

NEIL
Yeah.
It is a bit obvious.
Do you think we wash too much or not enough?

LSW tries out old sticks that the kids have left around the front door.

LSW
Why didn’t you tell me about it.

NEIL
Honest - I thought the window was the biggest worry.

LSW
I’ll do it myself.

She pokes at the drain.

NEIL
I’ll go and have a bath.
(off LSW)
To test it!
Did you use all the hot water?

LSW gestures what he’s standing in.

NEIL
Oh, yeah.


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Like an angry Ex my UK energy supplier won't let me switch. What if I tell them how that makes me feel? #PowerDaydream #WeAreTheProblem


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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Like an angry Ex my UK energy supplier won't let me switch. What if I tell them how that makes me feel? #PowerDaydream #WeAreTheProblem



I overthink everything to make the world a happier place

Like an angry Ex, my UK energy supplier won't let me switch.
What if I tell them how that makes me feel?


NEIL SCRATCHES OUT A LETTER ON HIS PAD IN BIRO, NEXT TO PILES OF DEMANDS FROM HIS ENERGY COMPANY.

NEIL
I cannot tell you in words how sad every single interaction with XYZEnergy makes me feel.

The thought of fielding phonecalls from it fills me with less joy, so forgive me for writing this down. I’ll exlpain why.

You and I should be frolicking on the beach, or playing in the park, or hugging our loved ones, or doing something - anything - that makes us better people...
...rather than making yet more profit for XYZEnergy shareholders.

And, I’ve said this on the phone, but want it in writing that if XYZEnergy treats its customers like this, I cannot begin to imagine how it might treat its staff, so I apologise for the crushingly dull and pointless business on which we will now spend our precious, limited lives.

Why has XYZEnergy chosen to withdraw my tariff of Blue+Fixed Price July 2018 - XYZEnergy’s cheapest tariff (and the tariff on which my dual fuel Gas bill was closed on)?

Was the final electricity bill set at a Standard Variable Tariff because it is a cheaper tariff than the one I was on, as an act of kindness?

If so, that’s great, and thank you.

However, I fear that the Standard Variable is XYZEnergy’s most expensive tariff.

Has XYZEnergy switched me to the most expensive tariff because I have had to start a complaint merely to get my electricity account closed down?

It seems XYZEnergy wants me to sign and comply with a pages-long fine print contract.

But at more than one stage it does not want that agreement to apply to XYZEnergy.

Which is why I have had to use my finite life contacting XYZEnergy to inform it
that:

- No action was taken to close my electricty account between 17th August & 18th October.

- XYZEnergy sat on my credit balance until I made a complaint.

- XYZEnergy continued to take money from my bank account 3 times after the date of supplier switch.


I then had to call the new supplier - who confirmed that both meter readings left them in their data stream safely on the 18th August - and because of my call they offered to call XYZEnergy and the third party readings company to manually have XYZEnergy accept my meter reading.

I was then told - when I discovered that XYZEnergy were still debiting my bank account throughout this - even though I'd left XYZEnergy months ago - that XYZEnergy are unable to be sure that further debits will not be taken, because the electricity account was still “active”
(Even though I had left XYZEnergy months ago).

And that I would have to call my bank myself to make sure that XYZEnergy would not take any more money from my bank account.

Now XYZEnergy has chosen to withdraw my cheaper tariff for the Final Electricity Bill.
(Is that true? I do hope it is not and that XYZEnergy has chosen to do something nice).

So what do I do now?

I do not work for XYZEnergy, but I have had to do the work above - which 30 quid goodwill is starting to make me feel somewhat shabby.

XYZEnergy’s seems to be making £53,653 per hour in operating profit, and I’m figuring that the poor complaints team might not be seeing much of that.

Yet XYZEnergy seems to have done nothing to close my electricity account for 2 months, sat on my credit balance until I complained and continued to debit my bank account.

Maybe this is why XYZEnergy is making £53,653 per hour.

And now I am down on XYZEnergy’s level.

What’s that about?

It seems money, and one-sided contracts seems to be the only thing driving XYZEnergy’s unpleasant enterprise.

I have invested - pointing out these basics, and correspondence and phonecalls - I judge about two hours of my life doing work for XYZ, on something that by its own advertising should take zero hours.

Have I got any of this wrong?

Either way, XYZEnergy chooses for there to be a detailed contract between us in this relationship - and so I would prefer to keep our correspondence written to make sure I am not confusing what I am being expected to do at each step.

I would also appreciate an answer from the billion pound utility to my question:

What specific actions, if any, did XYZEnergy take between 17th August and 17th October to close my electricity account?

What specific actions and on what dates did XYZEnergy make to contact the new supplier for a meter reading, and why did it act upon my gas meter reading but not my electricity meter reading?

Right now, fate has delivered you the gift to lift us both up from this.

We need you, thank you.


SHOTS OF ANONYMOUS GENERIC CORPORATE BUILDINGS, PYLONS, GENERATORS, CITY OF LONDON SKYLINE, COOLING TOWERS ETC.

XYZ ENERGY
Thank you for your emails of 9 and 10 November 2017 regarding your complaint. I appreciate you taking the time to highlight the error in the electricity bill you received.

Your prices on the Blue+Fixed Price July 2017 tariff should have been held for electricity, as they were for gas. The difference per unit was 4.45 pence; we billed you for 170 units of electricity on the higher Standard (Variable) prices which totalled £7.57. Allowing for VAT at 5% the total you were overcharged was £7.95. I have applied a credit to the account for this amount today.

I have also spoken to our Business Support team to try and gain some answers for you on what held up the closure of your account.

On 29 July 2017 received the instruction from your new supplier that they would take your supply effective from 17 August 2017. On 20 September 2017 your account was reviewed by our billing team as the account was still showing as live when the supply had been lost. They raised a request to our Business Support team to investigate and fix the issues preventing your account closing in the normal manner; regrettably they were unable to take any action on this until 17 October 2017. At this point they resolved the issues and your account was closed to the readings provided. We normally receive electronic information flows from suppliers during the transfer process to indicate transfer requests, readings and meter details; because of the issues encountered I was unable to see these which lead me to understand that we had not received the information from your new supplier.

In your email you advised that you feel the £30.00 goodwill applied to your account is insufficient in view of the time you have taken to try and resolve this matter. As a company we do not compensate for time because everybody values this differently and we must be seen to treat everyone fairly and equally. I am happy to increase the goodwill offer by a further £50.00 in full and final resolution of your complaint.


NEIL STARES OUT OF THE WINDOW AS THE LETTER CONTINUES.

XYZ ENERGY
Please let me know if this is acceptable and I will credit the account with the £50.00 and send this payment to you.


SHOTS MOVE INTO CLOSE UPS OF ANONYMOUS GENERIC CORPORATE BUILDINGS, PYLONS, GENERATORS, CITY OF LONDON SKYLINE, COOLING TOWERS ETC.

XYZ ENERGY
I am writing further to my email of 10 November 2017, copied below for your reference, regarding your complaint.

We are very keen to ensure your complaint is resolved to your satisfaction. Please can you review this and contact me and let me know if you are happy with the actions I have proposed. If not, then I would be grateful if you could let me know what further actions you would like me to take in order that I can discuss these with my manager and ensure a satisfactory outcome for you.


SHOTS MOVE CLOSER ON NEIL STARING AT HIS HAND WRITTEN LETTER.

NEIL
Thank you for your kind reply. We appreciate it.

I took this to our Board Meeting last night.

It was over turkey meatballs.

Our Chief Financial Officer (my wife) proposes we accept it with thanks.

We would like to accept your kind offer and again appreciate the time you have taken to reply.

The cheque for £7.95 has already arrived.

If there is nothing more for me to do, we will await the final payment you outline in your email and will then consider the matter and our business with XYZ Energy as closed.

With best wishes on XYZ Energy's future hi-jinks and adventures.


Neil Mossey
CEO, Mossey Family


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