Friday, September 05, 2014

Graffiti of Brighton & Hove

'I only speak for myself, But the word around town, Is that something's shaking, In the underground.'  Michelle Shocked, 1988

Brighton & Hove is blessed by a whole bunch of talented graffiti artists and also by the fact that almost everyone seems to appreciate their work.

Perhaps it is partly because the citizens of the city are remarkably tattooed (something I am not into at all) that they take such a laid-back attitude to the inking of the buildings.

In my current workless state, I have taken quite a lot of images of the art. I do not intend to go on about it. It speaks for itself: imaginative, beautiful, sublime.

My life seems to be constantly changing. Four mouths ago I was still a suit. Now I am a jobless, wondering: "What next?"

For as long as I can remember, I have heard people complain about the Labour Exchange, aka Job Centre Plus.

However, I have found the people there delightful.

Once you have passed the heavies on the door, the staff are very interesting.

My adviser has an alcoholic dad who she cares for part-time. She loves Florida but agrees that people there eat too much.

She seems a very compassionate lady. I hope I can bring her some solace.

The Labour Exchange is also helpful with training. I am hoping to do a digital marketing course to enhance my skills.

I have sourced the course, filled out a form and, today, had an interview with a lady who wants me to complete a chunky verbal reasoning test online to prove I am capable of doing the training.

Since failing my 11-plus (an error that was quickly emended), I have never been very keen on verbal reasoning.

But, as the Labour Exchange lady said, it is just a hoop to jump through. Once I have done it, I will have to email the file to her and meet again for an assessment of my performance.

Obviously, bureaucracy has taken over the world.

Really, though, I don't care.

I will probably find doing the test fun and it will fill an hour or two.

Even if I fail the verbal reasoning (again), I don't care, either.

It has nothing to do with my life.  

I own I do not miss going into the Smoke every day. It is lovely being in Brighton & Hove. I love every day.

Surprisingly, I am busier than I have ever been. Looking for work is a constant concern which keeps going eight to 10 hours a day.

It is not great out there. The UK is pulling out of recession pretty slowly.

International turmoil and the Scottish question are not helping. On the latter, I am getting tired of reading about how close it will be, when one feels that on the day the Scots will vote with their wallets to stay with their English brothers and sisters. Not to do so would be most un-Scottish.

However, I am worried Gordon Brown is being wheeled out by Dave Cameron for the 'No' campaign. Is this wise? I am not sure it is.

Still, hope springs eternal. I have been trying to build up my network of contacts. No decent work seems to be advertised these days.

It is interesting to see how many of my former Fleet Street mates are also in limbo: many have set up PR companies, some have changed careers completely, some have emigrated. A generation is adrift.

Of course, I miss my kids like mad.

Losing a well-paid job is nothing compared with losing my children.

It has been almost three years since I last saw them. There is no sign of this situation changing. Eveything has been been tried. There is nothing left to do.

I can understand why it is so difficult for them, but at least it would be comforting to get a message,
an email, a text. . .


I do work really hard. I am battering away on my computer keyboard all morning, all afternoon and often during the evening as well.

Breaks occur: basketball, trying a build an allotment fence out of pallets (harder and more time-consuming than I imagined it would be), time with Mr Cheeky, housework et cetera.

Mr Cheeky, to my surprise, has become the local pub cat.

I was walking past the Bottom's Rest and looked up to see him staring at me through the window.

The barmaids treat him like a boyfriend and even the pub dog does not appear to bother him.

Often, he heads down the local with his mate Django at around 6.30pm and stays there playing until we collect him at dusk.

Through Mr Cheeky, I have been become friendly with Django's owner, Nick, a boulevardier VATman and biker, and his characterful housemates.

What to do? Sometimes it feels all too mad.

I have been spending a lot of time reading self-improvement books, assaying to bolster my chances.

It is important to stay positive and to keep going.

Mr Cheeky often curls up on my desk as I am writing. I think he instinctively understands.

It was hot today at times. Yet in just two months' time it will be Bonfire - dark, possibly wet, cold - and fiery. Then Christmas - the worst time of year for a dad separated from his kids.

My dear friend Midders phoned two days ago. He is ill and lonely. It made me very sad to hear about it.

Consolations come in small ways. For some time I have been thinking about playing 78s and last weekend I acquired a player.

In Lewes, people would sometimes put unwanted stuff on the street with a note asking for payment (into a box or through the letterbox) if anyone wanted anything.

In Brighton & Hove, people go further. They often put out things for others to take - pro bono, gratis, free.

It is infectious. I have given away quite a few good things. It feels so much better than trying to sell them.

So, I acquired a 78 rpm record player and stereo tape deck for nowt. All I had to do was get two-quid speakers from a charity shop and wire it up. It works brilliantly.

What an irenic place Brighton Hove is!

Maybe, that's why the graffiti artists do what they do. To share their genius with us for nothing.

If only there was more forgiveness and understanding in the world. 

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