Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cricket, the Family Allan and Hot Chocolate

Having not seen much British TV over the past three years and never having Sky Sports in England, it's been great recently to watch Twenty/20 cricket on BBCiplayer. ...well until England got knocked out.

I was only able to see the highlights package but that did for me as it brought back some good memories. Cricket was an important part of my culture for a long time. From fighting with my brother and sister because I was scoring a Gillette Cup match between Gloucester and Somerset while they wanted to watch Rainbow to playing well into my 20s every Saturday and Sunday during the summer.

Despite the early spats with my brother and sister, cricket became the main sport that would see four out of the five kids in our family sitting down peacefully, talking and communicating with each other. There was something magical about the first session of a day's play in a Test match betwen 11am and 1pm.

The video below is totally off topic . Hot Chocolate's Brother Louie. You just would not be allowed to get away with the following line..."Man, let me tell you, I don't want no honky in my dig! No honky in my family."

Mixed bands like Hot Chocolate and The Specials played a part in me not being racist.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Luck and the World Cup

I was offered a job the other day in a 'hot' country. A few years ago I would have jumped at the chance but as I already live in a foreign country and have no desire to leave here, I turned it down.

The main reason was the person I am with has a job here which they enjoy and it is refreshing not to hear somebody moan every evening about their job. I sometimes don't think they realise how lucky they are to be happy in work because my experience in the last twenty years is of work not being great.

I really have had some shit jobs in my 'career' - cleaner, barman, temping, betting shop manager. The list is long and varied. Most of the time, it was looking forward to a beer and a laugh at the end of the day they kept me going.....there was little reward in actually working...apart from the money - which was generally low if I didn't do overtime.

After quitting my betting shop manager job before getting fired, I got a lucky break after being given an opportunity to work on the horse racing desk of a sports news website. I only got the job through an old friend and not through any talent. The first few weeks I just intelligently kept my head down and looked keen and eager.

I knew I was safe in that job when they started hiring people with less knowledge than know who you are Anne Marie McTigeague! - she was actually a lovely girl and probably doing well for herself.

Anyhow, I luckily managed to get out of the hose racing desk work to work in a horse racing spin off department that the company had just bought.

The boss there gave me so much confidence in myself -despite not being the best worker - it was unreal and I can't thank him enough. We are still friends now and although he will hate me for it I see him as a bit of a father figure.

He ended up buying back the company he had sold to the sports news website and I was out of a job. I wasn't that bothered as I got some redundancy money and ended up working freelance for the horse racing desk for a year or so.

Fast forward a year and I'm skint again and have no work. I end up going back to working as a betting shop manager for a terrible independent company. Commuting an hour a day and working 12 hour shifts. It was not much fun.

After my ringtone website started interesting the search engines, I gave up that job and lived on the proceeds for a while (six months) until I had to look for work.

Luckily, I was able to get some shifts writing about horse racing but various reasons meant I was always struggling for money...and shifts.

I bit the bullet (probably never became a great writer due to overusing and wrongly using cliches) and worked for 500 quid a month on a World Cup website. It failed when England went out to Portugal (fucking Ronaldo) and actually made a loss.

I trundled along with the horse racing writing and picked up some poker and casino writing along the way as well other bits and pieces but I was always struggling for money and struggling for money is shit.

By 2008, I was surviving/struggling on 360 quid a month when the horse racing writing stopped until another lucky break and I ended up (after a bleak probationary period) on a half decent wage.

Moral of the's all luck.



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