fred

Birmingham: Shit Or Not?

One of the things demanding an amount of my time recently has been trying to move. This activity has actually become an enduring theme in my life in recent years—and I still haven’t managed it. I don’t live in Birmingham per se. I live in a small town about 15 miles North. I’ve spent a large chunk of my life in this town variously. I’ve escaped a couple of times and somehow been sucked back in. As much as I hate this place (the small town), I’m sure it’s at least a bit unfair to aim that hatred at Birmingham as such.

Read More »Birmingham: Shit Or Not?

The Big Issue

An issue I’ve gone back and forth on for a long time and it’s been on my mind to an alarmingly distracting extent recently, including right now in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Employment. The freelance chancing, carefree (ish) hours and alleged freedom vs a boring old salaried job.

Everything about being freelance sounds kinda cool in theory. But it’s only kinda cool if you crack the formula—meaning you never, ever, go a month (or six) enduring a dry spell. Because when it works it’s great; when it doesn’t work it’s a complete bastard.

Read More »The Big Issue

Strike That

If you haven’t been perusing the Twit feed. I declined the job offer on Tuesday. Trying to find a suitable place to live on the budget I had, based on offered starting salary, was proving to be an enormous challenge. Having a dog is Problem Number One, and especially in London—but when you add to that a limited budget that restricts you to studio flats, bedits or some kind of sharing arrangement…

Time Out. How badly do I want to be there? Bad enough to work my ass off for the privilege of living in conditions worse than the ones I have now? This is a one-bedroom flat I currently live in. Rent is £360 a month. If it was in London, the rent would be £750 a month. Get the picture? A salary that gave me a budget to afford such would have made my life comparatively simple. But the decidedly mediocre salary in question wasn’t cutting it.

The stress from this problem, and repeated visits to London (about £250 of travel expenses down the drain ultimately), was stretching me to breaking point. I started to get cystitis symptoms and finally, on Monday, I had an intensely painful and scary episode that was probably a kidney stone. I thought I was going to be in hospital. People often think that, apparently, with these things, but the stuation’s less grave than the unbelievably terrible pain would lead you to suspect.

Read More »Strike That