We can get there by bus…

This is a short companion to my story of brutal murder. As I’ve mentioned I’ve started a new job, but because of the stroke recovery my walking pace makes glaciers look like The Flash which can mean walking is painfully boring, or a chance to take in things others rushing to get from A to B quicker than a Donald Trump lie.

One of the nicer things I’ve registered is I’ve walked past Killermont Street every day, which for those of us of a certain age means a certain Roddy Frame/Aztec Camera song going through my head…

There could be far worse things stuck in my head, but because Glasgow has changed so much since I last lived here it didn’t actually dawn on me I was walking through Killermont Street til this morning where this song stuck. I hope I can share this with you and do the same because the song is one of Frame’s lost wee classics…

Today I saw and heard a murder…

I saw a brutal, horrendous and probably uncompromisingly painful murder committed by two people today on the way home, and nobody did anything about it. The victim as still twitching and kicking when I lost earshot, so there may well have been life left in the poor thing, but as I just drifted out of range I heard one last death rattle so the murder was complete.

But before I explain, I should say I’m settling in back into the world of work. Today our wee group started probing each other’s lives and I got told I was aged between ’35 and 45′ so I’ll take this. Also just a wee note that my reviews of comics, etc will be found from now on at That’s Not Current, and this week you can read what I thought about Calexit #1. Anyhow, so far no major issues barring the morning smell of bleach outside the lifts at Queen Street Station, and oh, the brutal murder I witnessed this evening.

It was at Buchanan Street steps, a Glasgow landmark where I saw two men armed only with slightly out of tune electric guitars brutally wield them as they bludgeoned Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb over the head, neck and testicles til it couldn’t take any more pain or agony as it tried to crawl free to mercy, but these two lads were merciless as they garrotted this song (which I may remind you was finely covered by the Scissor Sisters) until it couldn’t breathe.

I’ve seen and heard brutal things in my life but the cold callousness here is something that shall live with me forever, and to make it worse as I drifted out of distance I’m sure I heard them round on Life on Mars.

The murderous bastards!

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, It’s back to work I go…

Today I completed the first full day of work since I had my stroke on the 19th February 2016, so I’m back on the coal face, and hopefully cutting my contact with the welfare system to a minimum. That alone should make my ongoing recovery feel better…

A job is ultimately a job and yes, I’m taking a step down but I don’t mind that. It’ll pay my bills and let me live while I work out what’s next and build up the comics. I will say it is nice to speak to people who don’t know the full story of my variety of illnesses and also just speaking to people normally without talking first of what drugs you’re on or how little you can feel in your right leg.

That said, I also need to remember I no longer live or work in Bristol. Leaving in the morning when it’s sunny and bright isn’t going to be the case when I leave at 5.30. I now live in Glasgow where rain is just a blink away so a brolly/raincoat will be with me tomorrow.

But I now start out on the next step. Lets see where this goes?

 

Looks like you won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon…

Had my first six-month check up today to ensure my cancer is still in remission and yup, it sure is so no chance of me being a lumbering radioactive zombie anytime soon I’m afraid.

I do have to wait for some blood tests to ascertain whether my thyroxine needs to be upped but as far as my consultant is concerned I’m good to get on with it, so when I told him that in the last month or so I’ve got myself my own place, a new job to supplement the comics, joined a gym, and been to Glastonbury he was a tad impressed.

Because of any possible concern as to how the stroke has affected me, rather than coming back in a year he wants to see me in January, and he’ll probably stick to a 6-month check-up schedule rather than an annual one just to be safe. This isn’t the end of the road, it just means the end of the road is now way, way, way off in the distance and I can safely get on with life.

But not as a radioactive zombie sadly.

Radio silence is now over…

I am now firmly moved into my new place and thanks to BT’s glacial pace, finally back online. Normal service has been resumed just in time for me to vanish into a field for Glastonbury which will be the first Glastonbury I’ve been to in 25 years where I’ll be coming from Glasgow.

In my downtime I missed commentating on the election not to mention a few nice comic related stories but don’t worry, I’ll make up for that sooner than you think…

Initiating radio silence in 24 hours…

I will be leaving the gentrifying climes of Dennistoun in Glasgow for the gentrifying climes of Finnieston in Glasgow for my own place just behind the Mitchell Library.

I’m feeling fit enough to venture back into the world, and I’m eternally grateful to my friend Bridget for helping me through the last seven or so months. However time to move on and get back to life but not before heading back to Bristol for a quick trip on the way to Glastonbury Festival, enjoying that, having a fortnight off after and then starting a new job on the 10th July.

However because I’m moving and BT won’t be able to switch my broadband on til a week on Monday I’m internetless for a week. Good thing I’ve got one of the largest libraries in the UK on my doorstep isn’t it…

So, hopefully it won’t be complete radio silence for the next ten days or so but if it is wish me luck and I’ll be back around the 12th June.

The UK welfare state is broken

I recently had to attend an assessment by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in regards my Employment Support Allowance (ESA) which involved a lengthy two hour questioning and then physical examination. Sure, it was with a very decent, kind GP, but not my GP and not anyone who’s spoken to my consultants in Glasgow or back in Bristol however the entire process was designed to relegate people into units where your future ability to provide economic worth to the state is assessed.

Now I want to get back to work and thanks to a mix of improving health and the incompetency of Glasgow City Council that’s probably something that’s going to happen sooner than later. Last week though I saw people who could clearly and obviously barely walk and/or were in such clear pain/discomfort that dragging them through a Kafkaesque procedure only made any conditions they have worse. When you’re ill, seriously ill as opposed to ”oh, I’ve got a bad cold” ill, you’re going to suffer from anxiety.and stress about your own perhaps curtailed or painful existence so the last thing you need is some apathetic DWP employee looking at you as if you’re some sort of stain on their horizon.

The system is broken. Things are going to change in Scotland as the Scottish Government is banning the likes of ATOS and will be attempting to create a more humane system however that’s years away, and for the rest of the UK looking down the barrel of a ruthless Tory government things will only get worse. The system is needlessly cruel because a media reports on people ”scrounging” all the bloody time.

The picture being painted is one of masses of the sick and disabled playing at it to pull in massive riches (as if £146 a fortnight is riches) or defrauding the system but the system is impossible to fathom without having a computer to work out the calculations. And those that do manage to somehow game the system amount to a pitiful 1.8% in 2015. On average the fraud level is around 1% which means the screaming headlines of ”75%” is bullshit, but this constant level of lying has worked. The sick and disabled are seen as ‘faking’ or if you speak to some people you get the line ‘nah, not you, you’re one of the genuine ones” as if there’s massive hordes of people developing debilitating conditions in order to grab money.

I hope the new forthcoming Scottish system helps change things for the better, but it took years to harden things up and it’ll take years to get rid of what are now entrenched opinions. One thing is clear though; vote Tory in June’s general election and things won’t get any better.