On Employment

As of 5pm this past Tuesday, I am a full-time, permanent, member of staff at Leeds Met! I even got an email sent out to my colleagues, some of whom responded with notes of congratulations, and some of whom responded to the other Tom in my office with notes of congratulations. West Yorkshire just isn’t ready to accept the fact a dirty foreigner has stolen one of their jobs. But anyway.

Went into my interview on Monday on a friendly, first name basis with the four (four!) people on the interview team, which made the whole situation a bit more awkward and feel like a firing squad of friends. Nervous much, not helped by conflicting information regarding visas and job availability for those who don’t have Indefinite Leave to Remain, but buoyed by my ‘stolen from the wardrobe of David Cameron’ blue tie. [Note: being unable to vote Conservative or Labour (or Lib Dem or, ahem, BNP) means I can wear whatever colour tie I damn well please pretty much with impunity.] Apparently visas and/or ties were not an issue, as my boss pulled me aside on Tuesday afternoon and told me that, if I wanted it, the job was mine. Half considered thanking him and declining as a joke, but the year (plus) of job hunting helped me bite my tongue. I accepted, and was told that not all the other applicants had been informed of the decision yet, so not to tell anyone. Due to the fact that Jo works in the same office as one of the interviewers, I thought that perhaps telling her right away could possibly reflect badly on either me or my boss and that that might not be the best thing to do on the day of my job offer. Still feel bad about not dropping her a discreet text to let her know she could stop worrying. Minus many boyfriend points. Many head-rubs are required.

So. I now have a full-time, permanent job for the first time since leaving the Nova Group of Japan in January, 2007. It also means I can start saving for a trip to the U.S. this summer, but will have to arrange the trip around busy times at the University. It ALSO helps me in my quest for British citizenship, though it ties me to Leeds for the foreseeable future as well. Swings and roundabouts, ups and downs, strikes and gutters.

In other news, it is spring: I can now shower, shave and dress without necessarily having to turn on the light (except when there’s heavy clouds, so every few days), and on my lunch break I can go out and watch the pétanque (you’ll have to do a Google search) players in the City Centre. It’s also means the wonderfully paired moor-walking and pub-stopping; one of my favourite British pastimes (along with shamelessly adding unnecessary letters to words: ‘u’ is for ‘ubiquitous’). It means longer days, more sunshine (hopefully) and the promise of a long, hot summer. As long as the flat stays as cool in the summer as it was cold in the winter, we should be golden. And we still have a spare bedroom, so anyone wanting to come explore northern England should be in touch.

There is a post on Dublin coming (we went to Dublin, did I mention that?); I just need to match dates and photos and events into some semblance of order. Worked at the bar the past couple of nights, which might be some of the last few, so if you’re in Leeds on a Wednesday or Friday, you should head out to Horsforth for a tipple or two.

The Dude Abides,

PS – If you’ve got some free time (or even if you don’t), go here to check out Maloney-san’s article about the home of Basshō and the Ninjas. They might not be an actual band, but I would recommend it if you’re: a). in Japan, b). thinking of being in Japan, c). a fan of haiku poetry, or d). a fan of ninjas.

Sitting in a bronze chair in Merrion Square, Dublin


Of Fame, Politics and Pies

Well, it’s not exactly fame, but we’re on the web. Um. Obviously…on…the web…but…

Anyway, Jo and I can be spotted in a video of Labour MP John Prescott stumping in Headingley. We feature quite highly in this video, walking past in the background between 00:15 and 00:25, on our way into town.

And while Jo and I managed to unwittingly appear in a YouTube stump video, Jo’s Aunt Helen – who happens to be a Professor of Medieval Literature at Cambridge – managed to appear in a BBC historical documentary called ‘The Seven Ages of Britain’, the most recent of which was Age of Worship. She gets a whole five minutes with David Dimbleby, discussing Geoffrey Chaucer and Middle English.

Verdict: 5 minutes, BBC, Dimbleby, Chaucer > 10 seconds, YouTube, Prescott, Labour strengths

The Blog That Came In From The Cold


Updating a blog after any extended length of time is like trying to jump onto a ship that’s pulling away from a dock: both look better in films, and both get significantly harder the longer you leave it. Oh, and I’m not good at either.

How do you adequately summarise the past 13-14 month (plus some) into the space of a blog? I don’t know if I can. Not at the moment. So anyway…

Happy New Year! It’s 2010! I’m still in England! I (kind of) have a job! All twenty digits work, and my nation hasn’t collapsed under oppressive government regimes, bin-men strikes, natural disasters, and/or ill-advised and legally-suspect foreign military operations, which all in all makes this year look pretty good from the outset. Things can only go downhill! Here I am again, a year older and a year wis – er, no, just older. Resolution for 2010 is to get farking motivated to do some more writing, which, after a few very good conversations, has been pointed out to me to be the only way to get any better at it and maybe even possibly making some money at it. Well, that’s the plan at any rate; fours weeks in, and this is the extent of it.

Writing in 2009 consisted of (roughly): 63 emails, 27 shopping lists, a half-dozen false starts to poems, about 140 Facebook status updates, three aborted blog entries, three haphazard notebook entries which might have led to some stories but led instead to the illuminating claim that I can tell a hawk from a handsaw when the wind is southerly and the weather’s clear (ahem), and 73 job applications.

And as much as I would love to promise that this is The New Beginning, a taste of things to come, a “re-genesis” if you will, I’m still only temping and the possibility of needing to fill out yet more job applications and thus removing just about all reason to live is always at hand. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word got put off to do job applications.

The word word word, the word was deferred.

What happens to a Word deferred? Does it explode? Dunno. Hasn’t yet.

Words. Words. They’re all we have to go on.

Words, words, words. What do I read, my lord? Oh, loads.

But that’s a different post.

Currently listening to: ‘Stay Positive’ by The Hold Steady
Currently reading: ‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce


Iain, Bob, me and the Tardis in Glasgow; 30 December 2009.

Hello world!

Watch this space. Stuff will happen, hopefully soon.

Until then, please feel free to eat the biscuits, take a nap, or sit back and watch this:

The Weakerthans – “Diagnosis”