I haven’t done any spoken word since moving away from the IOW, but got invited back to perform for ‘Reading Between the Lines’ as they are putting on a big show, due to possibly not doing the night anymore.
Anyway, I always like to challenge myself to something new… so instead of spoken word, I’m doing some stand up (hopefully) comedy!
If you’d like to come down, and please do, it’s Friday 2nd October at the Wight Rock Bar in Ryde…. see you there!
I’m currently re-developing my site, so ignore if things are a bit all over the place!
Mantelpiecing – [man-tel-pee-sing]
Verb – To bring a foreign photo, sometimes pre framed, to someone’s house and leaving it in amongst their own photos, usually on a mantelpiece or dresser.
A while back, when I used to go on tour quite a lot, my brother told me about Mantelpiecing, which, you will see I’ve cleverly already explained for you above; you’re welcome. Ben told me that George Clooney liked to ‘mantelpiece’ swanky hollywood parties by leaving a polaroid on his penis at unsuspecting victim’s houses. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, although there are rumours he left one on the fridge, whilst filming for ‘Roseanne’.
Now, for me, despite the fact that we did have a polaroid camera on tour (our bus was covered in hundreds and hundreds of polaroids), leaving a picture of my penis anywhere was out of the question. Polaroid cameras with a decent ‘macro‘ mode are hard to come by. I did, however, love the idea of mantelpiecing so I would take 4 or 5 framed, signed, photos of myself on tour to leave in various pubs/bars. Some of which were still there when we returned some months later, most of which just got binned the next day, I imagine. You see, the thing I love about mantelpiecing is that unless you’ve crashed out and wake up in said party/pub/bar the next morning (we often did on tour, to be fair), you don’t get to see the reaction of your victim when (and if!) they find it.
Since then, I do still regularly mantelpiece, although not always pictures of myself now, I’m not that cruel. My Dad’s ‘study’ in our family home had my friend’s primary school photo on the wall next to his actual son’s pictures for about 3 years before he noticed. My brother mantelpieced my house last year with a small picture of Saddam Hussein, but I noticed it and turned him into ‘Peter Criss‘.
So this brings me onto 2014, and a surprise visit to my Dad’s new house in Spain. I hadn’t visited yet and Dad was constantly asking when we were coming. I kept avoiding the subject, full well knowing we had tickets booked for early September. In the end, I cracked and told him that he did indeed have flights booked – but for late October, good save.
The surprise was great, we turned up past midnight and Dad loved it. However, it being past midnight, he’d kind of worked out something was up after his wife spent the day cleaning, buying croissants and then telling him not to go to bed. To be fair, she didn’t just spend all day doing those things. Presumably the croissants took about 10 minutes, and she only needed to do the ‘keeping up’ bit for about half an hour.
He’d worked it out…
What he hadn’t worked out – was my next planned surprise.
Yep… For not the first time in his life, Dad was totally surprised by Ben’s arrival (Surely they didn’t plan him? Also… I think Dad was playing golf when Ben started being born… kids can be a right nuisance). I went out to ‘pick up my bag’, and Ben walked back in – Dad didn’t even spot him. I know a lot of people actively try to ignore Ben sometimes, but I’m taking this as the surprise worked – see it for yourself!
So anyway, I know what you’re thinking… “you’re waffling, Tippers, did you mantelpiece your Dad?”
Yes… yes I did.
I like to prepare, you can’t mantelpiece without some good prep, unless of course you’re Clooney with a polaroid. My prep on this particular occasion was to print out 20 pictures of Ricky Gervais’ ‘Bath Pics’ (technically 25, but I then noticed a few repeats…).
Most people spend their holidays on the beach, visiting landmarks, trying local foods and chatting over beers with friends – I mantelpieced my Dad’s house with 20 pictures of a man in the bath. I did go to the beach (Guardamar), visit landmarks (some odd caves), try local food (Bacon baguette, but it’s an expat area) and I did indeed chat over beers (or Cervezas, for you language buffs out there).
Anyway… Dad noticed 2 or 3 of the bath pics, and blamed Ben… first borns, amiright!?
He’ll find these eventually, but here are the rest, just in case you didn’t believe me. They’re in draws, under stuff, on stuff, behind stuff, in stuff, indoors, outdoors….
Enjoy… oh, and let me know about your mantelpiecing exploits (e̶v̶e̶n̶ especially if it’s penisaroids)
So this blog was written in a fair amount of anger, a couple of months ago. I noticed today that the company this blog involves have been advertising for new members of staff, this proves I was straight lied to, so, after sitting on it for months, I’ve decided to post it.
Hello all! I haven’t blogged in a while but after quite a tough week, I just felt compelled to get my thoughts down. This may be a long blog, but for my own sanity, I need to get it down.
There was a time this week where I was lying awake in bed, worrying that I would lose my house. That sucked, and I don’t want to be there again.
You see, a few weeks ago, I was introduced to an Island based company who offered me an interview for a role that sounded really interesting. I already have a job, and for the record I’m very happy in that job, but I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to just meet these people and see what they had to say. This company offer a service that I really believe in to be a big part of the future, something which I’m working hard to encourage more in my current job.
At this point, I want to clarify that I will not be naming names or companies. I don’t want this to turn into a ‘he said/she said’ or any form of mudslinging, that’s not my style. I don’t wish anyone or their companies any harm, I wasn’t treated fairly and I want to share that. If those people involved read this, they’ll know who they are. As mentioned, this is for my own sanity, if it’s on the proverbial page, it’s out of my head.
So there I was, sat in what most would call an ‘interview’, but in actuality it was more of an informal chat. That’s the best kind of interview, no one cares about what animal I’d be (I’ve been asked that before) and my GCSE’s are largely irrelevant nowadays. Anyway, not many questions came my way, it was probably 80% me listening to how good the company is and how good a businessman the guy who runs it is. I’ll tell you, dear reader, at this point, I had no reason to not believe him. Everyone was really friendly, they were saying the right things, I thought they had good branding and had heard of the company already, despite being fairly new. They had solid plans in place for growth and development and I was told that 100s of thousands of pounds worth of business was due to land in the next few days. I was told that I would be joining a core of 3 to become one of 4 key players and decision makers at the company. In 2 or 3 months I’d almost certainly need 2 or 3 junior members of staff underneath me, building my team. I was told that my salary could be matched (which was more than they had budgeted for, but it would be cleared with the accountants because I was worth it), I’d have a bonus and a budget for anything I needed to do the job, Macs/iPads, whatever I needed.
“Awkward question maybe… but where do you live, Tim?”
“Ahh excellent, In the next few months we’ll be opening a Portsmouth office. You won’t need to commute there, but I’ve got a lot of business coming in around the south coast so it’ll help to have a base there”
“ahh cool… What about working from home? Do you mind if I do that sometimes?”
“Yea, you’d be free to do whatever you want…”
At the end of the meeting, I was pretty sold on this dream role; the chance to be an integral part of this exciting young company, with a team growing around me, all coming from the Isle of Wight.
Everyone was smiles and the words everyone wants to hear at the end of an interview were said:
“Well, call off the search, I think we’ve found our man!”
Over the next week or so, I thought long and hard about my options. I just couldn’t face leaving my current role as I’ve learnt a lot there and I’ve become an important part of a great company. However, the new company were in touch a lot saying that jobs were already being created for me. These included photo shoots for clients and video work, the sort of stuff that anyone who knows me, knows it really ticks my boxes.
I spoke to a few of my usual confidants and my mind was made up. I was turning 30, I had to roll the dice and see what happens. This could be the best decision I ever make.
Formal offer given to me, with salaries etc laid out, I handed in my notice and that was that, a new career was waiting for me.
Until 2 weeks before I was due to start…
“Tim, I’ve got bad news… the company’s had some real ups and downs recently and we’ve been offered to merge with a PR company. It was a difficult decision to make, but business wise, one I had to make.”
“Unfortunately, we have to withdraw the job offer. I’m really gutted about it, I’m so sorry.”
“Oh… what happened?”
“Well, this PR company we’re merging with asked if we had anyone new joining the team and I told him we had a new guy coming on called Tim who was really great, really perfect for the team and they were cool with this. However, when I said Tim Pritchard, they asked… as in Tippers? I think they’ve had a run in with you in the past and didn’t want to work with you.”
At this point, I explained what had happened… and I’ll get to that.
“Yea, it was a tough decision for me, but as a business, I had to merge, even if it was possible to keep you on, they’d be your bosses.”
So that was that. Job offer over. I had handed in my notice with my job and I was in bits.
So, let me tell you more about the people behind the ‘PR company’. I have to be a bit delicate here as I don’t want to name names, but some of you may remember I had a fairly public dispute with an Island based company sometime in the past.
After ordering something through their site, I realised that what had been purchased, wasn’t what I was trying to buy. I e-mailed them to try and get this refunded and put right. Now, I hold my hands up here, it was a bit of a snappy e-mail, as I was annoyed. I thought it was an error on their website. I happen to think though that as a consumer, I’m well within my right to send an e-mail in any tone I wish. I mentioned the product I was trying to buy (a food hamper) and asked for it to be sorted.
The response I got basically said “we sell thousands of products a week and never had this problem before”. However, the order was refunded (but no new order for what I actually wanted placed). This annoyed me a bit more, as most of my days are spent doing website audits for E-commerce sites, I know my stuff, the tone of the e-mail struck me as a bit sarcastic. In fairness, I might have just been in a bit of a mood.
Anyway, I realised it wasn’t an error on their site, it was my error, based on a fairly confusing design. In one subsequent e-mail, I did say that it might be worth doing some AB testing on moving around the design. I wasn’t trying to be a dick, I was just pointing out that if an error can be made like that, it’s worth investigating. I went back to the site to order the thing I wanted originally and found that I no longer had a registered account. So, I re-registered and made the purchase.
About 5 minutes later, I got this e-mail:
I see you have been and purchased the hamper – would you like to keep this purchase?
That’s all it said. I replied with:
Yes, that was what I was trying to buy in the first place.
I feel a distinct tone of sarcasm in that e-mail though?
And got back:
Not at all i was just concerned – after your emails i felt the same this morning and seeing you are very good friends with my competitor i thought canceling your account was the best thing to do to save any further issues hence my surprise at your purchasing again. I also unsubscribed you from our mailshot after your messages this morning.
I believe also that you work on vectis radio – i am going in to see Ian this week about advertising.
We all work hard Tim, we provide an excellent service great deals and really want our customers to be happy however i felt your messages this morning were very unfair.
However if you are happy to buy form our web site then thats great with us – if you do have any problems please rest assured that we will always do everything we can to put things right.
I don’t know what anyone else makes of that, but for a company (local or not) to respond to a customer with details of who their friends are and where they work (I didn’t any more) for me, was WAY out of line and a bit creepy. I then realised that her husband had added me on Facebook and was using that to get this information about me. He also made some fairly threatening comments on my Facebook post about this.
I basically responded to this saying that I was appalled that a company of any size would go as far as adding people on Facebook and using facts about their life against them in a customer service e-mail. I wasn’t even angry about that, just truly baffled.
For the record, in further e-mails I was told that in 18 months of trading they had ‘never had crossed words with a customer’. Several people on Facebook told me they’d had similar run ins with them. For the conspiracy theorists amongst you, the 3 or 4 people who commented on my Facebook posts said they didn’t receive the daily e-mails any more. The company in question told me that she was 100% sure she didn’t delete anyone’s account, but the husband seemed pretty upset on the Facebook thread. I’m not suggesting he deleted those accounts, I have no way of knowing that.
So that was that anyway… Those people struck again, by withdrawing my job offer.
At this point, I spoke with some more helpful people who advised me that I probably had a legal case. I still didn’t know if I would be able to stay in my current job, so I sent the owner of the business I’d interviewed for an E-mail, basically giving a polite notice that I was a bit disappointed but I had to consider legal action. If he hadn’t mentioned the husband and wife team, I probably wouldn’t have; at this point, I still thought he was a genuine guy himself.
The response I got to that E-mail completely changed his story. Rather than a merger with the aforementioned husband and wife team, I was now told that he’d been forced to close the business and that all staff had been offered jobs elsewhere. There was now no company, it was closing. The decision was nothing to do with the husband and wife team.
At the time of writing, the company is still tweeting and seems to be still active.
My problem is:
Scenario 1 – I’ve been screwed about because I made a complaint to a company and then got freaked out when they cyber-stalked and threatened me. If this is the case, why not ask to meet me? Maybe I was having a bad day when I e-mailed, maybe they were? Maybe we’re all just lovely and it’s a big misunderstanding that we can laugh about.
Scenario 2 – He has indeed closed the business, and I imagined the whole conversation about the husband and wife team. If this is the case, what sort of person tells someone to quit their job, knowing that their company is potentially 2 weeks from being forced to close? The answer… maybe not the businessman he thinks he is.
I apologise if that last sentence seems a bit bitchy, I really don’t mean to be, but when someone’s careless, thoughtless and selfish actions have nearly cost you your career, possibly your house and who knows what else, you tend to feel a tad bitter.
Luckily, I work with an awesome group of people and a great company and I’m in a very lucky position that despite spending money on adverts and moving some other members of staff around, I’ve been kept on.
I’ve learned a lesson, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I want to thank those folks who told me to go for the job though, dare to dream and all that, it’s helped me learn a lesson. I also want to thank those folks who told me to stick with what I’ve got. Yep, in hindsight, you were bang on when it comes to this… please don’t tell me that though, I don’t need/want to hear it. I know I ballsed up and made the wrong decision
You could roll the dice and get a 6, sure, but you could also get punched in the face and set on fire.
Firstly, a big Happy New Year to you all, and I hope you had a lovely Christmas. My decorations are still up, please don’t make me take them down… not because I can’t be bothered (… although that is a factor) but because I just love Christmas lights. :)
Anyway, I thought I’d write a little NY blog. Every year I tell myself that I’ll blog more or just write more in general and it never seems to happen (with that in mind, welcome to my first, and probably penultimate blog of the year… :/ ). Resolutions are so easy to make and yet so much more easy to break; why is it that we need to change our calendars in order to make changes in our lives? In truth, we don’t, it’s just a convenient excuse to make empty promises to ourselves.
Anyway, I’m going to make empty promises to myself and actually try and stick to them, after all, I’m turning 30 this year and it’s time to get serious.
So, these aren’t ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ per se, more achievements I hope to fulfil in the year I turn 30.
1. Start wearing a watch
- I’ve never been much of a watch wearer or really seen the point, but it’s one of those things that ‘make a man’ so I’m going to give it a go. I do currently have a shiny new watch on my wrist.
2. Write my sketch show
- Sounds ridiculous, and I can hardly call it a ‘show’, but over the last year or so, I’ve been e-mailing myself ideas for comedy sketches on a regular basis. I keep promising myself to actually write them up – hopefully once that’s done, I can get some filmed!
3. Visit Dad in Spain
- My Dad has a house in Spain, this is kind of a no brainer.
4. Upgrade my car.
- This is my car:
5. Start a band.
- I’ve played hundred and hundreds of gigs up and down the country, from primary school fetes to headlining the Liverpool Cavern and tiny pubs to Wembley arena. I’m a good musician who just doesn’t do it anymore. I keep telling myself I don’t have time for it, yet my Fifa Career Mode save file would say otherwise…
6. Record an EP.
- As above!
7. Get a bit more fit and run a 10k
- I did get quite fit in 2013, then I just ballsed up and let all my hard work go to ‘waist’. It’s a huge cliche, to look to get fit in the New Year, but I’m being realistic. I just mean go to the gym a bit more, keep playing Squash and finally manage to run a 10k… so far, I’ve run/walked an 8k and can manage a 5/6k normally.
8. Grow a beard.
- I’m turning 30… let me have this.
9. Earn some money away from work.
- I’m good at some stuff, time to try make money out of it :P
10. Generally be more positive, say yes more, spend more time with friends and take opportunities.
- This is probably 3, but I didn’t want to destroy the ‘perfect 10’. I’ve been more positive about as much as I can for a while now and I love it. If someone wins on a scratchcard you were about to buy, be happy for them, not bitter. If you miss the boat and have to wait an hour, take the time to do some reading. It’s not always easy to be positive, but once you get into it, it makes you a far happier person. This kinda leads to the idea (thanks Danny Wallace!) of saying yes more and taking opportunities.
This list is fairly irrelevant to anyone but me, I’m aware of that, but if you have read this, hopefully it gives you some ideas to make the most of 2014 and make changes in your life, new calendar or otherwise.
Happy new year folks, you look lovely today.
So today I had a photoshoot with Gareth Icke, or G as I’ve known him better for the last god knows how many years.
For the shots you see in a field, we really suffered for our art. We both suffer quite badly from hay fever and this field was like glastonbury for little hay fever demons. On top of our eyes streaming, sneezing, noses running an throats burning, I was only wearing flip flops and shorts so my legs ended up bright red, lumpy and really itchy… still I’m happy with the shots!
If you’re an artist/band or just looking for a shoot then get in touch!
I’ve had Netflix now for a while and found myself getting a bit bored of it every so often. I do either two things, watch something really random or come online and search for what others recommend. So here’s my guide, which is a mix of the two – Good stuff on Netflix UK that I’ve randomly found or just highly recommend.
I’ll break this down into Categories…
So you’ve watched all of Breaking Bad and now you’re thinking, what next? Well… here’s what I’d recommend:
Lilyhammer: Fan of ‘The Sopranos”? You’ll love this then. Starring, Steven Van Zandt (Silvio in The Sopranos), Lilyhammer is the story of a tough guy mafiosi who has turned ‘rat’ and been relocated for his safety… obviously, to Lilyhammer in Norway. His character is Silvio meets Tony Soprano, hard, respectful but plays by his own rules and gets his own way. Mix the mafia attitude with Norwegian lifestyle and the result is a funny, quirky, strange drama that’s utterly compelling! Be warned, it’s half Norwegian (subtitled) and half English.
Californication: I’m sure everyone will have seen Californication by now, but seriously if you haven’t, stop reading and go watch Californication. David Duchovny plays ‘Hank Moody’, a rock and roll writer who men want to be and woman want to be with. He’s an arsehole and he knows it. Californication is made brilliant however, by Hank’s agent and uber fan of masturbating, Charlie Runkle. Go watch!
Kingdom: Who doesn’t like Stephen Fry? Well, Kingdom is a quirky British comedy drama starring Stephen Fry as a lawyer. Sounds boring, but it’s like a detective drama… basically, it’s what ‘Swallow’ could have been, and it puts Norwich on the map.
Nighty Night: Nighty Night is a british sitcom starring Julia Davis and some other brit-com stalwarts such as Angus Deaton (One foot in the grave), Kevin Eldon (Big Train), Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen), Ruth Jones (Gavin and Stacey) and Rebecca Front (Big Train). It’s VERY dark, Julia Davis’ character is, how to I say this… a fucking head case. It makes for brilliant sitcom though and is a must watch!
15 Storeys High: I Honestly can’t tell you if this was popular on ‘normal’ TV, nor do I really care. However, I’ve never spoken to anyone who has seen it! Basically, Sean Lock (comedian) lives in a flat with a strange little Chinese flatmate, much hilarity ensues… It’s odd ball, but that’s what makes good comedy.
The Sarah Silverman Program: I think Sarah Silverman is awesome. She’s funny and, dare I use this word: Kooky. This program is weird, and brilliantly funny. Sarah’s obviously very funny, playing a parody of herself but it’s the supporting cast of her sister’s boyfriend and her two big gay ginger neighbours that really steal the show.
Whites: This was a brit-com on BBC a while back and I watched it at the time, but recently revisited. Alan Davies is brilliant in it, but another stalwart of British sitcom Darren Boyd steals the show as his hapless sous chef.
Archer: If you like Family Guy etc… you’ll LOVE Archer. Voiced by H Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy), Archer is a maverick special agent who drinks and sleeps about. It’s a mix of new technologies with 80’s computers and mobiles. Genius and hilarious.
Don’t forget as well, there’s always stuff like The League of Gentleman, Fawlty Towers, Father Ted, The Royle Family and Peep Show and of course ‘The Office’ and Extras to be feasting on…
The Raid: What’s that? You’re not a fan of incredibly violent martial arts films with lots of guns? Don’t watch this then. However, if you like gritty stories of survival, violence and incredible choreography, then watch this film.
Requiem for a Dream: *whimpers* Drugs. Drugs and more drugs, an incredible look into the slippery slope of narcotics.
Youth in Revolt: Ever since ‘Superbad’ I’ve really like Michael Cera. He’s awesome in Juno too and he’s awesome in this. A very similar role, although he has a dark side. It’s not a film that’s going to change the world, but it’s a sweet little number that’s well worth a watch if you like the aforementioned movies.
Office Space: One of the all time great movies. Fact.
Of course, there are so many more gems that it’s not worth mentioning them all. I’ll add to this as and when I think of things I’ve watched and forgotten about though!
I’m offering some photo shoots for bands, now is a great time to do it as we’ve got good weather. Shoots can be indoor or out and I will travel to any IOW location.
I will work with you before hand to decide on the best locations/styles to suit your musical style and advise on image etc.
It’s all about the image nowadays, you have to look the part. A professional photo shoot can really set you apart from the rest. Whether you’re a solo artist or full band, get in contact to discuss what you’re looking for.
Price will be £40 and we’ll spend however long it takes getting the right shots. I will then edit and give you hi-res versions.
If you have had a photo shoot, I will also then be able to offer discount services on promotional posters.
I recently made a video for local Isle of Wight band, This Way Up. It was a fantastic experience and learning curve for me as I undertook quite a bit! It was a one man job, including producing, directing, writing, filming and editing which equates to ONE BIG BLAG.
Looking back, I would plan a bit more, spend more time working on shots etc, however I must admit that I am very happy with what I got and am rather pleased with myself. Here’s the vid, I hope you enjoy!