You Move For One Second…

It’s pretty brutal here in the library in Rotherham. You move for a few seconds and they steal you seat.

I only went to the toilet, but when I returned my table had been occupied. Maybe I should have left my bags and stuff on there, but if they’re going to take your seat who knows what else they’re going to take.

Luckily, there’s another place to sit, and it’s slightly further away from the children’s book section, from which the noise of screaming children (ssh, this is a library) had been occasionally eminating.

It’s been an eventful few hours since I left home. Admittedly, I’ve spent much of that time not moving much, driving or typing, or watching TV, but mentally I’ve travelled far.

Let’s first talk about the gig. I arrived a couple of hours early. This was good. It gave me plenty of time to put the drive behind me, try to work out what material I wanted to do, and generally mess about on the guitar. This was a nice warm up and both helped and hindered.

So Warm I Was Cold

It was quite nice being in a “green room” with a guitar and no distractions. I played and sang some songs. I played:

  • Perfect Love Song – by the Divine Comedy – fixing chords I disagreed with from the online tabs
  • Babies – by Pulp – a tribute to being in Sheffield
  • Dream a Little Dream of Me – which I really enjoy playing

I had TikTok-ed a duet of this song

@ashleyfriezecomedian

#duet with @pianojordan I dreamed it… I really did.

♬ original sound – Jordan Siwek
Here’s one I TikToked at some earlier point.

So all, in all I was having a merry old time in the green room.

Then Harriet arrived, and we had a lovely chat. In many ways it was one of the nicest green room experiences I’ve had in a long while. No offence to green room chats at the gig I run, but my brain is usually in far too many places at once at those.

Then my fingers stopped working.

Your Fingers did What?

I have no idea why my left hand fingers stopped working. I went off to grab a drink which helped. Perhaps I was cold, or cramped, or dehydrated, but my left hand was being quite off-topic.

The Actual Performance

I’m messing around with the content of my set a lot at the moment. Having become somewhat frustrated with its relevance and how old the material is, I’ve set about reworking things. To be fair to reality, the material on display still spans a very large number of years, and I’m sort of bringing in some older, rarer, stuff as much as I’m writing new stuff at the moment.

However, all of this ends up requiring me to remember more than I’d normally need to. It’s not so much the material itself, as much as the order. When you do set piece stuff you need to have a narrative to it, or at least a comfortable way to move through it. This requires knowing what you’re doing.

I hadn’t quite firmed up the running order or all the beats of the new bits I wanted to do… so I was standing at the back of the room rewriting notes on my notepad as I watched Harriet do the opening MC bit.

As a comfort blanket I took the notebook on stage, but other than glancing down once at the bullet points to ensure I’d missed nothing, I didn’t need it. And to be fair, I clearly hadn’t needed it when I momentarily looked at it.

Tonight may still end up in a dry patch.

That’s the game.

My fingers generally behaved themselves, though some chords sounded mushy to me, so maybe they weren’t quite on top form. Either way, I confidently drove my way through the material and the events in the room. I got through less material than I expected. Maybe this was because some stuff took longer than expected, or because things were slowed down by laughter. Let’s hope for the latter.

What About The New Bit?

The new song I’m running in never quite found its moment to come in. By the time I got to the the place in the set where it belongs, it was time to start finishing. Less is more with these things… hopefully I’ll get another bite of the cherry tonight. We’ll have to see.

Night Time In The Hotel

The man with the skin condition at reception gave me my room key and the advice that I could use the lift or the stairs.

What he should probably have mentioned was that the lift didn’t work, so I HAD to use the stairs. The lift sort of came when called, though it took a while. Then the doors opened. I got in, pressed the button. The doors closed… and then nothing.

That’s not a lift.

That’s a weird cupboard.

I took the stairs.

The room was not particularly unpleasant, smoky, uncomfortable, or dirty. It’s a definite step up.

What I do when I’m booking is search booking.com for “Squalid” and the back it off a couple of notches to just above that.

Night time in bed was iPlayer, Louis Theroux, and YouTube. I ended up watching videos into the small hours on how to attach electronics to USB PowerBanks. More on this in a moment.

Following a green room discussion, I also watched a particular stand-up comedian’s YouTube recordings/TV appearances to determine whether “You’d get cancelled for that these days”. It’s nice to leave a gig with homework.

Morning Loneliness

The solitary life away from home is weird. The peace and quiet isn’t really peaceful and quiet and is sort of oppressive… My hope would be to get useful things done. I think it’s fair to say I’ve done more displacement activity than productive things.

Regarding peace and quiet, life is too often a case of being immersed in other people’s noise. I think the months of lockdowns and social distancing have reduced my capacity for being close to other people and the way they behave.

I got quite arsey in a Starbucks in Rotherham when there was a guy angrily shouting into his mobile phone about roofing. Normally, I’d love an angry conversation about timber and roofs, but he was using his phone wrong.

Why can’t people use a phone these days?

You don’t put one end against your ear and then switch back to shouting into the same end. You use it… well… like a fucking phone.

Free wifi notwithstanding, I couldn’t bear to be in the Starbucks for long, so I drove to this library.

Free Parking

A library where you can just walk in off the street is already excellent… but then one where there’s a free carpark next door… it’s like a dream come true.

I’m definitely going to re-use these facilities on my next trip (if there is one).

Silence in The Library

This is no time to quote Doctor Who episode titles. Though it’s easy to get one in. Here’s another. Blink and you’ll miss it.

So, despite the crying baby, I’ve been sitting here in outward silence, with music on the AirPods and nothing but my TODO list for company. I wrote the TODO list in the Starbucks over breakfast about 5 hours ago. I can proudly say I’ve done very little of it. This isn’t helpful.

I WILL be doing my VAT return presently.

I did write to Big Clive, though. I’d watched one of his YouTube videos last night and thought he might also be interested in the electronics challenge that I’ve set myself. So I wrote to him explaining it, for him to either do something with or not.

This comes close, but not quite

Then there was some rejigging of website stuff.

Writing

The hope is always to use down time to write new funny things. However, that’s not always possible.

I ended up conversing with someone on Twitter regarding a programming thing, and then writing an article about that same programming language on my CodingCraftsman blog. That article won’t appear for a few days.

A sneaky peak behind the curtain of that blog reveals how I keep posts coming three times a week by writing them as I fancy, often a few days in advance:

We run out in 16 days

I think the recent blog entries are a positive thing to come out of bickering on social media.

Tick Tock

By this, I mean the passing of time and not:

  • the social media time wasting platform
  • the Netflix musical about Jonathan Larson

The day seems to have frittered itself away to this point. The library closes in half an hour… and then there’ll be four hours to stage time. That’s a lot of hours!

I’m not sure how I’ll bridge from now to then. Possibly getting to the green room early to make some TikToks… oh, maybe I do mean TikTok after all.

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You Know I’m All About Dat Content

Sometimes I’m reminded of an old routine, find a video of it, and then get online. That’s how we pander to the modern world where being a content creator is everyone’s job… though I think “content creator” is also a euphemism for video-sex-worker… I’m not one of those.

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How Do You Encourage Someone to Write?

Following on from the last post about things not lasting, here’s me writing again. How very self-conscious to be writing about writing.

Sigh.

The truth is that I write all the time. Personal blogging hasn’t really been as big as it could be for a few years though.

Today, in an attempt to inspire myself to write more, I’ve bitten the bullet and migrated from Blogger to WordPress. Who cares, right?

Well, this way, I at least find myself on a familiar platform where everything’s where I’m used to it being. I may be more likely to add content if I’m using the tools of old.

Much of the old content of this site won’t translate properly from its older days on Blogger, but that’s probably ok. The original blogger site isn’t particularly going anywhere… it’s just not the primary site anymore! We’ve moved on.

I’m writing from a library in Rotherham. Jeez. What a romantic life I must lead to be able to do that!

The last time I was in Rotherham (not last night in the surprisingly-not-that-shit hotel), I mean in 2008, I was here to go to court.

It turns out I wrote extensively about it at the time, so I will possibly even go back and read it. The me of 2008, all 34 years old of him, was a different guy… in much way that when I’m 62, I’ll think that 48 year old me was a bit of a dick, I’m sure.

Anyway, the memories of Rotherham have been improved by using it as a strangely bleak and sparse zone in which to keep:

  • An adequate hotel
  • Industrial estates with moderately attended Starbucks
  • A library near a free car park where the screaming babies aren’t there for long

I’m again finding myself in the weird 9 hours between waking up on a gig day on a stop-over gig, and going to the gig itself.

So, what better opportunity than to catch up with weird life-admin. This includes the wordpress migration, so it would seem.

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It'll Never Last

I had an online chat today with the lovely Rob Halden. He’s someone that’s on my list of people to collaborate with, when I’ve worthily prepared enough to do so. That’s a list where the title is the longest part of it.

He recommended that I take up a writing habit of talking about my day, and also constructing material-shaped reactions to the day’s news. I’d report what he precisely said, but go and ask him yourself, and pay the man. He’s brilliant.

I shared with him the game I play when MCing, which I should probably call the Jokes You Can Never Use Anywhere Else generator. It’s a game that Ian Fox taught me many Edinburgh Shows ago. You get the audience to provide a famous person and a household object and then you have to write jokes bringing them together. I now have notebooks full of a series of what’s the similarity/difference between jokes that are impossible to bring up to an audience, because they’d be too busy wondering why you want to know the difference between Nigel Farage and a Spanner to care what the answer might be:

One rights wing-nuts, the other’s a ring-wing nut.

A joke that’s also deeply flawed, because you don’t use spanners on wing-nuts… but I digress.

A grand day out

I’m writing a quick account of some stuff from a booth in the University Library here in Preston where I’ve been for the last few hours.

They have a sign up where you can text a special number if there’s too much noise and they’ll come and sort it out for you. I wonder if I could use it when my kids are being annoying.

Libraries are a massively underrated resource. They’re a place you can sit for hours on end and not be interrupted by anyone else’s noise. Essentially, they’re coffee shops without other people’s annoying families… and coffee… unless you count the vending machine, which is pushing it beyond the point of credulity, in my opinion.

I was amazed that I was able to get into this library by showing the library card from a different library in Gloucestershire, which I never go to. That’s amazing. That’s almost the equivalent of being allowed in to see Les Miserables in London, because you can show them a ticket stub from a school production of Joseph that was cancelled owing to the pandemic… or something like that.

Remember, I’ve been advised to write and make jokes… forgive the points where this looks overwritten… given that nobody but me reads this blog these days, I don’t expect it to go unforgiven.

The above picture is from a brief visit I made to St Anne’s on the Sea, a destination which was a favourite for family holidays when we were kids. It’s notionally still the same place it was, based on my limited memories of it. I didn’t go down the pier – the weather was bad, and I was there for the selfie opportunity more than the deep nostalgia.

Bizarrely, the place I thought of to go for a coffee and a bite to eat is somewhere that wasn’t even there when we used to go there. I’ve revisited St Annes a handful of times in the last 20 years and gone there as a new tradition… or something like that.

To be fair, it was nice to try to remember where the old places were, but it wasn’t really a big deal. Just a break from the gloom of being on your own in the 20 or so hours between leaving the gig and going back.

Last night’s gig was fun. It could have been a bit daunting playing a new venue to a limited number of people. New venue to me that is… it’s been a venue for a while. It could also have been a bit more daunting doing the latest version of my set along with a new bit, but I just threw myself into it.

I’ve been struggling a bit since the pandemic started. I’ve been unclear where I want to pitch my comedy in a world where the pandemic is happening. Go into detail and depress everyone? Pretend like nothing’s happened? Neither seem good options. Similarly, where there’s some material which I wrote in the last 5 years, a lot of what I’m doing is getting really old. On the one hand I can play it expertly, on the other, it doesn’t quite seem to fit me anymore. Not all of it.

One trick I’ve learned over the years is to freshen up even the oldest material with a new line, a replacement WORD, or even a change in the timing. What my set has needed has been an injection of new something-or-other into it.

That said, I’ve had a bit of a mindset change recently, and I owe it entirely to my last visit to the Holly Bush… along with the fact that I now run a regular monthly gig which means I can no longer rely on my old bankable material, since I’ve already used it up there.

My visit to the Bush started with leaving home early. I had a 10-15 or so slot to play, and my goal was to go with two new songs. There was only one problem. When I left home, I hadn’t written either.

So, under time pressure, I sat in Starbucks in the services and quickly wrote two songs.

I doubt I’ll perform either again.

That’s not the point. I also had to set myself up to do a set that I wouldn’t normally do around these songs. This gave me a chance to select the other things that I wanted to do from my back catalogue. It gave me a chance to rework some material that had half worked new at the gig I was MCing, and then put in context with some more solid material.

I did the gig, got good reactions for much of it, but didn’t fall in love with either of the songs.

Perhaps a rewrite of one of them will work… the other was already a reheated versions of a reheated version of an old Eurovision Song Contest song – http://ashleyfrieze.co.uk/media/sounds/eurovision-clean.mp3 – which dated horribly because of Brexit, and then the rewrite dated after Brexit moved on, and then the rewrite of the rewrite… well, perhaps a 3rd generation mutant of a song doesn’t need to be kept alive.

When I did the next gig, a few days back, the newly restructured set made sense to me. I’d ditched some material I wrote long long ago and had been finding weirdly out of date, and replaced it with some other stuff, and now I was doing something that interested me.

Then I wrote two more songs.

One of these is still not quite where it’s needs to be, but the other was performed last night at the gig. It is also already recorded… which is unusual. Normally I’d not record a song written for the stage until trying it out. Normally, stage songs are questions – is this funny – and then when I’ve got the audience reaction and the rewrites in, then it becomes something I’m going to keep.

However, the Bossa Nova inspired song about … whatever it’s about… wanted me to record it. I just like the Bossa Nova, and it’s got a great middle 8. So I learned to sing it from a fully produced version where I’d even autotuned my own vocals to teach me what I was supposed to be singing…

And last night it did ok… and in places I forgot bits, or lost control of the performance… it’s a tongue-twister of a song… But it’s been out there, which is great.

Also last night, I discovered the perils of washing your hands. The toilet had hand soap, which I applied before discovering that the sink didn’t dispense water. So I was running around the venue with dirty hands, trying not to spill a gloop’s worth of soap from them before I found a disabled toilet that did have running water.

Oh, the glamour.

Yes, there is a punchline to the sticky hands set up, but I’m too polite to bring it up here.

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Should Win… Probably Won't

 

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It Takes As Much Work To Make A Bad One….

 The latest drop from Frieze studios:

I used time I didn’t really have to make a song that nobody asked for. That’s art, innit!

The idea was simple enough. I wanted to write about the multiple billionaires launching themselves into space. The phrase “Billionaires are going to space” could only be a line from Space Oddity. So, I threw myself into full Bowie mode.

In my opinion, I missed and got myself a Lightning Seeds Oasis hybrid. The point is, it’s MY hybrid and I’m going to love it as one of my own.

There’s quite a lot going on in this song. I tried to capture the retro vibe of the original, working within my own limitations. Originally intending to use the melodica for some of the backing, I thought I’d try using the stylophone, and boy did it work well. The fact that GarageBand comes with a mellotron plugin didn’t harm things either. I’ve got various patches from the mellotron, getting increasingly big and soundscape filling.

I also managed to crank out something akin to a guitar solo here. The guitar lead lines are double tracked from different takes, giving it a wider sound. The mistakes are somewhat hidden by the leslie-speaker patch, that rotates the mistakes out of focus quite nicely.

For the vocal, the double tracking of octave lines gives it a nice Bowie feel, regardless of whether I’m singing in tune! The chorus is double tracked, but from the same take, giving a strange chorusing/fattening effect.

It is what it is.

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Take That China!

Cringeworthy as it is to level a comment at a whole country, in much the way as Donald Trump’s repeated terming of COVID 19 as the China Virus causes my butt to clench, I think it’s fair to say that there’s a prevalent trap when dealing with Chinese drop shipping companies.

In this case a particular company was advertising a Harry Potter themed book-sized model, that could be added to a book shelf and would provide a lit-up Diagon Alley model in its belly. Quite a delightful present for the Harry Potter fans around the family.
Now, I’m not one for supporting J K Rowling these days. Her ill-thought-out stance on trans rights are just another reminder of her dreadful wordplay and inability to summarise. Her books turn children into frightful bores around a relatively dull set of stories… but I’m in the minority on that opinion in the family, so it’s best to go with the flow.
What arrived from the $90 purchase of the above bookshelf inserts was a weird flat-packed instructionless thing that bore no resemblance to the advert on Facebook. Note: adverts on Facebook are largely scams.
Having been thoroughly disappointed with the purchase, we tried to return it. This is where the interesting discussion started.
Their first offer was for $15 to keep the item. I declined it.
Their second offer was for $40 to keep the item. They would only potentially provide a full refund if I shipped the item back to China.
I pointed out to them that they had shipped it to me from the UK (it had a UK address on the original parcel) so I would return it to a UK address of their choice for a full refund. Shipping to China is quite pricey (though it must be cheap to ship from China to here, given the volume of stuff that comes this way).
I escalated the case to PayPal who sided with the Chinese company in terms of shipping to China.
So I shipped the items to China. It can be done. It cost around £20, but it was the principal of the thing more than anything else, and I think I would still be up on the deal.
Weeks passed.
Eventually, today, I got notification that PayPal would be refunding me. As far as I could tell, there must have been some argy bargy between PayPal and the company over the refund itself, as there were several days of the date of the latest message changing, but no messages to me.
The point?
Well, don’t buy anything of value from China without a decent refund policy…
… and ads on Facebook are shit…
… and shipping to China costs, but can be done.
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The Continuous Descent Into Madness

 When I first met my wife, I was a daily blogger. I wrote many entries over the time we were first dating, some of which obliquely referenced things that involved her.

At some point, as a well-intentioned gift, which she received in the spirit it was intended, I collected a lot of entries from the blog into a single document, footnoted the whole thing with more information about what I wasn’t mentioning in the posts, and printed it in the form of a book for her. As she was never normally seen without a book about her person, this was possibly a thoughtful gift.

Or maybe a narcissistic one.

The jury’s still out. In fairness, she re-read the book in recent weeks and is still talking to me, so I remain optimistic.

The thing is that this is a place where I can chronicle my own mental decline… because it is that, isn’t it? I started writing around 19 years ago as a rather snarky 27 year old. Three years later, single, trying to be a comedian, I was blogging about buying toasters.

Then there was a golden age of writing about gigs and doing young-person things like being out all week…

Now, I’m stuck at home during a pandemic with a house that smells of slow-roasted meat and an increasing number of cats.

Not being out there gigging is slowly driving me nuts. My kids think I’m funny, which is great, and I am making up silly songs and doing silly voices, but it’s not the same. The problem is that I don’t have a place to channel the sort of reactions I get to people being utterly insane, or self-serving, or pointless. Comedy is the outlet for cleansing oneself of the ridiculousness of the world.

If there’s a place I shouldn’t go when I’m feeling antsy about the people with whom I cohabit this world, it’s Facebook… not just Facebook, but the local Faceboook group.

Often, I can keep my reactions under control. Today I didn’t…

Faced with this:

… and let’s just unpack this – she’s got some rubbish and she wants to see if she can solve that with Facebook, rather than a bin…

… I posted the following reply:

It’s not exactly vicious… but it’s a good way to waste the time of someone who’s wasting everyone’s time.

The silly thing is, that she did as I asked:

The names of the innocent have not been quoted.

I’m fucking losing it. I really am. Between the pointlessness of the above, the ridiculously vapid posts filling LinkedIn, and the fact that the world has split into people who think we should lock down more and people who think that fatties should just stay indoors so they can have a virus party in the real world, the whole limited universe I experience through my various screens has gone bonkers.

So if I want to look at the underside of someone’s garbage on Facebook, then I reckon that’s a healthy way forward.

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You've Been Cancelled

Cancel culture – what a modern classic this is proving to be. The straw man against it goes something like this. 

A temporary argument against…

The hyper sensitive online activist types, censure people for minor thought crimes, piling on to try to do damage, while ACTUAL NAZIS get into power in government.

There’s a lot about the above which is not true, but there’s an element of truth in it.

At its worst, stirring up an outrage for what amounts to passing expressions of opinion by individuals is not particularly constructive, especially when it involves mining their timeline for that particular tweet in which they were a dick. When that outrage is then turned into a public humiliation, or an attack on their livelihood, to which the particular tweet or similar was not directly connected, then it seems like a form of bullying. People are going to have different opinions, and pile-ons are not society at its best.

For a better perspective on this, read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. In fact read all of his books, he’s great.

But I’ve come to agree with it…

Earlier in this blog post… like a couple of sentences ago, I spoke up against cancel culture, and now I’ll speak in favour of it. I hope I won’t be taken out of context.

My own view about cancel culture is something like this.

If you’re publicly being a dick, then the public may choose to filter out your dickishness.

Where this applies to someone’s job is where this gets tricky. Anyone whose job involved NOT being a dick, may lose their job over actually being a dick, and that’s harsh, but probably fair.

A good example of this is the firing of Rebecca Long Bailey over a tweet that seemed to some to be anti-semitic. While it’s arguable whether she had anti-semitic feelings, or even biases when she tweeted, the fact that she is a politician in a party under fire for this sort of thing, meant she should have known better and was acting recklessly

The free speechers…

There are those who argue for free speech, in a situation where it’s not freedom of the individual to campaign to make life better, or freedom to criticise the government, but more freedom to be generally harsh or nasty to people. The argument goes something like “I can’t be put in prison for what I say”. This is true up to the point where your verbal actions are themselves used as assault on an individual or protected group, and you can be punished for that.

The next argument goes, “Don’t have a go at me for what I’m saying, if you don’t like it, it’s your problem – you could not listen”.

In fairness, the second half of that is not really being debated. Those who speak up against someone else’s freedom of speech being used by them to be a dick, are generally not so much saying that they don’t have the freedom to speak so much as saying that they’re being a dick. When I use my freedom of speech to criticise what you’re saying, then if YOU don’t like it, you can not listen to it.

Free speechers hate being cancelled…

I have the right to say what I like. If you don’t like it, then don’t listen. What do you mean you’ve blocked me? How dare you react to what I’m saying by deciding not to listen to me…

It all comes down to Rule 1

Wil Wheaton is right yet again. Rule 1 is “don’t be a dick”.

When I look at the examples I’ve seen of cancelling, the majority of them come down to someone who’s acting in an increasingly unlikeable way being asked to go and do it away from our nice people.

But cancelling doesn’t make it better

Tiring though it is, having belligerent arsehole cluttering up our timelines and news feeds, none of them choose to change their ways when cancelled. They essentially double-down, taking their followers with them to new heights of arse-mongery.

That said, I’ve been heartily blocking people whose output is disgusting, rather than engaging with them.

You can’t fix these problems online. As the world becomes more connected via non-human online channels, we’re perhaps doomed to become more entrenched in the most stupid of our opinions and least able to rationalise our way to some middle ground.

Hoo-fuckin-ray! 

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Sort Yourself Out eBayers

 I’ve spent some of the last few months gently upgrading things. The only major outlay was a new MacBook, for which half-measures seemed like a false economy. Given I hammered the new machine’s CPU and graphics capability, creating a video that took nearly an hour to render, that was probably a good decision.

Point is, I’ve generally bought a new item on Amazon or eBay and then sold the one we had, thus upgrading, but only at part of the cost. I’ve also sold off things I wasn’t using to fund things I wanted to buy.

I’m sure it cost me more than I raised to do this, but my general costs have gone down, so why not, eh?

In general, it means I’ve had a little more exposure to eBay than normal, and people seriously need to get a grip there.

Ashley’s first rule of eBay (and this applies to other online purchase sites too). If someone asks questions about an item, they’re probably not going to be the eventual purchaser.

I don’t think I’ve seen it happen. The time you spend answering the questions from some over cautious tosspot who can’t read the description is essentially a waste. Someone else always either beats them to the final bid, or simply bids more boldly knocking the questioner out earlier. I’m not even sure that answering questions from eBay sellers even results in them bidding.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the question facility is a bad thing. I just think it’s largely used by people who haven’t the gumption to use eBay. I recently asked a question of a seller and, based on their answer, offered them a price. I now have the item… No idea what I’m going to do with it, but fortune favours the bold.

Don’t go early you pillock. I am not a fan of being prepared early for things. I don’t turn up early for stuff if I can avoid it. I don’t pre-book things. I occasionally miss out, but most often I don’t, and I find I haven’t wasted my energies and prolonged the whole experience in so doing.

In eBay, though, it’s critical that you don’t jump the gun. Put stuff on your watch list, but don’t bid on the damned thing unless it’s within 5 minutes of the item ending. Maybe put on a 1st bid, in the hope that it’s the only bid and you’ll win by default… but trying to bid halfway through an auction is simply a way to put the price up.

Fucking pay for the items you win you pricks. I bought a new Kindle before the summer holidays. It’s had a lot of use, and I was interested in it as I felt my existing one was starting to run a bit more slowly. While I could probably have reset it and gone back to some sort of improved performance, I liked the idea of a more up to date model, with a longer overall life. I reckon a Kindle has about 5 good years in it. I’m now on my third. My wife is on her 4th (possibly 3rd).

I’ve put the old kindle up for sale. It works. I’ve reset it. It’s in decent condition. I just fancied a nice newer one.

It’s sold twice so far.

Twice.

Then the tosspot who’s bid on it and won doesn’t bother paying. Then eBay chases them… then cancels the sale… then back to square one.

Someone bid on it tonight. Idiots… they’ve raised the price by £7, but the item still has the rest of the week to go. What they’ve done is make it overall more expensive. Worse than that, someone else is going to win it, then not pay for it… then… the circle of bloody life.

Tonight I bought the sheet music for The Wall – I’ve half an idea that I may already own this… but I was too lazy to double check. I don’t think I do. It turns out I’ve been bending guitar strings incorrectly all this time, and it’s much easier when you do it properly. Lots to learn!

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