Bachelor’s tidy

August 31, 2006 at 10:24 am (Freshly squeezed orange juice)

  1. Socks do not belong with bank statements
  2. Bill envelopes must be opened, not thrown away
  3. Socks must be hole-punched and placed in a divider file, bank statements washed and placed in drawer
  4. Lionel Richie should not be on iTunes
  5. Two bananas on kitchen work-top – eat
  6. Thomas The Tank Engine pencil sharpener – give to child
  7. Bamboo recorder on mantelpiece – nail to wall
  8. Bike helmet – on head. Then…
  9. Fridge (the subconscious of household mess) – buy new one with nothing in it
  10. Pic of gran – funny how gran became a photograph.

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Diary of an asylum seeker in London

August 2, 2006 at 11:31 am (Freshly squeezed orange juice)

Ali Mashangian writes:

10 pm Today I will look for a cash-in-hand job. But with The Albion B&B as my address my chances are slim. I share a room with Mo, a Muslim from Eastern Europe who recites verse from the Koran every afternoon and dialogue from an Albanian soap opera in his sleep. Yesterday he spent several hours with his face in his pillow after learning that his pet goat Abel had died. It was the first time a human suffocated a pillow. Mo is a slim, good-looking blond chap with designer stubble. He is a little glum, but he does spend hours of his youth stuck in a room with a 53-year-old who snores.

2 pm I go to Best Bagel Bakery and ask for a job. They say ‘Have you got experience?’ I say ‘For £2.50 an hour! You wouldn’t ask a slave “Have you experience of chain and balls?” I’ve eaten bagels — is that not enough?’ They show me the door. Perhaps I should be more humble next time. What the hell, they probably pay with those old coins with a hole in them. Bagel money.

3 pm I bump into Mo outside McDonalds on a bench munching a Big Mac. He says ‘I know a man who can make your large meal extra large without extra cost‘. It’s good to have connections, I say. I am reading a book, I tell him, which says burgers are likely to contain body parts of low-paid workers. They fall into vats and their arms are torn off. ‘I know the book,’ he says. ‘But that’s America. The UK has better labour laws. And fewer Mexicans.’ We get talking, he’s still hung up about his goat. Apparently an uncle of his left it to him in his will. His brother got the camcorder.

4 pm Mo and I go window shopping in the job centre — what can you do with no work permit? “Forklift truck driver with experience, trainee cleaner, inserter of jam into doughnuts, warehouse assistant — enthusiasm a must.” We are spoilt for choice. How could you express your enthusiasm for working in a warehouse? “I come from a family of crate-lifters. My father was crate-lifting champion of Azerbaijan. I like to break my back.”

Mo says when we can finally work his friend can get me a job in McDonald’s. I’ll remember to wear a suit for the interview. Why don’t you go for the job, I say. It’ll take your mind off the goat. He looks at me angrily and leaves.

4:30 p.m. It turns out the goat was a decoy for worse news. Apparently Mo’s great aunt has testicular cancer. An incorrect translation, I hope.

5 p.m. Back in the room I try to cheer Mo up by reminding him he is twenty years younger than me and has a great future. But I am not sure he appreciated me as a gauge for his achievements. After all, the boy has dreams. Maybe one day he’ll make it to Hollywood. They are always looking to fill those crowd scenes.

I suggest this to him. He punches my nose.

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July 14, 2006 at 9:24 am (Freshly squeezed orange juice)

This interview with film score composer Ennio Morricone is interesting for a number of reasons. First, we learn that the man behind the music for A Fistful of Dollars and The Mission is still alive. Second, that’s he’s grumpy. Third, that the dollars never prompted him to move Hollywood or to learn English (although the interviewer may be being a tad naive — the composer surely knew enough to cruise an interview but didn’t let on. It’s English, for God’s sake, not Cantonese). But can Morricone seriously claim any film track as cool as Queen’s “Flash Gordon”?

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Cuba: intervene this

July 3, 2006 at 9:40 am (Freshly squeezed orange juice)

A report on Wednesday will recommend that the US set up an $80m fund to assist democracy in Cuba in the event of Fidel Castro’s death, according to the London Independent. The president of the Cuban parliament Ricardo Alarcon called the plan, penned by George Bush’s Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, an act of war. “They admit to a secret plan to overthrow another government,” he said. “What on earth could the secret part say when the public part violates all kinds of international law.” Quite. SBC has learned that as part of the democracy plans Sunni insurgents will be imported from Iraq to start an uprising and Shia suicide bombers invited to try Havana out for size. Perhaps the US should first consider introducing democracy to the one corner of the Cuban island it actually controls: Guantanamo Bay.

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Soccer update

July 1, 2006 at 10:34 pm (Freshly squeezed orange juice)

By the SBC sport desk: Those with only a vague interest in the World Cup may be interested to know that Iran, Ghana and Brazil are no longer in the running. Iran was knocked out by France tonight in a match where Zinadine Zidane kicked a ball many times. Ghana did not make it to the finals, which surprised many. Brazil never stood a chance. Its ball-kickers can now expect to return to their soccer-mad Islamic country to be, er, kicked in the balls. England invented the sport and postage stamps. Television, which everyone depends on to watch soccer, was invented by the Scots who are not so good at football.

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