Friday, 29 October 2010

Brazingland - The Experiment - Week 1

[Bruh- zing- lish]

- adjective 
1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Brazingland or its inhabitants, institutions, etc.

- noun 
2.   the people of Brazingland collectively, esp. as distinguished from any other country that actually exists in the world.

Now Brazingland doesn’t exist... but if it did it would probably be the most Citizen Wombat friendly country in the world.

Often I am tagged with the term Brazinglish, that seemingly meaning I am the cultural bastard child of Brazil and England. This is in the sense that I am still relatively polite but I also like to smile for time to time.

The first thing to go from Brazingland would be the metro! When I scan the faces of the other inmates on the tube it seems apparent that not one person can quite comprehend how their life led to the point where they are sat in a tin can hurtling down a dark tunnel in cramped conditions that would aggrieve a sardine. Infinitely worse is the realisation that they are in fact they are careering down said tube before the clock has even ticked to 8am.

The most upsetting thing is that most of them are resigned to that fate that the next 40 years of their existence will be spent crushed up to some fat, sweaty business man with their nose firmly planted in someone’s armpit. I can at this point reveal that standing at 5'9" does tend to have its drawbacks in the fight for a hygienic tube journey.

Therefore, after careful deliberation I have come up with a plan. I will take a small group of people from London, invade the Isle of Wight and declare the island now part of ‘The Experiment’. With the 100 people from London (50 of each sex) now the only residents we will then set about following a Saramago-esque narrative and somehow detach the island from its base and sail it, using the power of sea turtles, towards the Brazilian coastline.  

After about two days (this is the only point I am not sure if accurate) we will arrive at our destination 5 miles off the coast of Sao Paolo. Sao Paolo has been chosen for several reasons, well one mainly; the amount of pollution there will be like a home from home for Londoners as the smog drifts towards ‘Experiment Isle’ or ‘Brazingland’. On a lesser note there is also the consideration that if any of the Londoners get too depressed we can always send them to sit on the Underground Rail Network in Sao Paolo to be reminded of the ‘good times’. The Isle of Wight also uses decommissioned tube trains as their rail network.

So all is left is to add 100 Brazilians (50 of each sex) and see what happens;

Day 1: Population (200)

The English seem to be in a confused mood. They spend several hours searching for a copy of ‘Metro’ to get their fill of depressing news. They finally give up realising that the lack of ‘Metro’ constitutes some bad news in itself and therefore they decide to moan about that. The Brazilians on the other hand are having a lovely time with the nice weather, right up until they head to the beach and discover only stones. 

Confused they frantically scour the coastline for sand but to no avail until tragedy strikes when one male, Ricardo 29, decides to wade out too far into the ocean to find the sand and is never seen again. The Brazilians give this up as a bad joke and turn their attentions to finding the English who are in turn searching for a way of getting underground to travel.

Day 2: (199)

The Brazilians make first contact, but after five minutes have decided that the English do not speak English because it is vastly different from ‘American’. They persevere and finally invite the English to have a party. The English rejoice only to find that a fiesta involves fun; smiles and not that much drinking. The horrified Anglos retreat and set up shop in a local pub where much against the stereotype that partake in drinking cold beer. However it soon gets out of hand and fights about football and women who aren’t present begin. We have this statement;

Daniele 25, SP – “I thought the English were meant to be polite and reserved, which they are right up until they touch alcohol. I watched two grown men fight and vomit on each other until they both passed out”

Day 3: (199)

The Brazilians decide to forget the antics of the night before and challenge the English to a game of football. The English are back in their comfort zone as they are comprehensively beaten 84 – 0. The English get drunk.

Day 4: (199)

There are now two distinct camps set up on opposite sides of the island. The English are miserable because of the good weather, lack of work and useless ‘overground’ transport. The Brazilians are miserable because they had to spend their last few days with miserable people and have decided to build their own camp. The rest of the day is a bit of a non-event apart from the English moaning about the noise of the parrots. The English get drunk.

Day 5: (199)

The weather and sunshine has taken its toll on the English and they are now fully ‘lobstered’. One Brazilian mistakes Barry and Polly for aliens and shoots them both dead. Another Brazilian, Casio, shoots the first Brazilian before he can kill anyone else. When interviewed by the newly founded Brazingland Metro, he simply said he just thought people were shooting each other.

Day 6: (196)

The Brazingland metro is crammed with terrible news of the previous day’s events and the English are elated due to the depressing news. The first signs of integration are occurring as the English show the Brazilians how good transport can be as they sit for hours on the old tube trains and travel between Ryde and Shanklin. 

However some cracks are beginning to appear and as one ignoramus Steve voices to the ‘Metro’ “I am getting fed up of them talking in Spanish all the time and having to speak loud and slow at them all the time”

Day 7: (196)

Week one is at an end but the English do what they do best as they invade and take over the Brazilian camp, who in turn think it’s a joke. The English begin to build a ‘better world’ and force them to learn English as it is ‘the business language of the world’. They also ban football and force everyone to adopt cricket as the national sport. Everyone starts reading ‘Metro’ and they all go about building an Underground so that they can commute around the Island. The two camps play each other at cricket and the Brazilians win comprehensively. The English get drunk. 

Written by @roywoodhouse
(please click on my name and follow me on Twitter)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Somewhere in the “transport from hells” underground bunker set deep below the busy streets of Lun-done

“What shall we do to today my master?” The young TFH worker candidly asked. “Shall we shut down part of the circle line? Irresponsibly forget to put on any trains on service in the jubilee line? Or how about we put all the signals on red and cause widespread pandemonium across the planet?”

The manager looked bewildered... “How about today... we make all the trains run perfectly?”

“But it’s the weekend!” exclaimed the TFH worker “we always cancel trains and ruin peoples’ lives at weekends, it perfectly accompanies the agonising pain they feel from working everyday”

“Yes I understand that, but I think we could cause some real chaos one time by making everything run smoothly”

“But that means us doing our jobs for once! You can’t be serious... wait a minute you’re trying to trick us... you bastard!”

“Look you’re paid to do a fucking job, why don’t you just try doing it.”

“I can’t believe you’d suggest such a thing. I demand more money... I’m calling the union!”

A few seconds later Rob Raven appeared in a cloud of smoke and began furious contract negotiations stripping the Head of TFH of any power, doubling the workers’ wages and ensuring there would never be a smooth service again.

When the rows and fights had finished, the smoke subsided and the blood mopped up the manager sat broken. The streets of Lun-done were awash with panic chaos after weeks of needless strikes.
“Why Raven, why, you made such ridiculous demands!?” 

The TFH worker and Raven laughed... “Why?!... you dare to  ask me why? Do we not need to double our wages three times a year for doing nothing? Should we not demand less trains and carriages so that people are packed like rats? Why not have dancing elephants at the gates of every tube station?” Raven looked wistfully at his tutu wearing elephant... “You’ll be seeing me again... real soon... a little birdie tells me something called the Olympics are coming”

With that Raven vanished into a cloud of smoke, the manager shot himself and the young TFH worker did a little dance and went to spend but his new found wealth, however realising there was no logical route due to cancellations decided to throw himself under one of the few trains actually running at peak time thus causing even more severe delays.

Based on a true story... 

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Another day, another dollar... wasted

I went for a meeting the other day and what potentially should have taken me 35 minutes to traverse the London transport network mutated into an hour and a half debacle to return to work. The typical fault on the line followed by stuck at a red signal was soon joined by excuse after excuse that stopped just short of a desperate tube driver singing a rendition of Buckcherrys’ ”Sorry”.  I spoke to an old man who drove trains during the war who used to have to stop and clear incendiary devices off that had landed on the train while driving carefully over parts where bombs devices had destroyed the track... now a leaf or a loose wire is enough to cause pandemonium on a national scale.

Why don’t they just say “we can’t be arsed to fix them and these things are wank”. I felt sorry for the guy who gave up and realised that pissing himself was not an option so decided to take a leak out of one of the doors into the darkness fearing his urine might strike the live rail and turn him instantly into a human ‘frazzle’. I felt even more sorry for the Chilean miner who was potentially also on my train, who after spending 69 days down a particular dank hole decided to get away from it all and head to the most forward thinking city in the world. 

It was while I was sat trapped in this dank whole I perused the Underground map that my cogs started whirring. There are a severe lack of disabled options for people to travel across London. In fact if you happen to live in Brixton you can get on... and then stay on for the entirety of the line and finally disembark at Walthamstow. Not being funny but I’m pretty sure that if you lived in Brixton, Walthamstow is probably one of the last places you would ever want to visit.. and vice versa. This journey serves absolutely no purpose, unless however large communities of Disabled people have sprung up over night in these two places.

TFLs argument of course is that the tube network is nearly 200 years old (which pretty much hasn’t been maintained since) and the Victorians were not actually conscious of disabled people’s rights.  I think this also opens up an interesting point... why the fuck do we put so much faith in a transport system designed by people who thought they should walk in front of cars, mermaids were real and that wearing a bright red tunic was a fantastic idea for combat dress.

Then come the weekends. Without fail there will be major closures and emergency maintenance. London’s social life grinds to a standstill as people are forced to plot ridiculous routes that leave you feeling like you’ve circumnavigated the globe.  

Why the hell do they need to do this at the weekend?, I mean it’s not like a lack of daylight would hinder them maintaining the tube ... why can’t they just fix it at night?

What are people’s obsessions with travelling in dark tunnels miles underground that would serve as inspiration for Dante to write the improved’ Inferno’? Why do we put ourselves through this? Only moles feel passionate about travelling this way. If it’s not broken, cancelled or delayed then nine times of ten it will be rammed. Except for one place... someone pointed out to me that there is a place on the tube carriage that no one knows about. Between the door to the drivers cabin and the pole just in front of it... no one stands there... People can be crushed to death but there is this little pocket where no one goes. Why? Can people not see this or TFL just dominated by S & M practitioners? 

If you come to London and wish to retain you sanity, try not to use the overpriced poor man’s rollercoaster that is the tube. Find other ways on transport, buy a blimp, walk or ride a small Shetland pony called Rambo, but for fucks sake don t use these Victorian mole movers.

The only saving grace is that it attracts a better level of clientele than the buses.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Fallout: London

Dear Bethesda,

I have come up with an idea I wish you to consider for your sequel to the upcoming Fallout: New Vegas. Fallout: London will be set in modern London and the story will unveil a little something like this...

The survivor emerges from Vault 101 to discover the world outside his sanctuary. Our brave hero, as he likes to be known, will venture out into the post apocalyptic wasteland and soon come across a local convenience store where he will be extravagantly over charged for goods that seem a lot cheaper everywhere else.

To get to the store however provides the first game playing challenge as he will be accosted by a big issue seller who shouts at him in a strange tongue and tries to procure his limited supply of patience and money.

After ingesting the limited amount of food his bottle caps can afford, he makes his way down the wasteland streets towards the tube. Here the TFL (effectively wasteland mercenaries) will have failed to maintain the trains or the tracks and the heros' journey will be subject to severe delays.

It is here our hero must make several choices of the route he will take. After several bad twists and turns where seemingly logical paths don’t go in the same direction they imply on the map the traveller will return to his original tube. What ends up happening is the hero decides to make a simple phone call to inform his quest he will be late. However he fails to get any form of signal...

One hour later than he planned to arrive, his train will pull into the station and he will have to use all stamina and cunning to get to his destination before too much time passes. On his way to the journey point he must fight his way through hordes of mutants, beggars and zombies.

Eventually the traveller will have got through the wasteland and have made his way to work. Here he will spend the 8 hours of game time calling and ringing people down a phone trying to hit in game targets before the allocated time runs out. He will do this for a pathetic number of bottle caps and then the reality of the true game will dawn on the player. This is to be the rest of the experience until the hero either dies of natural causes or gets run over by some badly driven rickshaw in China Town.

Well Bethesda, I hope you like my game ideas. I understand including this 40 years of 'work' adds a horror element to your games but I think it will take the game to a whole new level of realism.

There will be the usual twists - the plot will reveal that London hasn't actually been subject to a nuclear apocalypse but just looks like that normally (this saves money as you can just image map the terrain and still give the wasteland look) and that if a nuclear war had occurred then the layer of pollution above the city 'saved' the ground below. It will also be unveiled that the water of the Thames is so dirty that even your Dad would have given up and no amount of poor biblical references could save the populace.

The typical enemies of TFL Mercs, Mutants and Drug Abusers will feature along with Big Issue sellers, tramps and bankers. Random attacks may occur with encounters with large rats, possessed pigeons and irradiated foxes. Some companions such as Dog Meat will return in the Battered-sea area, but he will be rabid this time and need to be destroyed.

I hope you like my ideas and I look forward to hearing from you... next up I will be calling Danny Boyle to congratulate him on his documentary 28 Days Later and inform him of my ideas to make the equally scary 28 Days Before.

Written by @roywoodhouse
(please click on my name and follow me on Twitter)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Modern worker seeking justification for healthy living and maybe more...

Up and down the countries of the world, millions people are forced to spend hours upon hours in dark, windowless environments restricted to nothing more than repeating themselves time and time again and wearing ridiculous head garments. These ill-fated individuals are known simply as call centre operatives...

Many of these lost souls have forgotten there used to be an outside world! Once shown a picture of a tree, one call centre operative simply replied "what is that?". Their eyes have adapted to the point where most now have more genetically in common with moles than they do with the rest of humanity. Limited to including 'buzz' words such as fantastic, awesome and brilliant to increase sales most can no longer function in such a cynical society. Many are not even allowed the simple delights offered by the internet and without Facebook have forgotten the parents, loved ones and friends they left behind.

For just two pounds a month...

As for 'not so' Great Britain, our national industries of steel and coal have disintegrated into a distant memory. It seems now our national export are our words down a headset supplying second rate car insurance quotes to people who don't really need them. And all to the words "smile and dial" - the mantra of the telesales person

And for what? Solely to keep the capitalist machine in business. I sit here now wondering if in fact 'The Terminator' was less a sci-fi horror movie forging an epically long and uncomfortably sex scene, a naked Austrian body builder and adding a slice of mass murdering robots from the future and more a grim metaphor for the future of our world! We have created a machine, a capitalist engine that has enslaved humanity and forced us to whittle away the best years of our lives feeding the beast by invading our the homes of unsuspecting cold call victims to convince them to upgrade their phone contract, buy Viagra or save the planet by sponsoring a donkey in Botswana to name but a few.

I like to take the innocent view that James Cameron was less prophet, more directorial wizard. It seems no what job you end up doing in such a varied society you can't avoid having a phone plastered to your head and pestering someone. Take my 9-5 (that turns into an 8-6 on a regular basis) job - A business development manager in a recruitment consultancy - sounds fancy, but at the end of the way what it entails is me endlessly calling people in offices around the country finding out new ways to piss them off before they say yes. In 12 years of working I have never once not had a phone, overflowing email box or stack of paper that tries to eat me every time I edge toward my desk. I have come full circle.

So what now for the future? The more the machines take over, the more call centres will spring up and begin to ingest the populace to the point where there are no more normal people left on the streets, in the homes or parks of the world. What then? Why call centres will simply start calling other call centres, demanding to speak to the best person, or offering better headsets and pictures of trees. Soon people will start living in the centres, giving birth to their broods ready to boost the work force and dying in the very seat they gave their life to. Scientists will endeavour to invent cybernetic augmentations that allow in built diallers direct inside our brains so that we never have to disconnect from the server. We are cogs in the machine and we must keep selling - but don't worry for life is doubleplusgood.

And this is the nightmare, a dystopian imaging that would make Orwell piss himself.

But how can we stop this?! Look for a job that doesn't describe harassment as cold calling or badgering as positive sales techniques.  Do not be seduced by the generous basic and OTE that will almost double your salaries. Yes, you may be able to afford the things that get offered down your phones, but for Gods sake think of your children!

Call centre workers of the world unite! Lay down your headsets, hand up your phones and let the lines go dead...

"If you're listening to this, you are the resistance"
(John Connor)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Plague of London

Herded from my office by colleagues; ushered to the door, chased by my boss frantically disinfecting everything I had touched and wiping the phone clean I hadn't even had chance to hold, I began to wonder if my cold was less 'man flu at best' but rather that I had become patient zero in a virulent pandemic straight from the imagination of Steven King. The problem is illness can be psychosomatic and if you bombard someone with the news they are going to start hankering after the taste of sweet flesh shortly after coming back to life, then before you know it "Dawn of the Dead" needs the tag line - based on true events.

As I shambled out like a walking corpse onto the streets of London I expected to see streets littered with bodies, rife with death dealers ringing bells and chanting "bring out your dead" repeatedly. Instead, students lined up waiting for their NUS cards and apes in suits darted for meetings to continue the corporate wheels turning. Life was continuing, and what's more is more it continued to continue.

Three days later and my enforced quarantine was over, my sniffles had subsided and I was back in the capitalist hub. I must admit a few of my colleagues had now developed a few sniffs of their own. There was however, nothing to imply that people would begin to view Romero as a documentary film maker. It prompted a question... why are people so terrified of a sneeze?

It was because of a few choice coughs and splutters that I first began this blog, this quest to find a positive good news story everyday in the city of London. By 5pm my search had, so far, drawn a blank. The closest I had come was a man smacking me around the face with his bag and turning to apologise. I actually thanked him for his regret.. in what level of society do we actually feel the need to be grateful for a little social etiquette. I got thinking and began to justify that in a city with about as much good will as a bunny boiling ex partner who has just discovered an all you can stab voodoo doll, that politeness did constitute a good will story.

The only other distraction to the monotony of the underground journey this morning was a startled moth, lost among the bright lights of the tube carriage. It caused about as much pandemonium as a knife wielding maniac screaming blue murder - so as you can imagine the odd duck and weave or shake of the head an tut from those desensitized primates the poor moth was bundling past.

Then at five minutes past five I struck gold. I happened upon a good deed... A man in a suit helped a young couple carry their pram down the stairs weaving through the rush hour commuters. As he walked away from the couple a huge beaming smile formed on his face. Yes my friend - that's the look of feeling good after you remember your humanity. The strange thing was that witnessing this single act of kindness produced a smile on my own face as well. I wished one of my best friends happy birthday (many happy returns of the day Mr. Fletcher you old git) and text another to have a nice day... it was like Danny Wallaces' Karma Army was re-born!

Little did I know I sat on the tube on the way home blissfully unaware that my good mood rug was about to be firmly pulled from under me. Opposite me sat a lady with a mask across her face, a mask that might has well of come with a Resident Evil style warning of "you're all going to die down here" in that same childlike voice. The thing is when ever I see someone who decides to limit their intake of germs with nothing more than a piece of cloth I feel inclined to aim all my coughs and sneezes directly at them. 

This sight prompted me to ask two questions, (in my mind), to this prat - 

1) In what way do you imagine that a piece of cloth, which resembles a poor piece of lingerie, is going to prevent you from the same virulent plague that cause me to be evicted from my office as I look ill in your general direction?


2) How many copies of the Metro did you read before you decided to sport that fucking piece of shit that serves no purpose other than to terrify the other people around you?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Metropocalypse - Tales from the Metro

As I casually flicked through the pages of the 'Metro' the other day, a newspaper not even worthy of cradling a punnet of chips, I readily observed a tube carriage packed to the rafters with a menagerie of primates in suits all swinging on the bars provided by the TFL zoo keepers. Not a smile among them! Ahhh the corporate world!

I resumed my reading and soon the smile drained from my face as I read wave upon wave of tales featuring 'death, war and rape' that littered the streets of London town. Before long I too was clinging to the bars of the tube aware that my stop was drawing ever closer, where I was to depart in to the war torn wasteland known simply as 'above ground'...

Upon my arrival I scurried like the rest of the city rats out of London Bridge scampering for the sanctuary of work ... and then it hit me... where was all this apocalyptic bile I'd read? There was an old man pushing a cart and dog taking a crap in the middle of street but that hardly constituted the end of the world! I quickly resumed the reading of my veritable bible of fear and found that when you get past the first 7 pages, quickly the 'real news' dries up and we are left with pure 'wank'

Ahhh the Metro .. all filler, no killer!

This week I have learnt that ASDA make the worst sandwich ever ... as by a poll (its a crisp sandwich for anyone who gives a shit), that a woman who once won a gurning competition will gurn again with surgery and that after only twenty bookings in his last show Darren Day has 'bounced back' by landing a 'dream role' in Hollyjokes. Before I continue I must say well done Darren! And they say water doesn't always find it's level! Oh and thanks again to the 'Metro', without your gripping tales of 'cream always floating to the top' my journey on the tube in the morning would be a truly hollow experience!

But if the truth be told.. I would sooner read about Darren than panic every time I walk alone down a London street with nothing for protection other than said Metro... I want to hear stories of people winning gurning competitions, I want to hear of Panda watch, fuck; even badger watch would do... If only the San Diego Channel 4 news team replaced every form of modern news then maybe just maybe people would smile on the tube. I fear however that the trend of panic and hate that oozes its way into the pages of the Metro are just a product of society. I only stopped to wonder today why the hell do we live in a 'God Fearing' society... surely if God is real, and he/she created all of us we should probably not be scared of him/her but rather live in a 'God Loving' society.

I did however see the Metro has tried to embrace humanity by adding a 'good deeds' section to its paper... this week an old lady was given a bottle of water by a stranger after watching a young man throw himself under a train (you couldn't resist a little morbid news could you Metro?!) and someone wanted to thank their mum for giving them a lift to the airport. However some little devilish 'joker' wrote in the comments box "shouldn't they start publishing a 'bad deeds' section?"! What the hell is wrong with people? Does the depth of misery know no limits that people want to hear how badly others get fucked over on a more casual basis.

Is it not about time we had a paper that only told funny stories? Things like the massive goldfish that was caught at the University of East Anglia. From now on, inter spliced with my usual rants about the idiots who cock up our society on a regular basis, I am aiming to add some good news to the world though this blog, happy tales of kind deeds or funny things. All I can say is up yours Metro and thank God I didn't read the Daily Mail.