Build It Up

So, here endeth another week. It’s now been five weeks since I made my move to London, and to be honest I can’t believe how quickly they’ve gone. In all that time I’ve done a lot of faffing around in work, and very little at home, yet spent an enormous amount of money.

Plus, I have also been annoyed tremendously by the fact that the bloody great building site behind my house works on a Saturday. No chance of getting even an extra hour’s sleep on a Saturday, because the noise is too distracting. Then there’s the other bonus, that they have an enormous amount of lights on there which are not switched off at night. This makes my room far brighter than any other room I’ve ever slept in, and there are certain spots on my bed that are right in the line of fire, so I have become very particular about the way I sleep, something which I am not happy about.

Of course, because I’m in work all day I don’t hear most of the noise, thankfully. I sat around here for a couple of weekdays before I first started work and the noise drove me to looking forward to working to get away from it. But there’s no escape on Saturdays. I have the window open right now, and they might as well be under my nose for all the drilling, knocking and banging that goes on.

Then there’s the gigantic cranes. These bastards, if left in the wrong position overnight (as they are 75% of the time), completely ruin the TV signal. As soon as one of them starts to turn, the digital signal drops out enormously and often just disappears. One of them often leans right over the house, and in fact it is at the moment.

I’ve never suffered anything like this before. I guess it’s just one of those things in life. But what makes it worse is that, as usual, it’s ‘one of those things’ that, somehow, you don’t discover when you view a house. I viewed this house late afternoon on a Saturday, and they go home slightly earlier on Saturday. So I was totally unaware of the noise there would be. And they still have many months of construction to go.

And yet, this is London. No sooner this building will be completed, another one will start construction not too far away. Why so many people want to live in this city is something that I will never understand…

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Finally

At long last, the mother of all farces has drawn to a close. Now inhabiting this bizarre corner of south east London for over four weeks, it is about time that I finally got into the 21st century.

Yes, there is internet here. And it just makes such a difference. The first point is obvious – in that it allows to me to post here at my leisure. I’ve lost track of all the things I wanted to write about in the past few weeks but didn’t get the chance to. There have been so many things to write about as the list of MPs I’ve met, and even better, observed going about their intriguing existences, has gradually lengthened.

But most of all, the feeling I mostly want to write about is just in general about how things are going. I was asked the question by a friend the other day, “Is it worth it so far?” The honest answer at the moment is a no. The simple reason for that is that I don’t believe I’ve derived any benefits from it as a person yet. I don’t really think a list of MPs who I’ve seen, or even talked to, is all that impressive to anyone outside of politics. Sure, I’ve been amongst some of the country’s, if not the world’s, best known landmarks. It is amazing to think that you’re working inside such an outstanding building… and it is quite a privilege… but is it contributing to me as a person? It gives me another story to tell, I suppose.

But then again, me being who I am, it’s not exactly something I’m likely to try to small talk into a conversation. I’m not like that. I almost feel embarrassed to admit things like this, because it’s so unexpected. If someone asks me, “What have you been up to?” I can only reluctantly part with the information about what I’m doing. And if I was just talking to someone in general, I would never volunteer the information unless I was specifically asked about my life. I don’t want to boast about a really great opportunity I’ve had because I start to feel like the other person might feel a little inadequate if I go on about such unique things as this.

Such is the quandary of the way I think. Some people really are shameless self-promoters. I hate them for it. But they also tend to be the most successful people in life, because they get themselves around and are well connected. There are thousands of these people in or around Parliament. They’re the people who wouldn’t hesitate for a second to sell someone else down the river if it advanced their position. They’ll conduct themselves in a thoroughly dishonest way to both get in, and out of, situations.

Most MPs find it difficult to say no. They get talking to someone – someone equally shameless and self-promoting – who will ask if the MP is interested in doing x, y and z to help out Joe Bloggs. The MP, who, 99 times out of 100, couldn’t care less, will agree just to get them off their back. Once you’ve said yes once, you can’t shut the door without telling these people some home truths. So you then spend your entire career, and wasting a lot of your staff’s time, by getting them to sit in on meetings for you, dodging calls, not returning e-mails, and generally getting them to lie on your behalf.

This has been 50% of what I’ve done so far. I have lied and bullshitted to people about what my MP actually wants to do.

And so far it has done nothing to endear to me this kind of life as a career.

Continuing Delays

This terrible period of not having proper contact with the outside world continues. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to come into vision. I finally have a phone line at my house now, three weeks after moving in. There was yet another disaster involving it, as the engineer decided to go to completely the wrong house, where he proceeded to give them a brand new phone line.

When I think about this, I just find it increasingly bizarre how many things have gone wrong. Every single item to do with the house has had some problem with it. Is it too much to ask that I make one phone call to give my details and make a request for what I want and then everything else falls into place on the dates and times they specify? How can everything have gone wrong? Phone, internet, gas, electricity, TV licence, buying the wrong TV aerial cable, water bills, delivery of goods for the house… it just goes on. The list is now so long that I doubt I will ever be bothered to properly describe everything that went wrong.

Meanwhile, my MP is now back from his holidays. This has livened the place up around here. I’ve been on a couple of trips with him to speeches and lunches so far, and it has been good fun, if a little surreal travelling with my MP to these events by Tube. I’m still getting used to it. It just amazes me how he can produce a speech from the top of his head in seconds by ad libbing the whole thing around the briefest framework. I guess you just get used to this kind of thing in the end if you do it on a daily basis.

There’s never a dull moment… which is nice as I was beginning to tire of sitting at a desk all day answering phones and lying to people about his availability. If I get out, someone else can do it. This is good.

No major disasters of my making just yet. But I’m sure there must be one just around the corner. Surely I can’t contain all my bad luck to home and not bring any of it into the office?

In other news, my football fantasy league team was the 43rd best out of nearly 1,000,000 entrants this week. Get in.

NTHell

I’m guessing that NTHell are not so called for no reason. Well, I found out for myself exactly why they are known as that this weekend, when, for no apparent reason, the engineer just decided he didn’t want to turn up. At all. We got a nice call from someone at customer service asking us if the engineer had been on Saturday, which was always a bad sign. It’s highly likely that the engineer just decided to go home early… after all, there was an England game to watch…

So, the anger levels were and are very high. I’d actually been counting down the days to when I can get back on the internet at home. There’s an enormous backlog of things I need to do now, and I just miss generally having something else to do around the house. Plus I can’t read the news, the blogs I like to read, check the weather, download music, and so on. I just hate not having some connection to the outside world.

The ludicrous thing is that I will finally (hopefully) get a BT phone line on Friday. We were only going to get NTHell because they were going to install earlier. Now we probably won’t bother. Their loss. It’s nice to live in an area with competition, although I haven’t seen any evidence that it’s benefited me as a consumer. Back in Hull, there is only one phone company – Kingston Communications – and they have an outright monopoly. Yet they connected our phone in a day, and the internet appeared a couple of days later. Wonderful customer service.

Sometimes the free market isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The evidence of this is almost endless, and I had been compiling a list of failures/farces that I have suffered ever since I moved house. I was planning on imparting this exciting list as my first post back once the internet was up and running. But it has, ironically, been delayed by another farce.

If I was a cynic – which I am – I would almost be led to believe that there is some conspiracy against me…

Quickly Typed While No One Was Around

This is the first chance I’ve had to write something since I moved down to London. It has been a very different few days, but all is well, and things are finally beginning to feel a little like home.

My new place is in a quite decent area, surprisingly better than I thought it would be. Indeed, at times you could probably fairly say that it is too quiet. It surprises me just how little I hear, apart from the massive building site behind my house. Whoops. I don’t know how I didn’t notice this when I viewed the property, but at least all the building goes on while I’m in work…

Talking of which, the year in Parliament is now on. I started last Thursday, and since then have done very little. My MP is currently away, and so I haven’t even met him. This is quite frustrating as my job entails maintaining his diary, which is almost impossible if I can’t physically speak to him to agree or disagree to various items.

For now though, the job is exceptionally dull, since I’m sitting at a desk, in front of a computer, for extended periods of time. This is exactly why I changed my direction in life. Sure, computers are an important part of society now, but I don’t want my career to involve them as the primary means through which I am productive. If you can call the endless twittering, clicking, scrolling and typing “productive” in the first place.

So far I haven’t been enthralled with what I’ve been doing, but I’m quite confident it won’t remain that way. Once I’m settled in (and I finally have the ability to login as me instead of a random guest account) I’ll be able to actually do my job, and arrange a few perks for myself on the MP’s behalf. Such as going to events on his behalf, which usually involves free food and drink. Can’t beat it.

I suppose we all descend into 9-to-5 machines eventually. But the key is obviously enjoyment – if you like it, then do it. But I don’t think I could derive that much satisfaction from this. As I have observed from a distance – it is too dishonest. This career involves endless fobbing off of constituents, as well as there being too much scope for influence from people who will quite happily pay to do so. Maybe I will go into detail as the year goes by, but right now I don’t have the time.

The worst part of moving has been the fact that BT quoted three weeks to reconnect an existing phone line. Luckily we live in an NTL area, but they still quoted just over a week. Thankfully, I will have the internet back on Saturday. I can’t live without the communication opportunities it brings, not to mention research for essays or just in general, shopping and the website I’m meant to keep updated, which is currently in a state of disrepair. This is yet another reason why I don’t want a job with a computer at the heart of it – because I go on the computer enough at home.

Oh well. Just three hours to go before I can go home. More likely this weekend… assuming I don’t suffer another farce. And there have been many for me to write about.