Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 3: First steps

Today's Soundtrack: Aretha Franklin - Queen of Soul

Well, the Jobcentre called me today to complete the initial registration process, and to invite me to a meeting on Saturday morning at the Warrington branch to complete some further formalities. It seems a bit ironic that the one time I don't actually need a weekend appointment, that's what they give me... I would have thought the dole office was the one place that would be perfectly happy to insist on weekday appointments and to take the weekend off, but there you go.

The whole registration process seems a bit disjointed as well. Today's phone call followed the submission of an on-line registration process that took some (but obviously not all) the information they needed from me - the questions the nice lady asked me this morning could just as easily been included on the on-line questionnaire, negating the need to wait 48 hours for a phone call at all. Be interesting to see what they ask me on Saturday and whether that could have been covered on-line as well. Mind you, I do need to see a real person at some stage as I've got a form for them to fill in relating to my unemployment insurance, so all's well really.

Oh, and just to interject - Aretha's version of 'Young, Gifted and Black' is surely a work of true genius!

While I was on the phone to the doley, I missed a call on my mobile. Called back and spoke to another very nice lady about a potential vacancy in the Leeds area - formal recruitment process to go through, but she sounded very positive so definitely one to push forward. But that's a task for tomorrow I feel.

Gave the bass guitar (and my left pinky) a rest today (for now anyway - the day is still young) but in a bid to do something practical every day, picked up the ukulele for a spell. Yes, the ukulele. The uke came about as a consequence of a giddy spell on the Sunday at Glastonbury last year. The sun was shining, the music (including the mighty Amsterdam in the acoustic tent) had been wonderful and, yes, strong drink had been taken. It struck me that the one thing that would make the occasion absolutely perfect was for me to buy a couple of ukes for me and for the boy. And so I did. Not really sure (with the benefit of hindsight) that Matt was as keen on the idea as I was, but never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he humoured me. And so we got uke'd up. Bit of a waste of time, as we had no idea how to tune the buggers (or anything to tune them against) but we strummed happily if tunelessly until something else distracted us.

Anyway, it could have been worse. What I really wanted was a big fuck-off African drum to hit. Well, there's always this year.

Just back from Tesco's with the makings of a spaghetti bolognese for this evening - and a microwave. A nice, dainty, microwave to replace the stainless steel behemoth that has dominated the kitchen for the past few years. The old one will do for one of the boys if they need a microwave at any time. And if they don't need a microwave, they could put some furniture in the thing and live in it.

And still no daytime tv.

Aretha got a bad press at the Obama inauguration the other week - and with good cause. But in her day she was untouchable. The present day selection of 'divas' (the Celines, the Mariahs, the Leonas) should be dragged into a room and forced to listen to Aretha non-stop for a month. To understand what constitutes a good song selection. To learn that just because you can stretch one syllable to include twenty-five notes, doesn't mean you should. To realise that singing loud does not mean singing with emotion.

Aretha Franklin. Queen of Soul. Because she is.

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