Are libraries on borrowed time?

Hola. Hope you are well.

If libraries did not already exist, they would not be introduced today but as they do exist they are being killed slowly.

The reason I fear for the future of libraries is twofold.

Firstly, local councils are being crippled by the government imposed cuts and so are continually looking at ways they can cut costs. Secondly, the people entrusted to make these decisions, generally don’t use services like libraries or community centres, so don’t appreciate their worth. This is why such services are seen as easy targets. Here are the figures of library closures.

So what of the future? I’ve heard it said libraries need to modernise, which seems to mean sell coffee and replace qualified librarians with well-meaning volunteers. Then in the near future, MPs and academics will no doubt scratch their head, furrow their brow and ponder why children from poorer backgrounds have problems with literacy levels. They will of course lay the blame on teachers and parents, whilst ignoring the impact of the library closures.

To me libraries are more than books (free), computer hire (free), newspapers (free), magazines (free), CD&DVDs (nominal fee), they are a communal space you can go to seek sanctuary.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any spare time, check out my comedy prongcasts. Cheers

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Have you found a job thanks to Linkedin?

Hola. Hope you are well.

Every now and again I feel I should do something to elevate my career from its near comatose state. This was my mindset last summer, when whilst off work for 6 weeks (school holidays) and feeling energised, I decided to join Linkedin. I have to admit I didn’t really know what I was doing (I still don’t).

Since then, I’ve not really done much with it, til now. In the last week I’ve ‘connected’ with people who requested a connection, all people I already knew, is it technically networking if I already know them? In addition to this I now ‘follow’ a number of organisations, whatever that means.

Should you have any tips on how I can make the most out of being on Linkedin, feel free to let me know. Alternatively let me know if you’ve found a job thanks to Linkedin. Cheers. You can contact me via the comments button or on Twitter @anunknowncomic

Til next time, be nice to each other.

Should you have any spare time, check out my comedy prongcast

 

From Lewisham to Southwark

Hola. Hope all is well.

2015 was a big year in politics, not only was there the general election, which was covered on this episode of my podcast, (arguably our most coherent #prongcast) but more importantly I was accepted onto the Lewisham Civic Leadership programme. This largely involved going to council meetings. I’ve now graduated from the scheme, and also moved out of Lewisham , 3 months is a very long time in politics.

Should you be interested, and why wouldn’t you be, here is the first of 3 journals I wrote during my time on the scheme. It’s also a chance to see what I look like without glasses.

Ps. Should anyone at Southwark Council be reading this, let’s talk about how I can get involved in the community.

Cheers.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Why Tony Blair makes me feel like a teenager

Hola. Hope you are well.

People said we’d have a hung parliament. (spoiler alert) We don’t.

People said Jeremy Corbyn was only in the  Labour leadership race to widen the debate, he’s currently leading that race.

Now people are saying he’s unelectable.

Who knows if Jeremy Corbyn can or can’t connect with the electorate? What we do know, is that Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall are struggling to connect with supporters of their own party.

It’s probably telling that whilst Corbyn has sparked excitement amongst young people, the ‘Anyone But Corbyn’ campaign is being led by politicians from the New Labour era.

Leading to odd situations, like Tony Blair predicting a Corbyn led Labour will split the party. That’s Tony Blair the most divisive figure in the party. Or Gordon Brown explaining what it takes for Labour to be electable. It’s just a shame he’s never had a chance to put these ideas into practice.

It’s not just Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, it seems like every day someone  from that era is telling Labour supporters not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. They don’t seem as forthcoming when it comes to saying why we should vote for the other contenders.

I can’t help thinking that this approach, like a parent forbidding a teenager from doing something, is just making Corbyn appear that little bit more desirable.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any spare time, have a listen to my comedy prongcasts. Cheers

 

 

 

Wasp would you do?

Hola. Hope you are well.

Whilst enjoying an outdoor breakfast (I was on holiday) a wasp started buzzing around me, seemingly attracted to my very sweet and unidentifiable fruit juice. Neither wafting or ignoring the wasp, made it go away and then somewhat inevitably it flew into the fruit juice. It appeared to be swimming, although I couldn’t be sure.

After about a minute, it dawned on me that the wasp wasn’t going to make it out of this fruit juice alive. I’m not someone who can sit idly by and watch a creature die, so I moved the glass out of sight.

I didn’t, I decided the best course of action was to scoop the wasp out with my tea spoon and put it on the table. This wasn’t overly appreciated by everyone I was with, as apparently the wasp, given a second chance at life may have stung us. As it happened it just flew off.

The only downside, was that in the confusion of saving a life and my poor short-term memory, when it came to my next cup of tea I used the waspy spoon.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any time, check out my comedy Prongcasts. Cheers

We’re all on benefits

Hola. Hope you are well.

Over the last year I’ve been going to a few public lectures at the London School of Economics. For one talk about the welfare state by Professor John Hills I was mistaken for a lecturer, which for someone who isn’t entrusted with much responsibility, pleased me greatly.

This however wasn’t the main thing I took from the talk, instead it was the fact that over our lifetime statistically we will put more into the welfare state, through working and paying NI, than we will take out. There may of course be times in our life that we will require support from the state, for example, periods when we are out of work, or if we fall ill or in old age but overall the money spent on you in these periods will be less than you have contributed.

There are politicians and certain parts of the media who won’t mention this, instead they’ll make out it’s a straight shoot out between ‘hard working families’ and those on benefits (sometimes referred to in pejorative terms, such as scroungers. The truth is, the 2nd largest proportion of the welfare budget goes towards working people, either in the form of working tax credits, money used to prop up the very low wages companies (often large companies) pay their staff, or housing benefit, money used to supplement the high rents private landlords charge. The biggest amount of money, for those interested, is spent on those with a state pension, i.e. people who worked when they were of employable age.

So the next time someone talks about people ‘being on benefits’, they’re talking about you. It might not be the ‘present you’, it might be the ‘past you’ or just as likely be the ‘future you’, but they’re talking about you but just as pertinently they’re talking about themselves.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have time check out my comedy Prongcasts. Cheers

How Grimmy can save Radio 1

Hola. Hope you are well.

I read an article recently, looking at how Grimmy (Nick Grimshaw) can attract young listeners to Radio 1.

This interested me because I have a foot, loosely in both camps. As I am sure you’re aware I prongcast (podcast to most people) under the name 3Prong Attack and for the last 4 years I’ve worked in a Secondary school, working with 14,15,16 year olds, an age group Radio 1 would covet.

Thanks to Google and me having my first and surname on my ID badge, some of the children were able to track down my prongcasts. This meant that despite having what could be described as a niche audience, a large percentage are teens. So if Grimmy really wants to boost the number of young listeners to his show, he should take a job working in schools. That or get a well paid job judging talent on X Factor.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic