Government under fire for massaging unemployment figures via benefit sanctions from Commons Select Commitee.


Voting is open for my T-shirt design, Hive Mind, on Threadless now! Go vote now! Threadless is a great site where all my favourite T-shirts come from.

Hive Mind T-shirt design up for voting now!

Promo code: RJ0HXJ for $5 off when you Fund It – crowdfunding option.

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Hive Mind – Vote Now!


1. Don’t take advice from a Magic List that tells you it will solve all your problems. 

2. Give up writing lists.

3. Except for shopping lists. 

4. Remember to take shopping list to the shops.

5. Remember to look at shopping list in the shops.

6. Allow yourself to go off list if the shop has REALLY GOOD AND USEFUL OFFERS.

7. Forget all about shopping lists if you’re rich and live near a shop.

8. Don’t buy tinned food if you’re a skinny-armed lady who lives five streets from the shops.

9. Write lists for the internet on a day when you’ve done something more interesting than shop.

10. Someone else’s “good advice” might not suit you.

Greetings young creatives! If you’re slogging through the entries on Jobseekers Direct [now the inefficient aggregate, Universal Jobmatch], wondering why there’s nothing for you, it’s because you’re looking in the wrong place. There’s not exactly a hallowed portal to wonderful arts employers who are ready to greet you with open arms, but there are sites out there that list opportunities that might actually help you on your chosen career path. It’s certainly easier to write a cover letter for a job you are qualified for and desire.


An excellent job site brought to you by Arts Council England. Comprehensive list of jobs in all areas of the arts: from retail assistants to producers, directors or fine artists who are needed to lead workshops. A separate “News” section is also worth a look for details of upcoming events, voluntary opportunities, and sometimes open calls for exhibits. Tempted to draw a little a border of stars round this one, for I approve of it greatly. Unfortunately, it is much harder to create adolescent doodles while word processing and therefore I won’t bother.


Good. A lot of entry level stuff and paid internships in broadcasting and journalism. The site also contains blog articles with tips on applying and breaking into the industries.


If you’re a creative with an excellent grasp of I.T. then this site is for you. Most jobs on this site are situated in Brighton – the UK’s pretender to the name silicon valley. Design graduates or budding web developers should definitely check this out.

The Unit List

Not common for entry level jobs to be listed here. Jobs are clearly marked if they are suitable for industry starters and you are specifically informed not to apply if is marked otherwise.


Tough to find an entry level opportunity here, but it is a good general jobsite.


Jobs aren’t immediately removed as soon as the application deadline passes, which means you can waste time reading about a job that is no longer available. Jobs listed here will usually be found on the Artsjobs website. However, there are sometimes competitions or commissions – e.g. for writing – that I haven’t come across elsewhere.  Although the job section isn’t exemplary, this site is worth a look for its great articles on all areas of creative experience and briefs you can apply to for funding or training opportunities. If this was a “best websites for young artists” list then it would definitely at the top, but it’s not.

Graduate Talent Pool

Hopeless. Government internship database that seems to get the majority of its information off StudentGems. Most internships are unpaid or travel and lunch expenses only.

The Church of England is undergoing a name change and will henceforth be known as Architectural Tours Ltd. The alteration is taking place to reflect the changing role of the Church in the life of the nation.

A spokesman from St Paul’s Cathedral said that the rebranding is thanks, in no small part, to the Occupy London protestors who camped outside the cathedral last winter. ‘We realised then,’ said The Very Reverend Jonas Iscarot, Dean of St Paul’s and soon to be Head of Marketing with Architectural Tours Ltd., ‘that the primary duty of the cathedral is providing tours of this magnificent building. We must ensure that any tourist with the money to pay can enjoy the sight of Christopher Wren’s masterpiece.’

When asked what Jesus would have thought, Rev Jonas replied, ‘ Now we know from Occupy London what people who live in tents, wearing sandals and spouting unrealistic ideals are like, we have had to rethink the whole Jesus thing somewhat. We know from the Gospels that Jesus was anti-profit; he vandalised retail stalls and seemed to think there was something scandalous about tax collectors’ expenses. This is not the kind of behaviour we wish to ally ourselves with in the modern age.’

The Rev Jonas did, however, quell traditionalists’ fears that the church would lose sight of its roots altogether: ‘Look forward to the launch of our great new book series, “New Jesus”. New Jesus will offer all the advantages of the old, but without the revolutionary overtones.’ The first instalment of New Jesus will be released at Christmas and the brand of oil that Mary Magdalene pours over Jesus’ feet will be named, for the first time ever, following a lucrative deal with one of Britain’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

The new move will also affect local churches with vicars rebranded Church Managers. Services will be conducted as usual, except the collection plate will be produced prior to the start of services and entrance fee will be set at a minimum of £5.

The Church of England is confident that its historical link with British politics will be safeguarded and even greatly improved by its move to concentrate on business rather than religion.

You can also read this article at:

Things you can do while on hold, on the phone to HMRC:

Peel an orange one-handed

Invent a new TV quiz show

Eat an orange one handed

Realise you need the loo

Read a jubilee party invitation from someone you don’t know

Grab the local gazette from behind you. Scatter advertisement supplements all over the floor.

Realise you can’t bend over to pick them up, due to really needing the loo.

Twitch. You didn’t need the loo when you started the phone call, but you do now.

Read about someone’s death in the local gazette, while twitching.

Wonder what the music is that they’re playing. You hope it isn’t from an actual song, because HMRC will have killed the song.

Think about how HMRC must have made a lot of staffing cuts, since this is taking so long.

And then, after 32 minutes, you might find you get to speak to an actual person.

Finally get to explain that you are not still employed by those people you did one day’s work for two years ago.


Things to be thankful for about being on hold to HMRC:

At least they don’t insert advertisements within the hold music, so as to raise extra cash. If it was a choice between waiting a bit longer or being tortured with advice on what spray-tan to get but getting through quicker, I’d choose to wait. This is just something I invented, in a dystopic frame of mind. DO NOT SHOW THIS to anyone in the Conservative government right now. They will think it is a great idea and we will all be DOOMED.

The hold music is quite nice really. Quite calming, but energetic enough that you don’t fall asleep. Not overplayed classical melodies, that make you sigh because Mozart probably didn’t want it this way and people in Jane Austen novels actually hear classical music as entertainment, not accompanied with an animation about bread, and surely this is a valuable experience modern media has deprived me of. And it wasn’t pop songs, to remind you that this is not what you would be listening to if you had a choice right now.

The HMRC advisor was actually a very nice chap and DIDN’T make me cry. Despite the half hour wait, this means that this was the best bureaucratical phone experience I’ve had. Worst people: Lloyds TSB Credit Card Insurance salesman and anyone at O2.

I rarely eat fruit on it’s own. Thanks to the long wait and the close proximity of the fruit bowl to the phone, I have now consumed one of my five a day.

I now feel more confident about my orange peeling skills. Think how much easier it will seem peeling them with two hands now!




There are several mysteries in life.

One of them is why my mum keeps the stem ginger in the dining room cubboard, next to the napkins and her collection of playing cards. Why is it ostracised from the other jars? Or indeed, other fruit and nut baking ingredients. Separating it from the jams, I can maybe see; I would not like syrup and giant ginger blobs on my toast and mistakes can be made so easily when jars are around. Todays tendency for giant labels, obscuring so much of the glass that was made transparent for a reason, can lead to such hellish mistakes. However, separating it from the rest of the fruit / nutty / rooty baking ingredients makes less sense. Would the crystallised ginger take offense?

Another mystery is why, in 2012, meat-eating is still the norm.

I had a Vegetarian Moment the other day:

I was catching up on this season’s Glee. Will was making up with Emma after they had argued. He’s set the table for dinner and it was obviously meant to be a romantic moment because he was doing his soft voice.

Will: Now I just want to sit down, eat some chicken –

Wait. A translation happened in my head, automatically. Let’s run it again as I heard it:

Will: Now I just want to sit down, have some death –

Way to ruin the moment Will. I cannot take this romantic situation, seriously. (Of course, it was oh, so moving before.)

If you were wondering what a Vegetarian Moment is, that’s what it is. When you realize that all your friends are vegetarians or mainly-at-a-restaurant carnivores and that this isn’t the case for the rest of society. It’s just a bit weird.

[The Explorations of a St Andrews student.]

During last Ski Week I took the controversial decision not to go skiing. Risking alienation from friends and ridicule from classmates, I decided to do something good in the world and lend my presence to an altogether less advantaged breed of people than your average sloane on the slopes.

I flew in to Gatwick Airport with the knowledge that I would be spending the next two weeks on a bicycle in a land where (as my governess put it) everyone wants to make money off you or talk to you about Coleridge. Some considered me foolish, even suicidal, to attempt a feat of such awesomeness. Ignorance if probably the best word to describe my attitude towards the whole of Southern England.

Travelling by train for an hour took me away from the metropolis into darkest Oxford. It was a gruelling journey, with fodder being a choice between the rustically named “Ploughman’s” and “Egg Mayonnaise”. The latter appeared to have been masticated already by a previous purchaser, indeed, considering the sanitation conditions of the train in general, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the case. I opted for the “Ploughman’s”, hoping against hope that no burly common labourer would turn up to demand his sandwich back. This was my first taste of traditional Southern English fare and I was pleasantly surprised to find it edible, even enjoyable.

Buoyed up by my ability to successfully blend in with the natives in terms of luncheon habits, I exited Oxford station with a spring in my step. I had the good fortune to have been given the address of an ex-serviceman who lived here; one Rev Fortescue, an ex-vicar, who had taken services at one of the many Church of England establishments here in Southern England. Among the chintz curtain covers and historic watercolours in his home, he listed the dangers I might face: wild animals, chlamydia, people, and above all, white vans. I myself was scarcely concerned about such things, having spent my teatimes dreaming about only cordial things such as beautiful landscapes, sitting in Lyons’ teashops, Morris dancing, singing with indigenous peoples and even stabbing a fork into some black pudding.

However, I was soon to learn that Southern England was not a place to be taken lightly when, my first afternoon there, I almost made a most costly mistake. ‘Stop!’ the Rev Fortescue cried, ‘do not walk on the grass!’ Having made my first cultural faux pas, I returned to my “Bed and Breakfast” chastened, but wiser.

My next stop in Southern England was the village of Tunbridge, or Wells. Here one can still find natives dressing in nineteenth century garb and urging you to “drink the waters”; believed to be a panacea among the inhabitants. Fearing typhoid, I eschewed the well waters – despite many earnest entreaties, for the natives were a noble-hearted bunch, concerned for my health – in favour of a “stiff” Gin and Tonic. This local beverage turned out to be anything but stiff. It was as runny as water, but considerably more potent. The old wise women of Southern England use it to provoke spiritual experiences. The narcotic had little affect on me in this respect, no doubt due to my superior physique.

I spent the next two days swimming in the sea and playing football with the natives, after hopping on a provincial train to the coast. Few I met here had ever seen anyone with chest hair before. As a rule, the Southern English tend to be composed of lily-white types who use bow-ties to cover their lack of Adam’s apple.

Then followed some much-needed rest and, most importantly, food. Feasting on cod and chips, it was hard to imagine that there were fishing quotas here. Come evening, after so much roast beef I could hardly waddle to the lavatory, I began to wonder if this “economic crisis” I’d heard about was not one big joke.

Further into the wilds of Southern England I became more acquainted with natives who had to struggle for a living. Teaming up with a fellow explorer named John Everett, together we braved the famous moor found in Dart. After two hours, tired from trekking and with not a humble farmhouse in sight to break our fast at, John Everett looked around and said: ‘every mile I pray we may find someone with a 4×4 that doesn’t have mud on it, so we may be transported out of this hell. Then I realise, every 4×4 in this area got covered in mud long ago.’

I couldn’t have agreed more with his sentiments and then, as we thought it couldn’t get any worse, we ran out of champagne. I admit that the next half a mile was my personal hell. It was with God’s grace that we ran into a group of native children and their guardians, picnicking next to a copse of sycamore trees. People from every social background were glad to give us all they had. We even got a nearly-cold can of Coke Zero – something I had previously not thought to exist in Southern England. Although I blanched at the prospect of a slice of Victoria sponge that the flies had been sitting on, proffered to me with an eager smile by a toothless boy in a track-suit.

As I pressed on with my journey, on some occasions I would find a small community of Southern Englanders and distribute gifts in exchange for hospitality and teacakes. My mother had urged me to take along some Hershey’s Kisses and Marshmallow Puff. It gave me no small pleasure to hand these out to the women and children. The ecstasy and smiles on their faces as I gave them to them saying ‘this is from my country to you’, were a sight for the most jaded of eyes.

For the later part of my trip, I had a native guide who could barely make himself understood in plain English. After trying to decipher for the hundredth time why syllable ‘rrroyte’ was elicited in response to my simple greetings, I had to get rid of him. He may have been attempting to mock me or degrade my standing among the native folk and I couldn’t take that risk.

Alas, having a guide may have come in useful when my bike broke down on day twelve. I tried explaining to the Southern England workers what was wrong with it, but was met with only chin rubbing and curt exclamations of ‘arrrr’. Fortunately, I happened to bump into a Scotsman named Dougal MacDougan, who was typical of his race – no-nonsense, tight-fisted and dour. I gained his trust by explaining that I had Scottish antecedents. It later proved that he thought I possessed cleaning products from North of the border, but no matter, for he fixed my bike.

The natives were most amused when I explained that I had never seen a pasty before and that meals in my country always contained a vitamin.

It was with a heavy heart, and an even heavier suitcase full of trinkets that I my bleeding heart had induced me to buy off the cash-starved locals, that I sat in my First Class seat on the plane home. I returned to St Andrews with a broader mind and the satisfaction that I helped some people needier than us. I encourage all who read this to learn from my example and think of how all of us, in our world of privilege, may take a step out of our comfort zone in order to help others.


The Honourable Carl Quincey III


Disclaimer: Carl Quincey didn’t tell me what he was going to write before I gave him the use of my blog. It turns out he’s a bit of a prat. – Clarity Bell.


We should totally write a film!  I mean, you’re a creative writing graduate and I’m a…  well, it was my idea.


Okay…  So, my tutor always said that a way to get inspiration is from people around you.  Look around this café.  How about her?


That woman?  The younger one?  But I don’t wanna do a RomCom.


She’s not that young.  Could be thirty.


Still.  You know what I mean.  That little girl would be better – she could be a scary little girl. At one with the forces of evil.


Rather not do the supernatural thing.  How about, she’s not evil?


Then it’ll turn into something soppy.


That old woman over there looks interesting.  No, over there.  She’s wearing a hat in the shape of a duck.


No one wants to look at crazy old ladies.  Come on.  She’s got more wrinkles than a… primrose!


What’s so bad about that?


I dunno, I was going for something grosser sounding than “primrose”.  I’ll get back to you on that.  Look – guy over there in a leather jacket.  Bet he’s an action hero!


He’s past forty.


Don’t be ageist.


This is an entry for the Mookychick blogging competition, FEMINIST FLASH FICTION 2011. Enter now.

Today, two men, a girl and a boy in the shop. Girl picks out bracelet from a stand. Boy also chooses something from the stand, but man says ‘no’, spins stand round, ‘some of these are more for a boy’. Going for the brown side of the stand, rather than the light blue side, perhaps. An erroneous assumption if so, since the stand (Earth and Surf) isn’t separated into gendered jewellery. Anyway, the man found some necklaces he deemed suitable: ‘this one is more for a boy – look – this one has got a surfboard.’ The kids picked up on ‘more for a boy,’ as a chant.

‘More for a boy’

‘More for a boy’

‘More for a boy’

Onward in annoying assonance.

Only the girl jewellery was sparkly though. Human children are born magpies. The boy instead chose a snake, which the man approved of. ‘Because it’s more for a boy!’ the boy proclaimed loudly as he brought it towards the counter.

‘Do girls not like snakes?’ asks my supervisor brightly.

Boy confused. ‘No, but it’s more for a boy… because, because, it’s mine.’

I guess ‘more for a boy’ is just a very catchy phrase, seeing as the boy didn’t seem to know what it was all about. Those magpies just love singing. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, more for a boy…