White Choke Paint Blues

Journal Entry, 14 Jan 2002: This morning got to work, found 8 batches waiting to be QC tested.
Had meeting with Rob P – progress update. ‘How are you finding the job?’ he asked. I said that I was settled and preparing to buy property. ‘Where?’ ‘Oh, in Eccles’ said moi.
So maybe now he thinks my half-day hol on Thursday is for an interview at Akcros.
In the news: Prince Harry has apparently owned up to under-age drinking and smoking cannabis. Which, as any fule kno, inevitably leads to life as a junkie and squalid death in bedsit-land.
Steve M still v keen on using misleading language rather than straightforward technology for tower vinyl paint. Prepared a brochure of potential resins which can be blended with vinyl.
When returned home found a book from Rob Gay – the Pevsner guide to Manchester.
‘I’ve been on the News of the World diet. It’s a very fast way to lose weight’ (Jerry Hayes, MP, quoted in Giles Brandreth memoirs)
Rang RG to say thanks for book. He’s had a Mohican. Was utterly horrified when I told him my salary.

16 Jan ’02: Tore up my copy of Streitweiser and Heathcock. Seems pointless keeping it since my current job requires only the ability to keep an eye on paint flowing through a hole.
In the news: Labour Gov’t planning to break up and sell off NHS.
Stephen Downing’s murder conviction overturned after 27 years in prison.
Norway Finance Minister has married his boyfriend.

18 Jan’02: Hurrah! Pay rise (not announced, just appeared) to 20200. Had credit card application form from Halifax.
During our tech sales meeting, Norman mentioned that we were expecting Rembrandtin over in Feb.
Carried out a few steps from the Helvar test regime (salt spray/freezer/oven/humid).

21 Jan ’02: Manda rang to say that she would be coming up Sat not Fri. Must see if Mongolian Barbecue open at lunchtime.
Last night dreamed that the kitchen was full of snow. Weather gone really mild – storms predicted.
At work one project has been to develop WB stoving white for Helvar (fluorescent light chokes).

22 Jan ’02: Well, I’ve done it. White panels (mild steel) survived long exposure in salt-spray/freezer/oven/humidity. Also dipped a choke, stoved for 2 hours at 170 deg C, stayed clean white.
Showed Rob, and of course he complained about poor coverage and opcity.
We are paying 2.30 a kilo for VIL WB polyester – mind you, it is 75 percent solids, unlike DSM or Worlee.
Today in the canteen Sean M snapped: ‘Honestly, some people go mad, eating Belgian choclates as if they’re having group sex with ninety thousand people!’
‘Depends on the people’ said I.

28 Jan ’02: Still no news from work about pension. Simon W has handed in his notice, so the sales dept will be accountantless and the Tech dept will be sec-less without Corrie. Had phone call from someone at RBH asking about a sample of driers they had sent for Dave Waring. Today’s weather – furious gales.

29 Jan ’02: Left monthly report on Rob’s desk – no comment. Called into Sue’s office and asked about pension scheme – she gave me a form for the insurance thingy (‘Groupama’) which asks four questions – three short ones about tobacco, alcohol and sports, then one long one that ran “Have you undergone any blood test or received any personal medical advice in connection with AIDS or AIDS-related conditions or had any reason to believe that there may have been any exposure to risks of contracting AIDS?”

03 Feb ’02: Yesterday took my rent cheques and asked about purchasing a flat in six months’ time.
Corrie pub crawl; Abercrombie, Down Under, Monkey etc. Brett accompanied me to the first one, they were all very intrigued.

04 Feb ’02: At work had fax from Helmuth at Rembrandtin asking if we had had any discussions about wagon finishes here at Sterling.
(Note: I was using a fax machine because I was never issued with an e-mail account at Sterling Tech, even though the MD insisted during my interview that they needed someone with great IT skills. ‘Helmuth’ was Helmuth Seidler, CEO of the paint firm Rembrandtin Lack, based in Vienna, and one of our sister firms in the Altana family. The ‘wagon finishes’ were a set of two-pack coatings made by Rermbrandtin and sold successfully into the light railway market in Singapore, so we could try to get the contract for trams or tube trains)

10 Feb ’02: Have just returned from birthday/new job/Xmas weekend at The Hotel Anastasia.
Arrived Fri night, Andy picked me up and we went shopping, enough food for about twelve meals. Watched a DVD of ‘Star Trek – Insurrection’.
LK and Bob arrived Sat afternoon and we all went to Lytham so the pile of food originally meant for lunch served as the hors d’oeuvres in evening.
Dinner in evening – Malc and Andy engrossed in huge conflict between Pop Idols Will and Gareth. Watched three episodes of ‘Brothers’. Went to bed, got up, was violently sick, strawberry trifle and red wine.
While preparing dinner, Andy posed with a French stick, and LK said ‘If anyone came near you with a dick that size you’d run a mile!’ ‘Two feet, maybe’, said I.
And Andy tried to tell a joke about some girl called Fanny Green, well he was crying with laughter as he neared the punchline, which set us all off.

12 Feb ’02: Rob P (tech director) has taken a week off to go to Tunisia but never mentioned anything to oi. He takes no notice of my monthly report (handwritten cos I’ve got no training on the computer).
It’s a year since we headed off to Butlin’s for our seventies weekend and my rune pendant.
Mail – letter from Jean with a collection of photos – me thru the years with various hairstyles – Eynsham, Cornwall, Paris, Rome.
At work, having problems with WB white – pigment flocculation.
Change in the law – companies are now obliged to disclose their files to employees for a fee of ten pounds.

14 Feb ’02: Finished work 12.30, rode home, went to Eccles for eye test. Talk about thorough – red lines, white dots, glaucoma test etc.
Then went to B-‘s shop and he gave me a Valentine’s card – a large box containing two teddy bears and a pair of handcuffs. Gave him a card – ‘to my favourite one-armed bandit’.
Down Westinghouse Road they’re demolishing a very fine redbrick building, possibly an office block. Bonfire. Sacrilege.
Two nights ago as I was leaving work a black swan passed above the factory all alone.


In Memory of Foucault – Anthem Z over π

Holding aloft a strand of meaning
You invite us to remain confused by all
The twisting names that hide the truth
And after five years together, our love
Comes to its beginning. You harmonise my chord
Upon the beach where someone
Scribbled their lies to desecrate
The phantom purity of just another youth.

Hearing once again a tune from
The song of your own life, you see
A stranger; it seemed so simple
At the time, the heavy years ahead would sing
The anthem of your effortless success, and
Falling like a leaf upon so many more the same
Would make you grand, and leave you vain.



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