VISIT THE HIPPY'S NEW SITE: www.northlondonhippy.com Spend some time chilling out with the hippy...He used to be "the most shroomtastic stoner on the internet!" until the UK banned fresh magic mushrooms. He's still "the biggest internet celebrity you've never heard of!" He'll make you laugh, he'll make you think...he'll make you wish you were a hippy too!

Saturday, July 31, 2004

My PC is a piece of crap. I wrote a lengthy entry on Friday, chock full of great jokes, insightful observations and sexual innuendo and do you what happened? My computer crashed before I could publish it and I lost the entire goddamn thing. I was so pissed off I didn't bother to try and recreate it.

But it's a day later and I find myself killing time before I head out to work, so they thought I would log in and let the words flow.

I spent yesterday shrooming, well late in the afternoon through to the late evening. I took about 54grams of Hawaiian p.cubes on an empty stomach. It was very pleasant.

That's an understatement, it was actually intensely fun. My head was filled with all manner of craziness and my heightened perception allowed me to enjoy some excellent music videos. No hippy picks this week though, nothing new really stood out.

As far as trips go, this one was fairly unremarkable, no great revelations or moment of discovery, I was just quite comfortably mashed.

I did watch the eviction night on Big Brother though, which was entertaining enough. Michelle was too cagey during her interview, she should have admitted she shagged Stu. Maybe Davina was right, she's saving it for the tabloids and a big fat payoff. Who can blame her.

Michelle is not as bad as everyone says. Yes, she's came off a bit bossy, but that's because Stuart is so wet and wimpy. One of them had to be in charge and it sure wouldn't have been him. I think she was genuinely excited to be part of the whole Big Brother experience and I think she really digs Stuart as well. I hope she can handle getting dumped, 'cause that boy is gonna run a mile once he is out of that house!

The whole thing wraps up this Friday. They have all been entertaining, but hardly very likeable, I don't really want any of them to win. I can't believe ten weeks has flown by so quickly. I haven't watched this one obsessively, I've missed loads of the highlights shows, especially when I have been working and get home too tired to watch my recording of it. I've still enjoyed what I've seen.

I always get a little bit down at the end of Big Brother, which is completely irrational and silly, I know. BB has been the centerpiece of my summer tv viewing for 5 years now. You get so used to it being there all the time, on tv, the live stream, the website, in the tabloids, that when it goes, you do notice a bit of a hole in your sad little life.

But fear not, as they've done for the last 2 years, E4 will be covering the first week outside of the house of the winner. It's not the same as watching BB, but it still gives you a tiny little fix to keep you going and soften the blow.

There's some good tv coming up soon anyway, including the 5th series of the Sopranos (which is excellent) and the new series of Six Feet Under, both on E4 and at some point Channel 4.

Here in north London, the temperature has hovered around 30 degrees C for the last couple of days. God, I hate the heat. I knew we wouldn't escape the summer without one last blast from nature's inferno. I really need an airconditioner! If this really is global warming, then we are all pretty much fucked. It can't be too long before the oceans boil dry and we all turn to cinders and ash.

Who knows?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Like yo...

I have to say that so far I'm underwhelmed by the response to the "win the hippymobile contest". You'd think, or well, at least I would think that a free car, even a pre-owned Rover like mine would generate some interest. It's early days yet, someone really is going to win my car. It could be *you* if you enter. You know where to click----------->

I'm not back to work until the weekend, I've got a few days off to chill out. Perhaps chill out is not the best choice of phrase as the mercury is going to tip 30 degrees C in the next few days. Hot and humid is not a combination I enjoy and I'm not looking forward to the muggy heat to come. I'll survive; I always seem to.

I've got a new washing machine being delivered tomorrow, 'cause the old one died last week. I hate it when pricey things give up the ghost, it was only about 4 years old. Don't worry, this time I checked out WHICH magazine and made to sure to get one of their "Best Buys". It pays to do your homework.

Naturally, being internet friendly, I shopped and ordered it online. It's amazing the differences in price you can find on the exact same model from different sites. And tell me this: why is it the absolute cheapest price is on a website I've never heard of and doesn't list any way to contact them other than email. If you can't put your telephone number or postal address on your website you're not going to get me to spend hundreds of pounds with my credit card! I ended up going for the cheapest price from a named retailer. Their delivery policy looked pretty good as well, though I'll know for sure tomorrow if it comes on time and is easily installed. You didn't think I would connect myself, did you? I'm useless at stuff like that.

I spoke to my mother today; it was not good. It was worse than not good, it was horrible. I could barely understand her, she sounded tired and very upset. I'm not going to revisit the details now, I'm trying to put it out of my mind.

Sometimes I wish I still did proper class "A" drugs, as nothing numbs you out more than a bit of charlie and booze. It's a particularly unhealthy combination and I would not recommend anyone out there to do it. I don't have to recommend it, it’s already pretty popular without my help. They both just go together so well.

It's nearly 2 years since I've had a taste of anything powdered and I've got no intention of going back to it. It's a great escape, but it doesn't last, you still end up sober with the same problems you were running away from in the first place. That doesn't mean I can't think about it, or even secretly wish that it wasn't so damn bad for you. And expensive, don't forget the cost.

See that's part of the problem with drugs and the advice that's given to people about them. Drugs have positive effects, if they didn't, people would not take them. But they also have a down side, and for some people it can be worse than others. Some people can smoke crack every weekend and not suffer from it, others have one hit and they lost in it forever. Nothing's ever straightforward.

But here, the hippy tries to bring you the truth and both sides of the argument when it comes to drugs. And why not? Someone should.

I'll be around for the next couple of days, sorting through the contest entries, waiting for white goods and generally just living that hippy life so you don't have to!


Monday, July 26, 2004

The following press release was sent to some of my favourite media outlets this morning:

--------------------
For immediate release

Monday 26 July 2004 – 10:00bst

Attn: News Editors / Features Editors

"To promote his web log, the northlondonhippy
announces a contest to give away his car.”

The self-proclaimed "most shroomtastic stoner on the
internet", the northlondonhippy, is giving away the
legendary hippymobile to promote 'the northlondonhippy
blog'.

The hippy, as he is affectionately known, has a small
yet loyal following on the 'net, but feels the time is
now right for a proper promotion to expand his
audience.

The ‘northlondonhippy blog’ is very personal, the
hippy holds nothing back as he "lives the hippy life,
so you don't have to…" The hippy is part philosopher,
part media critic and a staunch advocate of natural
highs, including and especially: fresh and legal magic
mushrooms.

A media professional by trade, the hippy shares his
uncensored thoughts and feelings on a wide range of
subjects, from politics and current events to the
latest in music, film and television. The hippy also
keeps you up to date on aspects of his personal life
and drug consumption.

"As a shameless self-promoter and media-whore, there's
nothing I won't do to promote my blog and that
includes giving my ride away to one of my readers, "
the hippy explained. "This contest is NOT a joke, I
really am just going to hand over the keys to the
hippymobile to one lucky winner. And not just the
keys, but the whole damn car!”

Naturally, there’s slight, yet simple catch. “Who-ever
wins, can't disclose my real-life identity, and
they’ll have to sign a confidentiality agreement, that
is a major part of the deal. Staying anonymous is a
big part of being the northlondonhippy." Indeed, the
hippy's identity is a closely guarded secret, known to
only a few people.

The car, a white H-reg Rover 216 GSI, valued at nearly
£500.00, will be handed over to the lucky winner by 31
August 2004.

"The car's in good nick, the road tax is paid till the
end of the year. The MOT is due is early September,
but I'm certain it will pass. Oh, and it could use a
good wash, otherwise its in perfect running order,"
the hippy said with a wry smile.

Asked why he was ready to part with his automobile,
the hippy explained: "Look man, the Baghdad blogger
never gave anyone a car, neither did Belle du Jour. As
far as I know, I'm the first blogger in the world to
offer up his car as a promotional prize. I want people
to read my blog, isn’t that reason enough?"

The contest is open to anyone 18+ years of age, a
resident of the UK possessing a full UK picture
driver’s license. The winner will be responsible for
any and all taxes, MOT and insurance as well as
collecting the car from fabulous north London. The
northlondonhippy is the sole judge of this contest and
his decision will be final. The northlondonhippy
accepts neither liability nor responsibility for
anything pertaining to the vehicle once ownership of
the car has been transferred to the winner.

To enter, all you have to do is send an email to
northlondonhippy@yahoo.co.uk with "Gimme your car you
crazy hippy!" in the subject line and tell the hippy
why he should give YOU the hippymobile. Full details
of the contest are available on the northlondonhippy
website.

Check out the hippy's blog here:
http://northlondonhippy.blogspot.com/

More details on the contest here:
http://www.geocities.com/northlondonhippy/carcontest.html


The hippy homepage:
http://www.geocities.com/northlondonhippy/

Contact: northlondonhippy@yahoo.co.uk

Please direct all editorial queries to the hippy via
email

To request an interview with the hippy, please email
the hippy directly

# # # ENDS # # #
----------------------------------
Let's see if anyone picks up on the story. It's the silly season, everyone's short of news, perhaps it just might work!



Saturday, July 24, 2004

Ok, I got so excited about the "win the hippymobile contest" that I made a quick page with some details. You'll find the link on the right hand side of this page, or you could just click here.  Go on, I want *you* to win my car!

Remember, this contest is NOT a joke. You could be driving away in a stylish previously owned car. Besides the hippy, the car was driven by a little old lady who lives in London. That's true, though she'd didn't just use it on Sunday's to go to church.

Look man, I'm giving away my fucking ride here. What are you gonna do for me?

Yeah. Yeah. Are you digging on me?

Yeah. Yeah. I'm digging on you now baby.

First of all, if Joss Stone was digging on me, I'd be scared, petrified actually. She's got a good voice and all, but come on, she's a bit frightening.

Not as  frightening as my neighbour, out the back, who's been playing that fucking song over and over and over and over for fucking days.

Give it a rest you psycho! She'll never be digging on you, she's young enough to be your granddaughter.

So much for the joys of summer and open windows. Give me airconditioning and double glazing any damn day.

Christ I am turning into Victor fucking Meldrew. I've got reason to be grumpy though, it looks like they are going to start pissing on our party...

Have you see this article from the Independent the other day? You wouldn't to be a genius to see this coming. Shrooms have gotten too popular, and now it looks like the gov't is getting ready to act.

Or perhaps they are just making some noises about it they are really not going to do anything. Just leave us stoners and drug addicts alone! If I want to sit in my front room and see the pretty colours, what's the harm?

Right now, the tax man is getting his 17.5% VAT on the sale of shrooms. That market won't disappear if the gov't tightens up the rules, it will just go underground. When it does, it'll take that slice of the tax pie with it.

If Gordon Brown had his way, he'd slap VAT on weed, charlie, pills, smack, you name it. And he'd be right to do it, as long as we can all party like it's 1999.

Ok, big secret, I was shrooming earlier today, first time in weeks. I'm still a bit fuzzy headed from it. That's why this might not be making as much sense as it should. Then again, perhaps it's prose worthy of an award. Somehow, I doubt that.

The hippy has been mulling over a new contest. If I'm honest, and I'm always honest, my last contest was a bit of a dud. This time, I think I have a real hook to get you kids interested in my blog.

The hippy is going to give away his car.

That's right, you read that correctly. The hippy is going to give away his car. The hippymobile is up for grabs!

I can't think of a more interesting development. The northlondonhippy is giving away his personal transportation. If this doesn't promote my blog, I don't know what will.

I'll do up a new contest page, with all the details soon. And I really will be giving my car away to some lucky reader out there!

This time the contest is NOT a joke. You could be driving away in the hippymobile soon!


Friday, July 16, 2004

Hey ho hippy time!
 
I have a very good excuse for not dropping by for the last few days...the keyboard on my home PC packed up and died.
 
It was nearly 5 years old, a nice ergonomic wireless model, but it stopped working properly. I tried new batteries, I tried re-booting everything, but no luck. This morning I went up to my local high street shop and plunked down £25 quid on a new Logitiec corded keyboard.
 
Since I'm planning on replacing this computer (finally) in the next few months, I thought it wasn't worth spending too much. I could have bought an even cheaper one, but I wanted to go with a brand I trust.
 
Anyway, I'm back online and all is right with the hippy!
 
Well, that's not strictly true, but you'll note I'm limiting the amount of personal information I'm sharing at the moment. There's  a reason for this, but now is not the time to go into any more detail than that.
 
When I logged into blogger just now, I noticed that there are some new features, including the option of uploading photos. Let's try it out right now with the northlondonhippy logo!
 
Ok, I've tried it twice and it has failed both times. Either I'm really stupid or they are still working the bugs out of the system. I know which one I think is true!
 
There's so much I could write about today, from the miserable, muggy weather to the whitewash that is the Butler Report, but I can't be bothered. I'd say the weather is causing me to feel quite lethargic, though I was a good hippy this morning, besides picking up the keyboard, I made a trip out to my local super-dooper-supermarket and did a pretty big shop.  I think I can chill out and relax for the rest of the day.
 
Mrs. Hippy is off too and around all weekend. She's still getting over her bad cold and is not taking her planned trip to see her family this weekend. I've got dinners planned for the next 2 nights, so all is well.
 
That's it from the hippy, at least you know I'm still alive, around and rockin' on! That's more than I can say about some people.
 
 
 
 

Monday, July 12, 2004

Blah blah blah.

I just finished watching last night's Panorama and it wound me up so much that I had to log on and vent. A sane person would be going to bed right now, but when did I ever claim I was sane?

The BBC have done what they do best with last night's Panorama; they presented a well-researched, carefully laid out explanation of what went into Britain's case for invading Iraq. More specifically, it took a very in-depth look at how the intelligence was assembled, presented, distorted and ignored.

I won't begin to outline the details here as it would be beyond my capabilities or interest. I'm sure the clever surfer could find heaps of information on this broadcast, which I am sure will be repeated (and merits one soon!) if you live in the UK. If you don't, you might get lucky and someone will upload a copy somewhere.

It doesn't matter why the Blair's regime misrepresented the information presented to them by the intelligence services and more importantly the concerns raised by senior members about the veracity of it. Whether it was willful misinformation or plain incompetence is not the issue, all that matters is that it happened. They knew what they were saying about Iraq's capabilities was unreliable, yet they preached it like it was gospel.

You might have noticed I called the current UK government "Blair's regime" in the last paragraph. It's a loaded word, if you haven't noticed, it is always used to describe Saddam Hussein's former government. Kim Jong Il's "regime" in North Korea is another good example. Well this hippy has decided that Blair and Bush are worthy of the word as well.

Their "regime's" invaded a country knowingly under false pretenses. Over one-thousand US and British lives have been lost in the last 15 months and an estimated 11,000 Iraqis (Source: BBC Panorama) have died. And for what? For nothing more than a big steaming bowl of cunt soup.

You'll notice I quoted the BBC as a source in the above paragraph. I did it for a reason. The BBC is very reliable, last night's documentary is only further proof of that. I would imagine no factual programme in recent memory has probably been more rigorously fact checked and legalled from here to Xmas and back. I'm sure they can stand by every word of it.

One of the most impressive decisions made by the producers was not to draw conclusions, but to lay out the facts as given to the BBC by their named and anonymous sources and compare it with what Blair said publicly at the time. Viewers would be hard pressed to reach any conclusion other than the obvious one, that he cherry picked from the very thin speculation contained in the intelligence reports and presented it publicly as hard fact. Remember that it doesn't matter why he did it, only that he did.

Basically, if you believe that the BBC got it right last night, and I do, then Andrew Gilligan got it 98% right during his one questionable broadcast on the Today programme. That's a percentage I could live with on a story, how about you. He's vindicated so are Greg Dyke and Gavin Davis now that I think of it.

I'd like to be the first person to call for all three to be re-instated into their former positions, all with a decent pay rise and written apologies from the BBC board and the Blair regime. Oh, and Alistair Campbell too.

I'm sure the last thing Gilligan, Dyke and Davies would want is the internet's most shroomtastic stoner, yours truly, the northlondonhippy as their loudest cheerleader, but who knows? Perhaps this could be the launch of a grassroots call for them to be put right back where they were. Anything can happen if you really believe it.

Oh and Messers Dyke and Davies, don't be put off by the drugs and the whinging, if you wanted to offer me some highly paid position of prominence in your next venture, I wouldn't be unduly dismissive of any offer. I mean, let's face it, neither one of you are ready to retire and you’re both bound to land somewhere interesting. Keep me in mind, I actually have some rather revolutionary ideas to exploit. 'Nuff said.

Well that's my rant over with, perhaps now I'll be able to wind down and get some deeply needed zzzzzzzzzz's. Watch this edition of Panorama if you can, and sit there like me with your mouth wide open. Just don't let any flies get in.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I've really got nothing to say this morning.

Why are you still reading this?

Ok, I'll think of something.

The truth is I've not done very much since my last entry. I came home, I slept, I got up, watched tv, had a Chinese take-away, and slept some more. Mrs. Hippy has a bad cold, so she is sleeping a lot too. After I finish writing this, I'll probably have a spliff and go back to bed myself. Hey ho.

I'm working tonight, the first shift of three this week. I'm taking it easier for the rest of the month, I hope. After my 8 and 1/2 shifts in a row last week, I could do with things being more laid-back.

Less is more for the next month or two. Finding a balance would be ideal.

So everyone's jumping on the "Iraq didn't really have any weapons of mass destruction" bandwagon. Oooops, we got it wrong. Sorry. The CIA blew it, other intelligence agencies got it wrong too. The Butler Report comes out here in the UK this week, its expected to say the same thing. Tony Blair knew.

Check out THIS ARTICLE from today's Observer newspaper. The spooks told the gov't there were no weapons, but did they listen? Around a thousand "coalition" deaths and countless (uncounted!) dead Iraqi civilians later and they still won't admit the truth.

Fucking cockhead George W. (for wanker) Bush is still bleating on about the world being a "much safer place" with Saddam Hussein gone. No one believes you Georgie, I hope you get fucked so hard come the November election that your asshole bleeds!

You are singularly the worst president America has ever had, and after Nixon, that is saying something. You didn't deserve the job, you didn't really win the election, you don't have a clue about how the world really works. Fuck off back to Texas and tend to your cattle. Please!

Yes, I am hepped up a bit, but I blame Michael Moore. I had a "special screening" of Fahrenheit 9/11 a couple of days ago. It is very well made. Don't let anyone fool you, there is much truth contained in this film.

Michael Moore did his homework, did his fact checking. On his website, he talks about offering $10,000 to anyone who can find a factual inaccuracy in the film. He even provides sourcing on the claims made in the film, you can read them HERE.

What Michael Moore does, and does not apologise for is expressing his opinions of the facts. Moore's storytelling is effectively his interpretation of these facts. You can look at the same evidence and draw your own conclusions, though you would be hard-pressed to reach anything that differs from Mike's.

There's nothing in the film factually that I hadn't read or heard before, but what Michael Moore does is put it all into a coherent and clear structure all in one place. Whether you agree with his politics or not, this is a film you should see.

If this film helps to sway one voter away from Bush, it will have done it's job. Well done Mike.

Not much luck on the shrooming front, have not had the time or the good spirits to enjoy any lately. The NME says that this is the "summer of love" thanks to the availability and legality of fresh magic mushrooms. This worries me.

It really is only a matter of time before the government decides to piss all over the party and close the loophole in the law. The more popular they get, the more well known their availability becomes, the sooner some anti-drug scumbag will try to put an end to the fun. We can't let them take the FUN out of FUNgus, can we?

So what can we do? As one of the internet's most shroomtastic supporters of shrooming, I can only suggest we stick to keeping things safe and fun. People should do their homework before getting involved with shrooms.

All it is going to take is for one little kiddie to buy some at his local headshop and go a bit crazeeeee. Head up to Camden on a Saturday afternoon and you will see loads of underage suburban teens fresh off the mainline trains, ready to spend their weekly allowance on all sorts, including shrooms. Its only a matter of time.

Shroom sellers need to self-regulate and soon. They should only sell to over-18s, and give some advice with every purchase. The SHROOM SHOP, a well known wholesaler/retailer here in the UK offers an excellent example of this sort of thing and I hope they don't mind if I include a LINK to their "shroom protocol". It's worthy reading if you have even a passing interest in magic mushrooms.

Gosh, for someone who started out by exclaiming he had nothing to say, this hippy just filled a few pages. Grooooovin'!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

I'm not going to start out by telling you the time and date, if you are that bothered, I think Blogger date/time stamps each entry. Let's just say I'm at work with a bit of downtime and leave it at that.

I'm back on the rollercoaster of overworking, but I'm not complaining. During my 2 and 1/2 days off, mainly I caught up on some much needed sleep and I'm back, feeling fresh and ready to go. Rockin'!

Rather than ramble on aimlessly about this, that and the other thing, I thought I would try to tell a story from my past.

No, I haven't run dry, being a full time hippy provides me with a wealth of material. Maybe that's a stretch, but it gives me enough to keep things ticking over nicely. To be honest, things are a bit more unsettled than normal in my real life and I think its best to leave it alone for the time being.

Someone said something earlier that reminded me of some time I spent in Croatia and Bosnia, about 11 years ago. How's that for a link?

I was staying in Split, which is on the Adriatic Coast in Croatia. Once a resort town, during the height of the war it was mainly home to journalists and towards the end of the war, some western military ops were based there. I've been there a couple of times.

Split is actually a really nice place, certainly nicer now than it was during the war. The first time I was there, during the war, it was a bit of a ghost town. It was relatively safe and the nearest fighting was up the road in Medjugorje, on the Bosnian side of the border. This would have been Spring of 1993.

I was working with a correspondent from a country in the Far East. I won't give away the network, or even the country. Some things are best kept secret.

I liked the correspondent quite a bit, he was a good guy. He probably still is, but I haven't heard from him in over a decade. Hey ho.

I was in Somalia with him a few months before this and got him to smoke his first spliff there. He was about 50 at the time. The first time he tried it, nothing happened. The second time, he got quite high. I remember him describing it as feeling "like drunk, only not so dizzy." He sang karaoke non-stop for about 2 hours, before quickly retiring to his bed for a night of deep sleep. This guy was cool, as cool as he could be considering his age and background.

Back in Croatia, he was having a very frustrating time. His home newsroom would not allow him to travel anywhere near the fighting. He was not happy about this.

Life in Split wasn't too bad. Like most warzones I've been to, there was plenty of booze and cannabis. The food was surprisingly good, considering there was a war on. The cuisine is heavily influenced from Italy, just across the Adriatic. If you are ever there, I would recommend the Dalmation Ham (a variation on Parma Ham) as well as the seafood. The lobsters were huge, succulent and tender. Thank god for expenses is all I can say. Sometimes, you get a little taste of the high life. And they still had running water. Bliss!

All the journos were based at the Hotel Split, which under normal times would have been a holiday hotel catering to the package tourist, but these weren't normal times. Someone had thrown a hand grenade into the swimming pool, which was built over the dining room, causing a bad leak. It had to be drained, so no poolside cocktails. Also there were loads of soldiers hanging out, armed and in uniform.

One Saturday night, I was invited to the "disco" in the basement of the hotel. After a while, they put some martial music, proper marching songs and the local crowd began to sing along. I asked someone why they were all so excited by this traditional-sounding music and was told that they were "Croatian nationalist hymns". I was also reminded that during WW2, the Croats sided with the Nazis. 'Nuff said.

One thing you will notice, its actually hard to avoid is that women from Split are stunning. The locals will tell you, probably even now, that the best looking women in the former Yugoslavia are all from Split. Countless Ms. Yugoslavias and Ms. Croatia's have come from Split, not that I would expect anyone to keep score on the Ms. World or Universe pageants.

Now, during a war, there are precious few options for people to make money. The two I've encountered where-ever I've been have been the black market and prostitution. These industries flourish where-ever traditional economies fail.

In Split, back then, it was hard to avoid the hookers, they employed a very direct marketing strategy. Firstly, they would phone your room to ask if you wanted "the sex." If you declined, as this hippy did, the second line of attack was a knock on your door.

This happened to me. I opened my door to find a statuesque and attractive woman begging for my help. She had a long tale of woe concerning her landlord, her rent and a money transfer from overseas that had not appeared. She said she was looking for work as a translator/fixer, but we already had one, so there was not much I could do. She then asked if she could perform another job for cash, a BLOW JOB! Yikes! I gave her a little bit of cash from my expense money and sent her on her way.

Do you think that was the last I heard from her? Yeah right. Life is a learning curve, and I should have learned this lesson by now. If you help people once, they will always come back for more. Of course she came back, but I was able to brush her away without any hassle.

At the time, the main story was in a place called Medjugorje, in Bosnia. There were Spanish peacekeepers, trying to referee the fighting, so the Spanish networks were keen to self-cover, as was a large British broadcaster, and at the time, both agencies. There was no shortage of pictures to use.

Every morning, after breakfast, we would watch the other tv news teams pack-up and drive up the road to Medjugorje, where fighting was raging. We were left in Split, looking for a story.

Most days we wouldn't find one, there was precious little going on in Split, certainly nothing that would have been news-worthy. So we'd wait until the other crews came back and "borrow" their pictures.

Here's a big tv news secret: You don't have to film the pictures yourself to use them in your report. If you think your favourite tv news station has covered everything themselves, all around the world, you would be wrong. Most broadcasters subscribe to agencies, which provide general pictures of just about everything.

When a broadcaster sends a reporter somewhere, its so you can see them on camera. What that means is a reporter can record a voice track, and a stand-up (or piece to camera), then edit using anyone else's pictures and it will look like they did it themselves. "Borrowing" other pictures on the ground makes this illusion even more believable.

Not everyone does it this way, but many do. If you don't see the reporter standing in the exact spot where the story was filmed, they probably didn't go.

Now my friend in Split was specifically told he could not go to Medjugorje, but he needed to do his "piece to camera". Safety is always a concern in newsrooms and I don't actually fault them for not letting him go. He seemed jealous and envious that the others were being sent and he had to stay behind. I think it dented his macho-pride.

If we filmed his stand-up in Split, he would have to say he was reporting from Croatia in his sign off. That was not good enough when the story was in Bosnia.

He came up with a cunning plan to get around this. Rather than going to Medjugorje, where all the sexy bang-bang pix were coming from, he decided to drive to the border with Bosnia, step over the line and film his stand-up. Then he could say "xxxx reporting from Bosnia" and not look too stupid. They agreed with this because we went to a different part of Bosnia, far away from any possible danger.

My lingering memory of this trip remains my reporter friend waking up in the car as we drove from Split to the border, asking "are we in Bosnia yet?"

And that concludes a rambling tale from the hippy's past. Tune in next time for more exciting hippy adventures.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

What time is it? What day is it? If I hadn't checked, I wouldn't know. It's Thursday morning, about 7:20am. I've been awake for over 2 hours. My body clock is downside up, I'm completely off-kilter. I've done myself a night to day to night mischief.

I fell asleep last night around 5 or 6pm and slept straight through till 5am this morning. I must have needed it. Mrs. Hippy should have woken my lazy ass up, but she didn't. Bet she's not too pleased with this either.

What can I do? I've overdone it. I didn't even finish my last night of work, I only got through about a third of the night before I had to leave. I wasn't sick, or tired, I could have finished it, but I got some bad news.

The news was partially about my father and in part about my younger brother. I won't go into too much detail here and now, but lets just say my family problems are worsening and leave it at that for now.

At this point I am more detached from it all than ever; it's all more abstract than I could have ever hoped for or expected. The distance between me and the rest of my family has never been greater than it is right now. I am really and truly out of the game now.

I know this is all vague, but it is suprisingly liberating, knowing that it is finished for me.

I did hear from my mother a couple of days ago. She didn't have all that much to say, just that my father "sounds good" on phone when she speaks to him. Maybe he puts whatever strength he has left into sounding strong on the phone for 2 minutes once or twice a day. That's my interpretation of it. My family always opts for hiding the truth, especially when it is bad news. That wouldn't stop now, if anything it would become even more imperative.

My mother then handed the phone to one of her home-help people, the one who speaks English. She told me she was trying to organise getting my mother to the hospital to visit my father, which would be great, but there was some nonsense with the wheel-chair equipped van. Seems it was in the garage being repaired and loaner van is not capable of taking a wheelchair. Oh well it was a good idea.

She tried to tell me lots of other things, but I've decided it's best to live without the minutiae. The small details don't seem to add much for me. She offered to stay in touch with me, but I think it's best to know as little as possible. I listened to her without really taking any of it in. I didn't ask a single question.

When the call comes, it comes, and it will come. I don't need to know anything else until then.

Remember, the northlondonhippy is mainly about making life easier, yours and mine. Right now, especially mine.

I need to apply this philosophy to work as well, and soon. I've done too much already this month and while the remainder of July is not as bad, it is steady. I'm going to ease back in August, which is bad news for the 2nd choice employers, I'm not going to take on any work there in August. I feel like canceling the ones I've got in July, and it's only 3 more shifts anyway.

To be honest, I am really getting pissed off with employer number 2. Time for a hippy whinge: They still haven't paid me for May. That's nearly 7 weeks since I invoiced without any joy. It's not a huge amount of money, but it is the difference between staying in the black and going overdrawn. I am getting really fucked off.

I went to see the accountants on Monday. Turns out my invoice was sitting in an in-basket, already approved and coded, and waiting to be paid. No reason was given as to why it was not dealt with, nor was an apology offered. I confirmed my bank details and was promised that the money would be put directly in my account asap. It's still not there. I am going to throw a major wobbly today if when I check my balance, I don't see it.

To put this in perspective, employer number one (and soon to be only) paid my first invoice in 2 and 1/2 weeks, the second in less than 2 weeks. No muss, no fuss, quickly, efficiently and accurately. I like it!

This is probably become the major factor in my decision to put an end to employer number 2. The real question is whether or not I do the 3 shifts there this month. My current thinking is if they have not paid me by Friday, I am going to cancel those 3 shifts, invoice for the couple I've already done there and close that chapter of my freelance existence. Sounds like a plan to me.

Making life simple, that's my motto. Well one of them anyway.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Quarter to four AM, Sunday night into Monday and I am one tired hippy. When I finish this morning, I'll have a hundred hours under my belt over 8 nights, with one more 14 hour shift to go. I am really feeling it tonight. I probably even look tired.

When I finally get paid for all this, of course it will be worth it, but right now, I'm feeling more than a bit fucked.

I'm with employer number 2 this evening and they do not want me to stop working with them. They like me too, so much so, that they are offering me a bit more money, as well as possibly shortening the shift a bit. Wow, I didn't expect that.

I thought if I registered my observations and complaints about the situation here, it would end things, but it hasn't. They've listened and they might be in a position to do something about it. Wouldn't that be something?

They'll still never match the pay and conditions of employer number one, but it's certainly given me something to think about. Maybe I will keep doing a couple of shifts a month here. We'll have to see what their final offer is and decide from there.

I was involved in some street theater earlier. As I walked from the tube to the office, a very agitation and disturbed homeless person approached me. He was crying hysterically and talking to himself when I clocked him, naturally he made a bee-line straight for me. I didn't get most of what he was saying, because he was crying so much, but basically he was demanding money. I didn't give him any, and tried to walk away.

He grabbed my shoulder from behind and said he was "going to fucking kill me". I did a pivot and swing move which brought my right fist hard into contact with his face and he quickly ran off. This could have been a lot worse.

I wasn't so much upset as I was shaken; you don't expect this sort of thing to happen to you on a bright & sunny summer Sunday evening, especially in this neighbourhood. I lived in NYC in the mid 80's, which was a really bad time in the Big Apple. Events like this were common occurrences back then and I've had to fend off my share of nutters, just not in a long time.

That's the problem, the gov't closed all the asylums years ago and the severely mentally ill are free to roam the streets. "Care in the community" is what they call it, a bloody and potentially dangerous nuisance would be my label on the situation.

I shouldn't have to fight with people just to get to work. I can't recall the last time I actually committed an act of physical violence against anyone. I don't want to be in that situation ever again.

Oh god, I am tired. If you said "sleep" to me 3 times right now, I probably would. Roll on Tuesday morning, roll on some quality time with my pillows.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Hello hippyfans!

I hit the halfway mark of my mammoth run of work at 2:30am last night. I've now completed 62 of 114 hours across 9 nights! Yippie for the hippy....he's broken the back of it! Four more nights to go then I can rest a bit!

Before I forget, I need to tell you about a new band that is worth checking out called "godfucker". Their first single "Lubed-up for the lord" is one of the best love songs I've ever heard. If you are not familiar with their work, I strongly suggest you get down to your local retailer and buy a copy! Don't even think of downloading this one, it is worth your hard earned cash!

Imagine soaring harmonies, wicked guitars and lyrics that will bring tears to your eyes. "godfucker" is this week's hippy pick, dig it or lose out!

Yesterday my younger brother received a wealth of information about my parents current situation. Not from a relative or anyone with a blood link, but one of my parents' health care helpers, whom he spoke to on the telephone at great length. To be honest, it was far more information then I could possibly absorb in the short time I spoke to him.

The main headline is that my father is expected to be discharged today and sent home. To die. I don't really know what else to say to that. It really is only a matter of short time.

There's loads of other stuff that came out of his chat with this woman, who sounds really nice and non-judgmental, but I'll save it for when I'm more alert and together, whenever that will be...

Anyway, I really have to go now...

Oh and "godfucker", well, I just made all that up.



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?