Monday, June 25, 2007
Although, in my defence (and offering a further excuse) I would have managed to write this application earlier if my car hadn't decided to die a death today. Something involving tappets and worn cam shafts I believe - and none of it any good! So, if anyone would like to donate a new engine - or indeed a new car - to a struggling writer then please get in touch! :-)
Anyway, enough waffling about me...this morning, while meandering amongst the Guardian Jobs page (a perennial favourite) I happened upon the following position - European Healthy Stadia Project Manager.
The problem of ill stadiums has been largely ignored by the medical profession but, with the Olympics coming up on us fast, it's obvious that they're trying to act before it is too late. I mean, just imagine if you had to cancel a major event because Wembley Stadium had contracted a case of the chickenpox?
However, as tempting a job as this was, I soon stumbled across something bigger, something more exciting - something which was surely a much better fit with my particular skillset. So, today, I have applied to be the Director of Events at the Royal Albert Hall.
Being a very cultural sort, I felt this was right up my street as it served to couple my inventive nature with my keen understanding of how to entertain the cultural elite. The job description called for "the creativity to identify and develop opportunities for new programming ideas."
I was determined that my application should give me a place to express some of my highly innovative and creative ideas by suggesting some opportunities that they had perhaps, hitherto, overlooked.
Obviously, the Royal Albert Hall is synonymous with classical music, opera and ballet but I felt if it was to appeal to the common man it needed to find some events that were less elitist and which offered great inclusion and accessibility. Hence, for starters, I have proposed Celebrity Mud Wrestling, Opera Karaoke (with a pitcher of beer and free curry thrown in for the price) and spicing things up a bit by luring the Adult Video News awards away from Las Vegas...
I'm certain that when they read my glittering and bold vision, they'll soon be whisking me down to London to start planning their event calendar...
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Today I found the book (which is released in July) had a listing on Amazon! Apparently it is a collection of "Narrative nonfiction at its cutting-edge best from writers at the cusp of recognition and fame."
The editor published the book with the intention of finding "new voices and innovative ideas — essays and articles written with panache and power."
I am quite pleased that someone thought I fell into either of these categories. However, I am not quite so certain about the old 'at the cusp of recognition and fame' bit - unless it's a bloody big cusp, that is...
Sunday, May 06, 2007
"...the biggest - and sexiest - competition of its kind, with a prize to make any aspiring model go weak at the perfectly-formed knees. Fill out the form below and then submit your pictures for a chance to win £10,000 and a place on the FHM cover. Good luck!"
Now, I realise that a competition is not quite a job - but it's pretty close and winning the competition would ensure that I would receive a "guaranteed modelling contract with a respectable modelling agency with whom we have a strong relationship."
From what I understand of the High Street Honeys competition, it is traditionally aimed at female entrants but - since I didn't see anything in the rules that prohibited males from entering - I figured I might as well have a good go. So, I started by reading FHM's six easy steps to taking a winning Honey's photo...
Step 1 - Do Wear Black
This wasn't too much of a problem for me since the vast majority of my wardrobe is in black. It would have far been harder to find something that wasn't black. Getting a suitable pose involved taking a look at some of last year's finalists, digging out the digital camera and - one quick ponce around in front of a door later - I'd captured my first FHM picture. I then made it black and white for a more artistic look...
Step 2 - Do Utilise Your Surroundings
I didn't have many surroundings to utilise - but I did have a door so I stood in front of it...
Step 3 - Do Be Proud
Apparently, if you have won an award, you shouldn't be afraid to show it in your photo. It was at this point that I cursed my misfortune in not stumping up the necessary cash to purchase my 2006 Editor's Choice Published Poet Ribbon Award Pin - just think how proud I would have been if I could have managed to get that into the photo!
Step 4 - Do Venture Outside
Once in a while, I find that I must abandon my PC and venture out into the world that lies outside my living room - it doesn't happen often but, fortunately, I managed to capture the momentous occasion on camera and used this for my second FHM picture....
Step 5 - Do Remove the Bra
FHM give the handy advice that 'half our last top ten lost the mango-hammock and got to the final!". Not possessing mangoes (or indeed any other kind of exotic fruit), let alone said hammock, I felt secure in the knowledge that I had done my best...
Step 6 - Do Show a Little Nip
Ok, so I fell at the final hurdle; both of my entries were completely nipple free - and, may I point out that any comments along the lines of 'but you made a tit out of yourself' would be almost entirely predictable...
So, with my pictures sorted I just had to complete the online entry form (I decided to name 'My Mum' as the person who had nominated me) and agree to the terms and conditions (which would, should I be chosen to reach the final 10, prevent me from appearing on the covers of rival magazines such as Maxim or Loaded). Now I just have to sit back and wait for that ten thousand pound modelling prize to fall into my lap...
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
So, the story starts because my wife is a foreign national and has a visa that permits her to stay in the UK for two years.
Now, since my wife's passport has expired and is with her consulate being renewed, I contacted the immigration service at the point in time where it would be possible to apply for a new visa allowing her to permanently settle in the UK - this was the 23rd March - and asked what the situation was when applying for a new visa without a current passport. No problem, said they, you can send in the application with a covering letter but - they said - it would be easier if you could wait until nearer the time (which happens to be tomorrow, April 19th) in case the passport becomes available to pick up.
Ok, I thought - no problems; I'll wait until the very last day then, if the passport becomes available we can send it off and, if it doesn't, I just send the covering letter that I've got prepared...
Well, the passport still wasn't ready by this morning so I got ready to send off the application. However, while putting together the package to send I realised that I'd made an error on one of the pages of the application form so I hopped online, googled up the form - it's a SET(M) form if you're interested - and pulled up the PDF file.
The application form looked completely different.
Assuming I'd clicked the wrong file I navigated back and checked - nope, this was the SET(M) file and there was some text about it having changed on April 2nd 2007...a small alarm bell started to ring in my head...
I flicked through the information - from April 2nd, the form and application process had changed and, not only had the fees more than doubled (£335 to £750), but there was a requirement for all applicants to have passed something called the Life in the UK test.
To say I was displeased is an understatement - I could have posted the form with a covering letter on the 23rd March but only held off because the immigration service told me it would be easier if I waited. Of course, they neglected to mention that if I waited I'd also incur an extra £415 in application fees, plus a £34 test (and the £10 book you need to revise the information from!).
It got worse.
I rang the immigration department and explained the problem. To paraphrase, they told me 'tough'. Apparently this change had been in the news so I should have known about it. Not only that but - because my wife hadn't passed the Life in the UK test (since we didn't even know it existed until this morning and you can't take it within seven days of booking it) she can't apply for the settlement visa but must, instead, apply for an extension of stay until she can take the Life in the UK test...
The extension visa costs £395 and will last a month or two until she has to take the test, at which point we will have to pay an additional £750 to apply for a settlement visa. So, due to the advice of the immigration service, the cost of the visa has risen from £335 to £1189 (a not entirely insubstantial increase of 355%).
And, just when I thought the day could get no better, I read about the Life in the UK test...
Apparently, the sort of information that you need to know in order to be deemed fit to live in the UK is as follows (and I've taken this from the website!):
- What and when are the Patron Saints' Days of the four countries of the UK?
- What type of constitution does the UK have?
- What are the powers of the devolved administrations?
- What are quangos and non-departmental public bodies?
- How is education different in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?
- Who can offer information on occupational or personal pensions?
- What documents must a child have before they can work?
Never mind that my wife works in Higher Education, has a Bachelor's in Linguistics and knows considerably more about how to use the English language than I do - it is obviously far more important that she knows about the powers of the devolved administrations and what documents children need before they can work...
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
What does this mean for you if you want to leave a comment for me? Well, probably that it will take a day or two until I get around to checking out and approving (or deleting, if you're a spam merchant) your comment...
Sorry I've had to change things but there's only so many of these things I can take!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
While taking an idle wander through the Guardian jobs site this morning, I happened upon a role which intrigued me. And while I was sure it may prove to be hard work, I was certain that I could rise to the occasion as a Resident Sex Therapist at the
As well as running workshops based on various exhibits (details of exactly what exhibits were rather vague) I would be tasked with creating touring exhibits. This led me to consider suggesting some form of sexual performance on a tandem – not only a vitally interesting touring exhibit but also extremely environmentally friendly). Additionally, I would have to be ‘on hand’ as a resident Sexpert to assist staff in engaging with the public (although, I have to say, I think this is taking the idea of staff development a little too far).
The chief requirements mentioned in the advert were that the candidate needs to be ‘dynamic, energetic and charming’ – three characteristics which I’m certain I can manage to fake during the course of an interview. I could turn up in a hurried fashion wearing a business suit (dynamic), tell the interviewer she’s wearing a smashing blouse (charming) before peeling off said business suit to reveal lycra shorts and vest and jogging out of the interview room (energetic). A plan that surely has success written all over it.
The person specification asked that candidates have a degree in the field but I’m certain that having studied the first year of an Economics degree should more than enough qualify me for the position. In my application letter I made sure that my overwhelming enthusiasm and creative thinking shone through:
I wish to apply for the position of Resident Sex Therapist, as advertised on the Guardian jobs site and have attached my CV for your consideration.
I am dynamic, energetic and charming and feel that I am fully capable of demonstrating these characteristics within an interview environment. However, I also have a huge enthusiasm for the job and possess a wide variety of creative ideas that I believe could catapult the Academy to the very forefront of sexual therapy.
Certainly I feel there is considerable potential for touring exhibitions – perhaps a series of outdoor demonstrations to fire both public and media interest? I would be happy to discuss my ideas with you in more detail and look forward to hearing from you soon…
I’m certain that the
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Then, on the 2nd of November, poetry.com realised they needed to up the ante as I received the following email:
Over the past several months, we have been reviewing the thousands of poems submitted to us, as well as examining the poetic accomplishments of people whose poetry has appeared on the Internet and in various editions released by other poetry publishers in
Congratulations on your accomplishment, Oliver. This is an extraordinary honor. The International Who's Who in Poetry will be among the finest quality and most interesting books we have ever produced, and poets from several nations around the world will be featured. Each poem published will be exhibited on a page by itself. Every aspect and design of this anthology will display an uncompromising level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. This coffee-table quality book will be printed in two colors on fine milled paper, and it will feature a highly detailed, ornate cover and quality typography throughout. It will make a handsome addition to any library, a treasured family keepsake, or a highly valued personal gift.
Obviously I was elated with this news - a ringing endorsement of my poetic credentials - but, again, they needed a small amount of money from me - $49.95 for the book, $19 for postage and handling and a (nominal) fee of $25 to prepare and print my artist's profile. It was such a wonderful offer but I just couldn't quite bring myself to shell out all that money (even for such a finely crafted anthology) and so I resigned to not hearing from poetry.com again...
And was therefore surprised when, on 27th December, I received a further email from poetry.com that was so exciting that I almost collapsed in shock. Thankfully I was sitting down when I opened the email:
The Editors of The International Library of Poetry were thrilled to inform you that your poem was bestowed the prestigious Editor's Choice Award because of your artistic accomplishments and unique perspective--characteristics found in the most noteworthy poetic works. To further commemorate this prestigious achievement we have elected you to receive the 2006 Editor's Choice Published Poet Ribbon Award Pin.
This stunning pin proudly displays your elevated status in our poetic community. Since only an elite group of published poets were selected to receive this special honor, imagine the sense of pride you will feel when others see you wearing the 2006 Editor's Choice Published Poet Ribbon Award Pin. What an impressive way to show off your status as an honored poet for the year 2006!
As you can see from the picture above, the pin in question is clearly an exquisite work of art and - were it not for the $19.95 plus $5 shipping - would be extremely tempting to any would be poet. Since receiving the email, many have been the times that I've reflected on the sense of pride I would have felt when others saw me wearing it. Oh well, I guess it just wasn't to be...
And then, just when I had resigned myself to the fact that poetry.com was only interested in me for my money, I received a (frankly stunning) email from them on the 13th January which surely demonstrates that they are interested in me - first and foremost - as a poet and artist:
It's something we don't often do, but after reading and discussing your poetry, the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Library of Poetry has nominated you for membership in the most exciting poetry organization in the world--the International Society of Poets!
The Editorial Advisory Board wholeheartedly agrees that your poetic writings warrant nomination into the International Society of Poets--a poetry organization that is world-renowned and dedicated to recognizing poetic talent such as yours. As Chairman, I want to personally inform you about all the new benefits of Membership, and I did not want you to miss out on this opportunity. Oliver , I know that after hearing what we are about, you will join us as a member of our society--the International Society of Poets!
The excitement was palpable (which is surely the best kind of excitement). I am so glad that the quality of my poetry is due to be recognised within my own lifetime. Now, I just need to find $149 for my annual membership fee and I can join my poetic brethren...
Friday, January 19, 2007
The previous highest number of visitors in one day was way back when on September 19th when the blog was featured on the Guardian's newsblog and 1,200 of them turned up...
However, these last couple of days have seen over 3,000 visitors a day, which may not be much for a mega blog but - for me - is quite impressive. However, I must confess, it has made me feel slightly guilty about not doing applications on a more frequent basis.
Although, not so guilty that I'm going to go back to doing an application every day because I'm just too busy. Really. It's not just an excuse for laziness (trust me, I know them all)...
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Firstly, the blog was chosen to Website of the Day on yesterday's Steve Wright show (which was nice) and this inspired me to get off my bottom and finally post job no. 75...
Secondly, an American company got in touch to ask if they could include two of my blog entries (Jobs 51 and 52) in an anthology of the best creative non-fiction to be published later this year. So look for me in hardback sometime over the summer!
Well, with all that news shared I feel a strong desire for a big mug of tea (and perhaps a biscuit or two). I'll try and make sure I post at least one job a month from now on...honest!
Well, with the pressures of academia currently restricting my job hunting, I have decided to try and restrain my applications to an altogether more reasonable monthly basis for the time being…
However, when a friend of mine on MySpace pointed me in the direction of Cardiff Council and their urgent requirement for a ‘Friends Organiser’, I felt compelled to offer them my assistance in their time of need…
The job description wasn’t entirely clear on how many friends I would need to organise or, indeed, exactly what organisational methodologies they were hoping to see put to use in the role. Organising one’s friends on the basis of age and gender is quite a simple task (certainly no more than a part-time role) so I think that, in order to justify one’s position, it is important to find new ways to sort out your acquaintances. I feel it is vital that any system to organise friends allows one to rapidly distinguish, for example, between those friends who are afraid of mustard and those who enjoy collecting lint. In my application form I wanted to demonstrate some of these innovative ideas:
I believe I could bring a strong organisational background to the position and, with recent experience of statistical analysis, I am capable of utilising a range of organisational methods.
Since gender and demographic based filtering is very much old hat, I would recommend (subject to available data) alternate filtering schemes such as physical dimensions, entertainment preferences, dietary requirements and political persuasion. This would enable rapid structuring into manageable sub-groupings.
I am certain that Cardiff Council will be tremendously impressed by my ideas and, if selected for interview, I intend to use this time as an opportunity to explain just how my organisational system would allow you to efficiently sort out your lanky, abseiling, steak loving Socialist friends from your dumpy, painter, brussels sprout eating Liberal Democrat friends…
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Very busy with my MA at the moment - just completed my first major assignment (went a bit overboard and did 18,000 words - sure the tutor will love me for that) and I'm busy working on all the various bits and bobs for the next couple of assignments. Enjoying it immensely but do feel a tad guilty that I've not managed to add to my job count for a while...
However, I can promise that there will be an update later on tomorrow. Try and contain your excitement. No, please do...