Work Musing

Continuation of the posting of early ‘blogs’ from the vinceunlimited website

Have to attend a work related interview today and it has made me think again about my career.

I work in the construction industry, not through choice but fate.  I despise everything about it but year on year the fiscal reward has been growing.

I dislike the way that it limits creativity, is a male dominated, brutish, dirty environment and now only concerns itself with money.

Service and pride have become lost concepts and the industry is full of parasitic consultants.  I should know, I work as one!

I work mainly through one agency and they pitch my skills to suit the job – I have become a specialist in nothing more than fitting into any role they ask.

Whilst this provides interesting variations in an otherwise tedious job it does prevent me from climbing up away from my present level into further management.  A role I would be much more suited for, mainly because that is where all the hyperbole I have learnt on the way would be of most use.

The flooding of New Orleans is dominating world news at present.

Personally I have never been there and had no wish to.  The place is primarily the home of Jazz music which has always been overhyped nonsense and reminds me of tunes that a Country and Western band might rehearse with before they actually hit on the melody.

Awful that the situation is that the poor townsfolk find themselves in I couldn’t help doing what the English tend to do in these situations, cracking a joke or two.

I suggested that, as always in these situations, the entertainment industry should show their support by staging a fund-raising concert or two.  I suggested a recital of Handel’s Water Music, a performance of Riverdance and a staging of the Merchant of Venice.  Don McLean could adapt his American Pie song to ‘Drove my Chevy to the Levee and the carburettor flooded…’ and there could be special showings of Kevin Costner’s epic Waterworld.

Does all this frivolity in times of international horror make me a bad man?

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 23 Apr 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 8 Sep 2005

Site For Sore Eyes

A television situation comedy by Vince Poynter

This, the first Sitcom to emerge from the brainchild of vinceunlimited, is Site for Sore Eyes.

The concept is about the trials and trepidations of work on a building site. Without the colourful language and exposed butt cheeks.

Below is the beginning of the first, pilot, tv episode.

Note: This is a project commenced and ripe for development so if you want to help this see the light of pixels get in touch and we’ll talk.


Site For Sore Eyes

A Pilot Situation Comedy Script for Television by Vince Poynter

Photograph of a tipped construction lorry laying beside a tall crane on a building siteThe scene is set

Phase One – Pumped Up

Mess Hut – A site shed, with benches and table. Very untidy. Calendar and site safety notices on the walls. Tea making equipment, old tabloid newspapers and broken cups on the benches. Rubbish around on the floor.

Two pipe fitters are in the hut, drinking tea. One is reading a tabloid newspaper and eating his sandwiches, all that is seen are his hands grabbing the curled up sandwiches, his face hidden by the paper. The other is wearing a tatty Walkman listening to music with his eyes closed. His fingers drum out a beat on his thigh.

Bill Clark enters. He is a Pipe-fitting Foreman in his fifties. A know it all from the old school. He pushes past the reading fitter.

Bill: “Morning lads.”

The fitters grunt acknowledgement, without moving. Bill places his bag on the table, sits between the other two and starts to prepare tea. This is a well-rehearsed routine.

Bill: “Sugar.”

The fitter with the paper slides the sugar along the table without raising his head.

Bill: “Tea bag.”

The other fitter reaches down to the ground and flicks a tea bag in the air, straight into Bill’s cup.

Bill: “Milk.”

As he says this he extends his cup towards the reading fitter. The fitter’s hand appears with the milk bottle and pours straight into the cup.

Bill: “Kettle on?.”

The other fitter swings round, picks up the kettle from the floor and pours the hot water straight into the cup, all without looking. Bill stirs the tea and takes a sip.

Bill: “Ahh. Tea. Lifeblood. See the match last night lads?”

The fitters grunt.

Bill: “Did you see that second goal. I haven’t seen a ball hit as hard as that since my Aunt Deirdre swiped old uncle Bob with his own golf club. Nine iron I think. Painful.”

The fitters squeak.

Bill: “Our man was on top form yesterday. Still they need the points if they want to stay up this season. After all, top teams aren’t built in a day.”

The fitters grunt.

Bill: “I reckon if they stopped going for the classic four, four, two and used a sweeper, winger …”

Tim Peterson entering cuts Bill short. Tim is a sixteen-year-old first year pipefitting apprentice with natural fallibility. He is obviously late and knocks things about as he rushes to his seat.

Tim: “Morning Bill. Morning lads.”

The fitters and Bill grunt. Tim quickly looks about for a tea mug and can only find a chipped old one with a missing handle. Unlike Bill, he doesn’t receive the help in making his tea, in fact when he searches for the items they are moved away from his sight by the others. This slows down the process of preparing the drink and allows for some interplay and visual slapstick. When he finally pours out his drink, the others, in unison, stand up, clear their items away and leave the hut. Bill and Tim are the last to leave. Bill is sorting out a specification and Tim is trying hard to cool down his drink, by frantically waving an old newspaper over it, whilst sipping.

Bill: “Oh. Tim. Did you get that new bubble for my spirit level on your way home yesterday?”

Tim: “No, sorry Bill. They said the ones they had in stock were damaged. They said they were hoping for a delivery today and I was to go back.”

Bill: “Did they tell you that the new ones would come in bubble wrap?”

Tim: “Yeah. That’s just what they said.”

Bill: “I thought so.”

Tim: “So, what are we on today?”

Bill: “We’re in the plant room. We’ve got to modify those pumps Mike told us about before he went.”

Tim: “Mike eh. Who would believe it? Fourteen million quid. What would you do with your share of that, Bill?”

Bill: “Not waste time talking pumps with you. That’s for certain.”

Tim: “I reckon I’d buy this company and make the old man redundant. I can’t understand why Mike just disappeared like that. I mean, he didn’t even trash the computers in the office. How sad.”

Bill: “And get himself sued. With all that money you become a target and I bet the old man would’ve tried it on. No, Mike is best out of it. I would probably just leave too. Jobs like this always seem to go on forever. This one’s been going for ten months already and it will probably see out my retirement the way it’s going. The Colosseum wasn’t built in a day, you know. Come to think of it, if Mike was doing the Colosseum it would probably still be a pile of rubble now.”

Tim: “It is.”

Bill: “Don’t be facetious.”

Tim: “Will the new engineer be any good?”

Bill: “Probably not. Them suits are all the same. More interested in their company car and expense account than the job. And most couldn’t build a sand castle on Bournemouth Beach let alone a big job like this.”

Tim: “So you’ve known a few in your time then.”

Bill: “Just a few! I remember this suit once. Name of Rogers. Used to speak with a limp I recall. Drove a Cavalier. Didn’t know a thing. He thought six inch copper was what a policeman’s wife gets.”

They laugh.

Bill: “Anyway lad. Lets get a move on. These pipes won’t fit themselves and the new man will have enough to do without worrying about that.”

They leave the mess hut.

Click to continue reading the whole, completed script

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Situation Comedies section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 3 Jan 2018
First published in the vinceunlimited.co.uk website version 1.01 in Jan 2004
The image depicts a crashed lorry on a building site in Canary Wharf

Olympics

So rarely something happens that changes our perceptions so completely it takes you a bit by surprise.  The 2012 London Olympic Games was a rare example of this.  And from what I hear and read I’m not the only one who has had to re-focus their original opinion.

olympicbmw.jpg
An official Olympic branded BMW 320d passes by close to my front door

My thoughts about the ‘OGs’, as I shall refer to them to avoid a lot of finger pressing, started earlier than most.  Yes we all had a passing interest when we heard that we beat the French in the first game of the season by winning the rights to spend a fortune on the spectacle.  But a lot of thoughts turned elsewhere very soon.  After all, you can only do so many laps of French gloating.

But I thought there may be quite an overlap between the OGs and myself.  I earn my tech-spend money in construction and moved in close enough circles to think I may get some work out of this massive money-pit.  Not only in planning and commercially running some of the work but also in the likely delay and disruption claims that seemed sure to follow in the subsequent three years.

But the Lord Coe & Co had other plans and secured the construction via an alternate consortium who for some peculiar reason managed to build it all on time and within budget.  Leaving me with no pie encased finger and nothing to pick over later.

I was never asked to lift a finger to help.  And from history it seems this was a shrewd move by LOCOG.  Ahem.

So it was with the rest of you that I did the marathon ignorance of the whole caboodle until the organisers started a spectacle of individuals chundering through the countryside with a naked Greek flame.  Even then my cynicism vented through my first words as I tweeted ‘..As the Olympic torch relay passes from worthy individual to worthy individual. Each carefully selected from those without eBay accounts..’

olympiccoach.jpg
Another official Olympic vehicle passing by. This time a coach

But soon I became quite fond of the procession.  Instead of seeming repetitive the flame relay with its smart convoy of BMWs, buses and outriders became quite the thing.  I wanted to see it all but not so much as to bother to move from my front porch.  Then it went past the porch and I got all fan-like again.

I then had reason to visit London on a couple of occasions and felt a palpable frenzy in the air.  London, washed clean and made green by the preceding months rain, smelt fresh and the £11bn expenditure was everywhere.  Particularly in the never-ending barriers.  Even the Olympic lanes looked right.  And there was still a week to go.

And when the sport started and the infectious crowds recorded by our rightly partisan broadcaster got into the swing I started to regret not paying a small mortgage on the chance of seeing a sport I wouldn’t normally cross the park to observe.

And so normality got put on hold.  Meaning for me, I barely posted a Tweet.  Subconsciously avoiding tempting fate because as you all know if I said “Ooh, this is Good” almost certainly Katherine Grainger wouldn’t have won Gold and Steve Redgrave would have missed out on his hug.  And I couldn’t do that, could I?  Even worse I wondered how poignant praise may be if Johnny Terrorist suddenly decided to let rip.  In hindsight he seemed to have been as engrossed as we were.

I’m not saying everything was perfect as some commentators have suggested.  The overuse of the word historic for the event and individual contributions had been both abundant and annoying.  In wearing my pedant hat either everything is historic or nothing is.  A first woman’s boxing win may be classed as such but a double gold in two events or multiple successes or medalling may be repeated again.  And the event itself, no matter how much we enjoyed it is not historic in the way it was suggested.

olympicplane.jpg
Even aeroplanes parked up nearby for various visiting Olympic dignitaries

I also noticed not every medal winner was happy.  I’m particularly thinking of the Silver medallists.  When Gold was earned it was either great joy or relief.  Bronzees did the same.  But the guys who got Silver often looked pretty miffed.  I presume this is because Silver was seen as failing to get Gold.  The reason why Bronze medallion wearers were equally as proud as the Golden guys was that they could rightly be classed an Olympic medal winner.  And they weren’t fourth.

My final thought has to go to the legacy.  After all that’s what won the bid for the Brits over the French and The London Olympic Committee can be glad that this will manifest itself in two distinct ways.

Firstly the games legacy will inspire a nation of young fit athletes.  In Jamaica.

And more importantly, the London 2012 font will inspire a whole load of copycat writing. Mark my words [with an angular felt tip pen].