Urban Exploration and Industrial Estates: The New Ghost Towns?

All painted up and no where to go.

My daughter has had a fascination with old dilapidated buildings since college. I remember taking her out on photo shoots of the many Industrial Estates around the area that had lost a lot of business to a continuing economic downturn.

Considering that I used to patrol a lot of these estates when I worked in Security, it felt strange to pass these same buildings that only a few years previously had been bustling businesses.

Only the weeds are growing.

A lot of these places I’d delivered office supplies to in a previous job. At no time during my office supply days did any of these thriving places seem close to financial ruin. I remember smiling faces at the reception desk and helpful hands taking the supplies from the back of my van. A cup of tea or coffee would be offered and if I had time, I’d accept. Coffee, biscuits and gossip then on my way.

No cars, no security.

My daughter would always ask what building housed what business. When was the last time I’d been there. Did I know anyone who still had access to the buildings so we could take pictures inside. The answers varied, but, in each case I knew of no-one who could let us inside. It seemed a shame then and does now. I would have liked to have seen if they all resembled the deserted place I’d been in before.

Not down yet.

I remember when my daughter (Meg) finished her last year at University, we collected all her things from her shared house and put them in the handy HomeStore Self Storage warehouse in Ipswich. It sat at the end of Ransomes Europark and we had to drive past a lot of ‘dead’ businesses to get there. Because of the ease involved with entering and leaving the place we went there a lot.

We passed the old business where I had collected old office furniture years before. The one that was so disquieting and surrealistic. Each time we drove past I wondered who, if anyone, ever went into the building now.

Still empty after all these years.

As times continue to force more and more businesses under the hammer. Industrial Estates are becoming the new ghost towns of this millennium. All that’s missing are the rolling tumbleweeds and the lonely blowing wind.

Tumbling tumbleweed.

2012 Olympics…Nero and His Fiddle

As the start date of the 2012 Olympics draws near, I cannot help but look at the money that was spent and is being spent by the government and shudder.

The state of the English economy is appalling. Along with every other country in the world England is struggling to meet it’s financial obligations. Daily we are treated to more ‘knee jerk’ solutions to our financial dilemma.

Pension ages have been raised along with the workers contribution, while the payable pensions are being reduced. Cutbacks, pay freezes, job redundancies, businesses going broke, public sector jobs being farmed out to companies who then hire workers at slave wages. I could go on and on about the financial horrors that the great English public are facing on an daily basis, but I think I’ve made my point.

In eleven days time the 2012 Olympic games will officially commence. The amount of money that the government has spent on this ‘event’ is in the billions. I have no idea how much has been spent on advertising the games or how much has been set aside to ‘fund’ the torch relay that will culminate in the opening of the games. You can bet the bill is massive.

Television advertisements are being shown as often as possible to evoke some sort of national pride in the games. With special emphasis being placed on the Paralympics and local news relaying the relay of the Olympic torch‘s progress. The British public is being inundated with coverage of the games before they’ve even started.

But no one is asking the question, “Can we really afford to be supporting this?” This multi-billion pound ‘business’ venture that may or may not even pay for itself? The organisers can’t even afford to provide adequate security for the Olympic venue. G4S cannot come up with the physical numbers required so it has been decided that the military will have to help.

The same military that, like other ‘governmental employees’, is having it’s numbers cut-back to the bone and is already massively over-tasked.

I feel as though the British government is suffering from a huge amount of tunnel vision concerning the games and their possible net profit benefits to English coffers.

The emphasis on the spectacle of the games has a “whistling through the graveyard” feel to it. Even worse is the knowledge that while the British economy is burning to ash and rubble, the government, just like Nero, are madly playing their fiddles while more jobs, lives, and businesses go up in smoke. 

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning
Spring cleaning (Photo credit: Bianca Nogrady)

Okay, I know that I’ve kind of missed the spring cleaning season. But not by a lot. Especially if you go by the weather. The calendar may say summer, but the weather says spring. That’s my excuse and I’m not changing it.

I’m not referring to the spring cleaning you do to your house. I talking about spring cleaning my ‘blog’ and it’s dusty contents.

I’ve made it pretty well known that I am a wordpress junkie. When I decided to make the switch from Blogger I moved all my old posts over with me. So there are quite a few that haven’t seen the light of day for a while. So I have been dragging them out and giving them a good old dusting off.

I have also been ‘tarting’ them up a bit. You know, adding a few pictures, putting in some links and giving them some tags and categories. In essence making them look prettier.

I’m sure I can hear some of you grumbling. A few of you muttering under your breath about ‘re-runs’ and serving up the same old crap again. I guess that my only excuse is that like a Thanksgiving turkey, you’ve got to keep serving it till it’s all gone.

If you don’t like that metaphor (or is it an allegory, I’ve always had a tendency to mix the two up) think of it like television. If I skip the idea that I am spring cleaning. I can always say that I’m giving folks another chance to see the original before moving into the fall season.

I guess if I am honest with myself, the reason I’m trotting out the ‘older’ posts, is a (perhaps misplaced) sense of pride. I like  my old posts. And I kind of want the folks who follow me, or just stop by for a quick visit, to see if they like em.

Almost like a proud parent dragging their child out to ‘perform’ for the visiting relatives. “Wow, Mike. that kid of yours can really sing!” (or dance, act, juggle, I’m sure you see where I’m coming from here). If you don’t like that image, replace with, oh I don’t know, a performing dog or cat.

I can also admit something else. Here, come in a little closer, I don’t want everyone to hear this. I’m sometimes a little bit lazy. Did you get that? I don’t want to have to repeat it. I don’t want it to get out too much.

So there you go. If you’re wondering why I’m shoving leftovers in front of you, now you know.

I’m a lazy proud papa who wants to show off his ‘babies.”

Jobs

English: Chris rock at the Madagascar 2 premie...
English: Chris rock at the Madagascar 2 premiere in Israel. עברית: כריס רוק בבכורה של מדגסקר 2 בישראל (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The comic Chris Rock does a brilliantly funny routine about jobs versus careers. Chris says, ” When you’ve got a job there’s too much time. When you have a career you don’t have enough time.” “People who have careers need to learn to shut the f**k up around people who have jobs. Don’t let your career make someone else sad!” I love his whole routine about the differences between the two.

It did make me think though. My whole life has been spent doing jobs. When I was younger  I had an idea of what I wanted to do for a career. But that, unfortunately, never panned out. And I have had jobs that, like Chris says, made me shout, “I HATE THIS JOB…I HATE IT!

So what differentiates a job from a career? The definition I hear most folks use is this: “I can’t believe how lucky I am to get paid to do this! I’d do it (what-ever it is) for free!” This is always said by someone who has a career. You know who I mean; actors, musicians, writers, etc. I have never heard someone who has a job say this. By job I mean; street sweepers, meat packers, factory workers, et al.

But not everyone has the same idea of what defines a job or a career. I personally think the main difference between the two deals with passion. Most people work jobs that they loathe, just so they have the money to (besides taking care of their basic needs) indulge their passions. At the risk of sounding like a school ma-arm I will go ahead a call these passions hobbies.

Most people have hobbies. Whether they collect stamps, train-spot, or bird watch these folks all share a common feeling. A passion for their hobby. Most of us have to live our lives working jobs that enable us to indulge our passions. A select few have  been lucky enough to get paid to ‘work’ at their hobbies.

So while it is irritating to not have the privilege of getting paid for our passions, we can at least take comfort in knowing that a lot of folks share our fate. And like the old saying goes, “Misery loves company.”