CCTV and Random Rants and Notes

CCTV-Cameras-1

I’ve recently installed a CCTV camera. It didn’t cost much, on the grand scale of things, and can be accessed from the internet if I so choose. It was a great purchase and gives me a little extra security in the knowledge that should someone be up to no good in my hood (lyrical gansta!) I may be able to identify them to the police with an extra special dollop of more chance of them getting caught by our local constabulary.

Cats. I’m not a fan. Yes they are cute and cuddly and make me laugh, but their poo stinks and most recently they keep activating my CCTV. Of course if I were to be fortunate enough to catch a cat doing something funny in front of my camera, all would be forgiven for a day or two at least. But until such a time, please stay away from my garden and my CCTV!

Something else that becomes a bit clearer with CCTV is the changes in the weather and sunrise/sunset. It was only what seems recently that sunset was about 10pm. Now it’s 9pm and it’s only early August. A reminder that time waits for no one. And it’s raining again. It must be summer!

Have you used Google Maps Streetview yet? I suggest you do and take a look around your neighbourhood. One thing I spotted, living close to a supermarket petrol station (gas station in the US) is how the prices have changed over the years. It’s remarkable how much the area has changed in some respects over such a relatively short period of time. New shops, frontages, hedgerows removed, flowers/weeds bigger, grass changed for gravel, paving added/removed, a lick of paint and new cars. Imagine if where you lived still looked exactly the same as it did when you moved there, assuming it was over 3 or 4 years ago. Wouldn’t life be boring?

So, it seems my employer has a new policy for advertised roles. Don’t take the best person for the role, take the most convenient. I’m not going to go into detail here, but mind blown! I would expect people to get a role based on proven competency. I proved I was competent, but unfortunately for me, I wasn’t convenient. Sad reason not to be given a chance, but true. And it sends the wrong message to the rest of the employees. Sometimes I really wonder why I even bother! I have so much more I can offer them. Alas, my chance will come so everyone keeps telling me.

Of course, after the bad news I get home from work and some fuckwit fool decides they need to have scaffolding installed at gone 6pm. So here they are drilling holes in the fricking wall while I try to chill after a busy day at work. But don’t fricking mind me. All fricking day to install it, but nope. Wait till the idiot gets home then we can annoy him!! (I know it’s not like this in reality, but it still sucks!). FFS!!

Another day another dollar. Speaking to a colleague at work about old TV programs and how TV in my day was much better than the reality tripe they put on nowadays. I’m sure those of a certain age remember things like The A Team, Knightrider, Airwolf, Dukes of Hazard, Starsky & Hutch, CHiPS, Bullseye, Price is Right, Blankety Blank etc. Great Saturday night entertainment for the family. Proper programming. Anyway, we got to talking about Dallas and Dynasty when it suddenly dawned on me that Game of Thrones is the modern day equivalent of Dallas or Dynasty. I’m not a fan of GoT myself, but I do see similarities albeit in a fantasy world as opposed to an oil field or farm. Even the sex appeal thing is the same (males remember Lucy in Dallas!?). Women liked Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing). Who incidentally also played the Man From Atlantis a short running series from the 70’s.

Why do other people always seem to get deliveries early in the day, yet I always seem to have to wait until late afternoon for mine? The only time I get early deliveries are when I’m not in. “Sorry we missed you!”

I like listening to music to chill me out on a Sunday evening. I especially like 60’s stuff but I still enjoy other decades. The 80’s was a wonderful decade too. So many different genre’s in the Top 40’s unlike today where its mostly rap. Also the other noticeable difference these days is that most songs seem to always have “Ft xyz, abd, etc” where as in earlier years songs where usually only credited to the original singing artist or group, not anyone who makes an appearance in the music video like today. Today it’s unusual to see a lone artist name on a song. Well I say song….a topic for another day.

And as it’s Sunday, a final shout out to the tw…idiot that decided we should work 5 days a week and have 2 days off!! You plonker!!

Advertisements

Does charity begin at home?

In 1984 Band Aid was founded by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-famine efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for Christmas that year. In November 2014 a new version of the song was recorded by artists under the name of Band Aid 30. The single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” sold over two million copies worldwide and raised more than $24 million. There was also a Band Aid 20.

There are more than 195,000 charities in the UK raising close to £80 billion a year. They employ a million staff. Some charities claim that almost 90p in every £1 donated is spent on ‘charitable activities’. Is it? Where is all this money going?

charities
Where does your donation go?

Many charities spend at least half of their income on management, strategy development, campaigning and fundraising. In England and Wales there are 1,939 active charities focused on children; 581 charities trying to find a cure for cancer; 354 charities for birds; 255 charities for animals, 81 charities for people with alcohol problems and 69 charities fighting leukaemia. All have their own executives, administrators, fundraisers, communications experts and offices, but few will admit they are doing exactly the same thing as other charities.
Take the case of Ethiopia. Two decades ago there were 70 international charities operating there, today the figure is close to 5,000. (Why does Ethiopia need so many?)
All charities with an income over £25,000 have to file independently audited accounts with the Charity Commission at a cumulative cost of £252 million in accountancy fees alone.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales claims that £53 billion of the £63 billion raised is spent on what it calls ‘charitable activities’, an impressive £8.41 of every £10 raised. But its definition of “charitable activities” is loose. Spending on “charitable activities” is defined in accounting rules as “all costs incurred by a charity in undertaking activities that further its charitable aims for the benefit of its beneficiaries”.

The RSPB hit the headlines after Sir Ian Botham said it was more interested in politics than wildlife. Is that true? Like many charities, the RSPB generates income from commercial activities – £21 million of its total £122 million income in the latest accounts.

But the costs of its commercial activities are £18.4 million, so only £2.6 million of the £21 million raised by selling things goes into the kitty for charitable purposes and administration. Of the £122 million total, the RSPB spent £115 million and retained £7 million for future use.

The £115 million can be split into £32.5 million generating its income and £82.6 million on what it classed as ‘charitable spending’ – roughly 72 per cent. But what does it class as ‘charitable expenditure’?

Some £4 million went on managing its membership, which raised £32 million. Most would regard this as an administration cost, rather than genuine charitable expenditure. Another £14.2 million was used for ‘Education and Communication’ and £34.7 million on ‘Research, Policy and Advisory’ – nearly £50 million on what could loosely be described on campaigns.

The final £29.6 million – just £2.57 of every £10 spent – was actually used for the proper front-line work that many donors might normally associate with the RSPB.

Is this why you donate money to charities? So that £2.57 of your £10 hard earned can go where it is needed the most?

1416070851073_wps_12_oxfam_graph_jpg
The Great British Rake Off

Oxfam is another charity stalwart, which claims on its website that it spends £8.40 of every £10 raised ‘saving lives’.

But it’s entirely possible, even probable, that only about half the money raised is actually used for ‘saving lives’. If every working adult and pensioner in Britain contributed £10 per month to charity, the money raised probably wouldn’t be enough to pay the salaries of the executives of our registered charities.

Charities have many ways of raising money but most controversial is ‘Face to Face’ fundraising, often called ‘charity mugging’ or ‘chugging’. Chuggers aren’t permitted to take cash directly from us. Instead they usually try to get us to set up a direct debit giving say £5 or £10 a month.

Most chuggers work for chugging agencies and are typically paid between £7.50 and £9.50 an hour. Charities will usually pay out between £80 and £120 for each person who agrees to set up a direct debit. This means that pretty much all of a direct-debit donor’s first year’s donations, and sometimes almost two years’ donations, will go to the chugging agency and the chugger.

Does this mean you should stop donating to charity? No. What I would suggest is that you check where your money is actually going before donating. You can do that on the aliveandgiving.com website. Or you could donate your time to your charity of choice by offering your services voluntarily. Your choice, but choose wisely.


*Excerpts in this article taken from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2835947/The-Great-British-rake-really-happens-billions-donate-charity-Fat-cat-pay-appalling-waste-hidden-agendas.html

Shall we play a game?

You know how this works. You buy a game for your PSx or Xbox. You put the DVD in to install the game. You install it, you try to run it and the very first message you get is that the game you just bought requires a patch/update. How can this be you say. The game has only just been released. It’s day zero for my game, yet it already needs an update? Why?

il_570xN.441147480_il04

Back in the good old days, you know when Pacman was current, there was no going back. The very first version of Pacman I played was on a yellow plastic Pacman type handheld that ran on 4 C size batteries. On these games, the ROM was burnt in. Once it was finalised at the factory there was no going back. No zero day patches, no updates. Of course, they did have bugs or glitches. Our Pacman game only had one slight niggle. You could clock the score. So once you got to 9,999 it reset to zero. The difficulty didn’t increase either. It was just the same old. Our challenge was to see how many times we could clock it. I remember my sister, mum and me all trying. A clip of this game in action can be seen on YouTube here and here. Ah, how nostalgic. I’m sure most of you above a certain age remember Space Invaders. Simple graphics, simple to play. Avoid getting shot at by the aliens. And who can remember Pong? Bip, bop. Bip. My parents bought a pong game. We played for hours. There wasn’t much to do in those days!!

Pong screenshot

Code for these games was also written pretty tightly. There was a limited amount of space in the ROM (later on RAM too) so space was at a premium. There used to be competitions whereby people created demo’s of their code, called the demo scene, and there were different restrictions on the amount of space that could be used. There were 4kb, 16kb, 32kb and 64kb categories. Some of these had music in them, but mostly they showed graphics that were way before their time. Polygons, tessellation. It was all very clever. The best demo, according to a set of judges, won. There were competitions all over the world. At that time the internet didn’t really exist. It was all done by BBS’s (Bulletin Board Systems). This is where someone dialled into a computer using a modem. The receiving side also had a modem allowing the two computers to talk, in a very similar way to how the internet and networks works today, but much, much slower. If you had a 33.6k modem, you were doing well. The standard at the time was 14.4k. The exchange took place over the copper wires of your telephone line, of which the speed was restricted due to the copper wire. Of course, you couldn’t use your phone for voice calls when you were doing this. By todays standards this was an extremely slow method of transferring files (1Mb of data could take easily over 30 minutes), which is why the code was written to be as small as possible. If you are curious and have a PC, head on over to scene.org where you can download some more recent and archived demo’s.

This day and age with more life-like graphics and Bluray drives and 30Mbps+ internet connections becoming common place, space is no longer at a premium like it once was. We download Gb’s of data monthly and if we choose, do not even get physical copies of our games these days. They stay in the cloud. Graphics cards today are much more capable than the EVGA (if you were lucky) cards of old. In fact, even an older graphics card today has more processing power than a PC of the 80/90’s.

Although software companies employ testers for their games it seems they are using the general game buying public to test games. No, I don’t mean those types of games whereby you pay a small fee and become a beta tester with some exclusive behind the scenes access. I mean the type of game you buy in the shops, online or bricks-and-mortar, and pay your hard earned money for. For latest releases as much as £50 ($61, €58). Some can cost more if they come bundled with other things, posters, t-shirts, key rings to name a few. Some bugs are just downright annoying. Others catastrophic. Batman: Arkham was one such game. As written in the Independent, the game had to be pulled because the bugs were so bad that the game was almost unplayable on PC. There have also been game releases where there wasn’t enough server capacity so the game servers crashed and nobody could play the game. Destiny, I’m looking at you. You pay your money, you make your choice.

Whilst graphics have improved and the hardware on which we run the games has improved, games seem to get more and more bloated. Yes they have phenomenal graphics. Yes, the soundtracks are amazing, full orchestra scores sometimes. But just because games can come on Bluray or DVD, doesn’t mean we have to use the space. Some of the latest games weigh in at a hefty 60Gb (The PC version of Grand Theft Auto V is nearly 60GB). Star Citizen could be as much as 100Gb!!! A brilliant article by PCGamer (http://www.pcgamer.com/the-problem-with-growing-download-sizes/) explains how games are just getting bigger and bigger and why this is a problem. Is this the price we have to pay for better everything? What will be the model for purchasing games in the future?

Product packaging, additives, recycling and food waste

 design-fetish-milk-bottle-doorstop-by-duncan-shotton-5

Food waste

In most magazines and news articles I have read we are told the consumer is at fault for food waste. Articles like this one on The Ecologist web site tell us that we don’t do enough. We the consumers are at fault for throwing thousands of pounds worth of food into our dustbins. Yet each time I see a poorly designed container I wonder how I am supposed to reduce my food waste.

You know the type of containers I mean. Those that have weird lips near the top, where it is nigh on impossible to get an implement to reach the food contained inside as illustrated below. Or the food inside is so thick, that it doesn’t run out of the container, so you are left with waste. Or you are resigned to ‘watering’ the product down to get it out fo the container.

caramelised-onion-chutney

Unless manufacturers take some responsibility first for designing packaging that allows the consumer to empty the contents without waste or further faffing around then consumers cannot be solely responsible.

sunpat

How a product is packaged affects the consumer, but it also affects the manufacturer. After all, it is in their interests that there is wastage as this means we have to buy some new product. The manufacturer makes profit from product we can’t use. So, it is in their interests if we cannot access all of the product. A bit like lightbulbs that never break. If they could manufacture them, they wouldn’t because it wouldn’t be profitable enough.

Excess packaging

Those familiar with Amazon may know about FFP or Frustration Free Packaging. This is where the manufacturers packaging may already be removed and the item is packaged in a simple bag or some such. You know, like batteries that come in blister packs that can be an absolute nightmare to get in to. Almost like the manufacturer doesn’t wasnt you to use them! Other items packaged in such a way can be food. Did anyone ever figure out how you are supposed to open a Tetra Pak without spillage or scissors or a knife? Even the owner couldn’t once on a TV programme. Everyone knows how they are supposed to open, but they never want to seem to.

1-jpg759b0e2d-b3e1-4532-88ef-436abcea577alarger
Tetra Pak packaging

In my younger years we used to have milk, and orange juice, in bottles. These were brilliant. Easy to open with a foil top, recyclable (which we’ll get on to further down), easy to recycle for the dairy (washed, good to go). There used to be thousands of them in use in the UK in the 1960’s when I was born. (They were used much earlier. See the Wiki article here). But then plastic became a thing. You know, the same plastic we are now being told that is polluting our oceans. Go figure.
Oh, I almost forgot. In my city we used to have a few door-to-door soda companies, in the 70’s. You’d order your drinks, they’d drop them off. They would also pick up the empty bottles and you would get a credit for them. 7p each at the time, which was quite a lot. This promoted the collection of the bottles rather than people throwing them away in the dustbin. Recycling as it should be! With big industries though, these companies all died out. A shame. Maybe we would still be recycling them.

design-fetish-milk-bottle-doorstop-by-duncan-shotton-5
An old milk bottle. They also contained fresh orange juice from some dairy’s.

Then some bright spark though up bottle banks. You take your empty wine, beer and anything-else bottles and place them in a skip with a hole. Some segregate different colour glass into brown, green and clear, others don’t. These are taken away and recycled, at great cost to the council and nothing back for the consumer, other than a hangover maybe.

Over packaged?

I use Amazon only as an example. For those that buy things from them, have you ever seen this kind of thing delivered to your door (upon opening)? I have. I also get this kind of thing from other companies too. Surely they must have something smaller and more appropriate to pack the purchase in?

2f86e4fb00000578-3367719-image-a-25_1450616930897
OTT packaging. Surely a padded envelope would have sufficed?

Or bananas in plastic bags at your local supermarket? Tomatoes in plastic trays? Apples in plastic trays and plastic bags, together! Why? Is it to protect the fruit or vegetable, to make it easier to transport or possible for the supermarket to mark the price up as you are paying for the packaging? It is all just so unnecessary. And don’t even get me started on those packs that claim to be resealable but actually are not.

Recycling

Milk bottle, soda bottles. Foil tops. Paper bags. All replaced by plastics. And the consequence? Plastic pollution in our oceans. But yet, we had this problem sorted in years gone by. It’s just that as advancement and profitability rule the world, we forgot we also need to take care of our planet. It’s the only one we have, yet we seem to have this lemming-like need to cause as much damage to it as possible. Plastic bags are another cause of pollution in our oceans and cities. Why can’t we use paper bags? It seems that instead of going forwards we go backwards. When I was younger we recycled and things where made of recyclable materials. These days mostly everything is made from plastic in one form or another. How much of the food you purchase in the supermarket is packaged in plastic? Markets of old didn’t have this problem. You turned up with your woven shopping bag, asked the person for 1lb of tomatoes and they’d go into a paper bag, which would then go into your woven shopping bag or trolley. You’d then catch the bus home, because few people could afford cars!

Additives

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. One of the most annoying aspects of food purchased from supermarkets is the additives they use and the reasons why.
Lets start with bacon. I like bacon. Most of you like bacon I expect. What I don’t like about my bacon is that when I cook it, there is this white horrible crap that comes out of it. This, I’m told is the nitrites. Some chemical used to preserve the bacon. Oddly though, it is also in smoked and cured bacon from the supermarket. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t smoking or curing bacon preserve it? Nitrites increase shelf life, reduce bacteria and create the pink hue that gives bacon a fresh appearance. So it means they can have it sitting on the shelf longer and it’ll still look fresh. Great. It doesn’t really do anything for the consumer that a proper cure or smoke wouldn’t accomplish. Not to mention the water they fill it with. They add water so they can make more money, because bacon is sold by weight and by adding water they add weight. This is why your dinner plate sized bacon rasher ends up looking like a postage stamp after it’s cooked. All the added water has evaporated during the cooking process.

Anyone tried to buy a soda or dilute that contains sugar these days? Because everything these days has to be marginally more healthy than the way it used to be made, most sodas these days contain artificial sweeteners. Now, the industry would have you believe that this is because sweetener is better for you and your children’s teeth. The real answer is that sweetener is considerably more sweet than sugar and also a lot less expensive, see the table below. Which means that it is in the interests of the profitability of the company to use sweetener. Sweeteners may also have long-term health implications, but for the time being we use them anyway.

sweet
Excerpt from http://www.sugar-and-sweetener-guide.com/sweetener-prices.html

Me, I’m an adult. I prefer sugar. I’m aware of the health risks. I make my own health choices, good or bad. Can I get a soda with sugar in it? It’s tough, but there are some drinks out there that still have good ol’ sugar in ’em. 7up, Coke, Pepsi and Tango to name a few. Mostly your major brands.  Most supermarket own brand soda contains no sugar or very little.

Do you need religion?

89299_orig

So now I talk about one of the subjects that I hold dear. Religion. Funnily, I don’t actually practice or partake of any religion. But the subject is dear to me because of three things.

Knock, knock

Firstly, I was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness (here in after refered to as JW). Some people know of JW’s. They’re the people who knock on your door at the most inconvenient of times. They have magazines called Watchtower and Awake! They are normally law-abiding citizens who cause no harm to anyone other than some inconvenience. Most people also know JW’s because they refuse blood transfusions. This normally gets them media attention.

My upbringing was not attending Religious Knowledge or RK lessons as they were known when I was at school. I didn’t partake in any religious aspect of school assembly. I was picked on at school because of the religion my parents chose for me. Everyone knew I was different. I was like the lone orange in a fruitbowl full of apples. Even worse as a child was that I went with my parents knocking on people’s doors. Wondering if it was going to be one of your classmates that answered. That was scary. And embarrassing. But it all just passed me by.

Now a full-grown adult (mostly!), I make my own choices in life. I choose no religion. Some of the reasons I choose no religion are because it seems to cause wars. I’m fairly indifferent to religion, in as much as I respect each individuals choice of religion. I’m open-minded to religions and what their beliefs are and also the ethics that go along with some.
What this does for me personally is open up a whole new world where I can try to understand why certain people, ethnicities and religions do certain things.

For example, did you know that Hindus have hundreds of gods? Did you know that the “Devils Advocate” is a real position within the Catholic Church? Did you know that Muslims call God by his name, which they believe to be Allah? Did you know that JW’s also call God by a personal name, which they believe to be Jehovah (or its other incantations, Yahweh, Jah or Yah (which is also used in Rastafarianism))? Did you know that Yahweh is the primary Hebrew name of God in the Bible, which is considered to holy to say so therefore they do not verbalize his name?  Having an open mind to religion opens up all sorts of realizations.

And then it hits you. Regardless of what they call him, which mountain Jesus or the Prophet Muhammad stood on or how they pray or where they go to pray, they are all praying to the same person! Much like our newspapers, they each have their own version and they all read it and believe what it tells them they must do (Bibles, Quran, Scriptures, Torah, Shruti etc). Their faith is such that they do not question it. For Muslims it is a way of life. For JW’s they must preach it. For Jews, it is belief. Each have their own definition of what it takes to reach The World to Come (Olam ha’Ba), Everlasting Life, be rewarded after death or whatever the final goal may be. Perhaps this is the literal carrot dangling?

Enlightenment

Secondly, I read something somewhere that made me ponder longer than normal. Did humans invent God (whatever form that may take to the different religions) just so they had hope? Do humans need hope? Without hope would we be human? Is religion some sort of comfort blanket for humans? Do we really need religion?

By that stage, I had already chosen no anyway. My personal thoughts on religion are that it is one of the main, if not the main source of conflict on this planet. Religion and politics – two things which I’d rather not get involved in. A world without religion may take away the hope that many people rely on. But it may also take the conflicts away which many politicians rely on. Without conflict they have no headline grabbing policies. Anyway, I digress.

Question time

Thirdly, if there is a god I have a few questions for him/her/it (referred to as he for now)

  • Is there more than one of you?
  • How did he come to be? My JW upbringing taught me that everything we see is created.
  • Who created God? Why?
  • Does it matter which church, prayer hall, synagogue, or temple I go to?
  • If I pray, is it important what I call you and where I am at the time?
  • Would you answer my prayer or would something happening just be coincidence?
  • If you really do exist, isn’t it more important whats in my heart? What my real intentions are/were?
  • Was Jesus really your son and did he really die for our sins?
  • If he did, why did you set us up to fail? We, as humans are imperfect, so why do/did you expect us to try to attain perfection?
  • Most importantly, does it matter what religion I am or believe in?

So, do I need religion? Personally for me, nope. Do you? That’s your choice. We are each individuals that make choices as we journey through life. Those choices define us. Religion is one of those defining choices. My choices define me and made me the person I am today. I’m happy with who I am and what I have become.

Whatever your choices and religion, thanks for reading. Have a nice day!

Immigrants are a good thing!!

belgrave-road1
Belgrave Road, Leicester, UK during the annual Diwali celebrations.

It seems the current trend is to blame immigrants for everything. And Brexit for anything else.

I can only speak from personal experience, but here goes.

I’m thankful that I live in the UK and that I live in a multi-cultural city. This is because my city would not be the city it is without immigrants. My country would not be what it is without immigrants. I’m proud to say I live in Leicester, one of, if not the most racially diverse cities in the UK. In an article by the Mirror one road in Leicester was described as the most diverse high street in Britain. Shopkeepers from 23 different countries work on this road. It is called Narborough Road. A quote from the article “It is the world in microcosm, all these people, from all these different places, different cultures, living cheek by jowl, working with each other and living in harmony…” This road happens to be the road which I lived off of when I was young. This road has another remarkable story which I shall tell you about.

Narborough Road

Back in the early 70’s Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of 50,000 Asians who were British passport holders. (If you wish to read more about Idi Amin click here for the Wikipedia article). Some of these Asians ended up in Leicester. The road I lived on ran parallel to Narborough Road. Throughout the seventies there was an influx of Ugandan/Asian immigrants that made their homes on the same street. It started at the town end of the road and gradually filled up towards where I lived with my mother. As you would expect at this time, there was a lot of racial tension and lot’s of racial abuse towards these people that through no fault of their own ended up on our doorsteps, almost literally.

The lesser known story is that once these people moved into the area it began to flourish. These people had been successful business men and women in Uganda and now had to start over. And so they did. Strange country, strange people. Some didn’t speak English. But that did not stop them. Over a period of years many businesses grew and became bigger. Another quote from an article (here) “In Leicester, where many Ugandan Asians settled, their presence has transformed the city from a depressed and deprived East Midlands town. It is estimated they have created 30,000 jobs there. In the most affluent suburb of Oadby – or Load-by as locals call it – the residents are overwhelmingly Ugandan Asian.

Some 40 years on from this, Narborough Road is going through another evolution. It started when Poland became part of the EU in 2004. The Ugandan/Asians had moved their homes to other areas of the city, or moved to other cities. The Polish moved in. Now there are Eastern European shops down Narborough Road. Shops that sell things that the local Polish community are used to getting in their home land. More and more supermarkets are stocking Eastern European foods.

The Golden Mile

Some of you may know Belgrave Road/Melton Road. The Golden Mile as it is also known, because of all the jewellers shops. This is also in Leicester. Another article (here) explains the diversity of the Leicester population and talks about the Golden Mile. The Leicester Asian community makes up such a large and influential part of the city that it hosts it’s own Diwali celebrations, said to be the largest outside India!

As an aside, I should also say that Leicester also holds a Caribbean Carnival annually which is said to be the the third largest in the UK.

No vacancies, the remarkable part!

These areas, Narborough Road and Belgrave Road/Melton Road also have one other thing in common. And it’s quite a big thing. Do you notice when you walk through your town or city centre how many empty shops there are? Leicester has the same problem in the city centre. Whilst there is renewal, there just seems to be at least one, if not many more vacant shops on some streets in the city centre. Business rates and expensive leaseholds prevent smaller businesses taking them on. Larger businesses go to places like Fosse Park (one of the largest out-of-town shopping centres in the UK, owned by The Crown Estate). Narborough Road and the Belgrave Road/Melton Road areas have few if any vacant business premises. Leases are less expensive as it lays outside the city centre. And the locals are far more industrious and are prepared to work much longer hours than some would be happy to do.

Me, I’m proud to be from Leicester, even before Leicester City won the Premiership. Yes, familiarity breeds contempt. And yes, it’s not all roses. But it is what it is because all those years ago we allowed immigrants into our humble East Midlands city. Look what we have become!!

Millionaire Youtubers

youtube-twitch

If you didn’t see my Things I Like page yet [here], you won’t have noticed that one of the things I like to watch is @Syndicate aka ProSyndicate or Life of Tom (real name Tom Cassell). This guy has made millions from YouTube. More specifically from his subscribers who see adverts in the videos they watch of Syndicate, for which Syndicate gets paid. This is how all successful YouTubers get paid.

You may or may not have heard of PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg), recently in the news because Disney have withdrawn their affiliation with him after he posted anti-Semitic comments. This guy has 53 million subscribers on YouTube. That, by any standard, is a lot of people watching his videos. He reportedly makes £12 million ($15 million/€14 million) a year just from YouTube.

Syndicate has over 2.4 million followers who watch his Twitch streams. A similar system works there, whereby he gets paid for advertising during his streams. Syndicate has earned enough money from Twitch and YouTube to build his own house, which I hasten to add, is very nice. He also bought a nice a car, although compared to some it is quite mediocre, an Audi TT. He bought his grandad a Jaguar, because his grandad had always dreamed of owning a Jaguar. Syndicate video logs (vlogs) daily. He also has a few businesses. One is called SyndicateOriginal which is an online clothing shop. The other lesser known business is 3BD (3 Black Dot). This is a business which..well I’ll let you read the about page on the website. Basically what it boils down to is that it makes games. The games are driven by influencers, who also happen to be successful YouTube gamers, of which Syndicate is one. One other business which Syndicate ran with Tmartn (another YouTube gamer who is successful and is also an influencer with 3BD) was CSGO:Lotto. You may have also read about this in the media regarding the controversy surrounding the gambling aspect and other so-called controversies which I am not going to get into here. Albeit, these other controversies and media coverage where more about similar sites, not CSGO:Lotto itself.

Yet another YouTuber I feel I should introduce to you is The Mighty Jingles (formerly Bohemian Eagle). I’ve watched his videos for years. He mostly talks about World of Tanks, which is a game I play. He also talks about other games (World of Warships, Armoured Warfare, WoW, The Division), chats about his previous Navy lifestyle and is generally an entertaining fellow. His delivery is second to none and its his delivery that entertains me. He is by no means as famous or wealthy as PewDiePie or Syndicate. (That said, he does get queues of people at Bovington Tank Museum’s Tankfest wanting his autograph!) However, YouTube and his Navy pension keep him comfortable. You can check out his YouTube channel here. His World of Tanks stuff can be quite entertaining if you like that type of game.

One of my work colleagues said to me that he couldn’t understand why people would watch this stuff (YouTube/Twitch). I explained that it is entertainment that some people find entertaining.
Something he’s liked for years is the group Kiss. Not my thing, but apparently his. I said that there are those out there that don’t like Kiss (amazing I know) and cannot understand why so many people would like them. He said they are entertaining and have millions of fans worldwide. I then explained that this is almost exactly what YouTubers/Twitch streamers are. It’s just that the form of entertainment is different. Let’s face it, some people liked the Rolling Stones, millions in fact. But there where/are those that can’t stand them. YouTube and Twitch and other forms of streaming/non-streaming video media are the modern equivalent of the Stones or Elvis or Michael Jackson or The Beatles.

I find some amazing entertainment on YouTube, some more worthy of television than the stuff that appears there. I’m looking at you Big Brother, IACGMOOH, Strictly Come Dancing etc. Television stations have editing facilities and producers and lots of staff. These guys are mostly one man bands that use their PC’s for the editing with some software. Syndicate actually uses his iPhone to do his first cut editing of his vlog. How cool is that?! Sure, there is even better edited YouTube content out there. Part of the fun of YouTube is finding it. I’ve seen some amazing work that must have taken the people who made it ages. Syndicates editing is more simplistic. The Mighty Jingles editing is more polished. I’ve never seen any PewDiePie stuff, so I have no idea what his editing style is.

I suppose before I finish I should point out that not everyone YouTubes or Twitch streams for the money. There are those that make a living from it, but unless you are very successful you won’t be living off your earnings. There are those that just do it for fun and happen to make a living from it. And why not? Good luck to them I say. Thankyou for entertaining me and the rest of the internet.