Can I help you, Sir?

24/07/2014

Can I help you, Sir? ©

By

Michael Casey

So you have a problem so you fill in a contact form or send an email, it’s easy, its simple isn’t it? You just write everything down you even put it in order, in bullet points, so you’ll get a helpful answer immediately.

Only Customer Service never reads your email, they just repeat what you told them already. You are told to do XYZ, then everything will be ok, but you told them already, you’ve  put it all in your email or on the contact form, you’ve put it down for a 5 year old, you’ve done XYZ already.

Only a 5 year old would have understood, you did XYZ already, their system does not work, they need to change the system. But the system never fails, it’s impossible, it’s the height of technology. Which is where the system fails, because they won’t even believe that their system can be improved.

So you have a series of emails back and forth, until they hope you will give up. And have a nice day too, they always say. American companies always say “have a nice day”, don’t they realise over here in England we think this is corny, worse that corny its meaningless because the people don’t mean it. How can you have a nice day anyway, their system does not work. I could segway into the Parrot Sketch from Monty Python…..

I was talking to somebody recently and guess what he had the same thing, in the end he had to email the CEO to get his simple issue sorted. I’ve done it a few times myself, don’t waste your time with the organ grinder’s monkey, talk to the organ grinder himself, though I may need to explain this for any American readers.

I should remind anybody who works in customer service that I did work in a 4 star deluxe business hotel for 3 years, so I do know how it should be done.  The thing you do is get a result for the customer, if you haven’t done that, then you haven’t done your job.

However you can be honest and say you will get somebody to help who really can do it. So long as the customer gets a result then you have done your job.

It’s too hot to write any more, bad customer service just saps your strength, like the heat, though sometimes it is tempting to throw a bucket of cold water over them. Maybe there is an App that can do it.

michaelgcasey in a suit 2007

this is my hotel look

5 books for 99p each limited offer so hurry

21/07/2014

5 books for 99p each limited offer so hurry

Perfect Summer Reading

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Michael-Casey/e/B00571G0YC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

3 other books also available 

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The Dead and The Living

18/07/2014

The Dead and The Living (c)
by
Michael Casey
I first saw a deceased when I was nine years old ,my father said not
to worry as the dead are the same as the living , only the laughter
has left them , the sparkle has gone from their eyes , the worry has
been lifted from their shoulders , and their voice has vanished to
eternity .
In paradise the sparkle will return for it is the twinkle of the
stars , the laughter will return too for it is the morning breeze and
the turning tides are their sides shaking with laughter .
I treat the deceased with the same courtesy as I give to the living ,
though I find the deceased are always more polite . My father also
had a few words to say about the living .
He said that the living are only the caretakers of the soul , yet
they think their existance is everything , that they know everything
because they experience many things with their senses .
What the living don’t acknowledge is that their time is short and
when I lay their bodies to rest then their souls continue without
them , without their strong , without their weak , without their
beautiful or even ugly temporary form , to where I cannot say , only
that it is a better place .
Percy the undertaker placed the lid on the coffin ,the soul was free
THE BEGINNING

180 and counting

16/07/2014

180 and counting

I decided to do more recording today. I’ve recorded another 10 of my stories. So I have 180 recordings now. I have 530 stories in total so that’s another 350 to record, I’m a third of the way through. Though I’m still writing new material all the time. Some i’ll have to rerecord but I have enough to impress any radio station should I get past their gatekeeper.

Perhaps I’ll be discovered at 55, and finally get my slot on the radio, I could be a feature, like something in a garden. Though buried under  the patio is more likely. http://www.michaelgcasey.typepad.com has 50 or so samples, so tell all your friends. Or force your children and grandchildren to listen. If you are at Eton it could be some kind of punishment, very harrowing punishment.

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my pretentious writer’s pose, I am available for after dinner speaking

Can I be a Minister

15/07/2014

Can I be a Minister ? ©

By

Michael Casey

I’ve just being enjoying the news about Cameron’s new Cabinet, I am a news geek, I can remember watching Sir Robin Day on tv, me and  my dad together nearly 50 years ago now. Perhaps I should have done PPE at Cambridge,  then I could try for a Cabinet post.

White male and over 50, would that get me a post in Cabinet? I heard they want more females in the Government, to try and entice voters to vote Tory in the next election. I could always wear a dress and shave my legs, arms, and back and all other places too. I would make a better woman than Danny la Rue, I would have to shave twice a day though,  those BBC news studio lights are so unforgiving. Eddie Izzard could give me fashion tips, I know he is a Labour man/woman but us transvestites should stick together.

What qualities can I bring to Cabinet? I have a posh Brummie accent, I look distinguished or is it extinguished with my mane of silver hair, I’m not slim so that makes me normal. Voters would like me, a Brummie version of Tom Jones, but without the singing voice and wearing long-johns, poking out from the bottom of my trousers.

I watch Sky tv too, so that makes me a man of the people, I don’t know anything about sport as I cannot afford the Sky sports channels, but I can always glance at the back page of the Sun and pretend. I do know about films as we watch loads of them, me and my 3 girls, though we cannot afford Sky movies package either, though there are 10 free film channels if you like.

I go to church or should I say Mass on Sundays, but I can lie and say I’m C of E then I’m sure I’ll win votes. Though if I was really pretending to be a man of the people I’d say I use Sunday to sober up after lots of drinking on a Saturday night, me and my friend Nigel, I cannot remember his surname but it begins with an F and sounds French, rhymes with garage. I will of course say that I hate the French too, doesn’t everybody?

I won’t tell anybody I have a place in the south of France, and one in Italy too, I’ll say I go on package holidays to Benidorm, me and my friend Ed and his friend Ed who talks a lot of b_.

So please Dave, and everybody will be told to call you Dave again, up until the Election again, please Dave can I be a minister now. I promise not to steal your wife’s lipstick again, nor steal her stockings when I was pretending to use the loo.

Its time you had a Brummie transvestite, ex rugby play, yes I really was, 40 years ago, a transvestite would really swing it for you, swing it both ways all the way into the Tory camp. Think of the adulation, think of really being a Tory PM, without those Liberal losers cramping your style, just do one thing  for me though, don’t leave the toilet seat up any more.

 

p.s.I could tell everybody I have Arthur, my arthritis then we’d get all the Express readers on our side too.

looks drunk

Needle and Song

10/07/2014

Needle and Song ©

By

Michael Casey

Today was a big day, a busy day, we all had lots to do. My small daughter had a day off as the Nutters were on strike, the Nutters was the title the union was given back in the 60s, so I’m remembering my own school days, just in case any striking teachers think I’m being offensive.

My big daughter was singing in her Gospel choir, she may or may not have been let out early, not for good behaviour, but because of potential strikes at her secondary school. The Show would go on come what may, they had a tent all rigged up for the show.

My wife was busy with her new job, as for me I had to have a needle up my bum, well not quite there but near enough. As you know I’ve got Arthur, my arthritis, which has decided to spread elsewhere, mainly my right leg. So I needed a pain relief injection. I was due to have it on Monday but there was a mix up, so today Thursday was the big day.

The mix up was partly due to the fact that our answer machine was not working, but the silver lining was that I dropped into Asda and bought mint chocolate ice cream. My big daughter had been off on Monday as the staff had a training day or something. So I came home still in pain but with the ice cream. I also got a baguette, which tasted fantastic, I think Henry only invaded France for the baguettes.

So today Thursday arrived and everything was planned. I would take my small daughter with me to the hospital orthopaedic outpatients, with a knapsack on her back. When I had my left hip done  nearly a year ago the injection and so on took a few hours, so I assumed, wrongly as it was that my daughter would be hanging around. So in the knapsack was a drink, a bowl of freshly cut and chopped melon, a polish ham sandwich, and 2 packets of baked chedders, the Aldi version. And I forgot a fresh book by Jacqueline Wilson.

At Dudley Rd, though they like to call it City Hospital nowadays, you go up an escalator to the 1st floor, then they must have run out of money, because you then have to use the stairs to get to the 2nd floor. The guy on reception had a watch very similar to mine, so good or is it bad taste is not just confined to me.

I met a really nice lady in the waiting area, she works at a disability centre in Coleshill, so God Bless her and more power to her elbow, looking after people  with disabilities.

I was able to take my daughter with me when it was my turn, she sat outside  reading while the physio gave me the talk and then did an examination. Examination means twisting your leg until it hurts, I did quip about torture, but they have to know the state of your pain so they can then inject you.

They have a feel until you winch and then they know that is exactly the spot. It’s a bit like the old place the ball competitions, though there is no hissing sound as the air goes out of the invisible ball. Instead where you wince is where the needle goes in.

Now before I had my pain relief injection, we rung home to see how big daughter was doing, only the answer machine did not kick in.  I was pleased that this time with this leg it was a very quick procedure, I had assumed they’d be injecting straight into the hip, this time it was just very high up the leg. No x-ray machine and nurses with lead blouses, no local anaesthetic, no ride in a trolley, just jump on the bed.

Perhaps I should have been a boy scout, be prepared and so on, so we got the bus home, the return fares were £6.75 which is a lot of money, you can buy 4 packets of Aldi crispy chicken and a bottle of pop for that. So I gave the ticket away to a lady on the bus, at least somebody could get more value from it.

We got home and decided to check out our answer machine again, this time sat in front of it. The answer machine was dead, though the fancy white phone worked. The phone had been making some “farting” noises for a few weeks and we couldn’t quite work out what was wrong. I’d be sat here talking to you all while the phone farted on the shelf  behind  me and the piano.

So big daughter came home, she hadn’t been let out early after all, we had ½ hoped she’d come home early then her little sister wouldn’t have had  to go trekking after me. We even texted her a couple of times and made one call to her mobile, for if she had come home early it would have coincided with my departure time. Only there was a problem with all that, big sister never has any credit on her phone.

So in an hour big sister was turned around, fed and watered and changed into her street cred clothes in black, all ready for the Gospel Choir. As for me and small sister, we went up the road looking for a phone. I had found a cheap nice one and even reserved it. Only when I got to the shop they couldn’t find the reservation. So I picked it out again, only it was not in stock, hey Argos your system failed there.

Anyway I picked another one, even cheaper, and gave my daughter the change. So a good day all around. Then it was off to Pound Land for Loom Bands, these are the biggest thing in kids toys at the moment. We also got batteries for the fire in the doll’s house, every member of the Casey family big and small was looked after.

Once home we plugged in the new phone in, they are only as big as mobiles, hey presto our house was P O S H. Then you play with the sounds, which is the nicest, there was only 5 on this model, I have 20 on my cheap mobile, the one under my bed which I use as a radio, the one whose number I don’t even know.

Mum came home, so the wok came out, we had an hour to turn her around and send her to pick up big sister at the school. As for me, I showed her my bum, or rather my thigh, so she could see where I was injected. I moved away before she could poke me with the chopsticks. So I did something useful, I bagged the old phone and left it outside for sky burial. Within the hour the phone was gone, somebody would have a nice new white 10 year old second hand phone, without answerphone.

Now once mum and little sister left to pick up big sister I had time to play with the phone, I liked the sounds and was happy, all my girls liked it too. So it was a good buy. Remember if you live with 3 girls everything is questioned.

Now big daughter sings in the choir on Sunday, with her little sister as well. Me and my brothers were altar boys, I even read the reading for 5 years plus, a sister is in the same choir for 46 years. Big daughter also has piano lessons, she’s even won a Deans Award. So why am I mentioning this?

Because big daughter wants to sing a solo, she’s not a pushy girl she’s not one of these over confident pain in the butt kind of girls. She’ll get 90% plus in various subjects but never boast about it, that’s the way we like it. Humility is Strength if you like.

BUT IF YOU WANT TO SING A SOLO YOU HAVE TO MAKE NOISE, TELL THE WORLD, DON’T BE A MOUSE. Will she do that? If she does I’ll let you all know. I remember once showing a poem to somebody and the reaction is “YOU WROTE THAT?!” So I can tell her that Life is not Just, you may be the best singer and performer but unless you stand up for yourself then it won’t happen. So, dear daughter be pushy or forget about it.

 

The same goes for writing, 50 Shades of Grey has sold 30 million now, how many copies of 300 and Not OUT, or Quick Stories to name but 2 of my books. Life is strange, encouraging my neighbour said “maybe you’ll be famous when you are dead”, I am trying my best to stay alive despite my weaknesses.

As for the writing, that keeps on coming, if ever the Arthur, my arthritis prevents me typing then I’d cry, but then I’d get new technology, speak and type software.

The night did finish with laughter, my wife waited for 30 mins but the concert did not finish. So she went and complained to a black lady, “can you tell my daughter I’m here” A small Chinese lady asking for her daughter, her non solo singing daughter in a Gospel choir.

Only there are no Chinese girls in the choir, our daughter looks totally Western, apart from the great hair, or if you look really closely into her eyes. So the black lady was surprised that our daughter had a Chinese mum, an irritated mum, who had been kept waiting.

Melon was on offer once big daughter came home, though dad had to be persuaded to go around the corner for chips, my Chinese girls do like chips, it’s a treat, it makes a change from rice and chicken. So we ate the chips as an act of solidarity with our non-solo singing daughter.

As we ate the chips I started singing  just like Topol, “if I were a rich man, you could sing solo in a Gospel choir.”

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Politics

07/07/2014

Politics ©

By

Michael Casey

I was reading Dan Hodges in the Daily Telegraph and 2 things struck me, the passion he has for his subject and how he is an interesting writer. I have to declare an interest, I am a news junkie. I only found out today that he was Glenda Jackson’s son, his dad I couldn’t really find anything about, I only did a quick Google. I am saddened how he lost an eye, but this proves his passion and belief.

Politicians are those toy windmills we give to our kids, they blow this way and that in the wind. I wouldn’t want to be one. I also read about Obama, now the worst President ever, according to polls. I do think there was a bit of latent racism against him, but the piece I read today comparing Obama to a movie trailer that did not live up to expectations IS true. Which is sad as everybody was wishing him on.

Politicians offer Hope, but reality is a nasty thing, it does bite you on the bum. Obama did get one of the c****est watches too, I don’t mean the Jorg Gray which the Secret Service bought him, I have one myself, no I mean the world situation has been dire.  The silver lining may be that after his Presidency he may do good work. I’ll let the experts argue over that, I’ll just start the fire, you can all add your own petrol.

Back over here, we have “stars” of our own, you don’t have to like them personally but you can applaud their work. I have a few names on all sides I could praise, but I don’t want to be tarred with the brush of being this or that. I could also praise a few reporters who I love because they treat Politicians with the “contempt”, that’s too strong a word. They put the politicians in the gutter with the rest of us, then let’s look at the stars together. And  yes I was a Paxman fan.

Now that Tony Benn is gone I can say I have learnt one thing from him, drink lots of tea, it’s good for you. He lived to a ripe old age and that’s one thing I’d like to emulate. The hecklers are a feature of the Houses of Parliament, a good heckler is a great thing. Though sometime the Speaker might wish he had a Heckler and Koch, to keep order with, metaphorically speaking.

I can also say I like the notion of hand written notes on fancy stationery just to say “thanks” or offer condolences.Though in today’s world an email or a voicemail is good too. They do have plenty of bars in Parliament, which is good as a pint is always nice after a hard day at work. My dad worked in a steel works for 40 years so he enjoyed a refreshing pint.

I like the idea of the Speaker living under Big Ben too, he won’t need an alarm clock either, his kids must love it too. You can really name drop when you are on holiday, I live under Big Ben. A Rolex or an Omega, or a Seconda, no I have Big Ben, the real thing.

Bob Hope was once asked would he run for President, he said he couldn’t stand the drop in salary. As for me, tomorrow is Tuesday, that’s when I give Obama his bowling lesson, ever Tuesday, just me and him, and oh I forgot 150 Secret Service.

 

 

 

In the Nick of Time

05/07/2014

In the Nick of Time (c)

By

Michael Casey

You save a life in the nick of time, my brother did it twice. I was trying to swim at Monument Rd swimming baths, when you start you need a push off from the side then you can swim. So I decided to try jumping in and then seeing if I could swim without a push off from the side. It did not work and I started to sink beneath the waves, or rather the water in the pool. My brother saw me and jumped in and pulled me to the side. Would I have drownd? I’m just glad my brother was there.

Thirty years later my brother was in the right place at the wrong time, he gave CPR to our dad and saved him. This way 8 bare weeks after  when he gave CPR to mum but she was already dead/dying. That act saved dad and led to me getting a wife and family, its all in Padre Pio and Me. So I know from experience just what “In the nick of time”  really means. Today somebody wants to connect via a website, just as I’m leaving that website, too many scammers, I think I’m being targeted. So he could be a genuine connection that could lead to all kinds of everything, if I quote Dana., but I’ve just left.

I remember Fiona once saying you don’t know what’s around the corner, Julie Dangly also said that to me, Dangly was her comedy name, she really was wise and good beyond her years. I haven’t seen either of them in 15 years, Life moves on and doors close and revolve. So events in Life happen and can change our very lives, and hearts. I was watching Fame, the 2009 weak version on tv last night with my daughter.  One life was saved in the nick of time, then the dancer realises he has to start again, he’ll just be a dance teacher, never on the Broadway Stage, but he’ll be the best dance teacher he can possibly be back home at his parents dance studio.

In the nick of time we can realise this or that is the wrong decision, she’s the wrong girl, he’s the wrong boy, straight or gay or any other combination. Life, a stranger’s comments, an overheard comment, can make us realise this is the wrong path, we may not yet know what is the right path, but this is the wrong path. Somebody once said to me that she thought short stories or poetry was the thing for me. That was 25 years ago and more, she happened to be a female priest I’d stumbled over, I tend to stumble into things, Mark H once said “you’re a good stumbler.” 

Another way of viewing “stumbling” is its guidance from the aether or the Fates or God, if you believe in any of that, most don’t nowadays. The old film Sliding Doors covers this topic, I’ve not seen the film yet. It could be our 6th sense that stops us from doing things. We sense somebody is looking at us, so we look over the road or up to a window, are these messages from “inner space” ? We’re lost in a changing world, Genesis just sung that line on my speakers, so I won’t take credit for it.

Its our primitive past that still connects to our technological present, technology doesn’t have all the answers, though Google tries its best. The wiring in our heads and between us all will always be better than Google, because it is the beat of  time in our inner minds. 

Just Add Water

04/07/2014

Just add Water ©

By Michael Casey

I was walking up the road to Aldi, wondering how many yards I’d do before I’d start to limp, I have another Arthritis pain relief injection on Monday. Anyway a truck came sailing down the road with a portaloo strapped to the back, it made me smile. Imagine there was somebody inside doing his business, perhaps it’s a ring and poo service, like the ring and ride bus service. Or it’s  an on demand service, just put your hand out and spend a penny.

In the old days it was a penny, a big old copper penny bigger and thinner than the current 2p, if you excuse the pun. My mum was on holiday and needed a penny to pee, so she was asking for change, so a man gave her a penny, it had Boodica on it I seem to remember, anyway he gave mum a penny and said “have one on me.” That must be 45 years ago now.

The title of today’s piece or perhaps I should say pi**, if we go with the theme, is because I was thinking about how stories are dreampt up. As I said 20 minutes ago I was on my way to Aldi and I saw the portaloo. Now I see the potential humour straight away, I hope everybody does, it’s just that I see things differently and not because of weak kidneys either. It’s because of my Writer’s Eye.

So that means I improvise when I see things, my daughter says already that I’m great at improvising in general, I did work in a hotel for 3 years and 20 plus years in computer rooms. So you see a situation, and then you just add inspiration, hence the water in the title. You are putting rubbish in your recycle bin and you break up a cardboard box so you can fit more in, then you think this piece of rubbish would work as a doorstop.

Most people just throw all their rubbish in, with recycling before recycling, but if you have young kids in your house you have loads of rubbish so you really do have to squeeze all your rubbish in. No, I don’t climb in and stamp on in all, with my weight the thing would break, though it would present my wife with great opportunities to sit on top and trap me inside.

A child’s imagination is a great thing, especially if they have a dolls’ house, I know my smallest daughter often climbs into the dolls’ house, I should show her the film “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” she’d love it. Simple things please a child, but they also present opportunities for comedy too.

There is the telegraphed joke, which Americans like the best and there is the more elaborate joke. Life presents things to us, it doesn’t take much to turn them into humour. Today the Queen launched a new boat, the dignitary said to her, while still on mike “such a small bottle of Whisky on such a big ship.”

As for Alec Salmond, he had tears in his eyes, such a great waste of a bottle of whisky, if it were champagne he would not have minded. Ok Alec, that’s a joke as seen through a humour writer’s eyes here in Birmingham, but, if you do read this my priest loves a wee dram it takes the mind off his aches & pains. I do have another friend who loves golf, any chance you can get him a free round at Saint Andrews?

These are just simple quick examples from today 4th July 2014. I have to do  the school run now, my 10 year old daughter is waiting for me.  Thank God, I hear you all say, sometimes I think I’m talking to myself, but I do want to be on the radio, so then that would be true.

 

Try a Free Trial

02/07/2014

Try A Free Trial ©

By Michael Casey

I’m trying to get noticed as a writer as you all know, I have a website and I regularly post, in the vain hope of finally getting noticed. I even had a low budget film producer say he’d put my Pitch to his backers. Sadly nothing came of it.

There is Mandy.com which has all kinds of everything on it, that’s how I stumbled over the film producer, a year ago. So you can all try that. There are job agencies too, for Media with a capital M. I got an invite today to try one, a week’s free trial, but you have to enter your bank details first.

So I just sent him my Linkedin Profile and CV piece as well as my elevator ad,  90 seconds with Michael, cartoons for radio. I hope it amuses him, perhaps he’ll post it on his site for a week, and then I’ll finally get noticed and start making a living from writing. Ok, I can hear you laughing at the back, stop it or I’ll tell your mother.

You can even get a free trial of Jonathon Cainer the horoscope guy, I don’t begrudge him a penny he does have a large family to bring up single-handedly. I was at Mass on Sunday and there was a family with 5 children just like Jonathon, at Mass they were all under 9 years old. It made me smile I was from a family of 15 if you include the lodgers and the cat and dog.

Free trials are great if they really are free, like the samples you get at Costco or Sainsbury’s but that’s food. You could always bring your family along and be like gannets enjoying the biscuits or sliced ham or whatever it may be. Move from shop to shop till you have fed the kids. Though some steal the produce from the dustbins behind the big store, we’ve all seen it happen.

Broadband is the biggest free trial we all get offered, Virgin was cabled our street so you get big red envelopes offering all the deals. Or so you used to, people just threw them in the recycling bin. So Virgin got clever and posted them in big white envelopes, so people would at least open them. This kind of marketing is 3% effective so I was told in my market research days. So now the envelopes are opened, and then thrown in the recycle bin.  

 

BT itself also has direct mail offers, free offers, to you John Doe and your sister Jane. Thanks to computers the same letter can be tailored to fit all kinds of names. Special offers just for you, only you in your street, just you and not even your next door neighbour. My neighbour just updated her broadband, we’ll discuss it over the garden fence when I bring the washing in. Anyways broadband IS an essential service. The Government thinks so, because they can tax whatever business is generated.

Free trials of films straight down your internet connection, free trials of Times Newspaper straight down your internet. I did ask could Rupert give me a column in one of his papers, I have a back list well over 520 shorts. Then you’d all get me as well as the Times. He hasn’t replied yet, but I’ve been waiting all my life, maybe when he reaches 100, then he’ll give in, 18 years to go then.

 

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