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» Heckles

A few years ago..
in the early nineties, myself and some friends went to see Henry Rollins (the ex lead singer of a semi-famous US punk band called Black Flag) who was due to play with some new material that he had brought out (not the spoken word stuff, we wanted proper punk rawk). Anyway, there we were in the smallest venue ever, couldn't be more than a couple of hundred in, but still packed (the Duchess of York in Leeds if anybody remembers it) which forces an intimacy between the performer and audience normally only seen in strip clubs and positively encourages riotous conditions, when on strides Rollins in just a pair of shorts, sporting all his tattoo's and exuding an air of menace as he limbers up on stage as the rest of the band prepare. A quick one, two through the microphone and off he sets into the first 100mph turbocharged punk rock song, and the place goes wild, guys hurling themselves through the air, Rollins punching anybody who got on stage (which was hard not to do as it was only two foot high) and a deafening blast of solid punk rock... Brilliant!

First song ends.. and a gasping of air lull, when..

one of our mates shouts..

"play Stairway to Heaven"!

Mr Rollins didn't look too happy with that, but didn't do anything about it due to our friends 6'6" height and brick shithouse build, but we still laugh about it.
(Fri 7th Apr 2006, 18:12, More)

» Dodgy work ethics

Oh yeah, another one just came to mind.. Mobile phones VAT fraud.
About ten years ago I went to work for a guy in Stoke-on-Trent who was in the wholesale mobile phone business. I was working for him in a construction capacity as he was earning so much money he was buying cars and property and so started a construction company to do them up and sell them on/live in whatever. He paid me to pay his 'construction workers' and sort out materials etc. He turned out to be one of the biggest arseholes I've ever met.

Basically, his whole phone business was based on something called carousal fraud (or 'bashing') which involves a front company importing phones from the EU sans VAT and then selling them on the the UK plus VAT. Rinse and repeat. Pocket the VAT and you're off. Usually, the stock never even leaves the warehouse, just the paperwork going round in circles. I know for a fact he made millions of pounds, at least £10m in the first year alone. He would often have cash of a £100k in the office in plastic bags.

He drove Ferraris and Aston Martins, once writing off his 360 rushing to his warehouse because it was getting broken into. That was kinda sweet, until he just bought another.

There was quite a few others doing it in Stoke at the time, but it was clamped down on pretty heavily a few years ago, but not before my boss and others had made £billions by essentially de-frauding the Government.

The worst thing he asked me to do? Not grass him up to the Environment Agency for deliberately opening a sluice gate on a cess tank full of cow shit which duly flooded the local stream on an old Farm he bought. Thank God I wasn't bashing phones. I only worked for him for a few months before his arrogance and scruples made it unbearable.

I believe he is still on the run from Customs and Excise, in France somewhere, so I last heard.
(Wed 13th Jul 2011, 12:18, More)

» Dodgy work ethics

Plenty of beer stories, how about milk?
I once worked in a milk bottling plant for a week (Leeds - Kirkstall Rd, early 90's) couldn't stand anymore than a week. Apart from it being a smelly job, your clothes would always smell of off milk, I learned the truth about fully skimmed milk.

Basically, as the plastic bottles whizz about on their rollercoaster ride to get filled with different milks and then away to get stacked into the metal cages you see in the supermarket, some of them get tired and can't wait so piss milk all over the floor. Because the bottles weren't formed properly or whatever, see?

The whole floor is tiled and sloped into a central grate which in turn feeds a big tank. This is where all the full fat, semi-skimmed and fully-skimmed milk goes after being paddled around in by all the workers, rats, dropped things, spit and God knows what else. And then it sits festering. When it's full it gets reprocessed by straining the big bits of crap out and then re-homogenised, re-pasteurised and eventually gets bottled again as fully skimmed milk and sold to the public.
(Sat 9th Jul 2011, 17:17, More)