Monday, 14 May 2012

collated answers and competency tests: who am i?

unemployment isn't fun.

the downtime and the freedom that you are afforded are certainly to be viewed as a positive, as long a you can stay focused and continue to set yourself goals and tasks to be completed.

but there is a downside too, amongst the chances I have to put on a load of washing, tidy the house (or the garden if the sun decides to shine), put washing away, make dinner and all manner of other domestic chores that I shouldn't derive quite so much pleasure from, I also need to commit enough time to job searches (cos that mortgage isn't gonna pay itself).

which wasn't terrible to begin with, giving it a little time each day, I soon found that even in this disastrous economic climate, there still appears to be a good number of jobs advertised in the job sector I am best suited to, heck, with 12 years experience, I should have no problem should I!?

and here is where the plot thickens, and why unemployment seems to deaden people.

on a couple of occasions, for a couple of retailers, I have been asked to conduct an online suitability test.

this should surely be a walk in the park, after all, I know that I'm more than suited to the job already. and right then, my entire working life and my charming personality is to be nobbled down to ticking boxes for set questions with no reflection of true self.

and since taking these two tests, one potential employer has already deemed me unsuitable for the job without even so much as talking to me.

I can now see the frustration that people must go through, even I, with my previous experience am simply not good enough, Jah help some of the other poor unfortunate souls that are out there looking for work, and when it is important to keep your head above water, remain positive and cling onto your sanity, these blows to your confidence can hit you hard.

I've had my mood swings because of it, but I've picked myself up, dusted myself off and kept looking, and tried to keep smiling

and now I know full well that employees of a large high-street pharmacist must be the ultimate human beings in order to have secured their hard-earned current work role, you are certainly a better person than i!

Friday, 4 May 2012

are you listening to Chris Martin?

I was prepared to post a frivolous blog post to celebrate the fact that it is Star Wars day, but then something far more worth celebrating came to my attention.

back in February, during tinnitus awareness week, i ran a post concerning our nation's coverage of the problem that i, among with many other people are afflicted with, and the fact that the tinnitus angle of the story is swiftly swept aside as the red tops prefer to focus on the celebrity angle

but what should turn up on the front cover of the daily mirror today

Chris Martin's agony and anguish caused by his own tinnitus problem 

yes, it is finally real news now that the Coldplay frontman has voiced the fact that he has been suffering from tinnitus for the past ten years

he now lends his voice to a new campaign called Loud Music for a rebranded RNID (now Action on Hearing) alongside Plan B and Gary Numan and this news blitz has resulted in coverage on BBC, ITV and Sky news programmes and seen far more people discussing the condition on twitter today

and all of this welcome attention can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned

i have suffered with tinnitus myself for a number of years, and sadly it is all too often the case, as it was for me and it is for other sufferers, that it only ever becomes a problem that you care about when it is too late and the damage is already done

the hardest part to understand is why Chris Martin has not stepped forward a moment sooner in the past to make the larger public far more aware of a serious problem that affects music fans the world over, but it is better late than never and now I hope that with the support of high-profile touring artists will see a far more visible attempt to carry on spreading this awareness at the gigs, venues and festivals that will be housing Coldplay and Plan B this summer and beyond.

for more information on tinnitus and how to protect your hearing, visit and

Thursday, 3 May 2012


so let me tell you a tale

it is a tale that you may be familiar with

the young Hunchbakk was a bit of a geek (what do you mean, what's changed?) and used to frequent a couple of local-ish comic book shops, one of which was Krypton Komics in Tottenham, just a stone's throw away from Seven Sisters station, my dad would drive me down there pretty much every weekend so that I could spend my pocket money on the latest Bat-titles that had been released

this must have gone on for perhaps a couple of years, until i reached the age where being more social was becoming more important and me and my friends would be out playing football or going to the cinema or going into Enfield Town and buying extra value meals from McDonalds, I can't remember why exactly, but I was reading comics less, and weaned myself off my weekly fix

i'm not saying that I was solely responsible for a downturn in business, but somewhere in the intervening years Krypton Komics disappeared from the High Road, something I duly noted on one of many nightbus journeys home

as detailed before on this blog, my Dad reawakened my inner geek with a Christmas present a few years back, and in this time comics have become ridiculously expensive and I have to sate my appetite for all things superhero with the occasional bargain graphic novel if I am lucky enough to find such a thing, and whatever Enfield's libraries seem to be carrying (currently a couple of Batman/Superman collections and Superman: Secret Origin).

perhaps finally I am getting closer to the point I am trying to make...

as we return once again to Krypton Komics, that had long since carried on as an Internet mail-order service, and which my little brother reliably informed me had recently relocated to an actual old fashioned physical real-world shop in Walthamstow.

so one sunny afternoon earlier this year I impulsively decided that I needed to make a pilgrimage to this new store in search of a specific back issue, I dragged my brother along for the journey and I walked away contended

in my arms I carried Legends, Millenium and a UK reprint Superman comic that is older than I am (with it's free gift of a postcard still attached) which I had paid a meagre sum for considering

and as my brother walked away from Krypton Komics he noted the imposing and run-down building that dominated the opposite side of the road

he stopped to take a couple of photos of the dilapidated building that appeared to be home to some kind of church network,  and now it's image adorns the very first Giles Babel t-shirt

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

wear Hunchbakk

Or more accurately, wear Giles Babel.

as anyone that pays any attention to this blog will attest to, I have never ever tried to charge a penny for any of the wonderful and occasionally peculiar sounds that I have constructed and concucted.

and to that end, I would like to introduce something that you can actually shell out for if you so wished.

it is my pleasure to present the very first in a collection of Giles Babel t-shirts that accompany my latest EP, "programmed to prevent war", that is to say that there is one image, one t-shirt, per track, all designed in collaboration with my talented little brother, Ian Byford, who has really outdone himself this time.

I'll let you guys in on a little secret, i've seen the trends in topman/river island/burtons/delete as applicable, you know the type, and witnessing the widespread obsession with instagram, I briefed my brother to produce the artwork in a retro-filtered vein to include in my very own online boutique.

it took a couple of back'n'forths to tweak it, including putting a more psychedelic spin on it rather than just manipulating the image to be a simple faux polaroid, but in no time it was ready, and that is the wonderful image that you see before you right now....

I am afraid that, unlike my music, the t-shirt does require payment if you would like it for yourself, but I think you will find that they are very reasonably priced.... (compare to topman if you must) is available in a wide choice of colours, and if you didn't wanna wear it then it is also available to buy as art prints, canvases and all manner of other things, even as a cheap as chips sticker to stick wherever you wish.

but enough of the hard sell

how about a little bit of storytelling

Or perhaps I'll save the story of the this image until another day (what a tease, i'm sorry)