Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Isle of Man Cruises?

Another classic backwards Isle of Man example.  There is "talk" of us getting a deep water berth so that we can attract more cruise visitors.  http://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/cruise-facility-will-pay-for-itself-in-five-years/

Once again the crabs fly out with their "it's all bullshit", "the island is crap", "there is nothing to do here", "we don't want change" bollocks.

I've been on a lot of cruises over the last 10 years or so, a lot.  More than I'd ever have really wanted to!  In life I try to judge things on first hand experience and luckily in this case I've got quite a bit.  So on European cruises you generally get 2 types of customer.  First of all the classic Brit/European.  The cruise is seen as a chance for an all inclusive summer holiday where they can get dressed up, buy a lot of booze on board yet never have far to stumble back to their bed.  If they have a family there is cheap baby sitting and kids entertainment chucked in.  We want nice weather.  When it comes to getting off the ship unless it is something they desperately want to see they will wander around the local area, perhaps buy some cheap tat then get back on the ship for lunch to save them having to spend any money on food.  Of course there are exceptions but this is pretty average and covers younger families all the way up to your classic pensioners.  On the smaller ships that visit the island this is the majority of what we get, just take a look in Strand Street on a cruise day and you'll spot them from a mile off.  Generally you don't make money off these people, the cruise lines do, the places they visit don't.

The second type of guest on European cruises is the American family on their major European vacation.  They are here to see Europe, history and have absolutely no bones about signing up for EVERY excursion going.  The weather doesn't matter, nor does travel times or little else for that matter.  They want to see historical shit no matter the cost.  They also want to buy stuff in Europe, cos you know it's from Europe.  They want local food, even if it's just a Walls choc ice in Rome (yes really).  We were once on a tour in Turkey with a group of Americans with Royal Caribbean.  It was supposed to be a historical tour of Ephesus but on the way it stopped at a leather jacket factory.  We all watched the presentation, the other couple of Brits left, the Americans who we were good friends with by then continued to empty the factory shop.  Between the 40-50 of them they must have bought at least that number of jackets, the cheapest of which was £500, some were over £2000!  They were buying them up as presents for family back home, the same jacket in multiple colours, it was brilliant to watch how excited the Turks were. No doubt you could have bought the same jacket from a local shop in town for £50.  We have been on countless tours with those types of cruise guest who get hyper at looking at a few rocks, wet themselves over a "genuine" castle, any castle. We've done the 6 hour tour to look at the thing in the middle of nowhere that turns out to be a grass mound and seen the excited reactions whilst we look on dumb struck thinking "WTF we have dozens of these back home".  In another instance I remember an American woman asking for a shops wifi so that she could use her online banking to transfer money in to her checking account cos she just had to "buy one of these for everybody back home".  It is the cruise lines and how they market a "stop" that creates the frenzy, they can turn nothing in to a must see, once on board a cruise ship you are bombarded with it.

Then because we've raved so much about how "back home" compares to where we are a few have even came to the island to see for themselves, and to a person they have absolutely loved the place!  If for one minute you think there isn't enough history, local culinary delights and unique attributes here to surpass a LOT (as in the vast majority) of European cruise destinations then you need to get out and explore your own island more.

But here comes the big BUT.  There are certain things that need to be right.  Make no mistake about it Douglas is a shit hole, a great big steaming turd of a shit hole.  As a bare minimum you expect to get off a cruise ship somewhere that is clean to walk around, I just took a walk around town this morning and there is fresh dog shit on just about every pavement away from the main street.  There are loads of rough cruise ports, run down, crap looking but always clean.  It's either that or you transfer everybody out of there ASAP, which to be honest wouldn't be a bad idea with Douglas.  The other thing is customer service, not just the meet and greet but in general.  We've found that they don't mind paying a premium but they expect the customer service to be friendly and polite.  They want to be appreciated and not treated like a cow ready for milking, or in the case of a lot of our local shops and services like an inconvenience.  If there is one thing that will get a place a bad reputation and shitty feedback on the end of cruise survey it's the attitude of the locals.  But again we have been places far worse than the Isle of Man so it could easily be resolved.

I also think that the whole £50 million back in 5 years is nonsense.  Lots of tender destinations do very well, it's not the tender process as a whole that is bad but the reliability.  Of course as a cruise guest it's much better to be able to dock because you can get off quicker but on every cruise we've ever been on those booked on excursions have priority to tender.  In other words your big spenders will always be able to get ashore first.  By berthing you are mostly enabling the "quick wander around and a bit of tat" an easier route off and a quicker route back on for their lunch.  And reliability is where we have the next big problem with the Isle of Man and why I suspect they want the deep water berth?  Our weather is fucking shit.  It's not the tender process, it's the "not" tender days when it's too rough to get anybody ashore.  I'm sure if you look back we get more than our fare share of them!  That's what really pisses cruise guests off and for some it's enough to hold a black mark against a place and the cruise line itself.  How do you get around that?  One option is to look at what they are doing with a deep water berth however there is NO WAY IN HELL that the government should be looking to spend that money.  The private sector absolutely has to get involved and then costs hammered down to the bare minimum.   I wouldn't trust our government to manage anything on that sort of scale, history tells you that the "yes men" with lovely ties in the civil service are fucking experts in spending other peoples money at the whim of a consultant without any notion of what's coming down the line.  Could it work?  If they can attract the right type of cruise guests and costs are controlled then yes, probably.  The island really does have a huge amount to offer but you need to get those that are happy to spend here to make it work.

The other much cheaper option is to take advantage of the fact we are a small island and that most of the time one side is going to be sheltered.  I'd look in to the feasibility of  having 2 or more tender landing locations, one on the east coast and one on the west.  Depending on the weather on the day depends on where you land.  Believe it or not the actual infrastructure for establishing a security area is all pretty mobile anyway and it's just a case of having a landing platform available in 2 locations.  Doesn't even have to be permanent.  The island is so small that it's hardly going to make any difference in terms of excursion timings and that type of thing.  As an added bonus on some days you're going to get people landing away from Douglas!  This isn't a new idea, we've been to plenty of locations where you berth but due to the weather, other shipping etc etc you don't find out which berth you're at until you wake up.  I can't see any reason why that couldn't work here?

At the end of the day you are more likely to attract the bigger ships carrying the sort of people who are likely to spend more money (cough American  cough) if you can give the cruise line at least the expectation that they will be able to get people ashore for the day.  Once ashore the Isle of Man has loads to offer that history hungry, local product hunting cruise guest and with a better attitude towards our own unique history and culture there isn't any reason why we couldn't cash in....in my opinion.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Isle of Man Gets A Regulated Short Term Loan Provider And Facebook Explodes

The Isle of Man is a backwards little place, sorry but it is. I've lived here all my life, love the place, but I'm well traveled and in simple terms backwards is the only way to describe it. Don't believe me then just try and change something or do something new and see what happens? There is a reason why Manx Crabs is such a well known saying.

 Here's a quick example, one which has got on my tits over the last couple of weeks. Bearing in mind the number of dodgy, grey area tax dodging, profit from gambling, money laundering companies we have over here we've only recently got one of those pay day loan companies, high interest low amounts to get you to your next pay packet. 99.9% of us will NEVER need to use such a company. We can go to the bank, use a credit card, borrow money from family, or if you plan in advance join the recently setup credit union, all of which are much much better ways of borrowing money. If I needed to borrow money today I literally have a dozen options. However for the other .1% they're fucked. In the past on the island (like many other places) their ONLY option was to borrow from the local Fat Tony. Some "hard as nailz" cunt on the estate/recently moved off the estate that will hold that leverage over you and your family for forever and a day. They just love young mothers!! Of course this would never happen on the lovely safe, idyllic Isle of Man...yeah right! Seen it plenty of times first hand growing up at a time when people really didn't have the cash floating about they do now. So to an average well balanced human being what is better, Fat Tony or the regulated company charging an interest rate that is set in law? Anywhere else you'd see it as a necessary evil, shit but you understand people live different lives, on the Isle of Man they see it as the work of the devil! And when I say they I mean the upset middle class left wing fuckwits which seem to take over everything Facebook to do with the Isle of Man. Seriously on every advert I've seen there is an assortment of "scum", "should be in prison", "preying on the vulnerable" etc etc comments. Really? The people running Pogo Loans must have way more patience than me (either that or there is a much bigger market here than you'd think..kerrrrching), I'd have given up on using social media to advertise on the island a long time ago. In fact with some of the shit going their way I think I'd be inclined to say bollocks to the Isle of Man altogether.

 It's much better for the liberal avengers* that this stuff goes on away from social media so that they don't have to tell everybody who will listen how disgusting everything different from them is. And that in a sentence just about sums up the Isle of Man.


 * many of whom seem to work in the e-gaming/tax dodging industry

Friday, December 09, 2016

Ever Wondered What It Would Be Like If You Never Met Your Other Half?

I have.  It's a thought that jumps in to my mind every now and then, usually when I'm pissed off about something trivial.  I like to imagine a couple of Karate world championships, kickboxing titles, sunny beaches and an endless stream of hot chicks.  Cos, you know, that's what I was all about back in the day.

Whilst in reality with a total lack of any discipline or self control when it comes to alcohol and an OCD for doing stupid, pointless shit with computers I would have either ended up dead in a gutter or a penniless loner locked away wasting my life on something like this:-


Was a close call.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Visited Guernsey For The First Time

Heard that it was very similar to the Isle of Man.  I suppose other than a few minor things like being clean, having nice roads, all the shop owners being helpful and friendly, reasonable prices, everybody being able to speak English, a void of boarded up shops and did I mention how clean and well kept the place looked...it was very similar.

I'm assuming they spent some of their tax haven money on infrastructure instead of the government funding a massive job creation scheme for their "mates".

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Bookmakers Bitching About Leicester Winning The League?

Massive pay out...blah blah blah

Somebody should ask them how much they MADE in the bets that were lost on people backing the other 19 teams to win the Premier League. You know the teams that were massively backed by huge numbers of loyal supporters?  The Liverpool fans who every year is their year?  The book size for outright Premier League winner is fucking enormous!  I would be amazed if any significant bookmaker lost a single penny on Leicester winning the league.

Sometimes I think that mainstream media understands fuck all about fuck all, yet people just soak it all up.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Going To The Gym - Myth vs Reality

It's February, the time of year when gym memberships go through the roof as people get around to starting their New Years Resolutions after the hangover of January.  I've had 17 years of February's in the gym and I know the score pretty well, I also know that by the middle of March most gyms are back to "normal".  This isn't a post to laugh at people who can't stick to their resolutions, it's more a post of encouragement to let you know that if you've made the gym part of your weight/health goals for the new year and you're regretting it already that the problem might not be with you, it might be THEM.  You see every gym I've been a member off (and I've been a member of most on the island over the last 17 years) paints itself as the "friendly gym for everybody".  I've also done enough training off island to know that this applies globally as well.  I'm going to go over some of the myths of gym membership versus the actual reality.

Myth: We Welcome Everybody

Reality: We welcome everybody who we find sexually attractive or consider them to be a image boost for the gym.  Now depending on the make up of the ownership/staffing of the gym you could be OK here or you may fall by the wayside.  One gym I was a member off many moons ago had a young female member of staff who definitely took a liking for me from day one and I was very pally with everybody within weeks of joining.  Generally speaking if you're young and female you'll be fine, the staff will be on first name terms in little to no time.  The same applies if you are a local celebrity of some sort, consider "gains" to be your main goal in life or have employed the services of one of the regular personal trainers.  For everybody else you'll find them about as friendly as ISIS....OK maybe that is a little unfair as they do stop one step short of wanting to cut your head off just for existing!  Still you shouldn't forget your place, you are a number, a number associated with a standing order.

 Myth: Everybody Working Hard In Their Own Little Spaces With Room For All

Reality: It's a proven fact that the average gym has a higher percentage of selfish cunts than just about any other type of building.  Whilst the photos on the website either show an empty gym with equipment neatly put away ready for use or a healthily full gym with people working towards their own goals smiling away the reality is that a couple of selfish cunts will spoil just about every trip to the gym.  Chances are you will want to punch somebody on most visits.  Why use one set of dumb-bells when you can have a monopoly on five?  Why concentrate on one piece of equipment or workstation when you can leave your clothes, shaker, phone, notepad on 3-4 for when you're ready?  Why use a unique piece of equipment (of which the gym only has one) for it's single designed usage when you can re-purpose it for an entire hour whilst every non selfish cunt looks on at you in disgust?  After all a gym membership is almost the same as owning your own gym isn't it, everybody else is just interrupting your "gains"?  The real beauty of this, the absolute crystal gem of fucked-up'ness, is that if you speak to one of these twunts you'll realise that they in no way, shape or form see themselves as being selfish.  They are simply "maximising their workout".  No you fucking prick, what you are doing is SHARING a space with other gym members who all have equal access to the same equipment as you.  Take your turn, move on. Seriously who ever brought up these fuckers to be so selfish and have so little awareness of the concept of sharing needs to be shot.

Myth: The Friendly Personal Trainer  

Reality: Fuuuckkkkk Offfffff.  Friendly to the point where they realise that you have no interest in hiring their services.  Certainly not friendly to the point where they might offer some safety advise to a 60+ year old gentlemen who is in serious danging of hurting himself on a resistance machine RIGHT FUCKING NEXT TO YOU.  I'm convinced that the only point of a personal trainer is to get people through the initial un-friendly barrier  that greets most new gym members.  I can see no other reason why people are happy to pay £25-£40 an hour to have somebody sit on what was the 1 free treadmill in the whole gym (see selfish cunts above)  next to them and talk about their weekend.  It would also be nice if personal trainers could take some notice of the thousand and one banners put up asking people to put equipment back after they've finished with it but then again that may distract them from the smug feeling of being better than everybody else in the gym.  Being a personal trainer in a gym is the same as owning it, fact.

Myth: Large Modern Changing Rooms Full Of Friendly Banter

Reality: The website shows the ample benches, clothes hooks/hangers and lockers.  Clean showers and freshly painted walls.  It is a little known fact however that it has been scientifically proven that gym changing rooms deteriorate quicker than any other room known to man.  The first thing that hits you is the smell, the smell of people who consider a diet made up of 80% whey protein to be healthy.  If it's so good for you why the fuck does the entire area smell like horses ass?  The good news is that the waiting time for a shower is usually minimal due to the fact that everybody under the age of 25 refuses point black to have a shower.  This is countered by the 60+ generation who happily walk around bollacky naked before toweling their ass in front of your face.  Ying and Yang.  The real problem arises when you come out of the shower to discover that one of the selfish cunts has decided to appropriate 12 yards of bench and 42 hooks for their post workout clothes layout.  This leaves you with the option of trying to balance all your clothes on the one hook whilst you get dressed in what is basically the centre of an arena of men/women looking at the floor.  Fortunately the gym changing room is an area where no words are spoken unless you are best of friends outside of the gym, even then conversation is to be limited to how hard your workout was, how it's better now that it's over and how you're not looking forward to tomorrow.

You might wonder then why I still go?  The simple answer is because once you get past the initial shock and awe of dealing with it you learn to laugh at it.  There are few things funnier than seeing 2 selfish cunts have a stare off over gym real-estate or even better watching somebody else just like me finally losing their temper and just dumping the "this is reserved" pile on the floor or taking one of the extra 5 sets of dumb-bells from under the persons nose.  It's getting over that initial hump that is the difference between being able to tolerate going to the gym and not.  What I usually suggest to people is to join a class if they can, they'll soon realise there are plenty of people on their level or if you're really unsure but are determined to stick it out then a personal trainer can help you feel much more at home.  Just do me a favour though.... if you do use one please ask them to put equipment back when they're finished.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tight

We seem to be having another run of "you're tight" in our house at the moment.  It's always the same this time of year and usually kicks off over the heating because I prefer it low but the girls like to bake in the heat.  I know for a fact that I'm not the only fella that gets this shit and I know some have it a lot worse.  You have my sympathy.

Anyway with me being such a tight wad I decided to have a quick look at what I've spent playing happy families over just the last 4 years.  Where better place to start than with the mortgage. Or lack of it.  I spent my entire retirement/pension fund paying it off and having a load of other work done on the house.  Altogether a decent 6 figure sum.  Just for the record I drive a 12 year old Ford Fiesta and look like a tramp!  The end result of this is more slush money for everybody else each month to spend on clothes, save for holidays and generally bathe in the essence of my generosity.  Nice.

On top of that there is the "fun time" spending.  The money that goes on hobbies, past times and generally anything that anybody in the house enjoys.  Doing some rough calculations and they do only have to be rough because the numbers are so far apart but I've easily spent more on holidays in the past 4 years than I've spent in total on myself in the past 20 years.  I don't really enjoy holidays, can take em or leave em.  Let that sink in. I have personally (not including the money we've spent as a couple) spent more on keeping everybody else happy in 4 years than I've spent on keeping myself happy in 20 years.  Tight fucker...  In addition things like TV is considered one of my hobbies and over that time I could count any contribution towards any electrical goods in the house on 0 fingers.  We do have a well funded joint account but shit like that definitely comes out of my pocket as did the majority of the utility bills for a long time but I had to bring an end to that.  Tight fucker.

Of course all these things could be relative so it's only fair to look at earnings as well, obviously if I'm making the big bucks that it would only make sense that I'm the one splashing the cash.  Except that if you average earnings out over 13 years of marriage there just about fuck all between it.  The only difference is Tight Wad McSkin Flint here saved money to then spend it all on house and family shit like the truly selfish tight cunt that he is.

This is all a bit tongue in cheek because honestly I'd not have it any other way and in terms of wives that are easily pleased I couldn't have gotten off any easier!  On the other hand there is a tinge of seriousness to it, sometimes chicks should have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror over this money shit.