Sunday, 31 December 2006

Post 07

Just a quick one... Here is the email from my my Mum's best friend's husband (regarding Post 02 I think)

Sorry it's taken me an age to reply, but my ISP was involved in a legal dispute with another company, and I've been unable to send emails. I've just sorted my email with another provider, so for the moment my email is as above.
Yes, my father was chief engineer of Daniels, who were located in Stroud. They originated as ironfounders in the 1780s, and were a family firm until taken over by various groups in the late 60s and 70s. The site closed when their work was put elsewhere in (I think) the Alfred Herbert Group. At one time they made traction engines, then presses from the 1920s onwards. After the war they were one of the first companies to make chainsaws (Danarm) and they expanded into plastics machinery for injection moulding and vacuum forming.
Regards, Chris.

Pretty interesting...

As for me, I'm heading to the Big Smoke to chase my dreams... And to do more temp jobs. Saving money here isn't working. Hopefully there it will!

Friday, 22 December 2006

Post 06

Very unexpected - recieved in the post (along with incorrect timesheet) a Christmas card from the temp agency! Written personally to me aswell! Not. Nice of them all the same though.

Post 05

Not much info from me for a while, been busy making music with my band. (Though what you hear on the myspace doesn't really sound anything like the new material).

Anyway, I have been working for two weeks at a small bottle screenprinting factory/business. They market water purification units for restaurants/hotels to sell over-priced tap water; they sell bottles with for these units and will print your logo etc on them. (Some very well known - and expensive! - places use this company, can't say which though)

Lovely people (actually have real conversations) except one man - of the two I work with - 100% supports the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp which really disturbed me; I nearly quit when he said, "...Oooh Guantanamo; love it. Love it. It's justice isn't it". I wish I had my argument dialled but didn't know what to say. I did say that most of the men there have not had a trial. But couldn't compete with his self-assurance that it was a good idea (which I strongly believe it is not). He was a policeman for 21 years.

Radio 2 8:30am til 1:30pm (working hours). I got very confused as I was convinced Terry Wogan did the whole stint but gradually realised he only does up til 9am! The next man is Ken Bruce who sounds EXActly like Wogan; THAT is where the confusion lies.

Took some photos of the work environment. Still no people. Never feels right. I don't work in these places long enough to feel comfortable to do so (wouldn't want to do candid snaps either)

Here they are:

Place of work. Kilns on left, bubble wrap centre. It is infact quite a skill to print and bake the bottles (this 'sets' the ink like a glaze). You cannot take them out of the kiln straight away; they will all crack. The kilns are left to cool in the kilns until about 100 degrees C (with the help of homemade air-con/air extraction system, on left above kilns) then the doors are opened only slightly to cool bottles further (again they would crack if taken out now.) Eventually they are removed and placed on the tables (picture, right) and when at a tepid temp, the tops are put on (my job exclusively, see below).

THREE colours.

More 'factory art' with chocolate buttons Sellotaped to breasts.

Friday, 1 December 2006

Post 04

This week I worked the final three days at the switchgear factory. Mainly assembly of components, but also stock taking - I think I counted well over 6000 items. I am now proficient at counting - four at a time. I was able to take some more photos and people were actually wanting to make conversation. I learnt two Thai curry recipes (provided below) - i am yet to test them. I talked to a 25 year old man who was very keen on film (in particular the Alien series); he talked with some genuine opinion and passion about it. I am sure he would love to work on film sets - he was surprised when I told him it wouldn't be that difficult to get in to - and he said he was aching to change jobs - "sort out my career". "I might be a forklift driver".

I noticed a few things I hadn't noticed before in the factory - namely some interesting design by the workers. Incidental design, and I doubt the person who did it thought anything of it, but pretty original all the same! Below are some examples as well as a couple of other things... I don't want to use the term 'outsider art' as I think it's pretentious and raises the critic on a pedestal (which isn't really there). So maybe it's factory-art or something... Doesn't matter really.

I like this hose-clip packaging.

Pretty bored counting so I made this lovely Xmas decor from the left over labels.

Maybe not 'good design' but I know someone who will adore this.

Curry 01

Curry 02

Friday, 17 November 2006

Post 03

Weirdest thing: the machine which I didn't know what it did was being used today. Sounds a bit like a steam train. Except. It also sounds like a crowd of people chanting, quite quickly, "take control" and then "kill yourself, take control" over and over. Weird indeed. I think I was listening quite hard. And when something starts to sound like something (and you're listening hard like me), your brain fills in the gaps and it gets more and more real. I did not kill myself though, nor did I take control.

I have been getting up at 6:30am for two weeks now. Initially I hated this. I still do, except I have realised it is worth it as you get to see the sun rise. This is my journey to the factory:

And here is the huge hydraulic press (about 18ft high) which looks like a massive robot waiting to walk around clumsily picking small leaves/petals up and wondering about the world. Or accidentally killing a man with it's mightly power it doesn't yet undestand, then looking up to the sky (is there a God?) and thinking "why?" (I'm thinking of this of course. Frank Kelly Freas).

And this is the men's changing room:

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Post 02

Still at the factory for a second week - this will be my last week as it is too mindblowing.

Well, reading Post 01 over again, it does seem particularly arty and pretentious. I'll try not to do that again. Today, sitting at the drill, the massive (ie biggest) compression moulder looked EXACTLY like a massive Transformer robot. Will take photo tomorrow. And when I got home my mum had a reply in the post from her longtime friend Pam - Pam's husband Chris's father was a pioneer of compression moulding technology in the 60s! - his company? 'Daniels'? and will you just check the darn photo to see none other than a 'Daniels' compression moulding machine at the factory! Amazing.

Today i nearly fell asleep 'at the wheel' as it were. Will be going to bed earlier tonight...

For music THIS is well worth a look.

Here are more of the photos I took the other day.

Not sure what this does. It looks like a boat/car/coffin crossover

My output 01

My output 02

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Post 01

This week I am engulfed in machinery. I got a job temping at a factory which makes switchgear units (the fenced off bit at the end of the street which says 'Danger of Death' contains switchgear units). I am on a compression moulding machine making part 'GF185 Inserted Barrier'. To work these well the human worker must become machine-like. As you make rhythm simultaneous to the machine every muscle is automatic to the job at hand - the mind free to wander. My mind stays with the machines, what they present to me/us. How people change in their working way. Do these machines present a weird psyco-sexual performance - the pushing and ramming of pistons; the machines fellating themselves? Or even impregnating themselves? the injection-moulder machine forces it's seed of molten plastic into the ovarian tool-mould, an endless cycle of conception and birth. All the machines are never turned off. Perhaps far-fetched but the hydraulic veins twitch and pulse in a startling human-sexual way. Who am I in this? A component. A submissive. My heals ache.

I asked to take photos, David said it was fine. I suppose it is a kind of voyeurism - I can't think of any other reason I am fascinated by machines. I dont know that much how they work or what a lot of them do, but the power and movement of them is arresting. 1500lbs psi.

On monday I made 175 components. Tuesday 207. Wednesday 215. Thursday 225. Friday 94 (half day and machine cleaning). I don't notice my speed increasing. I would like to slow down (I do not get paid on commission). I try to file off the plastic 'flash' of the freshly moulded component as quickly as possible - between 1 and 6 seconds rest can be obtained waiting for the machine to reveal another identical transformation.

Whoops and shouts from the workers on the shop floor sound like monkies calling. The tropical heat and layers of sound and whitenoise combined with the tall machines actually makes this feel like a jungle. Im sure the crowded visual and audio spectrum would be similar.

Near the end of the week some of the workers talk to me and it begins to feel more human - just another job and a definate community here. These are hardworking men (few women here) paying the rent/mortgage and feeding kids. But some of these guys have been here 'for years' and I really really wonder how on earth they don't want a different job.