Tag Archives: internet

Do you know Iain Hunneybell?

Do you know Iain Hunneybell?

What’s he like? I picture a middle-aged white man, vaguely competent at project management, easily able to slot into a grand-a-day role conjured out of nowhere by an HR department told to squeeze funds like pips from a lemon. When a project needs managing, Iain’s the man to do it, not least because of his proven track record of forcing through that completely unnecessary second I.

He could surprise me. He could be skipper of his local volunteer lifeboat having retired from the fire service after 30 years’ solid graft at the hose. Maybe he’s a martial arts teacher or a budding chef, a theatre critic or someone who designs new shapes for tea bags. He could have an impressive back catalogue of movies listed on IAFD.com, many of them anal.

But it’s not likely, is it? Because if he was an extreme sports maniac, a Youtuber with five hundred thousand subscribers or a stay-at-home dad who makes his own pickled onions, I don’t think LinkedIn would be so fucking obsessed about connecting me with him.

Once a week I get an email with the subject line ‘Do you know Iain Hunneybell?’ I do not know Iain Hunneybell.

I can’t involve myself with these emails to explain to LinkedIn that I don’t know Iaiaiain Hunneybell, because the moment I do LinkedIn will know I’m not dead. When that happens, your inbox fills up with limitless emails about the fantastic opportunity of becoming the Social Media Manager at Nickelodeon and the suicide that would follow in its wake.

One way they try to phish you is with job ads. When you’re asked as a child what you want to be when you grow up, obviously astronaut and footballer will figure high on the list, along with postman for Christ knows why. Yet what we should all do at that point is consult LinkedIn because it knows us better than we know ourselves.

I’m some kind of copywriter, so I can expect an email dangling tantalising jobs such as nomadic scribe for Lonely Planet or new ale reviewer for Whitbread. If you click any of these non-existent roles you can expect the sad rejection to be delivered to your inbox by none other than Iain Hunneybell, along with countless real jobs of unspeakable tedium for companies like Accenture and SAP. The only work anyone’s actually secured via LinkedIn is, you guessed it, project fucking management. If I’m the kind of person you want managing your project, I imagine your CV packed with words like Challenger, Beagle 2 and Marchioness.

I fucking hate social media and engage only with Twitter so that a handful of people who actually like me read the drivel I put on here. Sadly, the other ghastly network I’m signed up to is LinkedIn. It was once a useful way to beg people who tangentially knew me to give me a job I didn’t want, before it became easier to drown former colleagues in beer and wait for the “I’ll see what I can do”.

I’ve never poked a penny at LinkedIn, so clearly it now wants payback. Insidiously worming its way around a wide circle of acquaintances, it uses methods unfathomable to suggest people I might possibly know who might somehow enliven my life by improving my handoff from project intake through delivery, ensuring that I’m on strategy and realising the vision. Don’t those words make you want to weep? Don’t your genitals shrivel when I say ‘high-level user needs’, ‘low-hanging fruit’ or ‘MVP’? The people it wants to inveigle into my world live these expressions with their dead-eyed profile pictures and decades of understandable self harm.

A good 95% of suggested connections are middle-aged white men working in offices. Not entirely a surprise you’d think, but on what grounds do I need to know Ciaran Ryan, an ‘Agile Coach’, Paul Brown, who has a self-proclaimed ‘deep knowledge of digital strategy’, or Normal Driskell? I just don’t see myself sharing a happy, fulfilling conversation with a man named Norman Driskell. Sorry Norman.

Then there are those people who seek me out because I’m special. The other day I had a message from one Nigel Burton, a ‘Business Development Manager’ at Chillblast, in Bournemouth no less. “Hi Chris, I thought it would be great to connect and see if Chillblast can help your business. We build bespoke computer systems needed to run high power programmes.”

Do I look like the kind of bloke who needs to run high power programmes, Nigel? It fucking says it right there look – ‘Self employed content designer and copywriter’. Words mate, not hissing control rods for heavy water reactors or automated excuse emitters for Boeing. Words like “How about you fuck off away and out of it Nigel? How about you stick you bespoke computer systems up your pipe and turn the fan all the way up to Chillblast?”

I’ve lost track of how many times it’s tried to connect me with the wife. We graft in entirely different fields and I can’t begin to imagine who it might think connects us in the world of work. This surely demonstrates the evil of such networks and the knowledge they have of us. Just think about that for a second. It wants to connect me with the wife.

I picture LinkedIn as desperate, bags under eyes, one missed connection from bankruptcy, because how does it make any money? It’s not like they can sell much advertising space given their target audience’s main outlay is staples. LinkedIn is the workers’ MySpace, but without the general air of cocaine nonchalance, and the tunes.

Or maybe I’ve misjudged it and LinkedIn is a vital tool in everyone’s life but mine. Maybe I’m just not cut out for the 21st century. On Saturday I went to the pub to find my cash useless, and a card the only route to the oceans of drink I need and deserve. It felt like a watershed moment, probably, I can’t really remember. Out of place and left behind, like Jim Davidson at the Edinburgh fringe.

When nobody wants me to write their silly shite any more, when even Nigel Chillblast has stopped taking my calls, will LinkedIn offer me one last chance for employed redemption? Do I know Iain Hunneybell? More to the point, will he want to know me? For all I know he might have been getting emails about me for weeks on end and have written something cutting and sly about me on www.ianaiainainaaainahunneybell.net.

So be it. I do not know Iain Hunneybell and I probably never will. But if we ever meet, Iain, I will value our new friendship and the 30-day trial of Oracle Imaging and Process Management that doubtless comes with it.

I can’t promise that I’ll share many articles on the importance of personas in user research or accept many invitations to conferences in the QEII Centre. But if you ever identify a gap in your project that can only realistically be filled by profanity, misanthropy and beer, well, mate, what about that LinkedIn, eh? Imagine if we’d never connected!

Just imagine.

Self-harm and Hamas

You shouldn’t be here really. You should be on social media. Imagine what you’re missing.

Perhaps there’s a vital petition for you to sign so you can prevent the extinction of the pangolin without leaving your bed. Maybe a close friend of yours got engaged, the bitch. If you’re lucky there might be a link to a video that’ll explain how to improve your life in some small yet meaningful way.

By ending it, for example.

Continue reading Self-harm and Hamas


It must be nice having a following. Lots of people interested in what you have to say, or at least interested enough to click a button on a website, once, ever. Friends vicariously enjoying your morning flat white, while Liking the articles about global warming, feminism and the KKK you link. I think you’re one of the few people in the world who really gets it. I wish I had half as much influence.

To be fair I’m not really putting the effort in. Take YouTube. I don’t post many videos, but I’m proud of the three subscribers to my ‘channel’ who enjoy my valiant efforts to improve the internet. This involves a video of a band called Snuff doing the theme to Test Match Special, and a collection of clips you could bracket under the title ‘The Best of Jason’s Murders from the Friday the 13th Franchise’.

Continue reading Tiddies

Cappuccino and bile

Well, it’s finally happened. Inauguration Day just squelched straight in and kicked its muddy boots off right on the hearth rug, leaving Donald John Trump as the official, no bullshit, bona fide President of the United States. Given the endless mosaic of hysterical and, let’s be honest, completely unhinged rhetoric flashing across my computer screen at the moment, I’d half expected none of us would wake up at all the following morning.

And yet, here we all are. That’s one more for reality, and another big fat zero for cyberspace.

Continue reading Cappuccino and bile

The router incident

The internet is in so many ways a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t seem quite so bloody marvellous, liberating, enlightening or whatever else it’s supposed to be when you can’t fucking use it.

How exactly am I supposed to survive the day when I can’t explore the latest top tips on how to pluck my eyebrows? Life just isn’t the same without being able to consult those useful guides to picking your nose whilst driving.

Hardly the world’s most original thought this, but BT are bunch of unscrupulous, money grabbing, deceitful and wholly unpleasant fuckers. It’s just a pity that I didn’t realise this until I signed up for their broadband service.

Continue reading The router incident

The full benefit of your insertion fee

It’s quite a tricky task, trying to convince people to write for this website. As much as the carefree, objectionable nature of the words you find here attract a certain type of people like organophosphates attract doomed bees, the delighted enthusiasm to contribute to this virtual free-for-all tends to wane at the sight of a blank Word document and an incessantly chirping smartphone promising all the world’s riches if you’ll only give it every last second of attention you have going spare. Oh look, someone’s added me to their circles, whatever the bloody hell that means.

So I’m always on the hunt for places I can entice writers to come and drop their filthy muck on the pages herein. One rather unexpected source of scribbling meat has until recently been classified ad site Gumtree, which it turns out is no longer the exclusive domain of Australians looking for cheap rooms in Notting Hill, bar work, second-hand didgeridoos and the like. Free ads in the ‘creative writing’ section used to do the job smartly, but then they shut that section down and began forcing people like me down the ‘jobs’ route, and charging a pretty packet for the privilege.

I decided to fork out for an ad. For posterity, as you will soon see, it read like this:

Gumtree used to let you put ads in their creative writing section for free, and now it costs £35.70. It’s your duty to reply to this ad because I’ve been mug enough to stump up the funds and if nobody replies I’ll have to drown a kitten to cheer myself up.

Right, to the point. I have a website that various people write entertaining, frequently angry articles on. There is a certain amount of serious swearing on said website so if you’re not keen on that I suggest you sling your hook.

The website is called…

Striving for Apathy

Google it. If I attach a URL Gumtree will charge me an extra £9.95. Amazing.

Anyway, I am forever looking for more writers for this site, ideally ones willing to spread the word via the social media sites you all love so much. The site carries no ads and makes no money, it’s for the love alone, or hate in this case. As a result I don’t generally pay writers but I will if a writer I find turns out to be particularly good at it (£15, for something that usually takes about half an hour or so – but you have to do the first one free so I can check quality, and there are no exceptions to that).

Did you read that previous paragraph? The first time I listed this advert I had about fifty replies demanding payment up front. If you can’t read I’m hardly going to pay you to write am I? This is Gumtree, not Mugtree.

Anger and passion is important, but entertaining (which usually means funny) is key. There aren’t many rules for writing for this site, you get to pick your own topic, and everyone who has so far enjoys it, so they tell me. You can find the guidelines on one of the pages of the menu on the site. I forget which, you have eyes, go look. To find out what I consider the site to be about, I am the writer ‘Chris’ on it, so read what that bellend wrote and you’ll get the idea.

Please reply. Ask as many questions as you like. As far as I know Gumtree don’t charge me to reply to questions but perhaps they do, so entertain yourself by forcing me to find out.

It says here I have 7,845 characters remaining in my ring-tearingly expensive advert. I feel like I ought to make use of them.

Can’t be arsed.

The ad was on the site for almost two months, until about a week ago, when I received an email with the following subject line: ‘Your Gumtree ad 1095453007 has been removed’.

It turns out that Gumtree are as keen to take a joke as riot police in May. Their decision has been taken because, as their email makes clear, they feel their policies have been so violated by my words there may have to be new legislation to take into account the feelings of a website with a quivering bottom lip.

Among my many misdemeanours, I have evidently used ‘discrimination terms, either offensively or generally’. Allow me to use a few more at this juncture, being as freedom of speech is prized in these parts.

Fuck you, Gumtree. You are a humourless shower of money-grabbing bastards for whom creaming funds from the UK’s legion of hard-working families, as hideous politicians will be calling us all for the next few weeks, seems to involve roughly a tenner’s development work biannually. Your website is a shit mixture of Amazon, Loot and Find A Grave. Your logo evokes images of a final sapling standing steadfast in the face of an onrushing nuclear explosion, just before it’s blown away in a cataclysm humanity is marching towards so inexorably it may actually explain why you’re all such stony-faced wankers.

Your support service is laughable, though I will say your copy-and-pasting is beyond compare. Your ‘policy removal appeal’ process appears to involve me asking why the ad was taken down and you replying with a succession of ‘because we said so’, ‘because we can’ and ‘because you’re picking on us’-style responses as the football disappears from the playing area beneath your arm.

On the off-chance you have any interest in making your website more interesting than a succession of ads for battered motors and soulless employment has any right to be, I should point out that virtually everyone who replied to the ad commented that they did so because it was the first they’d seen on Gumtree not written in a way that made them want to sear their eyes on a Bunsen burner in bored frustration. Not everyone bestows critical acclaim on the words ‘Please include your CV and covering letter’, not that it stopped countless people sending me their CV and covering letter in the mistaken belief I was another identikit employer offering the type of wrist-slitting work the rest of your job ads espouse in language that makes Atlas Shrugged read like a Mr Men book.

Needless to say Gumtree laughed when I mentioned the word ‘refund’: “You have already enjoyed the full benefit of your insertion fee.” Insertion certainly took place at some point in my dealings with them, though quite whether I or they ended up with the sorest arse remains unclear at this point.

Should anyone at Gumtree find themselves so astoundingly without mirth that they reach for their local defamation lawyer’s number on reading this, it might just bring about the final, exquisite death of irony. In short, Gumtree, I will not be using your service again. Consider yourself worse off to the tune of £35.70 a month. When the resulting penury causes you to let an employee go, I hope it’s the one who brings those biscuits in you all love as you gather around the crumb-infested filing cabinet at 10.30am on a Monday, each wishing you’d never applied to that Gumtree ad for a job working for fucking Gumtree.