Saturday, September 29, 2007


As you see, the blog has a slightly new look. It was not me what did it, however, but someone called Peter North and it is part of a few new initiatives at the beatroot.

Peter is son of Richard North, who together with Helen Szamuely, co-edit the EU Referendum blog from the UK.

Richard was one of the first to encourage me to keep blogging in the early days. The blog he runs is one of the most read in the UK and not only reports on what is going on in the MSM but also helps set its agenda, occasionally (I should do their PR!).

Anyway, EU Referendum blog has now sprouted a few new branches, one of which is called Umbrella Blog. It’s really a group of different blogs collated in one place.

So the beatroot is now part of that (slightly dysfunctional) ‘family’ of blogs.

As you can see there are slight changes to the way the beatroot looks – it has a new ‘head’ and the side bar is more logically laid out.

Part of the deal, I was told by Peter, was for the blog to get a new ‘make over’.

Gulp! A blog ‘make over’ to me sounded like one of those TV shows where two bitchy women force you into a room full of mirrors and then slag off the way you look.

‘Does my blog’s arse look big in this new ‘head?’…etc

beatroots, beatroots everywhere…

There are a couple of other projects I have been asked to get involved with.

Clive – a.k.a. Nosemonkey (again, another one of the UK’s top bloggers) – has asked me to help out at the dLiberation blog, part of the openDemocracy group. This is all part of the EU’s Tomorrow’s Europe initiative, which describes itself thus:

Tomorrow’s Europe will help understand citizens’ vision of Europe’s future. How? By selecting a truly representative sample of ordinary citizens from all 27 countries in the EU; providing them with objective information about possible options for Europe’s future; then bringing them together for several days of discussion in the European Parliament, on the 12-14 October…

I will be doing posts on EU, Poland and post-communist central Europe as part of that project.

And the guys at Pajamas Media in the United States have asked me to contribute as Polish/central Europe correspondent. Once I sign and send off the very long contract ( I have discovered I am allergic to fax machines) I will be doing a few posts for them, too.

All of the above moves are simply to further extend our reach in Europe and the US, and get us more readers.

Apart from that, it will be the same old gibberish down at the beatroot.


I should say that all the above blogs have come from many different political traditions, and the beatroot does not necessarily agree with any of the opinions you will find in them.


michael farris said...

"It was not me what did it, however, but someone called Peter North"

Taking time out from his busy ... acting career?

beatroot said...

No...not Peter North (born Alden Brown on May 11, 1957 in Halifax, Nova Scotia) ...I just wikied him :-)))

I think this one is from near Halifax West Yorkshire...(it's true!!)

GM said...

Just a random comment re: the re-design. You probably want to save your header as a .jpg, as opposed to a .gif--most gradients and shadows, like those on your header, can't be rendered lucidly with indexed color palettes (which are limited at 256 colors). The .jpg format uses an RGB composite color profile, which allows 256x256x256 color combinations, rendering subtle variations in color far far more clearly than any .gif files.

GM said...

You can catch what I'm talking about in the bottom right of the image (white spot on the shading), as well as around the beat itself.

beatroot said...

Cheers Grzegorz...I let Peter know what you said...

beatroot said...

Grzegorz - Peter says what you said makes a lot of sense and he will fiddle with a jpeg or something later.


Bicyclemark said...

I am not at all a fan of pajamas media.. but I respect your work and am curious how it will relate to their politics.

beatroot said...

Pajamas is right wing, right? The open Democracy thing is EU based and 'liberal' I have said before many times I am not really sure how much currency these terms have anymore. To me it is about authoritarian/libertarian...and progressive/conservative....and it is possible to be anti-authoritarian progressive and both be left and right.

So I am not bothered what the politics of these sites are as long as I get my message across.

Metka by Traczka said...

the layout is much better, clearer.

The beatroot's spreading the roots on the Internet - great. Congrats! :-)

GM said...

No problem--I enjoy your blog and congrats on the exposure. I think the perspective of a foreigner in Poland is a very valuable one to read.


Damien Moran said...

I'll second that last statement by Grzegorz BR. I like the sexed up version. A bit like a genetically modified beatroot (yes I know,a blasphemous thing to do to the real veg.).

michael farris said...

While we're here, lookig at some of the other umbrellogs I really wish some Eastern Europeans would start reading and responding to the hysterical (in all senses of the word) comparisons of the EU to totalitarian governments that Europhobe Brits are prone to make.

Anonymous said...

... as long as you leave in the "/" instead of a "-"

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the Beatrootian et. al. analysis of the big debate tonight.

Will Kaczynski debate Tusk and others soon?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Don Tusk use that old Fleetwood Mac marching tune as a campaign song?

If PO and he can't afford to bring in the USC Marching Band, maybe he can call in the Brass Band from Wieliczka.

(Makes me recall, too, that great Brit film Brassed Off....

Anonymous said...

And if it was me running, I'd find a way to bring in the USC cheerleaders, too. Note that they already have nifty Polish red-and-white costumes and shoes. But best of all they wiggle nicely for votes:

beatroot said...

Brassed off is a great little film. Better than that film - out same time - about the miners from Shefield dancing about buffo!

Yeah there will be a Kaczor/Tusk clash. But Kaczynski is saying that he wants Kwasniewski first because he is the guy who is Tusk's 'Left leg'.


Anonymous said...

Jobsite CV for: Peter North 19-Oct-2007 15:45

Employment Market: Aviation, Defence, Information Technology, Training
Employment Type: All Jobs
Notice Period: 1 week
Salary/Rate: between £20,000 and £30,000 per annum
Preferred Role: Analyst, Programer, Database Developer, administrator
Current Skill Set: Access, Excel, Equinox, Photoshop
Preferred Location(s): Leeds
Position Sought: Systems development, business analysis, Access programming, IT training, graphic design
Current Work Permits: Authorised to work in the EU
Tel (Home):
Tel (Work):
Tel (Mobile): 07737223141
Email Address:
Date of Birth: 04/01/1979
Street: 4 Quarry Street
City: Leeds
Postcode: LS6 2JU
Education: Diploma
Graduation Year:
Driving Licence: Yes

The Completely Honest CV of
Mr Peter J North
24 Allerton Uppper Green, Allerton, Bradford, BD15 8AE
Telephone: 07737223141,


• 1990-1996 Dixons City Technology College - 10 GCSEs Grades A-D
• Software Engineering HNC 1999 - Bradford & Ilkley Community College
(well sort of; They stopped running the course because everyone dropped out)
• Project Management (Carnegie) 1997 - Allied Colloids
• Advanced Lotus Approach 1997 - Remarc Technologies Leeds (as if that adds value)
• Advanced Microsoft Access 1997 - Remarc Technologies Leeds
• BPCS for AS400 Process Control 1998 - Allied Colloids (completely obsolete)
• ERDPro (Actuate Software) – (attended the course but missed the last day due to hangover)

Skill Summary

All Versions of MS Access, VBA, SQL, Maximo, MXES, ADOx, Compsoft Equinox, Oracle SQL, Actuate, Windows 2003 Server, Active Directory, VNC, Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS, Project Management, Crystal Reports, Document/Asset Management, Sales/Systems Analysis, Excel, HTML, Photoshop, Sound Forge.


Having tolerated almost a decade of boring database jobs interspersed with prolonged periods of procrastination I laughingly call self-employment I have decided to come clean and tell the truth on my CV so that I might actually land a job I would like to do. While this document is balls achingly long it is probably worth a read.

I have designed applications in most business administration functions for a diverse range of companies including Ciba Speciality Chemicals, Social Services, Allied Colloids, Kodak, HBOS, Disability Information Advice Line, C&C Hydraulics,, CNG, Atkins, Drive Me, and British Gas.

I have worked as an independent contractor and in full time salaried positions. I am able to develop database software, create and implement reporting solutions and author full architectural and training documentation. I am able to support and coach users on the use of bespoke systems. I am also proficient in graphic design and basic web design.

All true so far.
“Professional” Experience

• 1/7/2007 – Director – Umbrellog Ltd.

Working on the rollout of a blogging community/web design and web publishing company. I have designed CSS/HTML/Photoshop templates for political weblogs and created corporate idents for them while building software to automate the processes of updating the main site and linking to a custom built comments facility. For this I am using PHP with limited success.

I am also doing all of the graphic design and have conducted photo manipulation for the Sunday Telegraph and web design for the One London group,, Warmwell and the Umbrellog group to name a few. The truth of the matter is that I have adapted one CSS template and punted it to all of my clients. I do not believe in duplicating effort, especially when they pay me so little.

I am also working on the London mayoral campaign website and strategy for the One London group and am working on a parking fine appeals blogging system for Neil Herron (Metric Martyrs).

I liaise with our programmer to ensure that our software is built to the specifications I have outlined (since programmers are evidently incapable of doing as they’re told) and I am authoring the styles while also coaching group members in journalism and presentation of content under the guise of “The Blog Mechanic” as advertised in Private Eye magazine.
The revenue generated from the latter venture did not cover the cost of the advert and my high profile client has yet to pay me which is why I am looking for work in the real world again. One tries.

• 1/5/2007 – 1/8/2007 Software Developer/Software Support (Deans Computer Services)

Support and development of CRM and support software, new software commissions and general technical support. This was a Compsoft Equinox role and a frightful bore. This was a permanent role involving a 90 mile a day commute to a rather pleasant village on the border of North Yorkshire which turned out to be a living hell. Two phone calls a day on a busy day and the most common complaint was the colour of the logos on the invoice software. I did not learn advanced database architecture to listen to accountants moan about the wrong fonts. I did use the opportunity to further my knowledge of the two Lebanese civil wars and was subsequently fired for spending too much time on the internet.

I appreciate that this was not fair on the employer but I feel they were dishonest with me about the role and sat in an office with only two other people, two decades my senior, was, to be frank, purgatory. Should have had the wits to see that one coming.

• 1/2/2007 – 1/5/2007 Knowledge Analyst (Atkins Asset Management)

Development of Actuate ERDpro reports and Maximo dashboards using Oracle SQL. I also consulted on MS Access projects for Human Resources where I did actually learn something useful. I discovered that Access can run ADOx procedures over a network albeit very slowly. I learned many things about SQL and querying Oracle databases. If I’m honest with myself I should have accepted the promotion they offered instead of job hopping for a bigger wage to Deans which was a catastrophic career setback. Still, you live and you learn. I tell you this because by now you’re probably thinking I’m an over ambitious job hopper. And you’d have been right a couple of months ago. Pride cometh before a fall.

• 1/12/2005 – 4/1/2007 - Database Developer (Contract Natural Gas Ltd.)

Development of gas portfolio invoicing system and Supply Point Administration software using Compsoft Equinox relational database. At least that’s as I understand it.

This included analysis and development of Exchequer payments systems, management information, debt recovery and bespoke data mining. My main role was to develop systems to identify anomalies in the portfolio, to seek out common administrative tasks and automate them, and to improve data integrity. I also wrote a number of front end screens for a variety of tasks.

I was also responsible for day to day IT housekeeping (dogsbody), user administration, email administration, file transfers and server back-ups. I acted as technical support for telephones, printers and computers and assisted users in the creation of Lotus Approach databases and Excel spreadsheets. Yes. They were that incompetent. Lotus Approach is designed so that trained monkeys can use it; and many do, evidently.

Conclusion: Dull as dishwater and resented being treated as the dogsbody. Being a database programmer somehow makes me the man responsible for topping up the franking machine, changing the cartridges on the laser printers and being called from my desk every time some idiot jammed the photocopier. Where on my CV does it say I’m a photocopier technician? My immediate boss was also an arrogant bully with a monumental ego. I don’t like that kind of competition.

The job was also using Compsoft Equinox RDBMS which no-one but the boss and Deans Computer Services (his former employer) has ever heard of. A career dead end if there ever was one. By last Christmas I felt myself slipping into clinical depression and resigned. The commute to Harrogate on the rural back roads was also suicide alley and I do not miss it.

• 11/7/2005 – 30/11/05 - Systems and Technology Developer HBOS plc (contact)

My first venture for some time into what one might call a proper job. This was a thoroughly enjoyable maternity leave cover contract working for some great people in a busy office. I was responsible for the following:

• Security Requirements Analysis, SQL Access Control Reporting, Security Systems Administration, MS Access database/application design, Upkeep of Bell and G2IS ESI Access Control systems, Intranet Administration, Software Procurement, Security Strategy Implementation (like THAT means anything), Outlook Mailbox management (getting idiots to delete the terabytes of emails from their boyfriend), Helpdesk Support (“switch you PC off and turn it back on and ring me back if it still won’t work, byeeee”) and Platform Migration (getting an Access 97 database working on NT and XP at the same time. Make of that what you will.)

• 2004 - Database Developer/Sales Team Leader/Web designer

Worked over the summer as a Sales Team Leader for touring the major music festivals with a mobile trade stand. Translation: manned a stall at a few gigs with some mates selling clichéd slogan t-shirts to drunken Glaswegians.

I also worked as a freelance web designer, designing websites for art students and worked as a web promoter for the Underground City club in Birmingham and their associated record labels.
Did not make a penny but have a nice portfolio to show for it. Or at least would have had I paid my HostRocket bill and backed up my work. I was also sniffing round for a DJ set at Underground City so allowed myself to be walked on. Amazing how much you can get craven egotists to do for free.

• 10/2003 – Student – Leeds Metropolitan University

Having enrolled on an inappropriate University course I abandoned it to resume my programming “career”. Translation: I enrolled in a university course due to parental pressure to obtain a degree, did not research the courses properly and ended up lumbered with a crap course whose only requirement for entrants is that they have a pulse. God bless New Labours social engineering.

Instead of learning 3D Studio Max for university I stayed up until three AM for months on end, avoiding daylight where possible, while I learned Adobe Photoshop and dance music production skills.

In order to sustain myself, I worked with Drive Me in Manchester, consulting on their customer bookings database in Microsoft Access and advised on company procedures and marketing strategy in order to build the company as a viable franchise package. It failed, not least because it was a terrible idea. I also ponced money off my parents. Admit it, you did as well. No? Don’t believe you. I bet if I asked your mum she’d beg to differ.

I also worked for again on the music festival circuit during summer advising on marketing strategy, product development and website design. Translation: Sodded about when I should really have been travelling Europe and getting some Scandinavian woman pregnant. Let’s hope for re-incarnation.

• 08/2002 – 10/2003 - Database Developer (contract)

From the beginning of August until November I worked for Kodak to build their engineering maintenance database and to upgrade and repair some of their existing database systems including their training database, helpdesk system, production statistics and other general IT housekeeping. This was all built with VBA, SQL and Access 2002. In this time I also conducted an internal audit of the IT department in order to ascertain the departments’ effectiveness. I also completed an Access/SQL system by which off-site stock throughput systems could be queried for auditing and quarterly reports. This involved the database interfacing with custom non-Microsoft systems. This was probably the last instance of me taking an IT job entirely seriously.

• 01/2001 – 07/2002 - Freelance Database Developer/Campaigner/Temp worker

After my time at DIAL I was engaged in freelance web design, building PC’s. I also conducted database design/sales analysis work for British Gas. In this position I created over two months an Access 97 outgoing calls sales database which assisted telesales agents in their data collection procedures and collated sales information for accounting and sales effectiveness reports. Had they treated me with a little more respect and paid me I would have given them the passwords to it when I left.

For five months I conducted a number of short term temporary admin jobs in order to fund my general election campaign. No REALLY. Don’t ask. 1783 votes.

• 01/1999 – 12/2000: Disability Information Advice Line/Social Services - Database Developer

At DIAL I was invited to design and implement a computerised information system which would find local and national community/healthcare resources and log case-work for disability benefit appeals and fulfil local council statistical requirements. Within a year, with only limited assistance, I had produced a comprehensive Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and macro driven MS Access database which was used to gather data on client through-put and equal opportunity information for Bradford Social Services. I designed a reporting system for the database to log the most common types of enquires to the branch and to collate statistical data for the Community Legal Service. It was also enabled to automatically send statistical data as email on date specific intervals.

I also designed reports/queries in Microsoft Access using SQL and designed a user-friendly graphical database front end for ease of use and speed of reporting. The system ran smoothly on a multi-station Windows NT network with a number of add on modules to assist with most areas of the operation.

To date this is my most outstanding IT achievement and to the best of my knowledge it is still running. For some reason, because I built it on a voluntary basis I put in more effort for them than any other client and have not been motivated enough to top it since.

On completion, the system was sold to the local primary healthcare trust (NHS) and DIAL was given funding to develop the system further. This allowed funding for my full time employment at DIAL. The system I designed in this time was strongly considered as an option for national distribution across the DIAL network. Except of course it was stitched up with an existing company months before the tendering process. Quel surprise.

In my second year at DIAL I was contracting, with permission, on a freelance basis to Bradford and Oldham Social Services to work on analysis and reprogramming of their Child-care Registration and Inspection System to gather statistical data for provision of childcare for funding and equal opportunity reporting. This was done using SQL, VBA and MS Access.

I also worked with DIAL to enhance their services by upgrading their reporting application known as REDIAL. Whilst at DIAL I was also engaged in the set-up and configuration of their computers and the network. I also conducted independent database/web-site design and maintenance for a number of organisations including UKIP, Global Britain, Bradford Talking Magazines and C & C Hydraulics (but they went bust so you can’t disprove a thing!).

I left because I felt that I had done as much for them as I could and that they needed a fresh perspective on things. I had just discovered clubbing and acid techno and so I had other things on my mind. I was going to be the new Judge Jules. Hmm. The innocence of youth huh?

September 1996 - October 1998: Ciba Speciality Chemicals - Project Technician/Document Management Specialist

Responsible for upkeep of the British Standards document management systems for two manufacturing divisions and wrote custom Microsoft Access databases and spreadsheets.

Having upgraded the document management databases I then moved within the company to write MS Word style sheets and Access databases for a multitude of data storage purposes including engineering, health & safety and payroll systems. I was also responsible for collation and analysis of key production data for my manufacturing division. This involved production of Excel graphs and formulas to predict manufacturing breakdowns.

I was also heavily involved in the conversion of Lotus Approach and Lotus 123 systems to Microsoft Excel and Access throughout all manufacturing divisions. This involved reprogramming spreadsheets, analysis of older databases and training of administrative staff. In this time I was also trained to make risk assessments for office activities.


Erm... My sister now has a different surname so I can give you her address. Oh yeah and that nice bloke at Atkins, but I think he’s been fired now.

You could try Deans or CNG but I doubt they would say nice things. The feeling is entirely mutual.


“Extremely talented” – Peter Troy, Federation of Small Businesses

“We are very pleased” - Damian Hockney, Style Publishing

“An extremely arrogant young man” - Sales Director, Eclipse Software

“An excellent eye for design” – Sandy Rham, Enterprise Systems developer.

“Meh” - Derek Clark, Managing Director, CNG Software

“Attention span of a gnat” - Peter Clarke, MD of DIAL

“A legend” - Kirsty Stanbridge, Contract Natural Gas

“We wish him the very best for the future – somewhere else” - Patrick Clayton, DCS (Ok, so he didn’t say that but I bet he’s thought it.)

“Nice bloke, wrong planet” - Emma Macgregor, relative

“’e’s a proper wikkid DJ like, inni?t” - Various people on drugs

Authors Conclusion:

Gifted satirist with over inflated sense of achievement, thin IT skills compared with other specialists on the market at similar rates, zero attention span, doesn’t know a good thing when he sees it, blunt, ambition outstrips ability, probable incurable attitude problem, terminally unemployable, can work as part of a team only insofar as he can exploit it, loud mouthed but assertive, charming and a dab hand at Photoshop/databasey things; A truly unique and creative individual who can work wonders if you can get his attention and hold it. While he will probably not hold down a permanent job, it’s probably worth having him in the office for a couple of months at least, because there’s probably a whole mess of stuff he knows that you haven’t thought of. If not, it will be a topic of conversation at the Christmas party.

Sheesh I’m good at this. Maybe I should be a recruitment consultant? After all I’m exceptionally good at lying through my teeth. They tell me they’ve actually read my CV. Why do I doubt that?

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