Simon Macbeth, Web Designer Leeds
There once was a baby from Leeds, who to his bottle said “yes please”.
OK, enough of that. Simon Macbeth from Leeds is the design manager of www.121.org.uk, who created this super fantastic website for Myhome.
Simon and his design team worked long and hard to ensure that this website was brilliant. If you’d like a website, which might be good, or might be just OK, contact Simon and his team via www.121.org.uk
Simon Macbeth Writer
Simon is shit at writing, but managed to work hard to write his own autobiography (OK stop laughing). You can buy a copy from amazon, via the below link. The book is a good read. Its got sex in it. And fast cars. Plus rape…. well rape that turned out not to be rape. Got other stuff in it too. Like how Simon conned £60,000+ out of a Leeds business who’d previous conned him out of some money. Hmm, what else… go buy a copy, sit down, have a whisky, and a fag and read it. Oh, if you need a website designing… wink wink.
Read More About Simon Online
Too Tired To Play Games
CHAPTER FIFTEEN – ONLY A PROBLEM IF YOU LOSE
After I got sacked from the City Arms, I moved on to the Scarborough Hotel, opposite Leeds train station. I met Barry, who was the manager there. He liked a flutter on the fruit machines and was your traditional pub landlord with high blood pressure, red nose and big fat beer belly. He was a nice guy, a bit of a jolly Santa Claus type of a fellow. I liked him and we got on well. After the shifts at work, he’d let us have a free drink and we’d play the couple of fruit machines in the pub. I used to lose a bit of wage there, but at that stage it was nothing I couldn’t handle.
When I was living in Armley towards the end of 1996, I was in a relationship with a girl named Andrea. I was 20 years old at this point. I never really fancied and certainly didn’t love Andrea; it was just an easy thing. I was really bored with this girl and my life was just flat and going absolutely nowhere. I lived with Andrea from June 1996 through Bonfire Night in 1997. We had already split up for a few months in early summer, although I’d seen her the day after my 21st birthday when I really wasn’t in a fit state to communicate with anyone at the time.
When I had some money, I used to go to the pubs in town. I had friends who hung out in amusement arcades, but I could never see the fun in that, it seemed a bit seedy. I would go into the pubs and spend the best part of my first quid over the bar, buying some orange cordial and soda water. Then I’d station myself at a fruit machine with 100 or 150 quid worth of notes in my pocket. That was a hell of a lot of money to someone like me, who only made a few pounds an hour behind a bar.
I used to go on this fruit machine. I’d lose my first 10 quid and as soon as that first amount of money had gone I’d know that I’d made a mistake going into that particular pub on that day. It was an uphill fight from then on. It wasn’t going to be a positive, enjoyable, or fun experience at all.
When I went into a pub, I would pay for my first drink with a £10 note and make sure I was given £9-coins in the change. When that first batch of coins was lost, I’d have to go back to the bar and get another note changed. It was admitting failure; you’d be £10 down now and you’d be starting again. It was such hard work trying to get that money back and most times I wouldn’t succeed. I would get more and more notes changed. It was like taking a step along the plank on a pirate ship, getting closer to the end before crashing down into the waters below.
It wasn’t a good feeling. I knew that I had bills to pay and food to buy. I also knew that if I lost all of my money, even my last pound, it was an awful walk home feeling like shit because I’d lost the lot. That walk was just dreadful.
So why didn’t I stop? Why did I never spend that first 20 quid and realise that it wasn’t going to be my day and call it a loss? Why did I have to stand there and keep throwing pound after pound into the machine in front of me? I suppose it goes back to that time when I was just as tall as the buttons and my Dad lifted me up and gave me that first golden nugget to play with. It goes back to my Dad saying, “Be happy with what you’ve got and walk away.” I’ve never been able to do it.
If I walked away 20 quid down, I’d feel like crap. I keep gambling and walk away 100 quid down and still feel crap. Okay I’d feel worse, but whilst you keep playing there’s always that slim chance a miracle could occur and you could walk out being on top of the world. It’s all about seeking a high. Trouble is when you don’t find it, the lows feel like death.
That high did happen a few times. It’s hard to describe what it’s like seeking that high. I’m no different to anyone else and from what I’ve read my behaviour was pretty consistent with most gamblers’ experiences.(bit more on the psychology of gambling here).
I remember a time in Yates Wine Lodge on Bow Lane, which I suppose was my first big loss. I couldn’t believe what I’d just done. I was absolutely gutted and I walked out of there feeling like a zombie. When you’ve been in a dull, dingy dive of a pub and exit into the daylight at 4 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon, it reinforces the fact that you’ve lost total track of time. Worst of all, you’ve got used to being submerged in darkness. Daytime people continue going about their business, doing their shopping, seemingly without a care in the world. My whole world had caved in because I’d lost this money. All I could hear in my head were the repeated words, “What have I done?”
Behind that terrible sense of loss, there is also a buzz. I’d still get this bit of a high because I’d lost over 100 quid and it was like a milestone. It was like something to be proud of, something I could tell my fellow gamblers about: “I lost a hundred pounds the other day.” I got a sense of satisfaction from that. I can’t tell you how far that underlying feeling was. It was something I was aware of, but I didn’t get much comfort from it.
A few months later I lost another hundred in a fruit machine in a pub near where I lived, but when I went back home I still had another hundred so that loss didn’t leave a deep scar, as I had a little bit more money by then.
That day though, I walked out of that pub door without a penny on me, feeling like crying, but because I was in the middle of a busy city centre I couldn’t. All I wanted after walking out of that pub was to be at home, as I was more tired than I’d ever been. I’d spent three hours working on that fruit machine and it was mentally hard work. It was also emotionally hard. I just wanted to get undressed and climb into bed, pull the covers over my head, and go to sleep. I’d got a headache as well, a hangover from the machines lights. I just wished I could click my fingers and be at home in bed. I had to walk the two or three miles back home to the far side of Armley. It wouldn’t end when I got home. I’d have to explain in a fashion where all of the money had gone.
That day was a big loss and there have been a few others since then. It’s a really strange thing gambling. You’d think that after losing a load of money you’d make a decision not to repeat the experience any time soon. My reaction to losses was different and varied. That day in Yates, the money I had lost was all the money I had in the world. Back then I wasn’t working. I was on the dole and that loss was the equivalent of over two weeks income, so it was a massive amount of money to me. The hardship that those three hours gambling brought me was immense. It wasn’t a case of going home sleeping on it, getting up the next morning, and carrying on as normal.
These days if I lost 150 quid on a fruit machine, I’d walk out of the pub laughing at myself thinking, “You fucking idiot,” but I’d see the funny side of it and laugh at what a prat I’d been for doing it. Ten minutes later, I’d have forgotten about it forever and I’d be looking at clothes to buy in a shop window.
Back then I couldn’t do that because it was something that would affect me for a long time afterwards. When my next money came through, I’d still have all the bills from the weeks before that I’d not been able to pay. If I’d borrowed little bits of cash from my Mum or my elder sister that would need paying back as well, so there was a drag on effect, which never seemed to end.
When I turned 21 my parents gave me ₤1,500 in cash (although I prefer to see it as a gift from my Mum). There was a trust fund that had matured, which they’d been paying a small amount of money into each week since I’d been born. My parents gave me all of that money and it was great.
I never once stopped to think of the sacrifices that had been involved in saving. My parents had scrimped and no doubt expected that the money would be used for something that would improve my life. Once the cheque had cleared into my account, I went into the bank and ordered it all out in crisp new £50 notes. It was a tremendous feeling.
I’d never had a £50 note before and now there were 30 of them stashed on top of the wardrobe. I kept these notes in bundles of five, with the fifth note turned over to keep them together, just so I could keep count of them. They didn’t last long. I was down to the last £600 when I thought I should buy something special, otherwise it would all be wasted on fruit machines. It was only at that time that I acknowledged my parents’ foresight and sacrifice in any way at all. They would have struggled to save that for me and I was over halfway to blowing the lot on nothing.
I bought a big new television. It was nothing like the one I have at home now. In the late 90’s a 24-inch TV with a matching video and stand was the dog’s nether regions. If someone gave me a TV like that now, I wouldn’t give it house room, but I loved it 10 times more than the 42” plasma screen that hangs on my living room wall now. I’d have it straight ‘round the charity shop, but back then it was special.
When I moved in to this place, it was when I had split up from Andrea. It was important to me because I needed to get away from her, as I wasn’t happy and never really wanted to be with her. It had already dragged on long enough. I wanted freedom to do my own thing and to go out and meet other women. Having that meant a lot to me.
When I first dumped Andrea, I moved to a one-bedroom council flat in a terrace block in Armley, paid for by Housing Benefit. The council paid the money straight into my bank account and there was £550, which I needed to pay 10-weeks rent at £55 a week. It was Saturday, and I knew this money was in the bank. All I wanted to do was go out on the town, get pissed, pull and shag some random girl. It was a hot summer’s day and I’d got that urge just to go out and get pissed, but uncharacteristically I decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to go out and blow my rent money on a night out. On Monday morning I needed that £550, as it was pretty much all I had.
So instead, we had a drive over to the casino. Gambling in a casino was something that I had a good track record at. I’d been to the casino about five times before and I’d walked out up every time. I had my little system that had worked previously, but on this hot summer’s afternoon within six or seven spins of the roulette wheel, and 20 minutes later, I was £550 down. I had never lost faith in my system, until the last spin of the wheel had ripped my insides clean out.
My system meant that there were nine numbers out of all of the 37 on the wheel (including zero) that I could lose on. There were nine numbers where I could win quite heavily, nine would bring reasonable wins, and on the other nine I’d win a little bit back. So the probability was that I’d win something back each time. It worked, but whenever I won the return was always really small. I might put £200 on and win £120 back. £550 disappears quite quickly when your system works on that basis.
It was an awful feeling and another in a catalogue of lows. It was the worst feeling that a gambling loss has ever given me. It wasn’t the highest loss money wise, but it had a massive effect on me. I’ve lost thousands of pounds in one reverse auction, but I’ve been able to cope with that. I remember that last spin so clearly. I watched the ball hop and run around the wheel, convinced that everything was going to be all right. I watched it come to rest on a number and colour that was no use to me and I remember feeling the air rush from my body. I remember getting back into Andrea’s car. The journey from the tables to the car park disappeared as if I had been knocked unconscious. I was like a zombie. I just said to her, “Get me home, please just drive me home.” I just wanted to be by myself and sleep. It was so emotionally tiring, thinking like that and then experiencing such an extreme low. I felt dreadful.
My biggest loss financially was in 2006 in one of the reverse auction competitions. Things were different for me by then and a big part of me was ready for the possibility of failure. Nothing has ever hurt me like that night in the casino. It broke my pride and it broke my bank.
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