Doing battle with bureaucracy

I’m recovering from a blood test. My arm feels slightly heavy and limp, as if it’s had all the blood sucked out of it. They only actually took 10mg but it certainly feels like a lot more. I imagine there’s such a delicate balance of innards in my arm that even a small sample is enough to make a difference. This is all in the cause of the Stretford Wine Bar project of course. It turns out wine bars need money and one thing that provides a lot of it is allowing medical students to pump you full of potentially dangerous drugs, never before tested on humans. So I’m doing flu camp, and allowing the bastards to pump me full of snot as well as drugs before locking me up in a tiny cell for a couple of weeks. In return for a couple of grand of course. That’ll get me enough spirits to get a cocktail menu going!

Anyway, I’m not in the best mood and my all-but-dead arm is not feeling at all like it would like to fill in a bevy of forms and applications, let alone cheques. So I’m not at all pleased to find my ‘licensing’ research going so badly down the pan. Apparently, it takes a lot of nodding public sector officials to turn a shop into a bistro. The problem is that those potentially nodding officials are rather un-keen to let you know what exactly will make them nod.

Planning permission is a given and a gateway to the rest of the bureaucratic quagmire. Beyond that, things get a little blurry, the fire department features, as do a shadowy set of people over at building regulations . The police are also main players, but who knows at what point they get their oar in. The problem is, it’s not at all clear when all these official types become interested in the bows and whistles of my potential bistro and what exactly they’ll say. Is is possible that I’ll get a grand and 2 months down the line before someone informs me that I couldn’t possibly use the unit I’ve signed the lease on because the window frames are far too broad.┬áThen we get down to the crux of the matter, this process can be made oh so much easier, say the council, so long as you cough up our pre-consultancy fees, they’re only an arm and a leg.

The problem is, that this is not the sort of thing I want to be doing with my time, my personal clock is better suited to time slots of 3 hours, not 3 months. And that’s not to mentioned the hoards of thirsty M32ers queueing up for Sip Club festivities. I can’t help thinking that the times of bribes and corruption must have been much more fun…

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