Friday, February 13, 2004

Lies, damn lies and "I’ve got 10 Valentine cards this morning"…...

OK, who’s going to admit it then? How many of you have done this? (not that Alfie the 'ever so popular with the birds and his schoolmates' has done it obviously)

You’re at school, it’s the 12th of February and you’re doing a more than passable impression of a Billy No-Mates just after eating double helpings of a garlic infused meal with a triple dose of B.O (per armpit!). and a face about to assume the dynamic of several Krakatoa’s….

In the distance, Todger - the school cock is knocking seven shades out of ‘Creepy Wilkins’ the school swot. I can hear his cringing moans from here.

Nearby, Dalton, the school romeo is mouthing off on just how many Valentine’s cards he is going to get "Probably have to send a Royal Mail van round to my house….. several times".

Cue group guffaws from his adoring audience.

Slimeball Simkins, the school twat, glides around Dalton, the original goldenballs and mutters manly encouragement. Just then, he looks up and sees you… "Ahhh, it’s Billy No-Mates. And just how many Valentine's cards do you think you’ll be getting?"

You vaguely wave your arms around expansively, doing a passable impression of Magnus Pyke having a spaz attack……

The collective goldenballs clack piss themselves…

The great day comes – it’s the 14th of February. You wake up, do some shadow karate stuff in front of the full-length mirror, change your undies and liberally paint on the Lynx underarm roll-on. Today is going to be just a superb day! Humming, 'Sex bomb' by Tom Jones, you trot downstairs and gaze at the front door mat. The ‘Welcome’ moniker is totally obscured by the vanilla envelopes peppering the floor. "Are these for me?’ You waftily muse…..

Striding to school is easy today. In your satch’ is a veritable bevy of lewdly suggestive calligraphy from who knows where?
Parker, the school nosy bastard trots over "What you looking so pleased about then?"

You smirk. You know why don’t you?

You know where all those sexy, minxy type cards have come from…. You know who wrote the suggestive prose from Sharon, Sexy Sheila, and Nympho Nigella? You know because you wrote them – to yourself! You couldn’t even just throw them underneath the letterbox, you had to post them the day before.

You’ve just joined ranks with Winton, the school self-delusionist, Archer, the school fraud, Tourett, the school blabbermouth and ‘Posh’ Adams, the most talentless person in the whole school (and that includes the dinner ladies and semi invalid ancient caretaker)……. .

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A pub bet…....

So you’re in the pub, having a chat about usual lads stuff - Kelly Brooke’s great figure, the offside rule and the socio-economic impact of the introduction to Brazil of the coffee plant during the 19th century, possibly…...

No, I’m lying, we didn’t talk about all those subjects.

Kelly Brooke was never mentioned …. It was Jordan……. And their prospects for the forthcoming F1 season, obviously. (Well, what did you think I meant?)

Then the argument started. We were talking about kids programmes of yesteryear… "I remember, right. I remember, on Blue Peter, years ago, right? They had Captain Cook’s very own tortoise on the show. Alive!"

"What do you mean, Captain Cook’s very own tortoise?"

"When he nipped into some island in the Pacific to claim it for Blighty, the natives gave him a little tortoise – as …"

"A pet? … Lunch? …. Hat? What?

"A gift. They gave it to him over 200 years ago as a token of their grovelling gratefulness for being conquered by a far off Super Power. The Cap’n said "It’s just what I always wanted" and took it home with him".

"Bollocks. I don’t believe it. I had a tortoise when I was a kid and it only lasted 3 weeks before it croaked."

"Well, Cap’n Cook obviously knew what he was doing ….. painting the little chap’s name on the shell using unleaded paint, tucking him up for the winter, fresh lettuce"…….

"Yeah, right"

"No, honest. I really did happen!"






Did this sound a tad juvenile to the casual passer by? Well, possibly - but there’s something about a pub, a few pints and a liberal dose of testosterone to ferment a mindless Daily Sport type debate that brings out the worst in me…..

Does anyone remember this momentous event with Chris, Val John or Pete….. or did I dream it? There’s a whole pint of Well’s ‘Bombardier’ nervously resting on the outcome….

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Business going South, as business goes East…

As I mentioned I’m busy – but are we trousering any cash? We’re getting squeezed from all angles, all the time. Last week, we got a very unwelcome email from the Indian sub continent. One I have been dreading.

We design and build web sites amongst other general design stuff. We’re not cheap, or expensive – but we are creative. The spam from India is telling me that they can produce web sites for a fraction of what they cost in ‘the West’ – That’ll be us then. How can we compete? Answer, we can’t.

Sure, our stuff is much more creative, we can do anything, ‘flash’, ASP, PHP, database management….. But do companies want that any more? They all seem to be ruled by the Accountant’s pen and the bottom line nowadays. Cheap is good, Cheaper - better, Cheapest is best. This Global market place is relentless. Everything is being downgraded to a different cost infrastructure and a desperate workforce.

You can here the strain in their voices as some guy from Mumbai rings you just when you are about to start your tea.

"Hello, this is ‘Rob’ from ‘DataStuff’ in London, I just want to…"

"Really? Well Rob, what’s the weather like in London at the moment? What do you think about Chelsea’s latest big money signing? Did you see ‘Corry’ last night?"


"So what’s your real name? And what country are you calling from?

"Sanjay, and I’m calling from India"…….

After that, we get on famously – he’s no longer using his ‘alias’ name, or de facto, lying to me. I listen, he feels more confident because he isn’t trying to live in ‘Rob’s’ alter ego. I obviously don’t buy – but at least Sanjay feels better about it.

To use the modern vernacular, these people are run by Gang Masters in India, who in turn are run by Beemer driving Gang Masters in the West.

They appear to be paid on a results driven commission basis. I sort of get the impression that big bubbles are being inflated on booming Global economies. I’m just wondering where exactly in the World the flaccid skin of recession will start to kick in – and when.

A sad day

I’ve been a bit quiet since Friday. My friend, Joan died that night after a long battle against cancer. I’d known her for over 25 years, had a laugh and some great times at The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Martin Mere where we both used to work.

I will miss her terribly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Met my sister, Princess Matilda, the ‘not too bad in small doses’ on Saturday. She told me that the new BBC Director General (acting) Mark Byford is an old Uni’ class mate of hers. They both went to Leeds, she knew him very well. He was quiet, thoughtful, sensitive, studious – but a bit of an apologist.

"He still is" I said. He must have taken a ‘Masters’ in apologising along with a ‘grovelling’ O.U. course. Ever since he got the job via the untimely resignation of Greg Dyke, Mr Byford’s sweaty hand prints have been on reams and reams of apologies to just about everyone he can think of from his newly created ‘BBC Apologies Unit’.

"Sorry Dick Dastardly, for portraying you in the most negative light during the transmission of ‘Wacky Races’…. I’m sure you are a very sensitive psychotic boy racer"….

"Sorry ‘Wicked Witch of the West’, I’m sure you are a really interesting old crone…. I’ve never had eye of newt and liver of toad, but I’m sure it’s a delightful fusion of flavours for the palette…. I’ll get young Jamie Oliver to rustle some up for the BBC canteen"…..

Anyway, if you want any extra apologies, Mark – here’s some I made up earlier….

"Sorry" (a general ‘fits all sorts’ apology – can be issued when panicked and need to think of something quick)

"Very, very sorry" " (must be said with a sincere countenance – a tear in the eye will help).

"We at the BBC are complete nummers, we don’t deserve to breath the same air as the great omnipotent, the Royal Blairiness" (should only be used whilst on your knees, it is advisable to disengage your mouth from boot leather to make this apology – otherwise his Royal Godliness won’t be able to understand you).