Thursday, April 29, 2004

Comatose in cyber space….

Time - warps when you are bored out of your tree. And today I have aged a million megabobs. I’ve just got out of a techno babble meeting with 3 techno babblists in person and 2 more via the chronically under-whelming alchemy of the ‘video conferencing’ facility at the end of the table.

"Hello, Jerry, can you hear us? …. Hello, Jerry, Jerry, Jerr-reee, caaan yooou hear usss?"

"Hi, yes,…Je…. y here…. Hope ..yo.. can ..he.r … us – OK?"

It sounds as if Norman Collier is on the other end of the empty baked bean tins and string ensemble, masquerading as cutting edge video conferencing technology.

Well, this is a bit more than I was expecting , I’ve been asked over to look at one of their web products, in a bid to sex it up a bit by bunging in a few graphics, nice menu, friendly and considered typestyling etc. The product has been developed and designed by the guys I’m about to meet – and as they’re all techno bods, it’s as interesting as Steve Davis’ diary on a not very busy Wednesday.

As I’m introduced to boffins 1, 2, and 3, I suddenly have a real feeling of dread. Me, creative bee-esser-in-chief, the broad-brush boy who soothes client worries with nothing more technical than "Look, don’t worry, it’ll be sorted, no problemo" has stumbled into a whole colostomy of real and virtual boffinistas….

They start, it’s all about java script, palava scroat and crypto flypto stuff. I’m going glassy. Floating away on a warm waft of white techno noise – a mixture of babble and air-conditioned hum-drum. I’m thinking about what I’ll have for tea, what telly I’ll watch, how many beers I’ll have tonight and is Kelly Brook really as fit as she looks on camera?…

Mental note – must make sure I get a pair of eyes tattooed onto my eye lids….. It wasn’t so much boring, more totally over my head…. I’m brought down from the blankosphere and an interesting conversation with Kelly, with a bang as I'm aware that someone is talking directly at me (and it aint Ms Brook)…

"What do you think?"

What?…What do I think? What was the question? Where am I?

"Err, sorry, just writing my notes, didn’t quite catch that"…

Boffin 2 repeats the question. The other boff - bros in the room are looking at me. The virtual boffins are giving me their collective on-screen once over as well….

Even the humdrum drone of the air-con has subsided as everyone and everything awaits my verdict.

Think, bastard well think! Come on you bloody genius, this is a tricky situation – but I’ve always got out of tricky-sits before. I need to get back to boff 2, with a response so damn cunning and destructive, it’ll mask the fact that I haven’t a bloody clue what anybody is talking about. Quick as a flash and with the rapier skill of a cunning fox with a sword - on an advanced fencing course, I retort to my feeble minded audience - "Look, don’t worry, it’ll be sorted, no problemo"

Well that was easy. Am I the daddy or what?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Did I really do that?…..

Did I really send a very important letter introducing our state of the art, cutting edge, can do, fly-by-wire services to a vitally important new client, who I had been wooing for months and who was going to give us lots and lots of new high end, high value business?

Yes I did...

And did I really pay extra special care to the content of my letter, paying particular attention to syntax, nuance, gravitas – with just the merest hint of friendliness – just to let her know that she’s dealing with a fully focused and professional operation and not with a complete and utter load of no-hope divvies?

Yes I did...

And did I really miss one vital and gut wrenchingly embarrassing spelling mistake in her very important job title, even though ‘spell-check’ failed to spot the error, mainly because the word with the spelling mistake still made a recognisable, if not entirely appropriate word?

Oh yes I did...

It should have read ‘Public Affairs Manager’
Unfortunately, I forgot to put the ‘L’ in.

Did she notice? Did she care? Was she shocked? Did she take offence? Was she a church going Christian, brought up in a Convent school? Did she give us any work?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and no. .

Monday, April 26, 2004

Blessed is the Brian that impersonates Pavarotti……

Before I start, I’ll just make it quite clear that I am not a fan of ITV’s ‘Stars in your Eyes’. But when there is a celeb’ edition I do occasionally have a quick butchers – just to watch for the ‘cringe point’ – there always is one isn’t there?.... That’s the time when someone is on the box and they’re so embarrassing that you just have to put a cushion in front of you face and chant "Can’t hear, can’t hear" as loud as you can.

At least, on the Joe Public edition, there is a modicum of talent on show. "Young Billy Turner, a gas fitter from Bolton, who are you going to be?
"Tonight Mathew, I’m going to be Dame Nellie Melba"….

The ‘celeb’ edition is different – a lot different. The cringe point is much lower, much more achievable as someone from ‘Corry’ blows his or her credibility forever.

"And here is your host, Cat Deeley"… The intro’ credits have barely finished and I’m already reaching for the cushions. Yes, ego gets the better of talent as some zed list nobody is persuaded that they really can hit the same notes as Frank Sinatra. Or with a judicious bit of makee-uppy and the odd stick-on sideboard, you really will believe that Engelbert Humperdinck has just walked into the studio…

Saturdays edition, however, achieved a whole new standard of cringyness….. Brian Blessed was on.

"And tonight Cat, I’m going to be Luciano Pavarotti"…

Well that’s sounds easy then. All of a sudden, there isn’t a cushion to be had in our house - as the whole nation says "No, Brian, don’t do it.. just put the mike down and move slowly away"

I mean, suspension of belief is one thing. I just about believed that Brian, as leader of the ‘Winged People’ in ‘Flash Gordon’ had wings that could actually get his corpulent frame off the ground. Well, he had to didn’t he – otherwise he would never had uttered the films most memorable line "Gordon’s alive!"

But Pavarotti – that’s different gravy. Brian wobbles on - and now he's about to warble on. Well, he looks like the great tenor doesn’t he? I mean, he got a big floppy white hanky in his hand, he’s dressed head to toe in a penguin suit and he’s had some ‘stick-on’ comedy eyebrows stapled to his head.

And then he starts…..
The inhabitants of Alfie Towers chant in unison "La, la, la, can’t hear, can’t hear, can’t hear"….
Our collective heads are buried so low in our cushions that we are all in danger of committing some weird religious sect - type suicide pact. Well, if he doesn't stop 'singing', I'm going to kill myself!...

A new world record for ‘Cringyness’ has just been achieved.