Archive for June, 2008

Three 'letters' in the post today.

Monday, June 30th, 2008

1. My electricity service is being 'enhanced'. This involves the price going up and the service provided being reduced.
2. An offer to buy more shares in a bank for 10% less than the market value. Is this a good deal or a just a money grab in a different guise?
3. A brochure from one of my Favourite Places in the World advertising all manner of loveliness.
For some reason I tried to recall the last time I'd received a real letter. You know, the handwritten type. Full of news, amusing pen pictures and warm human feelings conveyed magically through scratchy marks on a page. I'm sad to say it was so long ago I can't remember. Phones, emails and laser printers have all but killed off The Letter. Do they still exist?


Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I’ve always maintained that if you want to know what any organisation is really like then just pay a visit to their toilet. This, after all, is the place in any outfit where one of the most basic of human needs is provided for. Just recently I’ve been doing some work for an organisation that, outwardly, appears rational, cool and efficient. There was an air of bland corporate disinterest I detected on my first visit; far more so than in competitors premises. I put this down to them being quite new; there’s definitely something I can’t quite put my finger on. There’s definitely something I don’t want to put my finger on happening in the gents toilets. On my first visit I found that somebody had been reading ‘Sex in the City Magazine’ in one of the cubicles and had helpfully left it on the floor along with half a tonne of unused shredded toilet paper scattered all over the floor. [Human Hamster Frenzy?] I was transfixed by this arrangement having never seen anything quite like it before. And I am Experienced I can tell you. One of my previous rôles was as a dispenser of purification services to Her Majesty’s Public Conveniences. I was, for a brief interlude, a bog cleaner extraordinaire. I would travel from bog to bog in a large yellow bog box van [don’t ask]. I would enter each convenience fully equipped for the cleansing thereof. Within I would encounter all manner of arrangements, many of which are unsuitable for a family bog blog such as this. Suffice it to say, I’ve seen all sorts [and I refer not to the liquorice variety]. Anyway, I drift. As did the aroma from Sex and the City central and not in a pleasant way. Gasping for air I turned about heel and exited the facility pronto preferring to reserve my precious bodily fluids for less troubled waters. This was several months ago and since then I’ve attempted several more visits to the same ‘restroom’ [Americans are so descriptively coy yet so uninhibited à l’intérieur]. Each time I’ve been repelled by various scenes of toiletory devastation. Latterly, it was obvious, via three of my five senses, that a severe blockage had occurred. An unattractive water feature had been effected within which was suspended various items of a Bazalgettian nature. I am left feeling at once perplexed, repelled and not a little inconvenienced. The lavatorial psychologists among you may be able to enlighten me as to what I can infer in respect of a wealthy firm staffed by highly qualified people. Isn’t Feng Shui big on bogs?

Dear Customer
I would like to draw your attention to the following.
Just because your planning processes are non existent still developing, this does not mean that you can ask me to reorganise my week to meet your needs and then attempt to drop me at the last minute when you realise you’ve cocked up again over estimaticated your requirements viz drs in da house. The Terms clearly state: “Once the deal has been strucketh, thou wilst pay me a large wedge whether thoust needest me or thou dost not needeth me. Endeth of.” I look forward to spending the rest of our remaining time together fulfilling my part of the deal.

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Good things come…

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

About 5 years ago I signed up for an email alert system that monitors the announcement of new concert dates by well known artists. The idea is that you get an email when a new date is announced so that you get a head start in booking tickets. Being the cheapskate that I am I decided to go for the free option which only allows a choice of five artists at any one time. Of the five that I originally selected I’ve so far seen four in concert. The top choice when first setting up my list, my most favourite artist, has hardly performed any dates in the last five years and it was looking less and less likely that he would since he seemed to be becoming more and more reclusive. I’ve been aching to see him live for years and years and years and was slowly beginning to accept that it might never happen unless I was prepared to spend a sizeable amount of dosh to secure a hard-to-obtain ticket for one of his rare live US appearances and fork out the extra cash for a round trip to the venue. What price the fullfilment of a long held ambition? Every week the email alerts drop into my inbox and every week unfailingly for the last five years four of my five chosen artists feature periodically. Number 1 rarely appears except in some far flung stateside one-off fundraiser I could never hope to attend. So, having seen four of my Five, I’ve lately been leaving the emails unopened, knowing that nowt much of interest would be in them. On Sunday last I decided to click on the previous Friday’s as part of my regular email clearout. It was late at night, I was half asleep, I’d had a few, I had to look twice, I had to look thrice, I stared at the screen for a full five seconds before what I was seeing actually registered in my addled brain. Stevie Wonder had announced he would be coming to Britain to play three concerts in twelve weeks time. Well. Yes. So. Right. OK. I see. Yep. No. Surely not. Can’t be right. Must be a mistake. I immediately Googlised into action and found several confirmatory news items. Somehow I’d managed to miss the TV news appearances and BBC website articles. What is wrong with me? How out of touch can I be? “Tickets on sale 9am Friday 13th June” “Stevie hasn’t toured in Europe for over ten years”. Tellmeaboutit. It probably sounds immensely sad but this week I have been more excited than Tigger on speed atop a spacehopper.

So, picture the scene, 8.59 am yesterday morning sat in front of the PC, all three UK venue websites loaded ready, all three box office phone numbers loaded on speed dial. 9am, frantic clicking action with simultaneous phoning. First phoneline playing ‘out of order’ message [imagining a million people all trying to phone at the same time]. First website still showing ‘Tickets onsale 9am 13th June’. It is now 9.03. Websites finally show ticket availability at 9.14am, phonelines still melting. All the good seats are gone. Panic. Should I buy anything? Little Stevie says ‘No – hold out for some good seats, keep trying, the website must be broken’. Clicky click, refresh, refresh, ‘please enter this indecipherable security code to proceed with your booking’ only to be left hanging, for the fourtieth time as the ‘seat availability’ page once again fails to load. 9.48am and the Millenium Wok website tells me that all tickets are sold. Bastards – I never even got a look in. As I begin to see my dream slipping away I contemplate desperate measures. The O2 site is now listing, less than an hour after the tickets went on sale, tickets being sold by ‘fans’ for a minimum of two and a half times the face value up to nearly ten times the face value for those good seats that seemingly disappeared at 9.01am [or were never available to mere mortals in the first place]. I find myself contemplating mortgaging my ass to buy these when I am saved from myself with my on-hold call to another venue finally being answered after 13 minutes. The lady sounds like she’s taken a chill pill and is only too delighted to sell me proper priced seats in decent locations with a cheery chat as she takes my details. I repress my inner squeal of glee when I realise that I will be going to see my idol at his first concert on UK soil since before I was a sperm. I will be there on the first night. Yes, finally it is going to happen.
“Over dreams, I have picked out a perfect come true”


Monday, June 9th, 2008

7 months in and my super predicto powers are, once again, proving invincible with 3 of my original predictions fulfilled thus far. Check out the whingefest in the comments here. When will those Apple iSpods ever learn, you never buy version 1 of anything unless you simply must pay for Steve’s polonecks. Buy that man a multicoloured jumpsuit somebody.

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Three signs of aging
1. The new Chancellor of your former university is younger than you.
2. The next President of the US is younger than you.
3. The Foreign Secretary is younger than you.