Posts from 28th April 2005
We had an offsite middle management meeting in Croydon yesterday. It was everything you might expect an offsite middle management meeting in Croydon to be, including the dread words on the agenda “interactive game”. When you are a small child and dislike games, you are told that in real life you will have to do things you don’t like and compulsory games are good training for this. What they don’t mention is that the “things you don’t like” will in fact include compulsory games, without even the figleaf of exercise to justify them.
Actually I did bunk off the game yesterday – all four of our department’s representatives bundled into our head of charting’s car during a drinks break and made a run for it before the fun got underway. It turned out that the game involved creating and performing a short ‘sketch’ in which a business manager was received as a hero in the pub for something they’d done for the company. Everyone canvassed described it as excruciating. I guess the idea was to encourage us to take pride in our jobs but all these things do is put an embarrassing gloss on an otherwise productive day.
FUN MUST BE OPTIONAL OR IT ISN’T FUN. I don’t understand why this isn’t a universally accepted piece of common sense. There is nothing worse for morale than being forced to do something unneccessary and unpleasant in the name of entertainment: whereas if you get to opt out and then discover that you are missing out you’ll be much more likely to join the game next time. I’ve found that “creative” people in companies tend to be fiercely dogmatic, though: embarrassment or reticence is to them a sin that needs to be frequently and publically expunged.
further adventures in the sooncome war of the virtual commons:
a few years ago i wz subbin an arts catalogue and had dealins w.a gallery who insisted that
a. the “The” in their name MUST ALWAYS BE CAPITALISED
b. there must ALWAYS BE TWO SPACES between the “The” in their name, and the other bit (which i’m not goin to write here bcz fuck em)
well, ii. i dealt w.by tellin em sorrowfully (and untruthfully) that our publishin software took out double spaces automatically, and i. i managed so fudge so that the name of the gall wz never anywhere in a sentence where the “the” wz NOT capitalised by virtue of its position in the sentence. had this fudge not been possible i’da told em that, if “The” wz part of their name, then i wd have to refer to them as “the The _______”
(would i actually have told em this? depends on my mood i suspect)
anyway my current grumblement has been activated by a fairly ancient/routine bit of Fatuous Branding-Related Bullying, viz the pompous letters sent out by some manufacturers when you FAIL TO SHOW THEIR PRODUCT THE PROPER RESPECT in ref capitalisation…
viz only acceptable orthography for perspex = Perspex or PERSPEX, ditto ditto for formica = Formica or FORMICA and etc (doubtless i have overlooked a whole raft of overpriced plasticky garbage) (overpriced bcz obv someone has to pay the fees of anal branding lawyers)
the historical precedent for this nonsese = the sumptuary laws of the tudor era, and we ALL KNOW WHERE THAT KIND OF THING ENDED:
anyway i hereby declare that the historical precedent for my attitude to capitalisation = the quakers never doffin they hatz to nobuddy SEE!
As a sort of penance for Zoe Williams’ rubbish piece (see below), the Guardian published this enlightening write-up of traditional kipper and herring production. As is often the case when I read a G2 article and think “hold on, this is interesting”, it turned out to be an excerpt from a forthcoming book, awfully titled The Land That Thyme Forgot, which looks to be all about old school British food culture. Should be interesting – the line seems to be that Britain has a rich culinary tradition (yay!) but has utterly neglected it (boo!).
A bit of water can make a lot of difference, and the one separating Ireland (Sky comes with the basic cable package, which also supplies life-giving BBC/ITV/CH4) and England (where I understand it’s a more exotic option) can lead to strange sights. But I couldn’t really get my head around a spot on the BBC morning news show about the new craze that’s sweeping the nation, the local knock-off of Sky’s Donald Trump-fronted The Apprentice. Ten minutes of pretending that this was the most original idea on television, and a complete refusal to even entertain the notion that there might be a naturally-comparable show. “I was down the pub recently, and one bloke forgot a drinks order, and the tother one turned to him and said “You’re fired!”. It’s really catching on!”
Also, while I am behind the times in a lot of ways, when did they start having ten-minute puff-pieces on Breakfast for other BBC programs?