Posts from 7th November 2005

Nov 05

n candles, for some value of n

Do You SeePost a comment • 235 views

Every day on the bus to and from work I pass BBC TV centre. For some time now there has been a large picture of Ronnie Barker in the window of their main reception, surrounded by candles. OK, a nice tribute, but I’ve always thought the candles were a bit over the top. Only now has the import of the number of candles dawned on me. My forehead will stop hurting soon.

It was down to one of the many sensitive 7/7 observations in Richard Herring’s blog that finally got the message through.

Staff Lounge Conversation

Blog 7Post a comment • 535 views

Temp 1 (english): I’ve just got back from a month in mexico
Temp 2 (kiwi): [mildly unimpressed] oh really
Temp 1: [clearly hoping this would ring bells] yeah, there was surf in Cancun after the hurricane [which clearly I am being v blasé about, but PLEASE ASK ME], which is unusual cos it’s on the carribean coast
Temp 2: oh right
Temp 1: [who I guess, had picked up that T2 was an surfer earlier] cos most of the surf’s on the other coast innit. Is it the pacific?

At this point I had to stop myself throttling the poor girl whilst shouting “YOU HAVE BEEN THERE FOR A MONTH, HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW????? WHICH OCEAN MIGHT IT POSSIBLY BE?????”

She then said her brother was going to Tahonga after Xmas. “Tahiti?” suggested her new friend, “yeah, there as well, but I’m sure he said Tahonga.” He was quiet. I didn’t scream “TONGA, IT’S TONGA!!! YOU THICK GET!!!!” at her because, well just because…

What IS the point of “travelling” anyway? It is just an excuse to shag and drink somewhere slightly warmer isn’t it? I know more about the world having never left western europe (except to go to new york which is de facto western europe anyway) than these frankly clueless [oh god, what am I saying] BLOODY KIDS, hastening the demise of the planet with their excessive, pointless air miles, turning the whole planet into one giant playpen for them to bounce around in, with no real clue WHERE THE HELL THEY ARE…


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 533 views

One day I will sit down and read a novel that was written a) for adults b) in the last few years but today is not that day, today I sat down with The Once And Future King by TH White, the first book of which of course is The Sword In The Stone, which I read as a slip of a lad.

I’ve only got 3 chapters in so cogent criticism must wait another day but my qn is: was there an abridged version which did the rounds for kids? Because vocab-wise this is take-no-prisoners stuff, chocka with archaisms and comedy interweb-style misspellings (that’s “crocodile” if you were wondering! Winner!) and just a really lush joy in words-as-words. As an adult it’s pretty rich, as a kid – whoa. To be fair I do remember S-in-the-S as being harder going than most but I can’t believe I read the same book I’m reading now, exactly.

Except of course my guess, as explained before re. E Nesbit, is that kids just ignore all the stuff they don’t understand until the proportion of it gets too high (or the plot pivots on motives they can’t fathom). TH White was surely pushing at the limits of that proportion but maybe I did just let the ride carry me.

Cows on the line

Blog 7Post a comment • 386 views

Yes yes I know commuting is irritating by definition pretty much, although Mr Popkins might like to post his bus-ride reading idylls by way of balance. But since the end of my commuting is in sight I can confess how horrific the thought of any more time spent on Scotrail listening to their weak-as-weak-piss excuses is. Today’s irritation = not so much the delay as EVERYONE ELSE on the train, on their mobiles as if a fifteen minute delay (on a fifty minute journey) was the end of the world, flapping as to ‘no idea why, we’re just stuck out here not moving’ when the guard had announced the reason quite loudly (well over the tannoy) only a few minutes before!!! Actually the thing that irritates me most about commuting is other commuters, but this is because commuting is habit-forming, and their irritating habits (sucking down their coffee as if they were some sort of sophisticated Europeans — sorry, espresso followed by a shot of grappa is cool, hot milk with coffee extract is not; worst of all reading the sodding Metro (I ranted about this in a lecture once so fed up was I, which is definitely far sadder) well, irritate me. Of course my commuting habit is being irritated, so it’s definitely all to the good if I can quit both asap!

One Off The Wristband

Blog 7Post a comment • 213 views

The creation of consumer segments is one of the big market research cash cows – lots of money and generally happy customers who have seen the people who buy their stuff nicely put into little boxes. Truth be told, these resulting segments are pretty pointless as anything but guidelines but my goodness they communicate well within an organisation and that, usually, is the real idea.

Of course every so often a segment gets out into the wild. Market research segments tend to have incredible memetic energy in direct proportion to how vapid and generalising they are, hence “Mondeo Man”, “Yuppies”, “Soccer Moms” etc. and now “Wristband Generation” which I would pray doesn’t spread except I’M SPREADING IT NOW AAARGH. I feel like a character in an Al Ewing future shock.

If you can’t be bothered to click on the link, the “wristband generation” is David Davis’ way of saying “young folk of today”. In a dramatic demonstration of research insights he reveals that “This is the generation who wears the ‘Make Poverty History’ wristbands. They display their intolerance of racism with their white and black bands.” Bring back the backwards baseball caps.


Blog 7Post a comment • 193 views

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