Monday, December 22, 2003

Hits Blogger with a hammer

WHY [smack] WON'T [smack] THIS [smack] FUCKING [smack] THING [smack] UPDATE [smack] MY [smack] SITE [smack].

Oh, that's sorted it.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Christmas is coming

For many people, today is the last day in the office before Christmas. This creates a certain bonohomie around the place as people become demob happy at the prospect of the coming festive season.

Normally, I look across the desk at the top of someones head and a wall planner. Today I am looking across my desk at novelty Christmas earrings, and a pair of novelty deely boppers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

God bless you gerry mentlemen

Walking from Marylebone to Baker Street Tube yesterday morning I heard the tones of a perculiarly muffled medley of Christmas carols being sung. It sounded rather like a call to Muslim prayer as heard in those pre-war Iraqi reports on how Baghdad continues to function despite the threat of invasion. I thought, perhaps, there was a nearby Mosque I'd never heard or seen before.

But this was clearly Christian song and as far as I know George Bush hasn't achieved religious hegemony yet. My second thought was that there was a workman nearby enjoying the festive season in an area where the acoustics distored and amplified his voice across West London.

I crossed the road and passed Boots, and the singing got louder. The rush hour pedestrian traffic was quite heavy so it took a while to see where the noise was coming from. Sitting on the floor was a tiny tramp nonchelantly singing through a four foot long traffic cone.

Naturally nobody gave him money, success really does take the edge off this level of creativity.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Just the novelty Christmas earrings to go

Following the Secret Santa debacle, Friday's Christmas do was, as expected, OK. It wasn't great, nor amazing, just OK. The Ambassadors of Fun were knocked sideways, because the little taste of Rio (in Bracknell) turned out to be a just a side salad with a big kebab of Berkshire concrete hell hole on top. The reality was never going to meet the expectation, so the night was always going to be tinged with disapointment.

The food was generally dire; Tesco value pack potato wedges, pita bread and fried mushrooms passed off as canapes, microwave heated chicken, followed by Creme caramel without the crunchy top.

The entertainment came from the Red Hot Dancers, pretty girls in thongs, and greased up boys in loin cloths executing moves choreographed in the school playground. By dreading the thing all week, I gave it every opportunity to exceed my expectations. It didn't.

Finally there was the disco which was one paced and predictable. People jogged on the spot through endless office party classics. The songs are paced so not to enduce heart palpatations amongst people who call dancing "Having a bit of a boogie". If you're going to dance, you might as well dance, break sweat, turn purple, put your head in a base bin, at least camp it up a bit. If at the beginning of the next century they look back on the pop culture of yesteryear, hopefully the office party bored swaying dance won't make an appearance.

I knew things weren't going well two minutes after we left. Two women behind me were chatting. "Do you remember Morris Minor's" said one, "I don't remember" said the other.

It wasn't like there weren't people enjoying the night, tables where everyone genuinely got on seemed to have a lot of fun. I couldn't help but think that if I had gone to it with the people from the Little Publishing Company on the Hill, I would probably have had the best night ever.

Leaving your inhibitions and the subsequent consequences at the door seems to be the way to do it though. The girl in the black mini dress held together by a reel of tit tape took this approach. There was flesh everywhere, the dress was cut down to her waist, her thunderous thighs shone in the spot lights. She seemed unconcerned that her bosses were watching as she ascended onto the podium and, in front of four hundred people, proceded to give herself a gynacological examination through several Ricky Martin hits.

It seemed to be a theme of the night, whilst she was the first, she wasn?t the last. Another spent the whole of Lady Marmalade thrusting her crotch in the face of an impassive bouncer. It seems that despite the potential long term consequence of these actions, the purchase of a new g-string is not something to be kept a secret.

The women weren't alone. Men, of course, can always be drawn to the honeypot of some knicker flashing. But the disturbing and decidedly less aesthetically pleasing sight of middle aged senior managers taking the opportunity to drag their tasty marketing executive onto the dancefloor and cop feel of thigh and booby was truely unpleasent.

Not that the modern streetwise young lady of today can't cope with an unsophisticated letch. Most young ladies today know that a sultry shimmy around the belly of an overwieght Accounts Director is less of an inappropriate sexual advance and more a meaningless negotiating lever come pay review time. But the thing is, its got to make Monday's Team Meeting a little uncomfortable hasn't it?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Footnote to the previous post

We've just done Secret Santa.. the woman who hated what I bought her last year got a voucher. Clearly someone wasn't taking any risks. The reaction from the women? Couldn't have been more excited if she was sitting on a tumble drier.

I got a box of Celebrations Chocolates and a whiskey drinkers gift set. My Christmas is made, god bless you all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Bar humbug

This is where blogging comes into its own, an opportunity to release some built up tension?

God I hate Christmas at work. It's the Christmas party on Friday and people have become utterly pre-occupied by it. It's like they've never been out before. We're a small company, so we're going to a theme night in Bracknell designed for small companies, it's called something like Red Hot in Rio and sounds like hell on earth. It's going to be all novelty ties and inappropriate sexual suggestions - it's so The Office it's unreal.

'Is everyone excited about Friday' Said the girl who job appears to consist of acting as an ambassador of fun for the company.

The temptation to tell her to fuck right off was almost overwhelming, instead I showed my disdain by not looking up from my keyboard and asking what we were supposed to wear. She was horrified I didn?t know because she's been planning her outfit since fucking October.

On top of that comes the office phenomenon of Secret Santa. We're operating a kind of Secret Santa style present buying operation amongst the family this year, which is fine, we want to buy presents for these people.

I have no desire to buy a present for anyone here at work. We did it last year, and it's slowly come back to me that the person I bought for was positively offended by the £5 piece of crap I bought them. They don't know it was me, and it wasn't offensive in the obscene sense, but it was a piece of crap. This is because a. I had £5 to spend, b. I didn't know this person from Adam and c. I had no enthusiasm for the concept.

I can be a generous and creative present buyer when I want to be. Emma has benefited from Off-Roading, Simon from rally driving, and my dad was positively enthused during the series of exotic novelty fruits. But people at work?

The reason I'm blogging this is because I'm tempted to come clean and announce it was me and that I don't care because the shitty clock I got went straight in the bin at the garage before I got home. I wasn't offended by receiving this turd of a present, because I have the half a brain that is needed to know that Secret Santa is nothing more than a meaningless token effort that is only fun for compulsive present buyers who would buy presents for dead cows given half the chance.

How dare they be offended? What the hell did they expect? It?s a secret, so you can?t ask for a list, and it's £5 so your not getting a Ferrari. It is a scheme forced on us by the ambassadors of fun, which means it has appeal to the lowest common denominator.

So distressed was this person at the present I got them, that this year they've doubled the budget and allowed each person to give some suggestions. The slip of paper I picked includes Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, which helpfully someone has put in brackets: - (A book). I feel like storming downstairs and banging on the desk and shouting "I KNOW IT'S A BOOK NOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT A KORG KAOSS 2 IS?" before walking out.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

And finally on the subject

Just for the hell of it, I mixed up a heap of the tunes I played on Saturday, I'm calling it Scuff Live, it's not in the mix club yet because The Premiership starts in four minutes, but if you can't wait, email me and I'll send a copy. Here's the tracklisting.

Never Leave Me (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh) (Acapella) - Lumidee
Light Your Ass On Fire - Busta Rhymes feat. Pharrell
Stand Up - Ludacris feat Shawna
Turn It Up (Refried) - Ugly Duckling
William The First - Mighty Dub Katz
Toot Toot Hey Beep Beep (Mantronix G-String Mix) - Kool Keith and Heather Hunter
Work - MAW feat Puppah Nas-T and Denise
Damelo - DJ Gregory
E Samba - David Penn Remix
Go Down (Tim Deluxe Mix) - Jon Carter
Deeper Down (Hill Sixty Mix) - DKS
Love At First Sight (Kid Creme Mix) - Kylie Minogue
Punkcity - D'Ranged
It Just Won?t Do (Without You) - Tim Deluxe feat Sam Obernik
Lucky Star (Jaxxhouz Dub) - Basement Jaxx feat Dizzee Rascal
Satisfaction (Isak Original) - Benny Benassi Presents The Biz
Crazy In Love - Beyonce Knowles

Friday, December 05, 2003

We had a party on Saturday night

I love the way after a party you start to piece together little bits and pieces that you missed. People tell their own stories of the night, things you didn?t have anything to do with. Gareth tells me that the drink was overflowing with his mates. Apparently Gareth's best man Tim strode up to the bar at one point and said to the barman 'Can I have five of the gayest cocktail you've got please?'

Having sunk something sickly and pink with umbrellas in it, it was Gareth?s turn to step up to the oche. He asked the Australian barman what it was he had been drinking, to which the barman replied -

'I dunno mate, but it was pretty bloody gay'

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Just done it

Prior to the 1998 World Cup cart horse England legend Tony Adams was interviewed in one of the papers he reads in his post-booze renaissance. He plays the piano, goes to the theatre and doesn’t feel self conscious about giving paternal love to another man. One copy of the Observer to Mr Adams please.

He said the weight of expectation on a World Cup squad is the hardest thing to bear because when you're the one on the pitch, it's you who has to do the things everyone at home assumes you will. So, whilst most people have the luxury of sitting in their chair claiming, when 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go, that Tony Adams is the best in the world at shutting a game down. It is Tony Adams, human being, who executes the minutiae of what this means - slowing the game down, retaining possession, keeping a clear head, staying organised, communicating, closing others' down etc. If he doesn't, regardless of his history or reputation, the team will lose and he'll be to blame. Everyone expects it; Tony's got to do it.

It's this malaise of expectation that people with a similar background to me often go through. Our comfortable, middle class, safe and stable upbringing lulls you into a false sense of security. Our parents provide a comfortable environment that we've grown used to. If we needed something, generally speaking we could have it. We didn't have shed loads of money but nor were we short, concerns about cash, if there were any, simply never got through to us kids. There may have been the odd overdraft here, or loan there but it didn't deprive us of shoes.

Now we're in the big bad world it's easy to assume that these comfortable straight lines of our childhood will continue. That without any effort we can forge and afford that same comfortable life. It's easy to forget that in order to stay on that even keel we still have to steer the boat. Redundancy, divorce, separation, negative equity and all the things you may never have experienced in the past are still there to get you. Just because your in an ocean with a thousand fish, doesn't mean you can stop swimming.

On Saturday night Tredge told me he was 'Loving my work' on the decks, I don't take, or believe compliments easily so I told him that we played what we wanted for four hours then stuck Crazy in Love by Beyonce on. It's rather easy to assume that this is all there is to it. After all, people like dancing and having a good time, so all you have to do is put good records on. Simple.

Afterwards, I was kind of disappointed that this party staple was the thing that triggered mass shape pulling extravaganza. After all it was the record that made people move, I just put the needle on that record. But then again football's just about someone kicking a leather bag of air between two sticks. Having a comfortable and successful life is just about having money, a positive outlook on life and nice friends and family. Conceptually it's all so easy.

I got thinking. It is easy to play records and operate a mixer, it's easy to say that you simply drop a big party bomb and everyone dances. But you try doing it at 7.30 when people are just taking their coats off and you'll get the mildest of nods to a recognisable tune. Try pushing people onto the dancefloor with hit after hit and you'll have an empty dance floor all night. DJ-ing looks easy, and the mechanics of it are, but there's more to it than that. You have to gently cajole people into it, make the atmosphere comfortable and fun, warm their minds and bodies up to the idea.

That's the theory. But better than that, that's what we did. Slowly, over five hours - a fifth of a day - we eased people into the zone. From walking out of a cold winter night and onto the dancefloor. At 12.40 we knew, absolutely knew that the party was ready for that record, we knew the reaction it would get. Why? Because we understood the dynamics of the party, we'd set it up that way, we'd provided the atmosphere, the venue, the drink, the company and the music. Nobody knew that they were being controlled, in fact we didn't know we were doing it, but we orchestrated it all so that at 12.40, no earlier or later, we could pull the trigger and it would go off.

So we pulled the trigger, and it went off. How bloody exciting is that?

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