Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Wonder's stuff

Wonder (not real name) is our IT person, Emma calls her my stalker because she seems to have taken a shine to me. I shouted at her today and feel bad. I've got a new laptop, every time I go online it automatically synchronises all my files with those on the server, so I've always got an up to date set of files. However it doesn't synchronize my emails so the set of emails I've got offline, are totally different to the emails I have online.

So, I tell Wonder, and ask her to phone 'John' the IT bloke who set up the laptops with the synchronizing software. I describe him as "her man", we then have to go into a twenty minute jousting session about why he's 'her man'.

Her: "What do you mean, my man?"
Me: "Well, you were looking after him whilst he was here"
Her: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Well I don't mean you're his legal guardian"
Her: "Huh?"
Me: "Just go and call John about the synchronizing problem."

She disappears, I assume to contact 'John'. She reappears 5 seconds later and sits at the desk opposite reading the instruction manual for the laptop (it has nothing to do with the laptop, it's the software on it).

Her (reading): Have you been clicking the red cross at the bottom?
Me: No, that's when I want to dial in, it's nothing to do with that, it's to do with the synchronization.
Her: Have you made sure that you've changed the settings so it retains messages in your Sent Items?
Me: That's not the problem, the problem is that the emails don't synchronise, I've just said that.
Her: I know, I'm thinking of the bigger picture.

She then starts jabbering on about something or other. Next time her voice comes into focus she's talking about faulty printer drives downstairs.

Me: "Sorry, you've lost me what's that got to do with my problem?"
Her: "It hasn't, it's the printer drives downstairs, they're not working, it's not my fault don't complain at me"

I wasn't, I don't care about downstairs printer drives. I stare vacantly and she stomps off in a huff.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Tell it like it is

On Sunday, apparently, Panorama ran a programme describing the catastrophic consequences of a terrorist attack on London. I wouldn’t know, I was watching Bra’s Unpadded on Sky (Cue: editor of defunct mid-nineties Lad Mag telling us that “bras were, like, great, yeah”.)

This morning on GMTV my own personal hits generator ‘Big Titted’ Kate Garraway discussed the programme with one of those ‘former police terrorism experts’ light entertainment magazine shows roll out any time they want to scare the living beejesus out of moderately insecure and poorly educated readers of the Daily Mail. The programme on terrorism, she said searching the murky depths of her vocabulary, was ‘Terrifying’.

A true story

Albeit a very short one. Our cat, Waddle, won a prize in a ferret race on Saturday.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Lycra cat suit and bobble hat

Scarlett flares. You wouldn’t would you? You might, a dose of attitude and some self belief and you might. But what about putting it with silver moccasins and a brown batwing jumper. You wouldn’t then, would you?

You wouldn’t because people might laugh at you. Even those who would, do it because they want to make a statement, show their individuality, and push forward the boundary of fashion. All that jazz. We all fear being laughed at. That’s why you see so few people browsing the detergents in Tesco wearing a tiger stripe posing pouch, flip flops and an old school Nike windcheater.

The fundamental rule of clothes is to never buy anything that makes people laugh at you. Unless you’re a clown of course.

On Saturday this bloke called his girlfriend over after pulling out a t-shirt which had a MasterCard logo on it. It had the legend “No woman, no money, no job – Masturbation is the only answer”. They both laughed, “I’ve got to get this” he said before heading for the till.

It got me thinking, or at least noticing, that comedy t-shirts are a plague in British High Streets. Spearheading this is FCUK, who make millions from just one joke. Why? It’s a t-shirt which makes people laugh at you. Not with you, you didn’t write the joke, at you.

I don’t blame British men for adding this ill-advised flourish to their sartorial repertoire. The choice of men’s clothing is dire. Many women love shopping because they can browse shops knowing there’s a good chance they’ll find something which stands out. Blouse, t-shirt, jumper, vest, or the uniquely generic ‘top’. Skirt (mini, short, knee length, full length, fitted, full etc.), trousers (jeans, trousers, linen, three-quarter length, full length. Heals, flat, sandals, flip flops, trainers, boots (ankle, knee – hummana hummana). Suits, trouser, skirt. Linen, silk, cotton, wool. Neck lines… plunging, turtle neck, backless, collars, normal. Red, black, white, pink, blue, turquoise, mint, green, olive, yellow, lemon. Every colour and every shade of colour.

And then the men; trousers or jeans, jumper, shirt, t-shirt, polo shirt, trainers, boots, shoes. Brown, blue, black, grey, white, green. Suit. That’s it. That’s what you’re average high street shop has on offer. It means that browsing for clothes is a fundamentally underwhelming experience so you adopt a more pragmatic approach to shopping. I need a pair of jeans. I will get a pair of jeans.

Men are hardly being encouraged to dress better, make more effort or innovate. David Beckham turns up in lemon, he’s laughed at. Turns up in a nice black suit? Woof woof. Sarah Jessica Parker wears trousers on her head? INNOVATION! INSPIRATION! WHAT A STATEMENT! She’s such a sassy, sexy and independent woman.

The reason men hate shopping for clothes because it’s as stimulating as buying petrol, give me some choice and I’m all over it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Police state

As I drive back from work during the winter it’s dark. Dark as, well, the night. Because it is the night. When nights draw in. Like they do. In the winter. The headlights of the car pick up the feint scent of a familiar route and lead me home.

The long winding country roads reveal nothing of what is either side of me, it’s a murderous murk punctuated by the occasional glare of an on coming vehicle, the twinkle of the eye of the local fauna startled by the snarl of my engine.

Spat out from the dowdy urban pit of Wycombe I’m quickly deep in the countryside, into a radio silence, a wilderness. After about fifteen minutes the tranquillity is pierced. In the distance my path is lined by red dots the size of pinheads.

I’m being watched; each dot marks the infrared night sight of a security camera prowling the perimeter of the Prime Minister’s country retreat Chequers. I know it’s Chequers, most people who drive the route will know. The concrete bollards lining the inside of the main gate are a dead give away, but the billion pound security system is well guarded and barely breaks the surface of the countryside idyll.

However, two fucking armed policemen with sub-machine guns wandering through the outskirts of the estate this evening started to break up the malaise I can tell you.

Monday, May 03, 2004

I'm just happy to be here, I'm Millwall

Things I have learnt from Annia’s wedding on Saturday: -

• “Comedian rare” is a great way of describing the quality of someone’s speech
• Even though I don’t know whether it’s a compliment or an insult
• Mad Dog Mickey Lewis needs space to dance to Baggy Trousers by Madness
• Regardless of its pressure, softened hotel water doesn’t give you the deep clean you need after three hours sleep
• Nobody knows the legal position if a baby shouts out when the registrar asks of any legal impediments to the marriage
• Boys and Girls by Blur into Euro trance is the single worst piece of DJ programming ever heard
• Star jumps are an entirely acceptable way of dancing to Common People by Pulp
• I’ve grown quite a lot since I was eleven
• It takes less time to forget it’s on than it takes for a hotel kettle to boil
• Saying goodbye to nineteen immediate family members on a Sunday morning is a long process
• Despite Sophie’s (pictured) insistence otherwise, there are no tigers or elephants at Bosworth Hall
• Or mice

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