Monday, 21 March 2011

I know what you did last summer...

... and the summer before that... and the summer before that...

Posting too much information on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook has its downsides. Comments made in jest or whilst enebriated can come back to haunt us...

Here's the transcript of a "recent" interview. It was for the role of a "Press Officer" and it took a turn for the worse, when the candidate's networking history was discussed. Names - and sites - have been changed to protect the identities of those involved...

Mr. Holloway: I have to say, Mr. Porter, we were very impressed by your resume.

Mr. Porter: Thank you.

Mr. Holloway: First from Oxford... Treasury, two tier-one banks, Saatchi. Exquisite references.

Mr. Porter: Thanks.

Mr. Holloway: But...

Mr. Porter: But?

Mr. Holloway: We thought it appropriate - due diligence being what it is these days - to take a look at your net foot-print.

Mr. Porter: My net foot-print?

Mr. Holloway: Your net foot-print, Mr. Porter.

Mr. Porter: Okay...

Mr. Holloway: You have a curious web-profile.

Mr. Porter: I do?

Mr. Holloway: Yes. You do.

Mr. Porter: Right.

Mr. Holloway: Can I ask this? Do you think it wise, from a broader networking perspective, to "love ramming hot comatose, dumb Aussie bitches too pissed to string two words together - they talk shit even when they're not comatose anyway - but boy did she love a good fisting, my fist was still so fucking exhausted after last week's outing with that Mandy tart from the Covent Garden event." That's the kind of profile you, a publicity officer by trade, are happy to leave on the web?

Mr. Porter: Not exactly but when I posted it the next day I was a bit...

Mr. Holloway: You were a bit: "So fucking ass-holed I chucked huge billowing waves of chilli pedigree-chum dog-food kebab all over my keyboard and..?"

Mr. Porter: Hold on...

Mr. Holloway: Yes. Hold on. And can I ask whether there actually is a restaurant - or bar - called "Madame Dildo's Anal Lick-Fest?"

Mr. Porter: Not exactly but where did you..?

Mr. Holloway: Never mind where we found it... You're quite a regular, I see... March 23rd... July 10th... September 19th... Good place to hang out?

Mr. Porter: Hold on!

Mr. Holloway: Hold on to what?

Mr. Porter: Oh! Come on!

Mr. Holloway: And do you make a habit of "emptying bollock-milk over Irina's d-cup?"

Mr. Porter: You what?

Mr. Holloway: ... you were "going through a bad patch at work" perhaps?

Mr Porter: Yes, but.

Mr. Holloway: ... And did you actually tell your colleagues it was you who "whacked the fuck out of Mike's fucking Apple after the Powerpoint fuck-up"

Mr. Porter: That was an exag...

Mr. Holloway: You didn't tell them?

Mr. Porter: Come on!

Mr. Holloway: Thing is, Mr. Porter, as an experienced Press Officer, it appears the one thing you don't give a good press is... yourself.

Mr. Porter: I didn't exactly know...

Mr. Holloway: We'd find out?

Mr. Porter: What can I say?

Mr. Holloway: Do you see the point I'm making? One thing one never wants, in any firm, company, institution, what-have-you, especially one like our own, is for the press officer to become the story.

Mr. Porter: Yes, but...

Mr. Holloway: Yet it appears that's exactly what you're in danger of doing - judging by your foot-print.

Mr. Porter: Hold on just one goddam moment! Just take one look at this. This is the guy I'm supposed to be working for... Assuming I were to get this job...

(Mr. Porter takes a piece of paper from his inside pocket and unfolds it. He passes it to Mr. Holloway. It reveals a prominent businessman who's shaking hands with a recently disgraced Dictator.)

Mr. Holloway: Yes. I was coming on to that.

Mr. Porter: I bet you were, Mr. Holloway. We all leave foot-prints that can come back to haunt us, do we not? Surely, that, to some extent, is what this job's about? No?

Mr. Holloway: To some extent.

Mr. Porter: So, perhaps I understand, better than anyone some of the pitfalls of transacting... in the public arena... as it were.

Mr. Holloway: (Furtively) Yes, so then... what you're trying to tell me is that this role of "press officer" would be better described as one of ""spin doctor? Is that the way you see this role?

Mr. Porter: You could say that, Mr. Holloway. You could indeed.

(to be continued...)

Monday, 14 March 2011

UN if you want to...

What if -
As the world agonises over whether to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, we ask what Neville Chamberlain's declaration of war might have sounded like if the UN had been around in 1939 and all humanitarian intervention had to be referred to the security council...

"... Hitler's action shows convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force.

"We and France are today, in fulfilment of our obligations, considering going to the aid of Poland, who is so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack upon her people. We have a clear conscience - we have done all that any country could do to establish peace.

"That being said, we must first secure the backing of the UN security council before we can come to the aid of Poland. We hope in the meantime that Herr Hitler will not do anything precipitous and that this aid can be in place before the Polish people capitulate.

"I urge those brave people who resist the actions of this vicious tyrant to hold on for as long as is humanely possible. It can only be a matter of weeks, months at the most, before we put a framework in place to offer some kind of assistance, whatever that assistance may be..."

Saturday, 12 March 2011

In Beeb we trust?

The committee appointing Lord Patten to the post of BBC Trust Chairman is apparently "surprised" how little he knows about the Beeb's output.

Although Lord Patten, who is also Chancellor of Oxford University, has heard of Eastenders, it's not clear where the gaps lie in his knowledge. Here are some suggestions:-

- Homes Under The Hammer, Wreck Or Ready, Cash in the Attic, Bargain Hunt, Escape To The Country - dismal property or antique programmes currently showing every day of the week on BBC1

- To Buy Or Not To Buy, Flog It, Cash in the Celebrity Attic, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is - dismal property or antique programmes currently showing every day of the week on BBC2

- Snog, Marry, Avoid, Hotter Than My Daughter - dismal "reality TV" programmes currently showing (almost) every day of the week on BBC3

Perhaps Lord Patten's ignorance is no bad thing...

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Breast is best

There was surprise last week when an ice cream parlour announced its latest offering - a breast milk variety. We asked the distinguished elder statesman, Lord Creamer, who spent many years working at the Milk Marketing Board, to write a few words on the subject.

"When the Mumsnet organisation originally offered me the post of "Honourary Child-Feeding Advisor", I have to admit I was somewhat taken aback. Despite the many happy years I spent at the Milk Marketing Board in the 70 and 80s, I felt somewhat under-qualified for this particular undertaking. 

But the fine, upstanding ladies at Mumset assured me the post was, as the title suggested, purely an honorary one. Their "mothers' council" required a male member who might, in their words, "lend an air of impartiality to an otherwise partisan organisation". They had apparently looked very closely at a number of other male members - chaps who'd taken it upon themselves to apply for the post - but none of them were "up to scratch" and were of perhaps "dubious motive and repute." After some breast-beating and various consultations with my good wife I said I would be delighted to take up their offer.

"So it is in my capacity as Honourary Advisor that I would now like to comment on the issues surrounding the introduction of breast-milk ice-cream.

"I do feel breasts - or, at least, I have a sense that breasts - are a feature of female anatomy that lend themselves to one, at a stretch two, well-defined functions. I believe it is not necessary for me to elaborate here on the precise nature of those functions. Suffice it to say that they are largely for the benefit of man - and woman - kind. I might add that it also ill-behoves any man - or indeed any woman - to confuse those functions, especially if they do so at the same time.

"Now when I learnt that a certain organisation, through the Mumsnet web, was about to offer the public a new breast-milk based product, I have to say I was initially just a touch intrigued. I even considered putting in an order for a couple of tubs - being open to new ideas as I am. 

"On reflection, however, I am not so sure. As someone who has dedicated his life to high standards in food production, I have always had to consider not just the processing but also the sourcing of any product under consideration. Now this is straightforward enough in the case of most dairy products. If it derives from the udders of the sheep or the cow then it is deemed generally acceptable. But if it comes from the humble Tibetan yak, say, then far greater scrutiny is required. For it is not immediately apparent that the Yak is a suitable source for this nation's dairy products.

"It is with this in mind that I have looked long and hard at female breasts. As a rich source of nourishment for the developing infant, breasts have indeed proven themselves eminently useful. But I do not believe we should look at breasts - common though they may be - as something to be taken for granted, that is to say, as merely a tool of this country's food production. That can never be right, surely?

"And on International Women's Day of all days, should we not be contemplating what society still has to offer the fairer sex - by way of, say, equal pay - than what the fairer sex has to offer society? From the dawn of time, women have been viewed as a vehicle - and an extremely useful vehicle, I might add - of reproduction. But are we now, in the Twenty First Century, to start viewing them additionally as the vehicle of production? No, I really hope not.

"And anyway, would it not indeed be so much simpler for this "milk parlour" to deliver a "breast-milk flavoured ice cream?" That is something, I am sure, most ordinary men and women - myself included - would think about buying."

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Blessed are the bankers...

Banks that are "too big to fail" have no place in a market economy. So says Bank of England governor Mervyn King. A "spokesperson" for the banking industry offers her "take".

"I have no personal interest in this debate - not directly, at least - but I speak on behalf of certain men and women the world over who are misunderstood, vilified, perhaps even abused. I speak for those who have no voice - precisely because they think and transact only in numbers. I speak for those once considered key to the economic wealth and well-being of this nation, but who now, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times. I refer, of course, to the bankers.

"Now, when I say "hard times", I speak not of such trifles as money in the bank, cars in the garage, number of houses spread round the globe. No, what concerns me far more is the thorny issue of reputation. For as we all know, in this, as in any other world, reputation means far more to ordinary men and women than any number of villas in Tuscany or Provence or the Caribbean, than any number of horses in the paddock, than any number of Porsches in the garage, or indeed any number of dollars in the various off-shore accounts. For reputation is that without which (according to certain philosophers) men cannot truly be men (unless they're so flush they don't give a damn). And is it not time we allowed bankers, once more, to take back their reputations?

"The Bank of England governor Mervyn King suggested today that the banking industry has not reformed since the bad old days of 2008. He claimed that structurally it is much the way it was when it "almost destroyed the entire fabric of Western society" (whatever he means by "fabric"). But nothing could be further from the truth.

"The banking industry has changed considerably in recent months, both structurally and otherwise. Banks have a wonderful new range of structured products on offer. No more "collateralised debt obligations" or CDOs as some jesters still refer to them. In their place we've introduced "collateralised vulture re-structure funds", "re-collateralised quantitative-easing obligations", "de-collateralised sub-prime re-purchase profits-only structured investment obligations", "multi-collateralised structured inflation no-loss winner-takes-all re-obligations", "quasi-collateralised de-structured off-shore multi-obligation obligations", and, most important of all, "re-balanced and un-reconstructed massive-bonus re-newal obligations".

"So please don't tell me the banking industry hasn't changed! Don't tell me it hasn't developed new structures. Take one look at the formidable range of structured products on offer and then, and only then, look me in the eye (when my eye has stopped shifting) and tell me banking hasn't changed nor re-structured!

"And finally, can I ask one last thing: What more do you want of us? The shirts from our backs? The bonuses from our bank accounts? The Porsches from our garages? Is ultimately what you want from us (or rather, from these bankers to whom I refer and simply represent) nothing less than those very reputations they have proudly held, and have indeed deserved to hold, through time immemorial?

"Is that what you really really want?"

Thursday, 3 March 2011

A doctor a day keeps the Apple away


Every so often we give a leading tech company a free plug. We hope this'll encourage it to shove loads of advertising our way. Failing that it fills column inches. Today we look at the iFad2, released yesterday to universal acclaim by a man wearing jeans and a black turtle neck jumper.

"Hi. Do you ever get edgy as weeks go by without the release of a new piece of hardware? Do you crave the fanfare that accompanies the arrival of a new gizmo that's like the old gizmo but has a different feel and one or two added features you don't need? Do you wake every morning thinking life could be so much better if I could do what I did yesterday but I could do it faster and with enhanced functionality?

The solution's arrived -

- With iFad2, you get the same touch-screen interface and virtual on-screen keyboard but you get it in a box that's noticeably lighter, slimmer and way more sensual.

- With iFad2, you get two cameras - one front, one back - in case you want to film "a friend" masturbating while you yourself masturbate over hard-core erotica.

- With iFad2, you get more processing power and greater speed, so your life can descend faster into a maelstrom of frustrating texts and angry emails.

- With iFad2, you get a screen cover that auto-attaches in perfect alignment to the front, and folds to support the iFad2 while you type. Why spill the contents of your latte over your shiny new screen when you can spill it over your type-pad instead?

Come on guys! Don't torture yourself with yesterday's technology, when today's is just round the corner. If you crave a life that's going to keep you craving, be sure life keeps up with technology - not the other way round. And that's the key: In this day and age, who needs a life, when lifestyles are always changing? So, why settle for second best when you can have something that'll be second best in a few months time?