The trade description of act of 1961 is there to protect consumers from companies that mislead. But there are exceptions. Take ‘Great’ Britain, the ‘Speedster Two’ (fine, apart from it being an electric car for the elderly) or the ‘Rapid lift’, a stair lift, hardly going to travel at speed carrying the blue rinse brigade. And then there is the ‘Regent Palace Hotel’ in London.
The hottest day in May for over thirty years. Fantastic. I spent the first nine hours of that in the large greenhouse, otherwise known as JP Morgan. The last half an hour of my green house time was spent deliberating whether I should just walk out of a meeting that was over running, I needed to make the shuttle bus to catch the train. I missed it. In true style going to the wrong bus stop and cursing a late shuttle bus that passed away in the distance. Obviously being English, and not used to decent weather, my body shut down. Someone turned on the sweat taps whilst I rushed to find a nearby taxi, whilst at the same time trying to convince myself I didn’t smell, and that it was in fact the cheaper than normal deodorant I had purchased in haste the day before.
If I thought I had perspiration problems, I soon realised that maybe it wasn’t all that bad. The tube doors opened at Embankment. True to form, five o clock on a Friday night, the people were forced together like sardines in a squashed tin. The heat from the non air-conditioned pre-war tube system provided the ammunition for my next episode. I found myself wedged between two rather large, blue shirted, wet armed hairy men who were grabbing onto the handles above. Every time the train swayed, they took turns leaning onto the side of my face. Now, they had sweat and smell problems. My farts would probably smell like roses in comparison.
The problem is simple. The London Underground is the oldest subway system in the world, the joys of air conditioning had not kicked in for the bowler hat, large jacket moustache sporting people back then. As I stood in the slip stream of one mans armpit, I started to think about solutions to the problem. Well, to be fair, other people have done that already.
Bosses at the London Underground were so desperate for a solution, they offered a £100,000 prize for the best idea. Well they offered it, but nobody took it. Hardly surprising when you consider some of the entries.
‘Decorating stations to look like icescapes’ or ‘handing out flame-retardant tube maps that are shaped like fans’
I pictured the scene at Underground head quarters that day, when they opened this well thought out entry –
‘replacing the trains and tracks with an underwater canal. The slow pace of travel will make it pleasant’
They probably turned to each and said “Maybe the people can just sweat after all”.
Stepping out of the humid Piccadilly Circus tube station was like stepping out into a foreign country. It’s was if the world had decided that this was the official meeting place for all things foreign. Next to the gigantic television screen was my place for the night, the Regent Palace Hotel.
I had selected this place for a number of reasons. It had been on teleevision. Well, it featured on the ‘Hotels from Hell’ programme two years back (bringing out the sadistic side in me), was comparatively cheap, was right in the middle of London and had lots and lots of rooms.
Of course, you pay for what you get. The lower rates were based on ‘sharing’ a bathroom premise. Walking along the long corridors I was confronted by balding, belly inflated German men in their white underpants, towel in hand, looking lost whilst searching for the ‘shared’ bathroom. This took on a extended humour when it transpired that before you take a shower, you have to call reception so they can unlock the washrooms. As the washrooms also housed the toilets, I could imagine the switchboard on the ground floor
“Janet, Mr Laslinger from 7012 wants another shit, can you do the honours please”.
Just like the London Underground, there was no air conditioning. Normally not a problem when the air is conditioned by lots of rain for you, but on this hot day in May, the room was rather humid. “For your safety, the windows will only open half way”. Fantastic. Quite obviously they had experienced too many people jumping out of the seventh floor windows after realising they would have to wait twenty minutes for a shit. I wonder if the Queen has the same regent problems down the road at Buckingham Palace.
5.50am - Woken up by strange dream 6.20am - Woken up by Ipod alarm 6.30am - Woken up by mobile alarm 6.40am - Woken up by snooze on mobile alarm 6.50am - Woken up by snooze on mobile alram, again 6.55am - Shower 7.00am - Try to find my work pass, keys, money, wallet all at same time 7.10am - Breakfast 7.20am - Walk to work 8.00am - Get in, get shitty, plastic coffee, check mail 8.10am - Wish I did'nt check mail 8.20am - Stare at the nice girls in the office without noticing 8.21am - Realise girls notice that I'm staring at them without noticing 9.00am - Conference call with French people in Paris 9.10am - Laugh when someone calls him Jean-Paul 9.12am - Laugh even more when he calls him Jean-Pierre 9.15am - Thinks he is taking the piss calling hime Jean-Phillipe 10.25am - Is it lunch time yet? 12.50am - Copy of Times, Crisps, sweets 17.50pm - Shit, is that the time 18.20pm - Bus to town 18,30pm - Beer in hand 19.30pm - Last ditch K.F.C 19.46pm - A.C Milan score, shit 19.59pm - They score again, double shit 0-2 19.22 - They score a third, trble shit 0-3 19.35 - Shit night. Need a beer 20.05pm - 1-3, Get in there Liverpool 20.12pm - 2-3, Blimey, Come one!!!!! 20.15pm - Missed penalty, no he's got the rebound!!!! COME ON LIVERPOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3-3 22:30pm - AC Milan miss two clear chances 22.35pm - Liverpool win on pens!!!!! EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS FROM 0-3 DOWN. GET IN THERE 23.10pm - Pint of Cider mixed with beer and blackcurrent 23.35pm - Last bus home 01.20am - Finish on Msn 01.30am - to bed
and so it goes on.........................................
Top Five Search Engine phrases on Coops Blog this week
Number 5 – “Ladyboys (by far and the highest in volume)”
Even though this search gets the most hits, it does not get my vote at all. Afterall, what the hell are these people looking for? Bit bored, nothing to do, I know, I’ll type in “Ladyboy”. Now I take some of the blame, I did write a post atferall describing the ladyboy culture in Bangkok (http://ukcoops.blogspot.com/2004_07_01_ukcoops_archive.html), but somehow I think these people were looking for that little bit more.
Number 4 –“Japanese ladyboys.com”
This one gets a little more credit from me. At least they know which country they want their Ladyboy from, though I cant recall seeing that many in Japan. Maybe they are just very good Ladyboy’s.
Number 3 – “Coops little neck”
I like this one. It game me hope that someone out there was looking for me. I just don’t think I’ve got the heart to tell them that I haven’t got a little neck. Maybe one day I’ll get someone I really will connect with, I’m just waiting for the ‘Coops normal neck” search and I’ll track them down.
Number 2 – “Nude men Townsville”
Disturbing search but I would have enjoyed the frustration that this person would have experienced when they got to my site -and had to read about the joys of English hairdressers. Not really the same I guess.
Number 1 – “Smell my feet byron”
This was by far the best. I can just imagine some fetish club that this person was after in Byron Bay. I know Byron people are quite ‘alternative’, but getting them to smell random persons feet seems a bit more extreme than excessive pot smoking.
I had this very bizaree telephone conversation today.
Me: “Hello” Them : “Ahh, I was looking for Sarah” Me: She is away from her desk at the moment, can I take a message?” Them : “Ahh yes, can you get her to call me back please” Me : No worries, who’s speaking please?” Them : “Anal” (MeThinking : Is he calling me Anal?) Me : “Anal?” Them : “Yes Anal”. (MeThinking: Maybe he is just called Anal, after all there is someone called Randy P Enis in this company) Me : Okay Anal, I’ll get her to give you a call when she gets back
Sarah gets back to her desk………..
Me: “Ahh, Sarah, Do you know Anal?” (A look that I have asked something way too personal………….) Sarah: “No, did Anil call?” Me: “Ahh, it was Anil, he pronounced it as Anal” Sarah : “Yes, that will be his accent”
Whoops. I’ll get my coat.
………….And then onto the hairdressers
I sometimes make the assumption that women see going to the hairdressers as joy, men see it as a chore. Maybe it’s just me, but every month the routine is turning into a dentist type experience, let me explain.
As I walked into today, I observed the normal things, the fully seated queue, one man standing, two kids playing. The radio on in the background, the crumpled, two month old copies of Gardeners world magazine with a free local paper, two pages missing, someone taking the centre page job section.
Then you wait. You play a memory game. Remember the faces around you without causing a stare. Everyone else is doing the “Did he come in before me or after me” game, whilst pinning their hopes on the other person to remember. It’s all to prevent the most awkward of English situations that God forbid would arise, the “Who’s next in line” question. In the absence of any official queue system, it’s based on a system of trust.
After thirty minutes of queue analysing, phone looking, shoe checking and wondering who will cut your hair Russian roulette style, it’s finally your turn. Having successfully remembered the people in line before, with the pre-prompting of the “Who’s next” question, you are finally allowed to stroll up to the adjustable, hair drenched chair.
“So what can I do for you today”, the question by the hairdresser. Let me see, well how about some pensions advice, a bag of onions and a pint of beer. After realising that the sarcasm can wait (after all, this person is armed with scissors and a blade), it’s on to the fun and games of describing what haircut you actually want. As I learned to my cost in 1992 (but still fresh in memory), never leave anything to assumption when it comes to hairdressers. They will seize on the artist freedom that they have been given, modelling your new crop on a mixture of mentalist patient and released for the weekend army recruit.
After a few nods, a few hand signals and a few “you know what I means”, it’s time for the action to start.
Then follows the crucial moment. The conversation starter. Like getting into a taxi, this process can be initiated with the following conversation starters : -
“Have you been busy today?” or
“The weather is looking better for the weekend”
Which comes onto the notorious English weather question. Why do we talk about it so much when our weather is so average, I mean it hardly ever snows, it’s never really that hot and we don’t really get hurricanes, tornadoes or floods after all. Well, we talk about the weather because that’s the standard conversation starter on these shores to overcome our natural reserved nature. In goes like this:-
“The weather is looking better for the weekend” “Yes, it’s been a bit chilly today” “Are you doing anything nice at the weekend?” “Ahh, that depends on the weather really”
I sit down. Large mirror ahead. Where exactly do you look whilst getting your haircut? Do you look at your hair being cut, or at the person cutting your hair? Or do you do neither and just look at the hairdresser utensils that are scattered in front of you?
It’s done. Your hair is on the floor. It has taken fifteen minutes but seemed like thirty. Then comes the next series of hairdresser moments. “Does that feel lighter?” they prompt at the end. Does that feel lighter? How much does hair weigh? Bearing in mind the scissors are still close, I refrain from that “Yes thank you, I feel like you have lifted a big weight from my head today” and wait for the next action. Pulling a plastic mirror from the side, they manoeuvre it around the side of your head, finishing with the classic line “Is that okay for you?”. Now, of course, I understand they are being polite. But quite why they have chosen to hide the back of your head right upto the last moment always causes me great suspicion. What have they been hiding all that time? I think I know why. In the hairdressers handbook it says “Always ask them if it’s okay, we don’t really mean it, we just assume they say yes”. I proved this when I once said “Actually, can you fade it in a bit more please”. Face of thunder.
As they put the mirror on the side, the final question in ‘hairdressers checklist’ is used. “Would you like something on that?”. Noticing that the scissors are now on the side and that the knife is firmly out of sight, I say “Yes, a hat”. Of course not. I accept the gesture of complimentary hair gel but soon live to regret it. He’s getting the hairdryer out! I’ve never used a hairdryer in my life, there’s always been a reason for that. That’s because it looks like someone has put my fingers in a socket. To add to the hairdryer humiliation, the ‘hairdresser’ then tries to become a stylist, using gel spray and his fingers to give me spikes I never had before, turning my crop of hair into a Miami Vice style eighties throwback. I watch in horror as they try to make a good situation out of a bad one, but only result in making it ten times worse.
Salvation. It’s all over. They give you a token parting gift of a white tissue, for what purpose I will never know. Blow my nose. Hide my face. Wave it in surrender? I will never know. As they type a random figure into the cash register I can see the exit is nearer. Just onto the last point. They give me my change, the pause, time to decide the amount I put into the ‘tip’ box in front of me. One pound in the pot. It’s been a pleasure.
Engrossed in the world of financial transactions, internal politics, personality clashes, project deadlines, stocks and shares speak and the all the blub, it’s hardly surprising that my mind starts to drift like a bottle in an ocean at times. In fact, the drifting bottle starts bobbing around on a force 12 induced wild ocean when it comes to meetings.
Somewhere along the line people in Business decided it would be a good idea to have lots of meetings, sometimes to discuss previous meetings, sometimes to prepare for future meetings.
Some people view meetings as a chore. I see them as an opportunity. Whilst my mind is drifting, I find myself enjoying a secret comedy show. Now of course when you go to a show that only you find funny, especially in a serious business context, it’s difficult to share this humour with others.
For some reason, I’m the only one that tends to pick up the innuendos that come out of peoples mouths, despite them being rather obvious at times. It’s as if I’m the only one with the innuendo radar that works. Maybe it’s my twisted, sometimes immature, sense of humour. Or maybe the others pick it up on their radars, it’s just maybe their display isn't set to public mode. Here are some examples of things that made me smile in the meeting today:-
“If I’m going down, I’m not going down alone”
All sorts of visions came into my head, on this one, I wiped away my smirk thinking about back dated financial transactional level information . It worked.
“I think we need to cover our arses”
This was not helped by the fact that I gave out a small giggle which I quickly managed to mask as a cough. The cough cum laugh cum snort also projected a sample of snot down my cold induced nose. I was forced into making a rash decision. Either pretend this never happened, stay focused and hope nobody saw this new facial addition, or quickly cover my face with my hand whilst scratching my forehead. I opted for the second option, and I’m happy to say, the attention was diverted.
“We don’t want to get into a pissing contest on this one”
With my recent urine sample exploits, I was thinking I would be pretty good at this one. Then everyone tuned over to the next page which brought me back into focus.
"We need to get her into a room and pin her down"
This could have been quite a good one, but then I realised who they were talking about. Ohhhh no. Moving on.
And then it was over. I walked over to the coffee machine to gain some sort of refreshment. It then occured to me that this was the place that people went to make private calls on their mobiles, you know the sort, personal ones, arranging job interviews without anyone knowing type ones. I felt like saying to this guy “Why are you standing there trying to make private and secretive calls when you are standing next to a coffee machine? It’s obvious that whilst waiting for the coffee to drop in the twenty second period, people will have nothing better to do than listen to your call”. Well I was going to say that, it’s just it sounded like he was on the phone to a job agency and I didn’t want to disturb him, apparently he has to give two months notice which may scupper his chances. Of course the machine dispensed the wrong type of coffee so I had to get another, by which time I learnt he could commute but he would prefer local work due to family issues. See, told you, it’s not the best place to have a ‘private call’.
The joys of working in an office. I can hardly wait for Monday.
There was a queue building behind me. I was annoying myself, just like I got annoyed when others fumbled for their payment cards at the counter. Surely, if you have to wait for five minutes to get served, you can find your card before you get to the till, not, when you get to the till. I had made the schoolboy mistake, thinking that my blockbuster card was my payment card. Keys on counter. Wallet on counter. Half a displaced chewing gum on the counter. Urine sample on counter. Pen on counter. Urine sample on counter? Shit. Right before me, right before the man at the counter, and right in front of the queue of ten work people, lay my specimen B plastic bottle of piss. I’ll get my coat.
Somehow behaviour like this has the habit of following me around. There was the first day at work, when my pen exploded in my pocket, prompting a fresh blue handshake with the new boss. Or the time I rushed to get changed on my second day at work, in the girls toilets. But this today seemed to eclipse all those moments. As a walked away, I could feel the thoughts. A guy who walks around with a urine sample in his pocket. Some people have key rings, others have diaries, some have the audacity to have a mobile phone. Other people have small plastic containers of piss. Admittedly not orange piss, but piss never the less.
As I left for work that morning I made my checks. Medial card, new patient forms, urine sample. “Mr Cooper, your appointment is next Monday”. Trying to understand my date confusion, I turned around, set off for work, and put the sample in my pocket.
Where do I live tomorrow? Well, there’s not a lot in it at the moment, in fact, even the slightest thing can influence me at the moment………..
First stop, Texas. I’ve got some investigating to do before the new laws come into effect, all in the name of Blog research, naturally.
“AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas lawmakers sent a message to the state's high school cheerleaders on Wednesday: no more booty-shaking at the game. The state's House of Representatives voted 85-55 to approve a bill that would forbid sexy cheers and give the Texas Education Agency authority to punish schools that allow "overtly sexually suggestive" routines at football games and other events. The proposal must go to the Texas Senate for consideration. "People are calling and telling me how disgusting it is to see sexually suggestive routines on the part of marching units or cheerleaders," said State Rep. Al Edwards, a Houston Democrat who sponsored the bill. He complained of cheerleaders "shaking their behinds, breaking it down," but the proposal does not define what constitutes suggestive cheering. Democratic state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, also of Houston, said the bill was a waste of valuable time. "I think the Texas Education Agency has enough to do making sure our kids are better educated, and we are wasting our time with 'one two three four, we can't shake it any more?'" Thompson told legislators”
Then I’m getting on the plane to Sydney, I’ll probably wait in Texas for a while until the new law comes into effect, whilst also waiting for this Australian law to happen:-
“SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, moved on Wednesday to outlaw employers from snooping on workers' private e-mails as part of anti-spying legislation aimed at stopping bosses from covertly observing employees. In an Australian first, the New South Wales state government introduced surveillance legislation to outlaw unauthorised spying on employees using technologies including e-mail, video cameras and tracking devices. "We don't tolerate employers unlawfully placing cameras in change rooms and toilets," Attorney General Bob Debus said in a statement. "Likewise we should not tolerate unscrupulous employers snooping into the private e-mails of workers." Australia has national privacy laws but they do not cover e-mail monitoring. The legislation is expected to be passed by next week, the minister's spokesman said. Penalties would include a A$5,500 fine (2,252 pound) for individuals, or A$5,500 for each director of a corporation. Trade unions welcomed the move as a victory against "big brother" monitoring by employers, which they said has been on the rise. "The e-mail is the modern version of the telephone and I think that most employees would reasonably say that their phones shouldn't be tapped at work automatically, and I think that should apply to the Internet," said Bill Shorten, secretary of the Australian Workers Union (AWU)”
So, I will probably just sit in the office all day, slagging off the management and company in general whilst emailing my friends about the Texas cheerleaders, knowing full well they cant read my emails.
I will then cancel my trip to Peru.
LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Peruvian officials saved some 4,000 endangered frogs from being whizzed into popular drinks after they were found hidden in an abattoir. "We were checking the fridges when out jumped a frog. It had escaped, they were in big crates," a spokesman for Lima city hall said on Thursday. Frog cocktails are popular in the Andes because of their supposed aphrodisiac qualities. Shops in central Lima selling the drinks have tanks where customers can choose their frogs. He said the Telmatobius frogs -- which had apparently been brought from the southern lakes in the high Andes -- were found on Wednesday stored in the abattoir. They were taken to a colonial fountain in central Lima to splash around before being returned to their native lakes by ecological police. "There were about 5,000 of them but 1,000 died because of the conditions and in transit," the spokesman said.
On the way back to the UK, I’ll probably stop off in Germany, I’ve heard the people are most helpful over there:-
‘BERLIN (Reuters) - After accepting what appeared to be a kind offer from a German motorist to tow his broken car, a stranded Polish motorist was taken on a terrifying high-speed joyride at speeds of 160 kph (100 mph), police said on Tuesday. Police said a 36-year-old German man who offered assistance proceeded to hurl down the motorway at high speeds after tying a cable to the stranded car. The Polish motorist, who remained inside his vehicle during the tow, flashed his lights and honked his horn at the speeding German driver to stop. Police said the Pole was finally able to bring the German to a halt by swerving his car back and forth. The German was taken to a psychiatric clinic, police said’
In fact I will probably be relived to get home after all that. Back to normality, back to routines, back to good old breakfast:-
LONDON (Reuters) - A boy tucking into his breakfast had a nasty surprise when he discovered a two-foot long snake inside his packet of cereal. Jordan Willett, 5, thought he had found a toy when the serpent -- a harmless corn snake -- slithered out of the packet of "Golden Puffs" his parents had bought from discount store Netto in Telford. "It was quite long and popped its head up. I've seen snakes on TV before but never in a box of cereal," he told the Daily Mail newspaper. Netto said on Wednesday it was talking to its suppliers to review procedures and check on its stock.
Well I’ve got my voting form. The one that says I need to go to the local polling station, before ten o’clock, the one that will be manned by the over seventies brigade. You see, once every four years, it’s their excuse to have a big test of their organisation skills. Put a few seats out, put a ‘polling station’ sign up and hey presto, you become the envy of the blue rinse community.
Shit it’s 22.50pm, I’ve missed my vote. For the third time in a row. Should I be ashamed that I’m neglecting my privileges in this free speech and democratic society that I live in/? Well, not really.
You see I cant really be arsed. Politicians are twats. They use statistics, trying to blind the public, massaging the figures to make themselves look good. Be it hospital waiting list times, Iraq casualties, asylum figures (or lack of them) or the amount of cakes at Downing Street. The fact is figures can mean whatever you want them to mean. I could say I own two Ferraris, just omitting the fact that they are three feet long. I could say I had two women chat to me today, just omitting the fact that they were both over ninety, half blind and asking what time the bus was due. I could describe myself as having a six pack, its no lie, it’s just it’s in the fridge. I could tell my dad I did actually vote today, just missing out the bit that I voted for Natalie Imbruglia in MTV’s most wanted song, not for the Conservative party.
Then I look at the burning Election issues and I think, maybe not:-
Don’t band these together like I have done for effect. People forget in this country that these two are not the same. There is a world of difference between people sneaking into this country in the back of trucks on Ferries and those coming to enhance our culture. Contrary to what the Daily Mail says, not all people seeking a new life here are doing so for the benefits. Sure, we are a nice country, we don’t kick out most of the people, be it illegal or not, but that’s because we are a companionate country. Like it or not, sometimes we have an ‘island’ mindset, there’s not enough space for other people. Well, lets take a reality check here, our food is generally shit and we have got a lot to learn from other cultures.
Public Transport/Petrol costs
Our petrol taxation is one of the highest in the world. Fact. But lets face it, we are a tiny country. We are not in the States, an hour drive for a lot of people is like popping down the shops for us. Just because we are lazy arses that drive down the road to post a letter, it doesn’t mean we should complain about the price of petrol. Sure, there are people that have to drive, the people that deliver my packages, the people that put up the cost of my goods because of petrol costs. I accept that. But you look at the motorways and you will see that 99% of the cars are sole occupancy. Don’t moan on about petrol prices, the simple solution is for the government to make public transport cheaper, more efficient and pleasant to use.
Simple. Don’t get ill.
The War with Iraq – Mr Blair lied you know!
It happened. It was wrong. The war was completely unjustified, even if it was motivated by the removal of Saddam Hussein (and not the weapons, oh really) that was still unacceptable. Why is our divine right to go around enforcing democracy on independent countries, what’s right for some might not be right for others. But it happened. You can’t go back.
I know my taxes will go up and I won’t get anything for it. What’s new?
My money is on the Lib Dems, not for any political motives, I’ve just got a tenner on them as an outsider. Now if they made voting like betting, then I would be interested. In fact why don’t they just do a Pop Idol type system, I could text vote in and save a trip to the local Church cum polling station and a polite conversation with Doris from down the road. And then there would be Simon Cowell.
Congratulations! You have been voted in! We're delighted to inform you that the members of BeautifulPeople.net have found your application very attractive and are looking forward to getting in touch with you.
What the fuck is the world coming to? My piss take entry has been voted in by women on the site. The thing is, the site is full of people you would expect, up their own arse mirror hogging wannabees, as proved by the following message:-
Rating Topic (Created 11/03/2005 at 15:00)
I think that we are generally being to nice with the votes, if this continoues it will not be Beautifulpeople but avarage- joe.net and I don't think thats the point... Comments please :) anders
Comment 1 (Created 11/03/2005 at 18:26)
I completley agree. This site is meant to be for good looking people. I know to some looks are subjective but still...We vote who comes in so lets make it a site where good looking people can actually get to know each rather than having to wade through a million people before they even look half attractive. I know its harsh but that is life
Just like spending your night in a really pretentious pub. Great fun. I'll get my coat.