Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Eagles May Soar High...

…but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines. – David Brent

Here’s a question for you. As part of a job interview this coming Wednesday, I have to deliver a ten-minute presentation on the following topic.

How would you approach meeting your customer's needs (notice how this bit’s in bold so I’m guessing it has some importance) - from the point he / she identifies a change is required, to the implementation of that change? Please deliver your thoughts and practical experience, as opposed to a theoretical framework of Project Management.

I know. I kind of lost interest half way through that second sentence as well. “The theoretical blah blah of say what now?” Anyway, I’ve been a bit busy lately watching golf and 24 and The Office reruns so I’m gonna have to knock something together quickly later tonight.

If you have any spectacularly creative ideas or inspiration as to how I might achieve this with the minimum amount of effort, drop me a line at the usual address. And I promise there will be a real reward this time for the any information that leads to a quick arrest/avoids me having to be evicted due to unemployment. Many thanks.

Meantime, here’s the thing I sent to the newspaper this week.

It has been brought to my attention that this column may be concerning itself too much with trivial matters, some of which stretch the bounds of credibility to the limit. This critical assessment arrived in several guises following last week’s triumphant tale of how I managed to persuade a date to do my laundry after my washing machine packed up.

The main thrust of the disapproval was directed not, as you might imagine, at the fact that I was able to get my laundry done in such a brazen fashion. Because let’s face it, women love doing laundry. No, the questioning centred on other issues and can be neatly summarised by the email I received from one so-called friend who remarked,

“You had a date? YOU? With a woman?”

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I had such glad tidings to shout about but the sceptical tone of his email got me thinking that perhaps I should refrain from writing about personal experiences and turn my hand instead to commentary on the burning issues of the day. Up until now I’ve avoided such an approach for two very good reasons.

1. I don’t watch the news very much so I conceal my ignorance by just making stuff up.
2. I lied about there being two very good reasons.

However, a shift of this magnitude was one I couldn’t make without specialist help so I decided to call my life coach to acquire the insightful wisdom I needed.

Ring, ring.

“Hi Mum,” I chirped as the phone was answered. “It’s Neil.”
“I’m sorry, who?” she replied flatly.
“Neil. Your eldest and dearest son.”
“Nope, sorry. You must be mistaken. I used to have a son called Neil who phoned me all the time to let me know what was going on in his life. But he went off somewhere to try and be a writer so now I have to read a newspaper every week and decipher the fanciful outpourings from his deluded mind. Believe it or not, last week he was trying to claim he had a date. Sad really. Such a beautiful child.”


As the sound of the dialling tone rattled through my brain like a parental machine gun, I decided enough was enough. It was time to grow up and get serious.

Without further ado then, this column will henceforth concentrate solely on matters of national importance, shaping opinion and raising the level of debate on all crucial topics; like the decline in the use of the word ‘henceforth’ among our young people for one. And the fact that Gary Lineker is rubbish at presenting the BBC’s golf coverage of the US Masters for another. Surely the obvious choice should have been Kirsty Gallagher, daughter of former Ryder Cup captain Bernard, and far more pleasing on the eye during all those rain delays.

The big story of the week though was the furore surrounding the alleged visit of Prince Harry and friends to a lap dancing club to celebrate the end of their officer training. One report claimed he paid £60 for a private dance during which “excessive jiggling” was involved. To fulfil my new remit as biting social commentator, I took it upon myself to visit the establishment in question at the weekend and can now report that this story is a complete fabrication. Excessive jiggling costs £70.

Next Tuesday this column will turn its attention to the serious matters of bird flu in Fife and Jack McConnell in New York. Coincidence? Other major talking points will be covered in weeks to come.

Unless I fix up another date of course. With a woman.


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