The Grey Cardigan 04.11.05

THE DEAD hand of the bean-counters tightens its suffocating grasp.

Not only has the office Christmas party been cancelled, but now office Christmas cards have joined the banned list.

we are all to receive a “season’s greetings” message on the company
email system. Accompanied, no doubt, by the dreaded first redundancy
letter. And instead of sending our customers and contacts the
traditional greeting, we will apparently be making “a donation to
charity”. Which charity is that then? The fucking Shareholders’
Benevolent Fund?

Now when I was a lad and out on the patch, I
used to spend the week before Christmas spreading glad tidings and
bottles of Johnny Walker Red Label amongst my many contacts. It never
failed to pay off in the following 12 months. I’d get the correct name
and age of the victim of that nasty RTA (which we managed to get wrong
last week) and I’d get all the background on the alleged rape that
wasn’t (which we also managed to get wrong last week).

forbid, people would even sometimes ring me up with news stories,
rather than press releases. I suppose that in these days of
semi-trained media studies graduates chained to the telephone, faceto-
face contact doesn’t really matter anymore, but it’s a sad state of

SPEAKING OF which, the office Christmas party is no real
loss to my social calendar. A drunken secretary vomits into her shoes,
an obnoxious executive gropes a tele-ad and then has to subsequently
promote her to avoid the tribunal, the news editor upsets our cricket
club hosts by rutting with a woman from Classified beneath the covers
on the bloody square (and just where it takes turn as well).

We’ve all been there a thousand times. And a thousand times is enough.

I HAVE always been confused by the motoring page in theguardian.

if they are going to tap into their core demographic (see, I have been
listening during those interminable team briefings) they’d be
road-testing steam bicycles, Himalayan goat carts or yoghurtpowered

But what’s this I see last week? Giles Smith drives
the £124,650 Ferrari F430 F1 (196mph, 15.4 mpg) and tells us all about
it. What’s the fucking point?

How many readers of theguardian are
going to nod sagely, rub their beards and say: “Yes, I’ll add that to
the possibles list along with the new Skoda and the battery-driven
Nissan Micra.” It’s mere titillation, bordering on pornography.

might be fine in the red tops, where only a lottery win stands between
Fred Scrote and a Bentley convertible. But in theguardian?

It’s cruelty of the worst kind, akin to waving a bacon sandwich under the nose of a vegetarian.

IS EVERY bloody woman on television pregnant?

Garraway, Sophie Raworth (pictured), Jackie Brambles, Moira Stewart (oh
– hang on). They’re all at it, shamelessly parading their fecundity
across our screens like a Zeppelin display team.

It wouldn’t be
so bad if they could sit still, but they’re off wallowing like hippos
around these multiscreened newsrooms, jabbering away with their stupid
“expressive” hand movements and trying to look pert and attractive
while the monster from Alien writhes beneath their designer maternity
wear. Well excuse me, I like my news delivered straight, from a
middle-aged man sitting behind a desk, wearing a not-veryloud tie. That
is called authority, and authority breeds belief.

Wondering whether or not your newsreader is about to be carted off screaming to the delivery room doesn’t.

You can contact me, should you be minded, at

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