Tag Archives: Vicious Circle

Corporate monkey…

True story…

I’ve been interviewing recently for a Project Management role. The last question I ask is always ‘what are your hobbies?’ I do this for two reasons i. No one puts them on their CV anymore, and ii. It gives a good insight into what a person is really like.

On one particular occasion the candidate replied with ‘scuba and sky-diving. I’m an adrenaline junkie and love danger and excitement.’

After the interview my colleagues and I agreed that the man in question was a nice, competent guy, and decided to offer him the job. The following morning he declined the role stating that he had been mugged outside the office, and that Southwark was too dangerous a place to work!

A few days later another candidate was asked the question ‘How do you deal with conflict?’ to which he replied ‘I don’t. I avoid it like the plague. I’m a politician. I weave around conflict.’

‘But surely there are times when conflict is unavoidable – for example – when you’re dealing with a poor supplier or a lazy employee?’

‘I disagree’

‘Well there you go. You’re in conflict with me now.’

‘No I’m not.’

‘What are your hobbies?’

‘I’m in a theatre company.’

‘Oh great – What was your last role?’

‘I was a clown.’

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Why I write…

Walking through a crowded Waterloo station each morning I catch snippets of obscure and often harrowing conversations. Yesterday I overheard a man say ‘…Two years ago I was happy…’ followed by a woman uttering, ‘…Christ, if something doesn’t change soon I’ll take…’ Similarly this morning I saw two women weeping uncontrollably whilst being consoled by complete strangers. Not to concentrate on the macabre, I’m fascinated by the idea that, as I walk down a busy street, all these little stories are passing me by – mostly unheard, often interlinking, sometimes fantastical – and every so often people forget their British foibles and just erupt.

Most of my stories tend to come from this angle – the question of what is going on beneath the surface of apparent normality.

Of all the tales ever conceived The Melting Pot has burned the brightest so far. I was very driven to get it into print, and spent a considerable sum of money in pursuing that purpose, but it’s only recently that I’ve stopped to ask myself why?

I certainly don’t have any designs on being famous – quite the opposite in fact. I like the idea of one day being on a train, seeing someone reading the book and being able to watch their reactions from afar without being recognised – anonymity AND notoriety…

I just said all that out loud…I’ll shut up now…

Latest Google-search: ‘guerrilla marketing constipation.’

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Keyser Soze

…But for a technical hitch here is the best piece of guerrilla marketing ever… 

I work around the corner from the Old Vic theatre. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum are currently appearing in a play called ‘Speed the plow.’ Today whilst out for lunch with a colleague Kam we passed a man in cycling gear and dark glasses walking a dog.

‘Did you see who that was?’ Kam asked excitedly.

‘Who?’

‘Only Kevin Spacey!’

Now, I’m of the opinion that most famous people probably get brassed off with the proletariat continuously gawping at them, so I didn’t make a big deal out it. Twenty minutes later Kam nudged me a second time. ‘Look, there he is again, sitting outside Cafe Nero.’

Back in the office we told the team about our celebrity spot.

‘You should give him a copy of your book,’ another colleague Nick suggested.

‘I’d be embarrassed.’

‘Alright, I’ll do it then and pretend I’m you.’

‘OK Great.’

I hastily scrawled ‘Hey Kevin – Love your work,’ on the inside cover and handed it to Nick. When he re-appeared sometime later without the book I asked how he’d got on.

He told me that he’d approached grinning from ear to ear and said ‘I’ve got a present for you – a book that I wrote.’

Unfortunately at this point our lack of ground-work was exposed. Kevin said ‘Thanks…what’s the book about?’ to which Nick replied with ‘Er…smuggling or something,’ before running off.

So there you go…not the most flawless of executions…but Kevin Spacey! Keyser Soze himself (for anyone who’s not seen ‘The Usual Suspects’ I have just ruined the twist).

At this moment a copy of The Melting Pot is either residing in the dressing room of a Hollywood A-lister, or else is nestling in a bin somewhere in South London!

I’ll be out tomorrow lunchtime combing the streets for Jeff…

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…Or your money back (part 3)

A couple of blogs back I was ranting about how a company called ‘Caiman’ was selling my book online without having any copies. Last week someone found this site whilst googling Caiman. Their listing has since been removed from Amazon!

fibber.jpgHowever – They have been replaced by a company called Wicked Wendy (wickedwendistore) who have also miraculously acquired the book…

Latest google entry: Melon Melting

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Captain Chaos…

Back in 2001 I was living in a shared house.  One evening I came home to find Pete and (Fat) Martin in the lounge laughing uncontrollably. When I asked what was so funny they were unable to speak and instead passed me a letter addressed to the third house-mate Dan.

The previous day Dan had resigned from his job as a security guard after only 36 hours. Embarrassed at the real reason for his departure (laziness / rich parents) he got his sister to ring up on his behalf and say that he’d been involved in a car crash and had, had one of his arms amputated.

The letter was from the security firm in response to his resignation. Written with the comedy precision of a literary predator and peppered with italics it said that they were, “distraught when we phoned your parents and discovered they were unaware of your tragic accident. Please get someone to help you dial them as soon as is humanly possible and swathe their angst. As your uniform was found in the locker-room we can only presume that you intended to resign anyway before this most horrific happenstance.”

Yesterday I was delighted to see that a large reading group had replied to my e-mail enquiry. I eagerly opened their post hoping for interest, but instead encountered a wall of abuse. Reading through a second time I realised that it was a satire. Scanning down to my original note I found that, rather than signing off with the obligatory ‘Regards’ I had instead slipped and typed ‘Retards.’

The groups’ spokesperson took great delight in stating that, ‘we don’t generally read the works of abusive illiterates,’ before declining and wishing me well in my pursuits.

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Comfort break

Last night, in the middle of a particularly witty anecdote, my sister suddenly shouted, ‘Oo gotta go – Matty needs a pooh,’ and rang off.

As neither of her sons are called Matty I was left perplexed as to just who she was entertaining – A strange moment, and one that got me considering all things lavatorial…

…Public toilets: a vast untouched wealth of potential marketing where captive (and often drunk) audiences gaze deliriously into space; seeking entertainment, but instead finding uninspiring porcelain.

Two of the bars in Reading (where I live) take an interesting approach to urinals – One has a perplex covered photo of route 66 that invites you to see how far up it you can pee; the other features an array of bikini-clad women holding tape measures and meat cleavers whilst laughing maniacally and pointing down at your sorry genitalia.

Why not place laminated adverts there (I hear you cry).

I ran this idea past a work colleague who offered to lend me his personal laminator.

‘Who on earth buys a laminator for their own personal use?’ I demanded to know somewhat ungratefully.

The person in question went bright red, prompting my mind to conjure all kinds of hitherto unthought of deviances.

Random aside: Cheers to Simon at ‘Cape Town Capers’ for adding me to his blog roll – by far the tallest Stella-drinking .net developer I’ve ever met, and no doubt ecstatic about being mentioned at the end of a passage concerning bodily functions!

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Grovelling as an art-form

Amazon / Amanidiot – And the award for overlooking the blindingly obvious goes to….me! Quite a large number of  people seem to be reading this blog between 1 and 4 o’clock in the morning. Either I’m cultivated a following amongst the insomniac community, or else it’s being read outside of Blighty. I’d previously restricted the amazon settings so that The Melting Pot was only available in the UK; the thinking being that no one would pay the international postage. It didn’t occur to me that it cost nothing to set up and hugely increased my potental customer-base (fool). This has now been rectified.

Vicious circleBook-Chuck – Writing this blog is a lot like hosting a telethon. At regular intervals I have to make a cringeworthy, emotional appeal for charity (favours – not monetary), whilst painting a scandalously innaccurate picture of poverty and depravity. Today that peak (or is it trough) has come round again…

…A number of people have been kind enough to look me up on the Facebook application i-Read which allows you to ‘chuck’ a book at your friends with a recommendation. If you’re a facebook user and liked the book please seek me out (The Melting Pot can be found in the international search). It’s for a good cause*. (*The previous sentence can’t really be substantiated).

Moral-bending – Staying on a Facebook theme, it was suggested that I find people with the same names as famous authors or movie stars and then ask them to write reviews of the book – Couldn’t find a ‘Meryl Streep’ for love or money, but did find a great many ‘Michael Boltons’ and ‘Peter Stringfellows’ – proof if ever it was needed that there is something fundamentally wrong with the world! Wrote to a few ‘Janet Jacksons,’ ‘James Bonds’ and ‘Harvey Keitels’ without success before the same person who’d originally suggested the idea added that it was somewhat deceitful.

Latest Google-search query: ‘Boobs You Tube.’

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…Or your money back (part 2)

lies.jpgNot content with charging double the going rate without actually possessing any copies, ‘Caiman Bargain’ have waded into the fray promising to dispatch the book from Florida!

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…Or your money back

There are an amusingly large number of on-line book-sellers who purport to sell ‘The Melting Pot,’ despite the fact that the sole warehouse is amazon.co.uk via my spare bedroom. The latest are ‘Browns-books,’ and ‘Caimazone uk,’ who offer the book (via amazon) in ‘Mint Condition – with immediate next working day shipment from the UK to anywhere in the world.’

They also offer it at £1.30 and £5.19 more than I do! A double-whammy of disappointment.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0955551706/ref=dp_olp_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1201383596&sr=8-1

Whenever I contact other sellers and ask them how they are planning to fulfil the orders the conversations always follow a variation on a theme:

Them: ‘If we can’t find the book within 4 weeks we refund the customer.’

Me: ‘But you already know you can’t find the book. I’ve got all the copies.’

Them: ‘You expect me to take your word for that?’

Me: ‘Well…yes. I’m the author.’

Them: ‘You could be anyone.’

Me: ‘OK…in that case – check on the system. Is it available?’

Them: ‘…No.’

Me: ‘Would you like to stock the book?’

Them: ‘No.’

In closing: The latest bizarre google search to find me is “Pregnant eating.”

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What I did with my weekend…

It was an unusual shopping list to be sure:

– Watermelon, fake nose, comedy vampire teeth, microwave, skateboard, Village People moustache, Plastic dinosaur, various chocolate items, something to eat –

A brief sojourn in ‘Fun and Frolics’ sorted me out for the fancy dress gear, and a nice supermarket lady confirmed my thoughts with a frown that ‘the green melon did indeed make a better monster than the yellow one.’ Couldn’t find a dinosaur, but did discover a cut-price ‘Ben Grim’ doll from ‘The Fantastic Four.’

Back at home I set about assembling the bits and pieces into a makeshift creature -‘the vicious circle.’ As I did so I thought about all the normal people out their going for meals with their friends or watching TV. My abomination completed I went to bed, leaving its limbs balanced on cups while the glue dried.

This morning with unbridled joy I let rip with the lawn mower – waking the girls next door who had only just finished their all-night giggling contest. Curtains stirred as I lay on the dew painting ‘How do you escape from a vicious circle?’ (the tag-line for the book) on the wall. I imagined concerned citizens with their hands hovering over phones (Do I inform the authorities?)

…Had a bit of a mishap with the melon, resulting in the loss of a limb, which then had to be strategically placed giving the monster an unfortunate nonchalant pose (not a good look for a monster).

Next came the problem of lighting – too much sun – couldn’t see the wall-writing. The problem was solved by dragging a table into the garden and draping towels over it to project a shadow. With conditions finally right I took a million photos, chose up and put it on the header above.

Why did I do all this? It seemed a good idea at the time, but now all rationale has been lost into the ether…

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