Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Happy holidays

This is my last post before a well deserved break with the Bogg family. It will give me a chance to recharge my batteries and also to mull over a national campaign I am planning to educate the public on how to use an umbrella. I will reluctantly be leaving Hector Rule in charge, which makes me feel like Gordon Brown must do when he hands power to Mandelson. However, lest he gets up to any Machiavellian coup d'etat mischief I have asked Fab Jobsworth and Geof Sachell to keep an eye on him. Not that I trust them particularly either but what can you do?

Friday, 21 August 2009

Bogg waves his brolly in the air and takes the applause of the crowd as he posts his 100th blog

I've been in beautiful Blacbury for a few days - I have had my annual health check at our marvellous health centre. Not a bad result I'm glad to report. I must say I always find the question on units of alcohol a poser. One doesn't like to excite them too much so I plumped for a modest 95 - at which point she asked if I'd like a pamphlet. I didn't realise that the NHS had a grog catalogue and could organise home delivery so I said yes please. Overall I'm pleased with my health. It is obviously down to the wonderful Barkles who keeps me exercised when he takes me for a walk, usually straight down to one of our wonderful local hostelries!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Engaging with the pie eaters

Our BUBB North office in Rotherham is thriving and I'm here to talk with members about the prospects for the umbrella sector in the recession, especially given that all of the sweat shops producing brollies are based in the grimy stereotyped Northern industrial heartland. However, given that it rains more up here things aren't all negative.

My lecture is provocatively entitled "Important man from London deigns to offer some words of wisdom for impoverished and uncultured Northern monkeys". It goes well in as far as I can tell. The questions and debate are superb. I always find that when we get umbrella CEOs together we have a purposeful and positive discussion. It's such a change from wider brolly sector debates that can so often descend into a whingefest. Whinge, whinge, whinge. I really detest it. It gets right on my tits. Jesus, there are some moaners. It's all "can we have this please, Mr Minister?" and "it's not fair if we don't get VAT back" and "if you don't give us our umbrella bank I shall stamp my foot". Of course, you won't catch me whinging like that but there are plenty who do.

And it was fantastic that people had come from Barnsley and Skelmersdale and Runcorn and Redcar and Wallsend despite having to travel by horse and cart. This year we will do 120 events outside London as the canapes are much cheaper. For instance, today we are providing black pudding vol au vents, pie quiches, quiche pies, sun ripened tripe and pease pudding (served either cold, hot or 9 days aged in a special pot) for two bob a head.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Something and something else (that's the formula for blog post titles, ain't it?)

Irony is a wonderful thing but a bugger when it goes wrong. I have been a bit silent for a few days due to being imprisoned, again. My threatening a'blogging'n'a'tweeting towards Dylan Twirley at NAVCA about his campaign to stop umbrella organisations (for which read "me") running chokies aroused the interest of the Police.

Oh yes, Sting, Copeland, Summers were mustard about the whole issue and all over it like a dirty shirt once I sent my deputy Hector Rule (who contractually cannot say anything publicly without it being agreed with me to ensure we are "on message") to set up camp outside the house of Glenys Phelonn. She is ceo of the Bloke Who Used To Be In The Halifax Adverts League of Brolly Reform and has made some ridiculous comments complaining about our plans to run porridge houses.

Really you would think that being incarcerated for the THIRD time since starting this blog would teach me a lesson but no....this is either proof that punitive Justice doesn't work or of my desire to be some sort of genial Harry Grout figure.

I am now out on bail and have promised to behave better if umbrella bodies are allowed to run gaols. All of this does mean that I have not yet had chance to regale you with tales of my time at Oxford with various glittering figures who became despots or dictators but the terms of my bail mean I am not allowed to promote views that might be considered extreme.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Trust in us even if we don't trust in each other

Awake very early today to do a radio interview. Torture. I mean it. It is not exaggerating or demeaning to prisoners in some of the world's most oppressive regimes to to say that speaking on live national radio after 3 hours sleep is on a par to genital electrodes.

I am on the Yesterday programme. They want to talk to me about some research BUBB has done into public trust in umbrellas. Traditionally, as a means of sheltering from rainfall, brollies enjoy high levels of public trust with only buildings scoring higher. But we must not be complacent as there is a huge gap in perception about what the public thinks brollies do (open, shelter, close) and what they actually do (flower, deflect water gracefully, retreat).

I bang on about trust for a bit and how we must ensure we maintain the public's good faith. This is pretty ironic really when you consider the deep mistrust I have for the other membership organisations in the umbrella sector, mentioning no names Carrington and Twirley.

It seems to go well and I get a message from one of our members who says that waking up to my dulcet tones was one of the single most frightening experiences of her life.

On the way out of the studio I bump into a couple of MP acquaintances of mine. They aren't there to talk about umbrella awareness - but I get the chance to fill them in. Literally. I still haven't forgiven the bastards for blackballing me from the photography club at Oxford, naturally, and a good pasting with my trusty commuting gamp soon evens up that score.

Then it is onto a meeting with my mentor. In the bath. Seamus O'Driscoll has been mentoring me for 6 years and I find his support and feedback invaluable. Aromatherapy candles and a superb radox helps aid our discussion as we mull over the future and dissect staff. This gets a bit messy and I hope Fab Jobsworth understands that we meant no harm removing some of his internal organs during our water play. He is, after all, used to me sticking the knife in...

Friday, 7 August 2009

Remember Markov, Twirley

Got any decent information yet Twirley? Noticed anyone following you? Remember what happened to Markov. Looks like a wet day today, Twirley. Everyone carrying a brolly is a potential assassin. Dare you leave the office, Twirley?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Preposterous BBC

Have you seen the shite that's on tonight? Have you?

Oiii. Twirley. LEAVE IT.

I see Dylan Twirley at the National Association for Visor and Canopy Action (NAVCA) is still kicking up a stink about the umbrella sector's involvement in running prisons and has submitted a freedom of information request, if you please, to weed out some secret knowledge on what organisations such as Tipping Point are currently doing in prisons.

To which I say "Twirley, let it drop" or you will find that when BUBB and other umbrella organisations are running gaols, you'll be the first one in there. Unless you wanna go grey in chokey I suggest you back off and let us get on with it.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Banking on change

Exciting times at Umbrellabuilders England, the government backed finance initiative for umbrella related activity which I chair. We have decided to rebrand as Umbrella Bank. Not because we are strictly speaking a bank but because we figure that when the government finally stops pissing around and establishes the Umbrella Bank, we will already have the name and logo in position and thus mean they will probably just lazily assume we're the real deal and not bother with all that expensive tender nonsense.

Bring on the booty.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Market forces

Pleasant weekend spent in Blacbury with Barkles. I did my monthly "big shop" at Lidl to stock up and also visited Blacbury's weekly farmer's market so I could pretend to care about proper food and fresh local produce by purchasing a token cheese. What was really interesting is that there was a new stall selling handmade, hand-reared organic umbrellas. Long gone are the days when the Guardian reading middle classes are happy with mass produced, factory made gamps. And the more discerning craft loving umbrella enthusiast can't get away with sealskin canopy and elephant tusk handle brollies these days apparently.

The ones on the market are made from hemp hand woven by druids and falafel. They are 125 per cent biodegradable and are so organic (at around 200 per cent) that they are actually dangerous. Too much goodness can be bad for you after all. But lovely pieces of kit and no mistake. I was going to purchase one but at £30 a throw thought "sod that". They may be handmade but that's no reason to rip people off, especially when I can get a perfectly good generic black foldaway for a fiver.