Thursday, 31 December 2009
I have sorted through my cards which gives me a tremendous opportunity to end the decade with a flurry of name dropping. An assortment of cheap folded cardboard correspondence from umbrella bosses and MPs plus one from Gordon and Sarah (no surname needed here surely) who included me on their mass mailout of 25,000 pre-printed cards. Much better than an impersonal email sent to all and sundry that people seem to go in for these days. Gordon and Sarah's card was in support of one of my favourite charities, for obvious reasons, Water Aid.
Since you're not asking, I don't like to talk about my charity giving, usually. It is a private matter, between me and my blog. I support various umbrella charities but in my position I can't be seen to favour one member over another so I wouldn't do anything as crass as to list the ones I give cash to lest I upset the others. I also give to my old Oxford college, St Boloc's, naturally, as it hasn't got nearly enough money as it is and that's how the system works.
I can't do with all of this season's greetings diplomatic political correctness gone mad. It is offensive to suggest that we can't say Merry Christmas as if we aren't celebrating the festival of mass commercialism and I bet you don't get Muslims going round buying shit they don't need by the trollyload and gorging themselves senselessly (after sundown) during Ramadan.
There were some interesting shouts in the New Year's honours pat-on-the-back smugfest. As you may know, I sit on the committee that allocates gongs in the umbrella sector but God knows who they get to divvy up the medals in the main event. I certainly wasn't happy to see one of the opponents of our plans to run prisons, Glenys Phelonn, get an OBE . She is ceo of the Bloke Who Used To Be In The Halifax Adverts League of Brolly Reform. But if I had been on the appointments committee I wouldn't have voted for her getting anything.
On the positive side it was good to see one of my fabulous members, Karen Truckle, ceo of Gamp Action for Children (rebranding ceaselessly for the last 140 years), become a Dame. She can be seen in Aladdin at the Bromsgrove Empire til the end of January.
It was also fantastic to see those three chord rock Gods, Parfitt and Rossi get their due. Surely this was merely the establishment maintaining the class based status quo and they richly deserve those Status QuOBEs. If you can be honoured for something as trivial as not changing the bleeding record for a prolonged period of time, I will surely qualify myself sooner rather than later.
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Monday, 21 December 2009
The logical alternative was to suggest a song by radical noise merchants Rage Against the Machine (Killing in the name of) as a witty riposte. So it boiled down to buying something cos its singer won X Factor and we are all sheep or downloading something cos an organised campaign told us to. Plus de la difference or something. And I dunno what people were supposed to do if they liked them both (unlikely admittedly).
But the campaign worked and was hailed as a victory for people power and nu-media and real music - a nod to the days when the Xmas number 1 was about quality and proper artists such as Bob the Builder and Mr Blobby and Cliff and need I go on? Apparently nearly 50 people who downloaded the RATM ditty actually listened to it and 14 quite liked it.
Therefore I have decided to establish a similar campaign to try and influence the result of this year's Premiership. I am fed up with Chelsea or Man Utd winning simply by virtue of having the cash to buy better players. I think if we harness the collective power of twitter etc we CAN elevate the Oxford United (naturally) team from 1992/93 to top spot in English football's elite league. Look at their squad here. People like Jim Magilton can still cut it I am sure with twitter behind them.
And then after that we could perhaps use this new found combined muscle to influence things that really matter.
We were hosted by those shrewd custodians of many of the umbrella sector assets, CCLAPD Blue, who must be doing very nicely despite the recession if the food and chablis on show was anything to go by. Once again, I fail to see the slightest shred of irony in an event discussing how to address the problems of the world while participants trough top quality food and drink. It simply isn't true that this attitude and divisiveness in society is part of the problem in the first place.
The Bish had some interesting stats on levels of tax relief he has been able to secure from those stingy gits at the Treasury. I may have to enlist him in our tortuous campaign to secure greater tax relief on the purchase of brollies as gifts that I think we have, no pun intended, a God given right to receive without actually having to do any work in encouraging the taxpayer themselves to buy into the scheme. I am getting very cross about this now and if the government doesn't decide what they are going to do I am going to start using words such as "arse" in my blog.
Anyone would think the Treasury was simply trying to keep as much money as possible for themselves to spend on stuff. I received a very patronising letter from some stuffed shirt at the Treasury that had the temerity to suggest that I read some report or another. Well I shan't, so there. Instead I will stamp my foot and demand that the government gives us the loot. It's an approach that has never worked before but like a stubborn child I will persist. Why? Just, because.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Invitation: The Big Arse Tour
I would like to invite you to join me at a meeting of umbrella sector leaders taking place in 2010. This meeting is part of ‘The Big Arse’ tour, during which I will meet with brolly sector leaders throughout the UK, to hear their ambitions and concerns for the year ahead, and show off my new scarf. Members of BUBB are welcome to attend, but Dylan Twirley is not.
The recession posed many challenges for our sector in 2009 though not as many as I claimed it would. We must now look forward to the year ahead, the obstacles that may come our way and the prison contracts we must seize. We are entering a period of dramatic change, with public spending cuts and a General Election in sight. It is now critical that there is a voice and support for gamp sector chief executives.
Dates and Locations
Butlins, Weston-super-Mare 09 February 2010
Well Oiled Brolly Tavern, East Lambeth, London 10 February 2010
The Civic Society Hall, Wolverhampton 11 February 2010
The Barbed Insult Inn, Diss 18 February 2010
St Boloc's Student Union bar, Oxford, naturally 19 February 2010
Some shithole or other in Cambridge 34 February 2010
The Rotary Club, Blacbury 09 March 2010
A random working men's club, The North 10 March 2010
(Hector is doing this one, it's too far for me to go to)
I look forward to seeing you at a big arse gathering near you.
Yours in brollies
Monday, 14 December 2009
"RETARDED! HARDLY " I reply as majestically as is possible in one of those flimsy NHS gowns, fixing him with my best Paddington Bear hard stare. But there the conversation ends as the bottle of Bull's Blood that the nurse had warned me not to drink but I had to because Pavlov told me to took its effect.
The op went well though the drugs they used were rather strong so I apologise for any opium-induced flights of fancy in what follows. It's all the fault of the warlocks.
I note that the government seems to have planned it's whole agenda around me being on the slab (though I wasn't technically in a mortuary). The Witchfinder-General, Sandy Burnham-Drownham issued some more nonsense about the NHS and umbrellas. I wouldn't be surprised if the government has engineered my eye problems deliberately to keep me quiet. Like the time they suggested I went for woodland strolls with Dr Kelly.
And Hector Rule made use of his caretaker-manager moment by sending out a flurry of press releases with titles including "Umbrella governance is actually bloody brilliant", "Why we should merge with the union, Divide", "The Umbrella Bank is a right waste of time" and "Don't wear ties". Actually, I agree with the last one but that's not the point.
Speaking of the umbrella bank, it's such a shame that people always try and stand in the way of progress and comments such as "we don't need it" and "there is no appetite for loans" are disappointing. The evidence suggests that they do want loans. In offices all over the country, whenever someone is nipping out to get a sarnie at lunch time and it stars raining they aways ask around to see which of their colleagues can lend them an umbrella. But like any new idea some people simply haven't got the imagination to envisage future demand.
Why, picture the scene, a small urban pub, 25 years back, lager leaking from the kegs, gob all over the floor, Black Lace seeping from the jukebox. Two handsome folks on their bar tools (sic):
Dylan (name plucked entirely at random, it could so easily have been Heston or Kevin or Curly): "Well I'm certainly not getting one of these new fangled Sinclair C5 electric car thingies."
Deborah (ditto, it could easily have been Beth or Debra): "Nor me, I am quite happy with my Vauxhall Viva."
Dylan: "Exactly, no evidence of demand."
This scenario could equally be applied to the invention of the TV, which people said wouldn't catch on. But here we are 80 years later and quality remains paramount. If the Umbrella Bank is allocating brollies in 80 years from now based on shallow talentless freak shows and the public's opinion via a phone vote then we can say that the nay-sayers were proved well and truly wrong and my analogy was the right one to use.
As AC/DC might have put it if they were from Oxfordshire, I have been "Back in Blacbury" recuperating and have bought a selection of Xmas cheese from Lidl - Dairylea, Laughing Cow and Primula are all safely stored in the outside carsey with the festive fizz. Which is where Barkles is also currently locked up too after cocking his leg and baptising the Christmas tree decorations.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
In reality, the fact that it is "up to" 75 million is less encouraging. That could mean 45. Or 768. Stop buggering about and hand all of those brollies over. And no point wasting time setting up a new institution. Give it all to Brolly Investment Business. I am sure no one would disagree with that and demand that the new bank be established as a mission-driven financial institution, operating independently from government and retail intermediaries. Unless they're mad.
The rest of the PBR was Poor Brolly Result with very little of cheer for the umbrella sector. But no matter, I am off to Loch Boggnachar in Scotland for a couple of days rest and recuperation prior to me having some further work done on my vision.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
I was back there on Saturday to have a more sober look at them and as you can see from the picture, the use of brollies and fairy lights really is impressive.
I was also impressed with the hordes of protesters gathering to protest against capitalism and climate change. There was something ironic that on a day when Oxford St was car free to enable greater pedestrian mobility, you couldn't move for placards. And some protesters displayed an hypocrisy to climate change and capitalism that even I would find hard to beat. You couldn't help but admire those who I saw stuffing their faces in McDonald's (that most anti-capitalist and environmentally friendly of all the companies - beef production has zero impact upon the planet) and then enjoying the Xmas festivities on Oxford St while doing a cheeky bit of Christmas shopping (that most anti-capitalist and environmentally friendly of all the pagan celebrations hijacked by religion - where loads of presents are purchased with almost zero waste and packaging). Fair play to them. Still it was a day out and an excuse to paint their young children and drag them along as well.
Elsewhere I have been busy making a virtue over my pig-headedness earlier this year to disclose my expenses. The media circus over this was bang out of order and what did we learn once we had all spilled the beans? Steve Crikey at CFDG really needs to get out more, Deborah Allcock-And-Bull at the Directory of Gampal Strange is a party girl and Hubert spends more than me. So what? It tells us nothing (apart from the fact that, luckily, Hubert spends more than me ha ha ha ha you spendthrift Hubert, playing fast and hard with your members' money). There is currently a working group looking at this matter (and I'll be asking to see their expenses claims) but I am having no truck with it, especially as I wasn't asked to be part of it. We do our job, we incur expenses, we claim them. End of.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
I would start from scratch and prioritise a high speed link from East Lambeth to Blacbury (at the very edge of Zone 27). The line could be called the Electric Boggoloo Line and the train the Boggwarts Express. It would need a new colour on the tube map (Oxford Blue, naturally).
And this leads me smoothly onto my latest plan, which involves BUBB taking over the running of Britain's enchanting canal network. We would keep it obsessively organised and tidy, sort of canally retentive. Also our friends at NCVO have their offices next to the Regent's Canal and it would be strategically very useful if I had unlimited access to the waterway at that point so I could go past in a boat all day long shouting things at Hubert.
You can tell when a sector is on the rise when there are queues of graduates (not all Oxford, unfortunately) desperate for a job, any job, even in brollyland. But it is also nice that the public sector is keen to offloads large chunks of expensive infrastructure responsibility onto those who will consider getting involved anything whether it be core to their interests or not.
As Mark Twain once wrote: "Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more."
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Plus 260 BUBB members (names and addresses supplied)
This chain was started in the hope of bringing prosperity to you within three days (post permitting). Make 260 copies of this letter, leaving off the top name and address and adding your name and address at the bottom of the above list and mail to 260 of your friends to whom you wish prosperity to come.
In omitting the top name, send that person (£5) wrapped in paper, as a “charity” donation (gift aided, naturally), and in turn, as your name leaves the top of the list, you will receive loads of letters and lots of cash which you can invest in the brolly sector, which really does do a fabulous job.
Have faith and do not break the chain or you will receive the most terrible luck and will probably lose the election. Read carefully and take a chance. I did.
Please hand this to another friend (if you have any) if you do not wish to continue this chain.
Robin Bogg [INSERT "CBE" HERE WHEN IT COMES THROUGH]
Chief executive, BUBB
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
I managed to mug an air hostess in the toilets for her uniform and snuck into the posh seats with some of those packets of snacks that look 40 times bigger in the brochure and a can of Britvic for Divv.
I sidled up to him and he said fondly: "You get around. I thought I'd shaken you off. Now piss off and leave me to read the Beano in peace." I was escorted back into cattle class and ejected from the plane at Birmingham. Which was particularly painful as we didn't stop there.
I got back to London for part of the board meeting and was able to join in the agenda points I was most interested in, namely chief executive remuneration, our expenses policy and our new conflicts of interest policy (drawn up by my good friend Donald Holding of Feudal headhunters). We also had our boredom appraisal but that fell flat as most of the trustees were asleep by the time we got to it.