Thursday, 31 December 2009

Christmas past and New Year's honours

So it's over for another year. My turkey remains are already a glorious soup though there was nearly a terrible mix up with the hound which I only realised when I tried to take a huge poultry carcass for a walk and then noticed the bubbling tureen was yelping. Barkles didn't appreciate his Christmas stocking. Because he's a dog and hasn't got a bloody clue what Christmas is about. Like most of the population.

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

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 24th Dec

Here it is, the final piece in this 24 bit online jigsaw. I am supposed to be issuing my Boggmas Message blog at 3pm tomorrow (with 140 character summary on Twitter) but I expect I will be fast asleep by then, gorged to the eyeballs on fizz and cheese, Barkles laying contentedly at my feet. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 23rd Dec

We all know that Rihanna is my ultimate bird. Or is she??? Click here for today's advent adventure.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 22nd Dec

I haven't got a drink problem despite always maintaining I haven't got a drink problem even though no one is saying I have. OK? Right, who fancies a nice Xmas tipple? Click here to enjoy a warming festive beverage.

Televised debates

I hereby challenge Hubert Carrington of NCVO and Dylan Twirley of NAVCA to a televised debate on the future of the umbrella sector, sometime in the New Year. If we can't secure any coverage from a major channel we could arrrange to have a mass brawl (in which Maxwell, Crikey's replacement, Twomore, Allcock-And-Bull, Hoxton, Sloe....anyone really) and flog it to Bravo or somebody. Let's get serious and start using X Factor politics or populist entertainment to promote effective brolly leadership. That's reality, folks.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The power of online campaigning

Some of you may have seen the media excitement about this year's battle for Xmas number 1. Not since St Winifred's School Choir hymned the virtues of Grandmas has there been so much resting on who would gain the coveted seasonal single bragging rights. Basically, an online campaign run through forums and twitter was established to stop evil Simon Cowell's hand-held X Factor winner gaining top spot for the fifth year runner by virtue of people being too stupid to realise that vapid karaoke was not the real deal.

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.

The 132nd posh lunch of the year and giving a toss

My first official function after my op was a, surprise surprise, luncheon. We were very fortunate to have as guest speaker the erudite man of God, the Bishop of Chartres, Dick London. I am not one to go round bashing bishops and he was dressed exactly as a priest should be, decked out in expensive finery and symbolism, not like these apologies of modern priests you see dressed normally in jeans and T-shirts. Incidentally, Dick was commenting on how organised religion has become marginalised but I can't see why this should be so.

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

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 21st Dec

James Purnell threw a Xmas party last week for all of his friends in government. It was going pretty badly and then I turned up. An uninvited gatecrasher. And took this picture.

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 20th Dec

No explanation needed for this one. Click here for seasonal umbrella related illegally utilised web photo imagery.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 19th Dec

A new mnemonic for remembering the colours displayed in today's Boggmas ball of stuffing. Rain Obviously Yields Great Brolly Increased Value.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 18th Dec - Only a week to go until it is 365 days to go

We are all feeling the somehow unexpected thrill of it being bloody cold in winter, as if this had never happened ever before in the UK. Global warming? Nay, say the deniers (thickness of stockings - that one's for Tonya Newshound at Canopy Finance). We have a frosting of snow. How can it be so? Whatever. We all need either a web-enabled big soup or a virtual brandy to cope - and it is poured here and here and here .

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 17th Dec

We have a kind of "Where's Brolly?" game today. Can you spot the gamp among this smorgasbord of taste tingling treats? Clue: You'd have to be blind not to. Not that there's anything wrong with being blind. Some of my biggest decisions have been made whilst in a blind panic.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Kept in the dark

Well, the pre Christmas shinanigans are in full swing now and there is no finer sight than snow flecked brollies. But I am still a bit shaken by my misadventure yesterday. The National Canopy and Visor Organisation (NCVO) had once again managed to blag a room at the Houses of Parliament for their Xmas schmoozefest and as I am officially barred from the home of democracy (no vote was taken on this) after an "incident" last year I decided to try and sneak in. On reflection hiding in one of the attendees' bag wasn't a great idea. I got through security but then had to spend the party inside the bag in the cloakroom as the bag was padlocked. So all I got to see of events was this.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 16th Dec - is anyone still bothered? Only 8 painful more days to go

A Bogg dog is not just for life, it's for Boggmas. Click here to see a cheeky little gift I have bought for my beloved Barkles this Xmas.

I'm going on tour

I am pleased to announce the dates for my 2010 UK tour, The Big Arse. The letter I sent out yesterday (see below) contains all of the details. Souvenir tour T-shirts, umbrellas and copies of my Xmas single (with the Umbrella-ella-ella Boggaoke remix as a b-side) will be available to purchase at each venue. Dates for my European tour (Le Grand Derriere) and my World tour (Big Arse Goes Global) will be announced in the New Year.

Brolly leaders


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

Robin Bogg

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 15th Dec

I have released my festive single. Could this be the Christmas Number 1? It's gotta be better than the X Fatcor record or that Rage Against the Machine spoiler thing that people are backing to wind Simon Cowell up. Anyway, all he'll do in response is get Joe and Olly (Jolly...very festive) to release a cover of the RATM record to make sure his parnsips are buttered very nicely thank you.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Almost beyond parody

The outrage! As I lay prone on the operating table the anaesthetist leans over and asks: "Are you retarded?"

"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.

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 14th Dec

My Christmas wish list is here. Obviously, this omits the things that I ask for every year - Umbrella bank, better umbrella governance, wider tax relief on the purchase of umbrellas as gifts, James Purnell as Umbrella Minister - but it's a start.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 13th Dec

Another stolen (or should that be stollen?) copyright protected bit of festive umbrella art from off t'inteformation supersleighway here.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 12th Dec

No point wasting my best images on the weekend crowd. Hang on, what am I talking about? Keep your true loyal audience sweet, here for a reward.


Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 11th Dec

This is what I shall be having for breakfast on Christmas day.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

PBR - Pretty Bad Really

Of course the spin will dictate that the key announcement in yesterday's PBR (Predictable Brownite Rubbish) was superb. There was a firm commitment to establishing the Umbrella Bank with up to 75 million of the unclaimed brolly assets being retained by the banks. This "firm" commitment follows the government's earlier commitments to think about it when we get a spare 5 minutes, sleep on it, run it up the flagpole and see if it flutters in the breeze, kick it around, explore it further, support it in principle if it will shut you up, and then consult on it and is all down to my lobbying. Oh and Sir Reggie Coining's initial visionary idea.

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.

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 10th Dec

Today, a little glimpse of the emporium from where I will be buying all of my Xmas goodies. I love good food me.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 9th Dec

Today's little tub of interwebbed brandy butter is a tribute to that very great man Donald Holding of Feudal. Never have so many heads been hunted in the name of commission than by this bloke. He even secured the gig for Santa in the first place.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 8th Dec

Old Saint Nick using a traditional method of keeping the pressies dry here.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Beating 'em, joining 'em

Have recovered now from the BUBB Xmas party on Friday afternoon, which contained the usual high jinx. I won't divulge any of the embarrassing antics of myself and the staff - after all, as the saying goes, what gets photocopied, stays photocopied - but in hindsight going to Oxford Street to look at the Christmas lights, which someone had told me featured umbrellas, after drinking the number of snowballs I had, probably wasn't a great idea.

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.

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 7th Dec

"Deck the gaols with wreathes so jolly"...a little glimpse of what happens when incarceration and Christmas meet. Click here. Ironically I nearly ended up banged up again after BUBB's Xmas party on Friday though I am sure "abusing a photocopier" is a trumped up charge. As is "running half naked down Oxford Street singing to the Chistmas lights".

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 6th Dec

Something decorous but tasteful today. Like myself. Click here

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 5th Dec

The hound all kitted out for Christmas. Click here.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 4th Dec

Today's virtual choccie angel is something from one of the cleverest and most brilliant men ever to subject me to a restraining order. Please click here.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Going round in circles

Some of you may have noticed that the brilliant Fab Jobsworth has joined the blogosphere with the wittily titled Seb Blogsworth (did you see what he did there?). I haven't read it properly but at first glance his posts seem very amateur. They are well written, beautifully punctuated, impecably (yes, I know) spelt and generally coherent. The namedropping is well below the European directive's minimum and there is not nearly enough rambling. It simply isn't good enough and I shall advise him to try writing later at night after a couple of glasses of the old red stuff.

I was intrigued to see some of the suggestions in yesterday's effort. Basically Fab is advocating that we rename parts of the tube network, add new colours to the underground map and scrap the Circle Line. I think we should go even further and let BUBB take over the whole thing. Why stop at prisons? When you consider how many umbrellas are left on the tube network every day it makes perfect sense.

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."

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 3rd Dec

Delightful surprise just here.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Letter to the Chancellor

Robin Bogg, Notdunpourin’ Cottage, Blacbury, South Blacburyshire, England (the South of)
Plus 260 BUBB members (names and addresses supplied)

Dear Alistair

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.


Chief executive, BUBB

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 2nd Dec

Get your web-enabled treat here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Getting on bored

I had a BUBB board meeting yesterday but arrived several hours late. I was on my way when I spotted Dangerous Divv, big brother of former charities honcho and now minister for hot air and wasted energy God Megagrand, walking down the street. I shouted after him, as I want to know why God hasn't returned my texts for awhile. But he didn't hear me so I followed him in a taxi, onto a tube, onto the Gatwick Express and onto a plane bound for America. He was in mind your own business class and I was not (don't want Tonya Newshound at Canopy Finance doing her job at this point plus I would like to point out that as I had jumped all the barriers at the stations in my pursuit of Divv AND hid in the toilet on the train to avoid a fare I saved a fortune in needless expenses - at least until the fines come through).

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.

Boggmas Gampvent calendar - 1st Dec

Off we go...

Open flap here