Wednesday, 29 September 2010
I will respond to this properly once I have a) read up on it - heaven forbid I should jerk my knee without being in full possession of the facts and b) when we finally leave Manchester. We need to find Fab Jobsworth first who has gone missing. I took my team out for a Burger King last night then returned to the hotel but Fab went off larging it and hasn't been seen since, perhaps fearful of the sack. Or maybe he has headed off to Sutton to find his errant brolly.
A leisurely Sunday lunch with the brolly sector's top headhunter, the ever worthy of inappropriate and gratuitous free publicity Donald Holding, to celebrate my glorious decade, and then back into the maelstrom of receptions and meetings. First up was the EU reception, a dull but worthy institution, and then onto the more exciting Couldn't Care Less reception which was brimming with BUBB members. I left when Sandy Burnham-Drownham arrived as he gave me a really filthy look and I hear he's a bit tasty with his fists, especially after some free pop!
And then the fun really began with an endless cycle of fizzfests. It was great fun to bump into Bogg Society guru Dom Blond who was not quaffing lambrini but a beer. Actually he empowered a load of citizens to drink beer on his behalf so they would have a collective hangover thus sparing him any pain. We had a good giggle about Bogg Society and the State - he suggesting I'm a "Stalinist".
But the highlight of Monday night was the joint reception for brolly sector delegates that BUBB held with the union Communion. It is a huge regret that some unions have such a regressive stance to the brolly sector (yes, you Donnie Fiddly at Divide). So it is good to show that BUBB can work with a progressive union and that we understand the need for professionalism - which means good pay and conditions and opportunities for staff to progress (but not into my job you understand and only if they have been to Oxford, naturally). I get sick of attacks on us suggesting we treat staff badly just because they leave their brollies on the train.
This was the very first brolly reception held at Labour apart from one that Hubert's mob NCVO held in 2003 but we'll gloss over that.
My deputy Hector Rule made an impressive speech. Looking very dapper, and every inch a brolly sector leader (the bastard - I am NOT budging). Even when the lights went off and he spoke to a darkened room. I think delegates might have thought he was about to break into a raunchy routine. But alas no, the lights returned and so no fun was had by all. The omnipresent Dom Blond was there and he and I then headed off to the Hot Tickets lapdancing club. There was no champagne. Well there was but it was £500 a throw. Some sort of a scam I suspect.
Late to bed. And a late start to Tuesday.....so late that I didn't get up until Wednesday and missed God's speech. Just as well. I hear that even though he mentioned "generation" 484 times, "change" 316 times and "fuck you big Brother" twice, there was not a single mention of the brolly sector. After all of my hard work in badgering him to a borderline illegal level, as well. The nerve.
He will be sacked immediately. Or at least after the Labour conference. Probably. I need him with me now here in Manchester to hold onto my canapes and champagne flute when I am pressing the flesh of as many of God Megagrand's team as possible. And I need him to carry the copy of the Beverage Report that I keep meaning to pass onto God. It contains a full list of every free drink I have enjoyed over the last year and makes a compelling, bubbly and extremely long reading.
For more on my attempts to enter God's inner circle read my next blog post.
Sunday, 26 September 2010
You don't sit in the office doing work. You get out and network like hell. You get pissed. You trough canapes. My board had said to me you better stop all that and concentrate on managing the place. They were wrong. In fact my relentless networking saved the day as I gained a reputation for speaking my mind and making drunken pronouncements that helped raise the profile of the brolly sector, if not its credibility.
And finally, as I wearily trekked in and out of Harrow on the sodding tube I realised we would have to move! To somewhere more convenient for me, and thus easier to get home from when battered in the office and closer to all of the free wine launches and events in central London.
I quickly found that there is great comradeship amongst brollies. I had great support. But also lots of people throwing eggs at me and urging me to grow up and develop a voice for umbrellas.
That was why the trustees had appointed me. And I think I may have delivered on the trustees original briefs (for which I have apologised and paid the dry cleaning bill for). In spades. As in the spades I have needed to dig myself out of countless holes. Or to entrench myself even deeper into ones I have created.
There have been some great highlights. Our 20th anniversary reception in No 10 was marvellous and the warm tribute (a Chinese burn and a wedgie) that Tony Blair gave me was memorable and moving.
Any tips on success (even if you only measure that by actually surviving despite all of the stupid things I have said)?
# get a talented team and let them do the work while you prance around "networking". I am incredibly lucky to have some of the most Oxford, naturally, staff around.
# get a great deputy! And when I find one to replace Hector I will let you know.
# ensure you have a good chair or else you'll get a bad back.
# drink till you drop (this can be fun but don't drink cheap wine, especially if others are paying or you can stick it on expenses )
# keep a sense of humour! If someone starts spoofing you then take it with good grace. Perhaps this the one area where I have shown proper judgement.
4pm - I am that giddy with nerves and excitement I cannot control my bladder.
4.45pm - Just get on with it!
5pm - It's God! As I predicted many years ago. He's a star. He was the very first brolly sector minister and brought a real pizza to the post. So we shall see how he does as the new Labour leader. I wish him well.
I didn't vote for him of course, I voted for James Purnell but all the same I know God will do a great job. Rumours are spreading that he hoped he wouldn't win at the last minute as he realised that he would have to deal with a load of embarrassing text messages from myself. Ashley Cole style.
I send him the first of many texts straight away. "Dear God, remember me? Is your arse clean? Congratulations, don't forget the brolly sector, and if you need any tips on leadership and clinging onto power when all seems hopeless, then give me a tinkle. Love Robin."
Plus I was keen to get to the Labour conference in Manchester to start a campaign of legal harrassment against God Megagrand, if he was elected Labour leader.
It has always struck me that many people working in the brolly sector have bugger all knowledge of our history. So my speech focused on my version of it so as to fit all of my pet agendas.
Basically, the brolly sector is independent of the State despite state funding and always has been even when it hasn't been. This Independence is cherished. And I know this because brolly sector minister Rick T'Hurd ordered me to say so.
To see the full lecture go here. I'm sure you will find it interesting!
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
And it has all become so much more professional. They even have airport style security, which irritates the hell out of older liberal delegates who have to strip down to their pants, remove any sharp objects and put all their liquids in a see through bag. At least I think that is what they were doing but it may have been their catheters.
I arrived to chair a fringe event (Sir Hubert is banned from fringe events on account of not having one) on public service brolly reform. Everyone got sloshed but sadly there were no champagne receptions in the evening (bloody austerity measures....how can changemakers adequately discuss policy that will affect people's standard of living drastically without expensive fizz to gild the hypocritical lily?)
Still it gave me chance to finish off my Big Speech which I am giving today to celebrate 10 years of somehow clinging onto my job as CEO of BUBB.
Monday, 20 September 2010
Basically he has no sympathy for the state of the brolly sector and blames the last Labour government for not ensuring enough rainfall. He also had a go at big brollies saying that they have become synonymous with government and over reliant on the State for funding. Apparently large umbrellas do not empower citizens, being too unwieldy to properly engage in active shelter.
I will now give an in-depth critique of Gnat's words.
He's talking out if his arse.
Brollies are the solution not part of the problem. I will not hear a word said against them and will defend the gradual move that the umbrella industry has made towards reliance on government funding at the possible expense of independence to the bitter end, especially as I have spent 10 years encouraging it.
Make no mistake about it. Bogg Society is bollocks. And because of this, it needs people such as me and my members to make it work.
Gnat should listen to David Cameron. He last week quite rightly urged local authorities to not cut ties with umbrellas. Next time I see him in the Blacbury Lidl I will give him a great big kiss by way of thanks.
Sunday, 19 September 2010
It is all a bit of a blur but I recall following a brolly at one point that was just floating, as if sent by God, unaided through the sky. Imagine my surprise when we realised we had inadvertently joined an American coach party traipsing around Florence.
Still, we saw some nice churches and the Ponte Boggio where umbrellas were in evidence.
Just as we were about to board a train to Rome someone told us that the Pope wasn't in the country and was apparently doing a tour of Britain. I must say that the papers kept very quiet about this. I was all for heading back to Blighty straight away but Pepe wanted to still go to the Vatican. He reasoned that just as all those Liverpool footballers had their houses burgled when they were playing football in Europe, now would be the perfect chance to break into the Vatican and pilfer the Catholic church's immense hoard of ancient and valuable gamps.
I left Pepe to it and got on a flight to Heathrow as soon as I could. Once I had arrived, in what seemed strangely like a third world country, it was mad dash into town to see if I could gatecrash the state banquet. Luckily my old mucker Derek Gherkins was in charge of security, playing the role of bouncer, and he let me in despite the fact I wasn't in the right cassock. He sings a mean Pie Jesu does Derek incidentally.
It was a bloody good feed and I managed to force several members of the cabinet into a corner to give them my thoughts on Bogg Society and cuts to brolly budgets. And I also gave Gnat Pee a piece of my mind wrapped in a fist about some nonsense he has been spouting in his blog - more on this later in a separate post.
Then it was onto Hyde Park for the vigil. I have seen many gigs in Hyde Park over the years and there is nothing more annoying than when a performer insists on doing new stuff that you have never heard of. Fortunately the Pope kept to the greatest hits and the crowd lapped it up. He may be stuck in the past but he knows what the faithful demand.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
I can hazily recall meeting Barbara Windsor at some point. Carry on Gamping has always been one of my favourite films so it was an honour to chat to her.
But it is all a pleasant respite from the UK where the bankers are still being disgustingly greedy and the unions are threatening merry hell. Now as you know, BUBB is not a Union and I never said it was except when I did. But if we were we would be more constructive in our approach than Rob Craven and his ilk. Apparently he is threatening a campaign of civil disobedience. Which I think means that people should not give up their seats for Tories on the Tube. He has even threatened strike action against his wife for suggesting he get his nails cut. No doubt my old sparring partner Donnie Fiddly of Divide will soon also be throwing his over-salaried opinions into the mix and blaming umbrella organisations for everything.
When Cameron and Gnat Pee talk about citizens being empowered to take collective responsibility, a winter of strikes wasn't quite what they had in mind.
Sunday, 12 September 2010
Now, to add insult to injury, plans have been announced to build a brolly sector research centre on the site of the original attack - one that only NCVO researchers led by Earl Scalding will be allowed to use.
Understandably, I am seething about this but all hell broke loose when I announced plans to burn a copy of NCVO's statistics pornography guide, the Gampal Society Almanac, as a protest. Apparently this is just further stoking the tension between BUBB and NCVO so I have relented but at least I have got a load of free publicity out of it so all is good in the end. But I am still not happy about it.
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Friday, 10 September 2010
Bogg Society continues to get on my tits. But it was interesting to see the government's Bogg Society guru, Gnat Pee, dipping his toe into the Twitter waters. Using the pseudonym Nat Wei (do you see what he did there?) Gnat asked for suggestions of 5 people he should "follow" to gain insight into Bogg Soc gubbins. 5 isn't many but then Gnat is a very busy man. Trying to turn rhetoric into substance requires the commitment and optimism of an alchemist trying to turn air into gold. And it is interesting that his approach to research was to empower a community to do it on his behalf to save him the bother. Very Big Society.
Anyway, imagine my surprise and horror when the first five names were duly followed and mine was NOT AMONG THEM. I ask you. I invented Bogg Society before Dom Blonde got his grubby mits on it and my subsequent repeated renouncement of it means I am ideally placed to comment with credibility.
Fortunately Gnat has now followed a further tranche of experts. And I am number 6! Yes that's right - a person who some people can hardly believe actually exists is number 6 in Gnat Pee's famous 5. Gnat - as one of the unofficial advisers to the government's adviser on Bogg Society, I won't let you down. But don't expect me to come round to your flat in the Shoreditch ghetto for a glass of homebrew. I do have standards.
I am sure Gnat will have noticed that Jez Topgun of the Old Crumbling Foundation, who is very very clever, has savaged the Bogg Society. He states that it is "in danger of being reduced to slogan, with ministers failing to establish what the programme will entail and the public baffled by the few things seen so far".
As the architect of some of New Labour's airy fairy buzzword policy cul-de-sacs, Topgun is certainly speaking from experience.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
A charity boss? Does Hector think this is funny? It is disrespectful. And simply wouldn't have happened if he had been educated at Oxford. For a punishment I shall be taking Hector out to dinner at Steven Gerrard's.
And as for Fruity, that is what real friend is like. I hope Tony Blair is taking note.
Monday, 6 September 2010
Bogging is a sordid practice where strangers meet in car parks to swap brollies and Newsnight did a stupid piece on this last week. Stories about such behaviour can destroy trust in umbrellas, while increasing rust. But I wasn't criticising my members but the gampraising community for not responding to the challenge of the Newsnight programme on bogging in a more robust way. If those responsible for spokes cannot put up a spokesperson what hope is there that they can adequately put up a brolly?
This reveals a wider issue for us: the role of the umbrella in gampraising. I wonder if brollies have as much a grip as they should? There is nothing worse than a slippery handle. So I have written to the top 50 umbrellas chiding them. I love a good chide me. Chide chide chide.
On a different subject I have received proof of my influence on Tony Blair. On his Twitter account where he uses the assumed name @robmdyson brolly sector communications expert Nick Hoover said this. So the cowardly fuckwit ignores me completely in his delusional memoirs while ripping off my unique prose style.
I think it a bit much that Tony has cancelled a book signing because he was worried about people firing stuff at him, though I suppose he does at least have evidence of the weapons used against him for once. But compare this to how other politicians have reacted. My old mate Derek Gherkins has actually considered starting an illegal war so as to get free food thrown at him when he releases a book in a few years time. And Prezza has backtracked on his earlier position and now claims he WAS involved in Iraq war decision after all. He has asked people to throw creme eggs and choux buns at him.
In other news Bogg Society is still shit.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Seriously, the memoirs of my beloved friend and fellow Oxford, naturally, alumni Tony Blair are out and have caused quite a stir. First of all there was the palaver about him donating the ludicrous advance he got for the opportunity to present a biased justification of his years of public service, to the Royal Brolly Legion (looking after umbrellas which have been injured in line of duty for their country). Now the actual doorstop of bullshit is with us and it is what is missing that is the biggest scandal.
Sure, we have some jaw dropping revelations such as that Blair and Brown didn't get on. Blair admits turning to drink to cope with pricks like Nick Robinson and claims: "Gordon Brown stole my whisky. Then raised tax on booze against my orders".
And also on his fears of becoming a heavy drinker he admits "I was worried Euan would have pinched it all when I fancied a loosener."
And somewhat bizarrely Blair regrets not banning fox hunting in Iraq and introducing Freedom of Misinformation requests as they cost too much time trying to find ways of turning them down.
But the memoirs are very selective. For example there is no mention of Give us a Clue or why he changed his name to George Orwell
And most shockingly there is no mention of what was surely the defining event of his career.
This is an absolute disgrace and finally shows what a deluded leader Tony really was.
Speaking of which, I was going to pop down to Devon for a few days rest (again). Cornwall is so busy these days. You can't move around little villages without tripping over Prime Ministers seeking inspiration for baby names and wolfing down cream teas.
But the lovely secluded spot in Devon I keep going on about and showing beautiful pictures of has also got rather crammed with tourists. Don't know why.
The same thing has happened with Brockwell Park in Brixton. I have only mentioned that it is London's undiscovered gem 48 times in my blog and now it is mobbed. Someone must be going around letting people in on these hidden secrets, the bastard.