Just got back from a healing and air fare free trip to the homestead – a place with white cliffs strafed with tunnels, a largely intact castle and the home of chalk fed locals with pulped BNP leaflets for brains. It’s actually alright, considering.
To score my free flight home I had to endure some work perils, in the interest of “going forward”, “driving the business forward”, “growing the business”, “thinking outside the box” and generally overcoming all the growing pains you could expect having grown a business from a magic bean.
The day began with a 2 hour hold up before we’d left France. There were high winds and I wasn’t particularly overjoyed at the thought of taking to the skies in a 20 year old 737, held together with a slap of indifference and some cheap CK1. Thus it was with a mixture of relief and disdain that I reacted to the reason behind our delay – a wet carpet. At first I thought ‘tapis mouillÃ©’ was a term used to describe the rain soaked runway, but they actually did mean to say that we were 2 hours late because of a wet carpet in the fucking plane. The soaked carpet of the front galley, caused by massive tea-urn haemorrhaging I assume, was proclaimed as a serious health and safety issue, which could not be ignored. Of course the real danger in the pilotâ€™s mind was the possibility of some old gimmer going arse over tit and suing BA, or perhaps Iâ€™m not giving him enough credit. Then again, considering the tofu and jissum tracker bar the bastards proffered up in the guise of our in flight snack, Iâ€™m not so sure.
We arrived at Gatwick after a very rough ride in the skies over southern England â€“ the tracker bar was begging to give the world just one more shot. After the two and a half mile walk to reclaim our baggage, and having grabbed some take away lunch at Nero with the rest of my life savings, we were met by a taxi and informed that the M25 was in fact shit, so we would be going to Southampton via the windiest, most country lane-filled route possible. I felt that this would make my cold, dehydrated egg and bacon panini go down particularly well. When I took my seat behind old shit pants Greg though, I began to wonder if I shouldnâ€™t just chew up my sandwich and spit chunks of it in the faces of my fellow passengers, as that seemed to be a shortcut to the inevitable. Somehow, I managed to hold it down and endure some 80mph corners on single track roads at the hands of my new nemesis, the faeces fetishist fuckwit driving the Espace. Blarghhhh.
So, we arrived at the office where we knew a meeting was being held up for us before the office do in the evening. I hadnâ€™t done my research properly and I assumed the meeting would be more of the â€œhello Jeff, had a nice year mate?â€ variety. Not so, and my nausea came rushing back up my battered pipes and valves when reality hit; we were to watch a motivational DVD about a firm of Seattle fish mongers who â€˜give it their allâ€™, have â€˜funâ€™, â€˜be thereâ€™ for their clients and generally prance about like a load of wankers stuffed to the eyeballs with acid and Spar vodka. I have a particular loathing for this sort of shit. However, there was nowhere to hide from the front row seat which had kindly been saved for me as a late arrival and I had to smile my way through it as best I could. This sapped my energy for the cherry on the motivational cake â€“ we were to divide up into pre-chosen teams and come up with our own cool company catchphrases, just like those neat guys in the video. I felt like pointing out that this would be a lot easier if we were all ex-convicts with free access to drink, drugs and fish, but it didnâ€™t seem to be in keeping with the optimism they told us we had. The â€˜slogansâ€™ or key words were supposed to encapsulate an important aspect of a successful team structure or customer service. The acid test was cited as being that we should be able to say the slogan to any colleague, bringing positive input at the vital time. Each group were to choose four or five and then present them in front of everyone else. We would all vote on the best ones and they would become our company slogansâ€¦..
My team mates kindly proceeded to faff their way to our best and most original slogan â€“ â€˜Talk-Talkâ€™. Oh yes, you can just imagine it canâ€™t you? One of your colleagues comes in and looks subdued and mooches over to their desk, but you take action, you intercede, you go right up to them, cock your head like a spaniel, and you say â€˜talk-talk?â€™. Genius. But thatâ€™s not the end of it though, because â€˜talk talkâ€™ is also an expression of the need for good communication within the workplace. Talk-talk is my new mantra. Talk-talk is the way forwards.
Suffice to say that things got a lot better at the office party later on, after a surreal start when an old friend of mine, a particular savage who some say looks like a portly uncle fester, joined me at the hotel for a couple of early pints, along with my boss. Strange how things change. The rest of the evening took a familiar but highly amusing course, terminating in Too Much To Drink, via stations such as Old Trouts With Too Much Cleavage, Strained Conversation With War Games Fanatic, Dodgy Tinned Turkey, Fit Jailbait Waitresses, The Company Welching on the Free Drink Promise, Tequila, Bouncers in Charge of the Decks and Tequila.