Desk people; the good, the bad and the ugly (plus a trip to Italy)

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Well we had another couple of weeks over in Italy recently to get some more work done on the place. I mean on our house there, of course, not us fixing up the parlous state of the sunny peninsular in the Med. Though I must confess it sometimes feels like you’re having to do the two things, particularly when it comes to resolving issues with the Italian utility companies. But this time we were fortunate to not have any such problems. Our only difficulties arose when confronting desk and reception staff at various stops along the journey…

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Timing

I’ve had a lovely couple of days with my fab grandsons but other than that it’s been a trying week to be honest. I’ll spare you the details. But last night after watching some of the MoTD stuff and dozing a bit I headed off to bed. I took one look at the digital clock on the cooker before heading to the bedroom and it read 23.23. Now don’t you think that’s the most unnotable time register of all time? Surely something must have happened at this time in history……

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lazy days

Well we had a great night hosting our old friends John and Dee. As well as a nice meal out we had some laughs and a few memories stirred  watching some film footage Dee had taken at a party for my 40th birthday from all of 8 years ago, ahem. Great times. We even got to bed at a reasonable hour which is a bit unusual for when we get together.

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Rocket scientists eh

Well my old heart skipped a beat or two today when I learned that Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had taken images showing that Beagle 2 had landed safely on Mars some 11 years ago, and had failed to function only because one of the solar-power petals had failed to deploy. Somewhere up there, there’s the soul of Britain’s most famous rocket scientist looking down and smiling today.

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No 5

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Oh it’s Xmas time and you can tell because the pretentious perfume ads are on every ad break and they’re driving me nuts. There’s a real lulu from Dolce & Gabbana directed by Martin Scorcese – Martin frigging Scorcese !! – featuring Scarlett Johansson who has the allure to really move me but all she does in this bit of expensive nonsense is move my stomach. It and she are truly dreadful.

But my award this year for the olfactory bag of broken spanners goes to Chanel No 5 for their ad featuring Gisele Bundchen on the grounds, I guess, that employing the most beautiful model in the world will turn even the most overblown ad into a work of art. Wrong. Here’s the plot – miserable-looking  bloke stares out of a window of a wonderful Malibu beach house whilst some equally sad-sounding sod sings the words of one of the most joyous of songs, ‘You’re The One That I Want’ as a sad lament…

….you better understand
To my heart I must be true
Nothing left, nothing left for me to do….

You see he’s looking on as his woman, Gisele, is off in the ocean surfing. She’s always frigging surfing. And he’s left at home looking after her brat of a kid who she had after some sordid fling with a celebrity photographer. If that’s not bad enough but as soon as she’s stripped off her gear to reveal her incredible figure, she’s off modelling. Where does he fit in eh? He’s very low down on her list of priorities. So, touched by the poignant words of the highly emotional song from the classic voices of Olivia Newtown-John and John Travolta, he leaves her a slightly cryptic note basically saying he’s frigging had enough of being treated like a plaything and is off to watch his special friend the soulful male singer doing his cabaret stuff. He at least knows how to treat a man in a cool sky blue suit. Bitch.

Gisele is distraught. What’s happened to her incredible lover, thingy…. She spots the letter and figures out from his subtle clues that he’s about to go and get jiggy with singer Ziggy. So off she drives in her open top sports car and before you can say ‘Coco would be turning in her grave’ she’s crossing the bridge into Manhattan and turns up at the theatre just in time to prevent thingy from gettin’ it on with Ziggy the biggy. She thrusts her tongue down thingy’s throat and they live happily ever after…well until next Xmas.

I nearly cried when I watched the ad. But I went and read some electricity bills and managed to recover. If you want to dig deep within and find yourself emoted enough to want to go and buy some Chanel No5 you’ll enjoy this…

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The Godfather

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I happen to really like the film The Godfather. Even now I can watch it, fascinated. And that’s exactly what we did last Monday evening. But rather than view it on the small screen, C and I were treated by our lovely daughters E and S (and husbands of course) to a night at the Royal Albert Hall where Francis Ford Coppola’s timeless masterpiece was shown on the big screen whilst Nino Rota’s immortal score was performed simultaneously by the Philharmonia Orchestra. It was fabulous. And here’s the haunting overture just as a reminder…

If you can think of a better opening soundtrack, well, shout but I’ll take some convincing. And don’t forget I’m a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall your suggestion; if it should get shot to pieces by a police officer, or if  it should get hanged up to dangle provocatively, or if it were to get struck by a bolt of lightning, then I’m going to blame some of the people in this posting. And that, I do not forgive.

But, that aside, let me say that I swear – on the souls of my grandchildren – that I will not be the one to break the hearts of those who may make alternative suggestions here today….

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ps the performance was absolutely sold out and here’s a view of the stage and the screen from our seats just before the show began. Incredibly we got there early for once! It seems like a long time since I was managing all the corporate hospitality for Cellnet/O2&BT and had the best box in the house, immediately overlooking the stage and attending all the great RAH events; Clapton, Cirque, Cream, Carmen, Carmina, Cliff and the Christmas Carol Concert sponsored by BT (and getting to events with seconds to spare). Actually I never went to the last two. Anyway I’ve never been up in the circle before and it was brilliant. Thank you guys LY D x

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Oh that’s rich…

My good friend Simon pointed out that on Question Time the other night they were discussing the issue of whether Sheffield United should allow their former player Ched Evans to resume training with the club (and maybe even re-sign for them) now that he’s served his prison sentence for raping a girl – a verdict he intends to contest it seems. Continue reading