Thursday, October 31, 2002

Yesterday, I was in Brent Cross (shopping centre), seeking out bloke-stylee car magazines for a job I'm doing, and I was drawn to Wallis - my favourite shop. So there I was, hungrily devouring the textures and colours, when I happened across a fabulous pair of black, slightly stretchy, hipster velvet jeans. With - black, of course - embroidery round the bottom of the legs. And I'm thinking to myself "these are sooo me. I have to have them." As I pick up two pairs (one the size I am and one the size I'd like to be, just to see what happens), to try them on, I realise something. I am already wearing these jeans. Least I'm consistent, though.
Jam Master Jay from Run DMC was shot this afternoon in New York. I was a big fan, in my college years. Showing my age, I know, but remember Walk This Way?
I was just about to call someone, a friend, that I already talked to this morning - it's my Jewish telephone gene, I can't help myself - when the bit from Toby Young's book, How to Lose Friends And Alienate People, came into my mind. It's where one of the Voguettes - fashionista women who work on Vogue - says that someone who calls anyone more than once a day is a stalker. The power of the media, eh?
Geek Help?
So my PC's crashed about eight times today, outlook won't load anymore, and crashes my machine. When it does - randomly - load, none of the emails I've sent all day seem to have arrived. Resorted to hotmail, but battling spam-fatigue. Times like this, wish I had an IT department.
It was my random yiddish-word-of-the-day back in July, and now it's today's word in my all-purpose Yiddish calendar. I bring you ... (drum roll) zaftig.
Just to keep Azeem happy.... template-update time. I finished the last book weeks ago, but blogger was slightly tempermental at the time. Anyway, I'm still reading Zadie: it's slow going. Not least because she uses the tetragrammaton - four letter holy name for God - as a design device to separate paragraphs, and it disturbs me.
Speaking of my bus shelter, which, y'know, we, weren't, it's interesting that they've managed to change the advertising twice, but haven't actually errected a bus stop. And public sector workers want more pay, but then so do I.
So, like, what exactly is a step-change? How is it different from regular change?

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I seem to have a recent - possibly Russian? - influx of people wanting to know how to pronounce Maida Vale. It's may-duh vale, with the stress on the first syllable. Of course, if you're Russian, that English-stylee transliteration may not help you, but still. Don't say I never do anything for you.
Escher-esque Experience
One day last week, I had a meeting in the City, and early afternoonish, was getting a train from Cricklewood BR to Blackfriars. I know, I live on the edge. So I'm standing on the platform, and I see an older guy, in quite a distinctive flat cap, who looks remarkably like Z's dad. But I'm not sure. I don't want to go up to him and say hi and find out he's a random older man and feel a fool. So I call Z at work, and say "I'm at Cricklewood Thameslink, and there's a guy who looks kinda like your dad... do you think it's him?" We discuss it for a while, and then my train comes.

Saw Z last night, and she told me that her dad said to her, "Saw your friend Sasha at Cricklewood station, but I didn't go and talk to her because she looked busy. She was on the phone."

I wonder what I would have done before mobile phones?
You've heard of method acting. Now, I bring you method shoplifting: she did it for a role, honest, m'lud.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Was looking up a reference late last night for An Officer And A Gentleman - don't even ask - and came across this: Searching for Debra Winger. Which is apparently a Rosanna Arquette documentary about "various actresses talking about the pressures they face as women working in the entertainment industry". But there's a spate of these where-are-they-now titles: Looking for Andrew McArthy, Tom Dick and Debbie Harry. OK, they're not all that many, but there's a definite obsession to harking back to the eighties like it was cool, and it was my childhood, so it can't have been.
Anyone remember the name of that site which is kinda like a mapping resource - you put in a name/blog, and then it draws lines of all the interconnections? And you can change the emphasis, by clicking on one of the links, and they all reformatted to be related to that.... I may have blogged it once, but sadly, without a decent keyword. Slapped hands.
And another thing; while storms raged across the UK on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and a lampost up my street blew over, as well as my neighbours For Sale sign snapping in half and ending up four houses down, one thing didn't happen. My fucking bus shelter emerged from the incelement weather remarkably unscathed, although it still doesn't have a bus stop, so is practically - as in, "in a practical sense" rather than nearly - useless.

Though there was a rather cute news story tonight about Al Fayed at Harrods trying to stop Transport for London from making a bus lane outside his store. If they don't listen to me, Mohammed, why would they listen to you? Even if you are on the news wrapping up sweetie treats for Ken.

Other storm related stuff: for some reason I found it terribly, terribly distressing on Sunday morning seeing trees with huge branches broken off, and in one case in the back of Maida Vale, a 200 foot tree snapped in two. It feels like watching a person with their limbs broken off. I know what you're thinking - treehugger. But I'm not, honestly, it's just the sense of something with such longevity being destroyed so quickly. Though obviously there are much more distressing things happening in the world, like the Russian government gassing a large chunk of their theatre going public. Now that can't have been one of their election promises.
I'm such a terrible photographer, that I have no pictorial evidence of Saturday, but luckily Stuart does. And he also tells a mean story:

"With the prior dinner engagement it wasn't possible for me to wear the planned Mickey Mouse costume (yeah, right), so I had settled on a black suit with a white shirt. I thought that this would be reasonable for dinner and then if anyone made an issue of it at the party I would say I was James Bond, or a Reservoir Dog, or indeed any one of tens of black and white film stars.

My pretension was utterly deflated by the innocent, guile-less comment of one of the hostess' friends: "So... are you in costume, or do you always dress like that?" "

So yeah, I had a party. Kinda for my birthday, and kinda because I like to have a party the weekend the clocks change, because you get an extra hour. I was slightly worried that it might turn into a really bad Greek tragedy: you know, in the final scene where everyone comes on stage and ties up all the sub-plots? I had images of barbelites checking out my synagogue attendance with my local community buddies and my weblogger friends wondering who the artsy-musicky people were, who in turn were surprised by the whole Limmud crowd, but it all seemed pretty cool. Although a little like a UK election turnout: about 59% of the people dressed up in some way, many of them very coolly (it was a favourite-fictional-character theme) extremely realistic Nigella, Obewan Knobe, Tigger, bunch of comics characters too cool for me to recognise. My fancy dress? I'm already a fictional character, darling. My neighbour, Jair DJed, with Williams C, and you can see them the firstTuesday of the month at the Notting Hill Arts Club.

And the punch was perfectly girly and lethal - you would expect no less from me - and if you want the recipe, here it is:
One bottle of vodka
Half a bottle of archers
1 or 2 litres of orange juice, depending on your desired lethal potency quotient
Chopped up apples and oranges
That's it: it takes like two and half minutes to make...

And about a day and half to recover from. Or that could just be my age.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Kinda, sorta, via Brooke - she was looking for a word that turned out to be klafta and sent me the link - a powerful, real (feels real, anyhow) story about a woman who I guess is my Mum's age, growing up in the rag trade in what sounds like Hendon/Golders Green during the late fifties. I googled on Ruth Gershon. She's an historian, not even a writer. Powerful, powerful stuff.
Junkmail Geneology
Obviously one can never have too many offers of herbal viagra, penis enlargement, or any manner of pyramid-selling operations, but I wonder if junk-hotmailing has reached a new era.

Because now, I don't just get junkmail - bad enough, I know - I get culturally relevant junkmail. So time was, when you're junk mail came from or some such other memorable name, and you knew to delete it straight away. But now it comes from real people. Seemingly.

I've kept a note of junkmail receipts over the last three weeks, and they have included missives from the following "people". Might be my cultural heritage, but they really do sound like people I know...

Bradley Coleman - someone I was in Bnei Akiva - Jewish Youth Movement - with, who's now married to that nice girl from Edgware
Tallula Aperovitch - a friend of my Grandma's from the old country who thought her name sounded "too Jewish" so adopted a film-esque first name
Patience Cividino - a Nigerian friend of mine's mother - she's very involved in their church in Ealing
Zinnia Edaline - she's half named-after-someone's Grandma, half pen-name celebrity-status chaser. Get the name first, right?
Bevis Manica - named after half of a well-known synagogue, Bevis married into the Italian Manica leather handbag manufacturing family
Yamin Syshe - really sure this is a bloke I met on the beach in Tel Aviv who thought I was "veri boot-i-fool". Though when I left, he moved onto the next woman
Zavad Yoninva - Yamin's best friend; they do the good-guy/better-guy routine on the beach with the tourists
Lanora Nazar - This might be that nice woman I sat next to on a bus between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem who shared her lunch with me. Of course, that was when people still got buses

So: this could be another Jewish-conspiracy type thing with hotmail. Or maybe a world-domination plan that doesn't involve any kind of extremists apart from tech-types. My question is: what a great job? OK, that's a statement. But can you imagine being at a party, and when people say "what do you do?" you say, "oh, I'm a Creative Director of Name Management at We' What do you do?"

What you do is, trash your hotmail account. Life's too short. As - obviously - are my sentences. Sorry about that, I'm told I should be more discursive ocassionally, but I never get round to it. There; that's not bad, is it?
Lots to say, lots to do: sorry I've been out of action. Fun-packed weekend, which I'll talk about later, but in the meantime, must get my carpet steam-cleaned.

Oh, and it's my birthday today. 21 again, and all that...

Friday, October 25, 2002

When I saw this yesterday, I figured it was one of those geek in-jokes that someone had done for a dare. Turns out it's true.

Then again, it could be some mass transport joke I don't get. Not getting jokes is my specialist subject today.
In a bizarre yet fascining exchange this morning with an expert on leasehold reform - I am still stressed about my managing agent - I learned that there are only seven different fundamental wallpaper patterns, and five frieze patterns. And he's really not a mathematician, honest. Amazing what you learn.
No idea who Mr Chrysler is, but this court case transaction is priceless.
Yay: I have received my first birthday-stylee gift: Elasto-Curl, weightless curl defining mousse for fine, curly hair. I am improved already.

It doesn't take much (to make me happy, that is. I need a lot of improving).
'Scuse, Miss
So Estelle Morris has resigned. Which I'm sure, in management consulting parlance, is really "counselling out."

I can see it now:
Tony: Well, Estelle, we have an up-or-out policy around here now, and I'm not sure you make the grade
Estelle: But I've worked really hard. I know I haven't been perfect, but I've really tried
Tony: No points for trying, it's results that count. We have shareholders to think of, after all
Estelle: Can't I just have an official warning?
Tony: I think we've moved beyond that, don't you, Estelle? I think the summer was an official warning
Estelle: Well -
Tony: And if you will make promises you can't even remember. I'm sorry, but you have to go -
Estelle: Spend more time with the children?

If Estelle worked any of the places I've worked in the last ten years, she would have been disappeared some months ago. Just like - after non-stop listening to Woody Allen The Nightclub Years - I can't hear the world "FBI" without mentally matching it to the sketch that follows it with "surrounds the house", no-one in the country can hear the word(s?) "A-level" without silently adding "fiasco". Which can't be a good thing, can it?

Couple with that the fact that Estelle clearly has the look and feel of someone from my Mother's synagogue ladies' guild - women of a certain age in Jewish suburbia are nearly all called Estelle - her whole career has not been looking good for a while. What worries me is that you can be damn sure that she's silently planning when to reveal her kinky sex romps with other cabinet members for maximum distress. It's always the quiet ones/ones dressed for a Barmitzvah.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

It's not so much a reshuffle as musical chairs. Those cabinet board games keep politicians from doing what they're really here for: running the country. They're all so busy playing some version of that game where you're not allowed to mention key words (fiasco/disaster/the like) that they don't do anything.
I'm pretty sure that this - googlism - is based on that meme Meg started a couple of months back. And they says there's nothing new under the sun.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Language. Meetings. Communication. Bah.
In a meeting today - vaguely about asset management/financial instruments, but I wouldn't really know, because I was just bluffing - someone took a look at a piece of work I did a couple of years ago on the coffee industry and said, "we're long on soft-commodities now. What's your view?" Of course they may have said they were short: as soon as someone/anyone starts talking about long/short positions, bull/bear markets, I get financial-babelfish-inertia, and go into that frame of mind where you're on holiday and can't remember if there are a squillion lira to the pound, or a squillion pound to the lira. Not sure I impressed these guys.

Although after a five-second time-lag, I had a good comeback: "I'm a little out of date but give me ten minutes on google and I'll know everything." I guess I'll find out if it worked.
This morning, I'm backing out of my drive. Which is not great when you live on a main road, but is a hell of a lot worse now I have a bus shelter blocking my view on oncoming traffic. Note that that's bus shelter, not bus stop; despite two letters, I've heard nothing from Transport for London about removing the bus shelter, or the advertising, or answers to any of my queries. After my brief wave of community spirit at the weekend after spying a resting old lady, I'm back to my usual angry self. It's like the beginning of the Hitchiker's Guide. Remember? Arthur Dent wakes up to bulldozers outside his house and the plans have been in the municipal library for months.

Anway, as I back out, unaware of pedestrians, as they are now efficiently - nay, dangerously - blocked from my sight, I narrowly miss two police people (a man and a woman, although I don't think they're a couple). "Careful", they exclaimed in unison - OK, only for comic/fictional effect - "that bus shelter's in a very stupid place. You can't see anything."

"Tell me about it," I responded, through my wound down window.

Ahh, the good old day's off community policing. Although David mailed me this afternoon about some rucus across the road from my house last night, but I heard nothing. Nada.
Couple of weeks ago, I was working in a proto-hip agency in Batter-Sea-Uh. Yeah. When you're freelance (as in go to someone's office for a couple of days, one-off), no-one's really interested in you as a person, they just want whatever it is you deliver. But work is better if you have good human relations, so I try and talk to people by the water cooler/coffee machine.

In this place, there was a woman with amazing curly hair. I was having a no-hair-products day (which is also known as death-defyingly frizzy) - I figured what the hell? I don't know anyone. So we got chatting in the kitchen, and she told me about Boots own-brand firm-hold mousse (purple can) for £1.50. Now, unbelievably, I've been paying £13.50 for a Paul Mitchell mousse, which is OK, but, y'know. Anyway, I just followed all her instructions, which were copious, and my hair looks great.

And this whole theory is proved by a story in last night's Evening Standard which had pictures of two women in their forties - one way wrinklier than the other - and you had to guess who spent £4,200 a year on skincare products, and who spent £45. Guess.
So if you sit next to a fat person on a plane, you can get £13,000. Soon, we'll all be doing it.
Assuming there is a global terrorist threat, and they're all in some kind of conspiracy theory, am I the only person to notice this? September 11. October 12. It's like one of those spot-the-trend newspaper/intelligence games. November 13, anyone?

In fact, it follows Al Q'uaida (crap spelling, I know, but then it's a transliteration from Arabic anyway, so you can't get it right) are not a terrorist organisation at all. They're a sinister cabal of bearded men who set those quizzes at the back of newspapers. Solved.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

S just described a mutual acquaintance of ours who's dropped out and is apparently living off the capital he made from selling his apartment (although my advice would probably have been don't get out of the London market if you want to come back) as "hanging out in a psychotherapeutical playground in Big Sur, California, examining his navel."

Wish I'd said that. Although I imagine I will, soon.
I'm sitting in the easyInternetCafé on Oxford Street - why? because I can - and thought I'd update, even though I have nothing to report. That doesn't usually stop webloggers/me. Met up with two former colleagues today, who both said the same thing: business is bad till 2004. Great. That's me staying in then for another fourteen months.
Have I imagined that story where Gibraltar and Northern Ireland are gonna, like, merge?
And again on Today: heard Belinda Earle, Debenhams CEO, defending their results and saying that Christmas will be luvverley. Lovely. When challenged on pensions - which I guess every CEO expects round about now - she said they have changed to an Average Salary Scheme. This is a guaranteed average salary over your time in the scheme. It's good that it's guaranteed in these no-promises times, but surely a system like that just encourages pay decision makers to keep salaries low because of the pension implications?
Is menu pollution blighting the state of British pub food?
On the Today programme just now, we heard food critic Egon Ronay and chef Peter Gordon discuss. As in: discuss. Two things: there can't be a lot of news around, this is hardly exciting. And "menu pollution" is a just-made-up phrase. It must be: when I google, I get some consultants who work in the air quality sector, taking you to their 'menu' on 'pollution'.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Stupid Things Consultants Say: no 27 in a series

"Shall we deal with this on a "going forward" basis?" What the hell? As opposed to time travel?

[via Mark]
In a post-lunch haitus, I caught a few moments of Judging Amy, a CBS-imported law-and-mother type drama. It's OK, in a middle-of-the-road way, but what really got me was that Tyne Daly - she of Cagney and Lacey fame - plays Amy's mother. I don't know if it's makeup, but she looks really, really old. She was always a little too matronly to make it in the true Hollywood stakes, but now she looks like an orange-stockinged Granny-type.

Huge shock: just realised that the original Cagney and Lacey was in 1981. Over twenty years ago. Sheesh. And I'm only seventeen.
Thanks to David for emailing me re The Rules of Attraction. Late movie, 16th November, LFI. It's a date.
Panicking IS The New World Order

The scariest thing about 9/11 and Bali? While I understand the rules of engagement in a largely nationalistic, post-enlightenment world, this I don't get.

So if the first millennia was all Crusades-type theology-based war, and second millennia disputes were largely - simplistically - landgrab/democracy oriented, then it seems like the third millennia has reverted to type.

So Al Quaeda and the concomitant War Against Terror is predicated on unclear objectives. It's like they're playing Risk to world domination rules, and we're all still playing to old-fashioned missions (should we choose to accept them).

I'm most worried that the world will turn into a late night BBC2 made-for-TV movie, complete with post-apocalyptic internet-free anarchy, where you have to make a life with whoever you were with when the bomb dropped. A bit like Anne Frank didn't really want to spend the war with the dentist Dusseldorf, but shit happens.

My nightmare scenario is that I'll randomly end up spending any putative world-destruction-era with an ex-boyfriend who unceremoniously dumped me for someone thinner, two people who haven't invited me to their parties in like forever, and that really annoying bloke from the newsagent.

The only answer is to avoid being in their company for prolonged periods of time, in case It Happens just when I run into them. New World Order? Stay home.
Least Useful Office Location Map
You got off your plane/train/automobile and looked at the printout your secretary gave you of those guy's office location. You're buggered.
Great Today bloopers site. It's like drugs.

[via Mark]
Time Was...
... I was a huge Brett Easton Ellis fan. Huge. Less Than Zero spoke to me a in a teen-angst nihilistic middle-class way. Then American Psycho had me practically throwing up. But now The Rules of Attraction is a movie, though I'm sure it won't get to the good ole U of K till like 2017.
Gblogs has gone. I mourn you. Like all great things, you don't appreciate it till it's not there. Though I read somewhere that Jen is having a baby, so she probably has more pressing things on her mind. Thanks for all the good times.
True Stories: 7 (one in a random series)
Once, at a friend's wedding, I was seated next to the European toilet paper king. Thirtyish - it was his father's business - shiny suit, love of his product, he regaled me with information that I didn't really want to know. Like, did you know, the UK is the only country in the world, apparently, with a differentiated toilet-paper market? Or that we spend more on the product than anyone else?

It must be true: I found a website that more-or-less verifies these facts.

This whole train of thought courtesy of an advert I can't find referenced anywhere on the web, but it exists, honest. I saw it on TV. "New Aroma Velvet" [cue women sniffing/inhaling toilet paper"] - "with the fragrance of white flowers at its centre."

There's a lot of questions, right? Why white flowers? Why is the fragrance at the centre? Surely that's where the hole is? Flowers? Not your regular natural-toilet smell. And isn't the whole thing bad for you, like bubble bath? Not natural, is it?

Unfortunately, I didn't stay in touch with the Toilet Paper King, so I may never know.
Stranger And Stranger...
So I spoke briefly Friday to my friendly consultant number 4, who was just on the way into a meeting, and never called me back. This morning, out of pure research-angst, I called the switchboard to work out which sector she works in, and she's in contract freelance. How very strange: I think most people would rather not pay recruitment fees for short contract hires, so tend to make my own connections. Anyway - what a surprise - she hasn't called me back.
Don't Think I Am A Material Girl
For about a week now, around half the search engine queries in my stats have been for some combination of madonna/hebrew/tattoo/kaballah. I am finally a destination.

Which is ironic, because I half-watched Body of Evidence last night, after I got back from J's leaving London gathering, and there was Madonna in all her material-girl-bleached-hair finery. All the parts I've ever seen her play have basically been a bitch/scary woman who doesn't take no for an answer/any shit. Odd, eh?

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Jewspoitation? I mean really. I already told you about Judaikitsch: and now this - Heeb magazine.
Yesterday, when I went out to get the papers, I met an old woman, with two crutches, waiting at our bus shelter. For your information, we've now had a bus shelter for a month, but no actual bus stop. I have written to them, and heard nothing. Anway, this woman's waiting there, and out of public duty, I say to her "are you waiting for a bus?". Just in case she thought one would actually stop there. "No love, just resting. Me legs, y'know."

I felt a sudden wave of collective good wash over me; rather like Harrison Ford's feeling when he goes to the barn raising. I'm less bothered about my bus shelter now, though I would obviously prefer there to be a stop there so it would be more convenient to get a bus.
Last night, went out for a curry with my neighbours - he's the DJ, he's the DJ (wrong song?) - as we were all a bit no-cash early-night. We had fun, although about 9pm, full curry house, two kids come in, face painted, wearing dustbin bags and going up to all the tables with small tupperwares.

"Trick or treat" they said to us. "Halloween's not for another ten day's" I replied. "G'wan, g'wan" - they replied, confidently - "we're going on holiday, so we're doing it now." We didn't give them any money, and neither did anyone else, although it did create a communal topic of conversation in the whole restaurant. "Those children's parents," "as good as begging", "early, huh!" and that kinda thing. Interesting; mostly people don't talk to each other at all (apart from me). It reminded me of the war. If I remembered it.

Conversation ensued about if/how you give to people who ask for money on the street. Living in London, you get asked so many times, it's impractical to give to everyone. I feel worse in winter, when it's biting cold, and I have a warm house and someone else is sleeping in Tesco or the station underground tunnel, but even then, any odd pound that I give isn't gonna tackle the whole problem. Unbearably liberal, I know.

A few years back, I used to work in Centrepoint at Tottenham Court Road. Going for a swim before work - YWCA - I used to pass a guy sleeping under some cardboard everyday. One day, 8.30ish, on my way to get some breakfast, I thought, I'd invite him. So I bent down - I couldn't tell if he was asleep or not - and said, "I'm going to get some breakfast. Wanna come?" His reply: "I'm not getting up yet, love."

Taught me a lesson, anyway.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Just on my way out, and I'm all hair-makeup-cleavage. Reminded me of when I ran into my neighbour during the week on my way to meet my friends. She's only lived here a few months, and has probably only ever seen me on a weekend morning getting papers/looking at the leak in our gutter in my combat trousers. All with glasses, hair tied back, no make-up. So when she saw me in all my black-is-so-forgiving finery on Wednesday, she exclaimed "you look nice!" in a rather surprised voice.
Maybe I've got this wrong... but when you buy books off Amazon, it's really only cost-effective if you buy a few things at once, ammortising the postal costs. So although marketplace - their second hand shtick - or whatever it's called is a great idea, you can't bulk buy.

So there may be ten items off my wish-list available at incredibly low prices secondhand - like £3.50 instead of £7 - but once you add on a £3.75 postage charge, it's pointless. Or have I missed something?

Friday, October 18, 2002

An Honest Blogger Will Never Make a Quick Buck
So says Andrew Sullivan in Sunday's Times but he's making a damn site more money than me from it. And he's getting to write for more - as he insists on calling them - dead tree publications as a result. I'm hardly, like, crying for him. And that love-not-money panhandler's plea at the end? "Meanwhile, please log on. And, if you feel like it, throw some money in the tip jar" - just makes me feel think there's no publicity like self-publicity.
More fonts: fontalicious and fontfreaks.
Recurring Recruitment Rash
Here's a strange one: at the beginning of the year, I got in touch with the marketing division of a leading recruitment firm; they were advertising a job I thought I matched, and I met up with one of their consultants who basically said I was talented but not one of "their" candidates. He gave me some good feedback on my CV, and said he'd update it on their system - their last info was ten years old - and that I should talk to their professional service team. So I got in touch with consultant 2, who couldn't find my updated CV on the system, and asked me to send it again. I did.

A few months later, I saw another professional services job advertised. Now, I know how it works, and the fact that I'm on their system and they don't call me means they don't think I'm right, but hey. Talked to consultant 3 - no sign of my CV on the system. He was very apologetic, and asked me to send it through again. I did. He didn't think I was right for the job.

Last week, I saw another professional services/events job that I really thought I matched. I left a message for consultant 3 - whose colleague said he couldn't see my updated CV on the system, and when he didn't get back to me a week later, I called him yesterday. He was warm and friendly and said yes, he'd got my message, and had emailed me to say that the job had been put on hold, and I had, apparently, emailed back to say thanks, and bear me in mind for something else. No, he didn't know what email address he'd sent it to. Yes, he had my updated CV on the system. Weird; I didn't want to be rude, so I just swept under the carpet the fact that he was clearly thinking about someone else.

Today, I get a letter from consultant 4 saying "she is pleased to say that my updated CV has arrived safely.... and can I please contact her as soon as I am able to talk openly about my job search parameters, since they may have changed since the last time we spoke".

I have never spoken to hear before. Or sent her my CV. Or if I did, it was in April.

I'm just frustrated that I'm a fairly competent person who doesn't seem able to get a job, and then there's a bunch of people at this firm getting paid to, er, whatever it is they do. I mean, if they just told me to get lost, they were never going to help me, fine. But this good-guy bad-guy scenario is just too much.
The Real Autograph Man
Andrusier - perhaps the inspiration for Zadie Smith's Autograph Man - may be a recovering autograph addict, by his own admission, but this Telegraph interview tells you a little bit more.
Last night at the Tricycle - post-Scary spying - we were settling down to watch the movie when D said to me he'd just seen Samantha Mumba in the bar, too. I was all like, no, two stars in one night. He was teasing me; must get a sense of humour.

This morning, breakfast TV, who should appear but Sammy herself. And she answered some question or other "I am or I amn't". I think that's an Irish thing? Remember the Crying Game? "I'm a volunteer, amn't I?"

Language langour brought to you to damn early in the morning to be thinking straight.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Just got back from the new Ken Loach movie - Sweet Sixteen - I kinda can't concentrate right now. But we did see Scary Spice in the bar. Kilburn's where it's at.
You've heard all the Micro$oft gags: now this. Microsith. It's Bill meets Darth Vader with a sinister twist.
I know some barristers, so this really made me laugh. I will refrain from saying "some of my best friends blah blah blah" but, you know.

[via plasticbag]
This is what the internet is sooo great for. When I was about ten, I reckon, I was utterley obsessed with an actor called Simon Gipps-Kent, who I was convinced was my long-lost brother. Don't ask me why. Now I can IMDB him. Although he doesn't seem to have worked since 1981 - he's probably got a chip shop in Margate. Or Cricklewood. I hope.
There's this bloke, yeah? He lives kinda near me. He has a weblog. Spookily, he appears to have the same birthday as me. He posts the nicest comments about me on his site. I've never met him. Is this - whole thing - a good thing?
Proof Positive
On Sunday I did a pop-deconstruction of Madonna's latest video. I was joking. I poo-pooed the suggestion that it was a straight good versus evil fight, as it seemed to have no real context. Now it turns out I was right, in a wrong sort of way:

In the DAD video, Madonna has a tattoo on her arm. Many people have asked what did it mean. Also questions were asked about the leather straps she wraps around her arm. Madonnapolis has been able to get an excellent in depth look at the answers.
Madonna's tattoo on her arm says 'LAV' in Hebrew letters. 'LAV' in Hebrew means “not”- representing the 10 commandments “shall not…” The tattoo represents all her sins. It’s a mark, like the Mark of Cain.

The leather band she wraps around her left arm 7 times is called 'Tefillin' (or phylacteries). Every Jewish man who reaches the age of 13 and a day has to put them on every morning during the Morning Prayer. It is important to stress that only men put them on, men and Madonna that is…

In the video there’s a struggle between the White Madonna and the Black Madonna- good vs. evil (just to get the point through that it is a James Bond theme song..). The Black Madonna seems much stronger in the beginning- but once she puts on the 'Tefillin' and thereby cleans her sole, the White Madonna takes over.

The White Madonna kills the Black Madonna right when the executioners turn the electric chair on. Her executioners walk in and see that she managed to escape from the electric chair. She got to a certain spiritual level in which she didn’t need to be punished anymore- her sole was clean.

This well-spelled explanation is coutesy of some fan-site or another. Wearing tefillin is a man's thing - there is no obligation for women to do so, and it feels like Madonna is plundering my cultural capital. But badly. This faux-kabbalah stuff really gets my goat. Or it would do, if I had one.
Scarily, I just applied for a job at M$ (shhhh, I know. But then, I've not got any job I've applied for in the last however long, so I wouldn't worry) and now I read this great story about their failed anti-switch campaign. Brilliant. And it's what blogging's all about. Getting to the story fast and with incisive comment.

Footnote type thing: google on brock enright kidnapping and I've now dropped off the list of 500 or so hits. But I challenge you to find anythingsubstantial published on the web before 0934 UK time on 1st August.
Top Ten...
Fun night at Rani's. It's like a glatt vegetarian Indian restaurant, full of Jewish people who don't really like spicy food. There ended up only being six of us, and conversation ranged from Designers at Debenhams to work-life-balance. And lots of stuff either side and in between. I really must stop saying stuff. Sorry.

Don't you hate it when you talking to someone and they say "that reminds me of an incident in my own life" and you know they're not really listening, they're just waiting for their chance to tell their tale. Not that anyone did tonight, but the evening reminded me of something that happened a few years ago.

I was going out with G. I'd run into him at a party, and we'd been at school together - he'd been at the boy's school, and not seen each other for like ten years. He was smart and entertaining and an accountant - you can't have everything - but I did find him attractive. My mum always asks me why I like those slightly overweight, balding, often shorter men, and I just think thank god I do, because that's how a lot of Jewish men look. So G was fun, and great company, and a laugh a minute, and had more personality than me. Which is hard, allegedly.

We'd been seeing each other for a few months, and he was into it, and I was quite into it. Not not into it, just less than him. Relationships rarely have equilibrium. Anyway, I was going away on holiday, and thought it would be a great time to decide how I felt, and although I was getting back on a Friday, I told him that I was back on the Monday, as I thought it would give me some extra time. I was mostly worried about how to end it without upsetting him.

When I get back on Friday morning, there's an answerphone message from J saying it's her birthday, and a bunch of people are going out for dinner. I figured, G's a good friend of hers, I'll just stick with my story, and make my apologies to J after the weekend.

Saturday night, A calls me, we're both at a loose end, do I want to go out for dinner. I say great. He drives, and doubtless because of his serious Sefardi roots, takes me to Rani's. It's Saturday night. Party night. Loud, raucous even, lots of large groups. As our waiter shows us to a table, we walk past a large group of: my friends. G. J. Eighteen other people who've presumably just been told I'm not back from my trip till Monday.

G comes over to our table; it's civil, but I can see from his perspective his girlfriend's just turned up with "another man" albeit one who wouldn't know what to do even if he was given a chance. It's awkward, to say the least. I wanted the ground to open up but those things rarely happen to order. A and I rush our meal, as I just wanted to get the hell out of there, and I spent Sunday worrying about what to say to G; I called first thing, but he didn't pick up.

Sunday night, he comes over to my house. I try the whole... "it's not you it's me" shtick, but I can see that I have, inadvertently hurt him more than I ever wanted to. He tells me he never likes me anyway. Our relationship ends. Six weeks later he gets engaged to the flatmate of a friend of mine.

Funny how places remind you of stories. Z says I have a proof text for everything, though I'm not sure this proves very much apart from my inability to handle relationships.
IMing with a friend in a part tech-support (him to me) part friend way, he typed those memorable lines:

him: I'm going to try and get rid of the party that seems to have spontaneously formed on my bed
him: it's far less exciting than it sounds.
me: that's what they all say:-)

That is, indeed, what they all say.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Can't sit here gossiping all night. I have people to see. Places to go. Namely, an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Finchley Central. I know, I know - I live on the edge. You don't have to tell me.
To whoever just surfed in here with the Sasha Baron Cohen girlfriend query, the answer is yes. As in, yes he has one. Some petite, dark-haired Aussie soap star. That's what I read somewhere.
We're going to see Sweet Sixteen tomorrow night at the Tricycle - my local - cinema, and D was worried that we should book, as the Ken Loach massive might be out in force.

I just called them. They have 280 spare seats. I'd like you all to come. The Tricycle is my favourite cinema, and I don't want them to go out of business. Though, on reflection, I'm not sure they're a commercial concern; they get lots of Arts Council funding and the like. But, still.
Kinda stuff I love: the Early Television Foundation.

When I was a kid - very slightly before digital broadcasting technology - my Grandma had an old back and white TV with one of those ineffective round wire aerials. Whenever her next-door neighbour put on her sewing machine or hoover, they lost the picture. Aaah, - bisto? - the olden days.

[via digital trickery]
Somebody's setting off fireworks and it's 5.30 in the afternoon. Surely the whole point - the core competency even - of fireworks is that it's dark and you seem them make pretty, druggy pictures in the sky?

Just me, then?
Sorry that my archives are buggered. The revolution may be bloggerised, but not from where I'm standing.
Words To Live By: Coping With The Nine Year Itch

Perhaps I'm getting to that stage in my life - a decade or so after college - where people's lives move on. So tranches of friends have made at least one career/country/relationship change. No surprise when the average British marriage lasts just nine years - no idea if this is true or not - apparently.

Here's the dilemma; you've known people a while. Sometimes as a couple, often as a single-person-turned-couplee. You hang out. Neither one is more your friend than the other. You like them. You like their children. Then, you hear on the grapevine that they've separated.

First off, you're upset for the children. Although I'm pretty damn sure it's better to be secure in two separated households than miserable as sin in one unhappy one. Second, you get into that "oh, shit, how do I stay friendly with them both" angst scenario. As if the ultimate, liberal, therapy-aware, modern thing to do was not form a view.

Not good. When you're lives are intertwined with your friends - mutual acquaintances, shared community involvement, kids at the same school, whatever - it's hard to do that.

I have the solution. Forget rambling on about friendship, balance, blah blah blah: make a decison. It's simple and straightforward; which half of the former couple do you like more?

So, in two recent examples, A and B split up, who I'd known pretty much equally at college; I chose A. I regard A as my friend now, and am happy to admit I've taken sides, if questioned. Or, with C and D, I never knew D that well, and always thought of C being more on my wavelength; now I don't need to panic. C is my friend. I don't wish D any - or B, for that matter - any harm, and I'd be delighted to run into them somewhere, I just don't consider them a close friend.

Now I don't have to worry about inadvertantly inviting both parties round on the same night, or playing chinese whispers, or what really happened. If A or C choose to tell me their side of the story, I'll accept it wholemeal - as opposed to piecemeal - and if they don't, I'm still their friend.

Try it. The new, post-liberal approach to your friends splitting up - it's an end to your sleepless nights.
Confession Time
I've never seen Lord of the Rings. Apparently, I need to be aware of it in the interests of cultural capital. Thus saith my Cultural Capital Advisor.
There's a an abridged version of that Lenny Bruce shtick in the front of The Autograph Man which I'm finding it really hard to get into. Dunno why.

But here's what I've learned. Zadie dedicated the book to Mark Andrusier, an autograph dealer who lives in NW2. So, er, it might not be exactly fiction. There's some kind of kabbalistic context to it, but - in common with most things twentry-first century - it's all marketing, no substance. I mean, she's not exactly the Alter Rebbe, is she? She went to the Hawthorn Retreat for Writers whilst writing this.

OK, OK. This is what I do. Research. Read around the subject. Google. I need to get on with stuff.
Jewish and Goyish
Now I neologize Jewish and goyish. Dig: I'm Jewish. Count Basie's Jewish. Ray Charles is Jewish. Eddie Cantor's goyish. B'nai Brith is goyish; Hadassah, Jewish.

Marine corp – heavy goyim, dangerous. Koolaid is goyish. All Drake's Cakes are goyish. Pumpernickel is Jewish, and, as you know, white bread is very goyish. Instant potatoes - goyish. Black cherry soda's very Jewish. Macaroons are very Jewish - very Jewish cake. Fruit salad is Jewish. Lime jello is goyish. Lime soda is very goyish.

Trailer parks are so goyish that Jews won't go near them. Jack Paar Show is very goyish. Underwear is definitely goyish. Balls are goyish. Titties are Jewish. Mouths are Jewish.

All Italians are Jewish. Greeks are goyish - bad sauce. Eugene O'Neil - Jewish; Dylan Thomas, Jewish. Steve is goyish, though. It's the hair. He combs his hair in the boys' room with that soap all the time.

Louis. That's my name in Jewish. Louis Schneider. "Why havn't ya got Louis Schneider up on the marquee?" "Well, cause it's not show business. It doesn't fit." "No, no, I don't wanna hear that. You Jewish?" "Yeah." "You ashamed of it?" "Yeah." "Why you ashamed you're Jewish?" "I'm not any more! But it used to be a problem. Until Playboy magazine came out."

Lenny Bruce (Comedian and martyr for free speech during the 1960's)
The Drift To Thrift
Talk about catching the zeitgeist. Is this the future of brands? Like, no brands at all?

A few years back, I worked with a way-cool American woman who was, surprisingly, exactly the same age as my Mum. She was very no-shit tough-New Yorker, and I learned a lot from her. She always looked smart. She walked everywhere. She knew where her towel was. Not that I am all those things.

She prided herself on thrift-store chic. Her favourite phrase was “anyone can go to Harvey Nicholls and pay $800 for a jacket. It’s the smart person who finds it in a charity shop for $50.”

I guess she’s right. Although I’ve never really got over the wearing-the-clothes-of-someone-who’s-potentially-dead sydrome. But I do buy lots of nineteen twenties things; somehow if they’re really old, then that’s fine. It’s just the recent old I feel some kind of disconnected with. Shit, I’m starting to talk like a therapy junkie myself.

This is that gal's magazine, and here's the stuff about the Cheap Date people – they may call it anti-style, but they do talk in that media-luvvie way: “it’s a simple story but it really works, doesn’t it?”

And one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. So say puma.
At last!! I'm back. Blogger has been playing silly-bloggers since around 11.30pm last night. Not for pro users, though.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Don't you hate it when people give you "helpful feedback" of an unhelpful nature?
Yay. So I'm number seven for Theresa May's shoes - I love how the interwebhighnet works: here's me holed up in my North London pad. Have a random thought. Publish it. Next: people all over the google-world read what I think. Magic.
Call me an old cynic - I'm having certain sense of deja vu about this - but I just got a call from Orange, on my landline, asking me what contract I was on. Doesn't that feel like a scam to you? Apparently they're putting together focus groups, and needed to know whether I was on contract or pay as you go.

I asked a few questions, and they were a north London market research agency, but I was on the wrong kind of contract. Surely orange would send their MR people lists of who was on the right contract for the research? I am very, very confused. And can't help feeling that it's some kind of scam and something is going to happen to my mobile phone now. Watch.
It's just one of those can-do days: first, I wrote something, then I renewed my membership at the gym, and ran... some way. Not very far, but it's a start. But I did do one-hundred sit-ups: I may have a flabby stomach, but underneath it, I have abs of steel. Really.

I'm now off to a meeting in the City with a slightly dodgy character who's just acquired a company that I was supposed to be doing some freelance research work for. I just have a bad vibe about it; he's already indicated that he wants to change the deal I agreed with his predecessor. I'm inclined to ask for some payment up front. Just "because we don't know each other." Any thoughts?
The spell, that is. Through the cajoling/support of two friends, I wrote two thousand words (of my novel) last night. That's two thousand words per friend. I think it's a little self-indulgent to post it here, but if you want to read it, mail me.

The spell, that is. Through the cajoling/support of two friends, I wrote two thousand words (of my novel) last night. That's two thousand words per friend. I think it's a little self-indulgent to post it here, but if you want to read it, likes me. Because I already feature on the Introduction to Information Design (Fall 2002) handout.

And now I feature - albeit in the appendix - in the handout for a paper Gary Thomson gave at the Watson Conference, University of Louisevill, on Saturday on Weblogs as Online Performance. Gary deconstructs performance theory, and applies it to student writing, and how students might regard their assignments as a "cultural performance" and "social constructs" and how weblogs can help students break out of the teacher-student power structure, when writing about popular culture. Or something.

Gary does say something that's been on my mind:

"To all these can be added performance as "all activity carried out with a consciousness of itself" (Bauman). Self-consciousness produces liminality, or the state of being in-between (ideal/actual, make-believe/real)"

And it's true; once more than two people (and you're on of them) start reading your weblog, you're unlikely to be writing "with the door shut"; everyone I know who has any kind of traffic does a "this isn't all me, y;know" rant. And people who get sudden fame - like the Guardian competition winner, scaryduck - tend to add caveats: "Everything you read here is true. Only the facts have been changed." Having a weblog is the ultimate liminality experience; you self-consciously choose what's actual, what's make-believe, and seamlessly pull the two together.

Hey, Gary, I've got an idea: why don't you make me weblogger-in-residence?

Monday, October 14, 2002

I had no idea that New Jersey - the garden state - had a poet laureate, but it turns out that Amiri Baraka - the poet formerly known as LeRoi Jones, so it's not just Prince then - has got into hot water. Allegedly.

My problem is not so much that he may or may not be an antisemite, but that his poetry is truly terrible and doesn't even rhyme.
From my daily Snowmail:

Tonight we are in Bali, we are also looking at what's claimed to be another communication from bin Laden, and we are wrestling with the reality that this may come to be potentially an even more devastating blow to the planet than September 11th because this was not an attack on the potent symbols of one superpower in which innocent civilians got killed, but was a direct attack on innocent civilians who simply hailed from the west in general.

I lived in Asia in the early nineties, and travelled extensively in Indonesia, particularly Sumatra. I know the Indonesians to be a gentle people, albeit one who've gone through political turmoil in the last decade. I wonder if in the future everyone will stay home, never take a vacation, tele-commute, just so there aren't any risks.
Multicultural Mayhem
Saturday night, A mentioned that he'd been working out to Madonna's new video to Die Another Day (released, strangely, on my birthday), and that it was not a little weird. D used all his latest home-entertainment gee-whizziness to download it, and it's... thought provoking, I think that's what I'll say. Although not quite as mesmerising as the windows screensavers we watched while listening to ambient-something-or-other, which, when you've, er, had a little, er, y'know... anyway, very mesmeric.

It's the theme to the new Bond movie, in which Madonna has a cameo role, doubtless negotiated by her legal department as part of the music deal. The video's got references ranging from Nazi (torture, uniforms, whips), S&M (check same), comics (the whole chair thing is very The Invisbles where King Mob is being tortured by Sir Miles, and strangely, Madonna's "injury" is in the same place as KM's.

But here's what got us: she has L A V tattooed on her arm in Hebrew letters. Well, something like that; aleph doesn't have an equivalent, I've just put A. We know Madge is the Kabbalah queen and all that, but what the hell does it mean? As a hebrew word, it means something like "not" or negative, which is pretty context-free here. We concluded that it must mean "LOVE". How tacky. And at the end of the video, Madge disappears - gets invisible, geddit - and all that's left on the chair is the L A V thing. So, it's like the power of love? Isn't that another song all together?

Our collective thoughts were that we didn't like our heritage being plundered for promo-videos, not least when it didn't make sense. Z lent me the Autograph Man - the new Zadie Smith - which I'm yet to read, but glancing at it, she also uses a Kabbalistic construct, this time to shape the novel, but I'm not sure it does anything. It's cool that being Jewish and Kabbalah and stuff is now trendy, but people have been Jewish for thousands of years, and will continue to be for many more millennia, and fifteen minutes of fame is kinda meaningless to people who've been doing stuff for generations. Probably like women in Southall don't really care that last summer was the sari-edged jeans look; it's just what they do. Jewish mysticism takes years to study and understand, and I resent famous people stealing our logotypes to make them look ethnic. Get your own, Madge.
Does two make a slew?
Memetic Porn Stories
Omigod, there's a slew of those "I saw my mother/sister/wife" in that porn scenario" type things going on right now.

Can't tell if it's a genuine trend, or an obsessive interest of someone on the BBC news desk. Go figure.
I am the one and only result for googling on Cricklehampstead. Yay. Though my friend P calls it Crinklewood, but I fear he is taking the P.
Don't Shoot the Messenger
And just for completeness' sake: there were another two gunshot-style sounds at 9.29 and 9.38pm last night.

Combination of helicopters overhead, gunshot-stylee sounds and general urban Kilburn vibe is making me feel like an extra in some seventies US cop show.

Who knows?
That Was The Weekend That Was
Hi-speed selected-highlights roundup: dinner on Friday night included side-splittingly funny conversation about "needless bother". You know how it is; you've had a few drinks, everyone's mellow and laid back, the conversation flows, everything's so funny. When I got home, I couldn't remember why it was so funny, and L was worried that I would misrepresent him to the world. Ran into A, there, who've I've not seen for (insert long-time-length similie of your choice).

Lunch on Saturday was fun, and D stayed around a little afterwards, but I was so zonked after a week of getting to Battersea for 9am, that he went home. Not that I'm not great company, of course. Saturday night, it was supposed to be (another) D's party, but it was only when I talked to Z, just back from Morocco, that I found out it had been postponed. Nothing like feeling a fool and turning up to a cancelled party.

Couple of weekends ago, I was away staying with friends, and my flatmate was home with a couple of people, and the doorbell rang, late. Someone looking for me. Turned out it was B, arriving at my party a month early. Which is ironic, because he's usually late. What I don't know is, whether he was in fancy dress, as I think my flatmate talked to him through the intercom.

Anyway, I ended up going round to Z and D's with A, where Kaifeng take-out (of the non-vegetarian kind) was consumed. I ate seaweed, which was cool. Apparently seaweed isn't really seaweed, but deep-fried greens, but what do I know.

Yesterday, kept waiting for the rain to stop so I could creosote the new step my neighbour replaced on the terrace, but I kept getting the timing wrong. And also, I don't think you can creosote when it's wet. I had a dream that my whole house fell apart in a storm because I hadn't protected it in the rain. Also, when it rains, there is a strange clanging noise in my bedroom (in the eaves), which I think is something loose banging against the wall, but it only happens at night (or I'm only in my bedroom at night) and I don't know how I find out what it is. Any suggestions?
Fat Tax
Only half-heard this report on the Today programme this morning, but apparently Forest (a pressure group representing smoker's rights) have launched an offshoot, called The Free Society, to campaign about government intervention in what we eat. What we eat that's bad, obviously.

Proposals to tax fat and dairy food in the UK don't seem to have come to anything, but apparently in the USA, "they" monitor your lunch, and if you have too much "bad food" you get a call from the company doctor and a lecture. Free Society are apparently fine with education, but not-fine with social engineering (tax).

Can't help wondering if it's a slow newsday: the hook was tenuous; Demos, the left-of-centre Think Tank recommended the Fat Tax in Julyish, even though it's been talked about before, so I don't know why it made the news today. Wish there was TodayMail, like Snowmail, and then I could see how the stories evolved.

Simon Clark spoke for the Free Society, and Dr Ian Campbell spoke, generically, against it. Seems that he's in the BBC golden rolodex under FAT.

All in all, it's rather strange that we have a Labour government, but it's turning into a nanny state.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Had a really cool lunch: G, D, B, N & C came over, and I make all the dishes I usually make. I think it's good to stick to stuff you're good at: I'd rather go to someone's house and they make their favourite things, than they unsucessfully try out a new invention on me. Though it's boring for my guests to get humous and mediterannean-stylee food every time they come over.

Later, I'll write wittily about our repartee and broad ranging debate, but my week has finally caught up with me, so I'm going to have a shluff (traditional Shabbat afternoon sleep). Back later.
Just in case it turns into a major incident and the police want contemporaneous notes, I just heard an extremely loud explosion-style noise. At 1742. Discussing it with my flatmate, we think it's somewhere between a gunshot and a car crash, but we're not sure.

Could the the Kilburn sniper? Though I guess snipers put a silencer on their gun.
So you can copyright silence? Next: making money from the blank space between my ears.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I am a Kabbalistic authority: I am both numbers one and two for the search on what does the kabalah say about a man and women living together without being married.

My experience of asking Jewish questions? Don't. The answer's invariably no. Hence, well known Yiddish phrase frehg nisht shilah, which approximates to "don't bother asking that question, because you'll get an answer you don't like." Often abreviated to frehg nisht; "don't ask", generally said with your hands raised above your head while shrugging. I call this the No Neck Position.
Rant Warning: Level Three
It's not often I get angry, but when I do, I really, really do.

So what the hell is Nick Denton on about? So Michael Chabon's writing a fictional work about an alternative Jewish homeland in Alaska. Fictional. Note that. Fiction is a perfect place to explore alternative realities, but Management Today is not a place to discuss Middle East politics. Where does Nick Denton get off telling the world his personal views about the Jewish conspiracy and that "Jews can rise to any position in business, media and politics" in the US - his suggestion for an alternative Jewish homeland location.

I'm not a regular Management Today reader, but I am an ocassional surfer, and once worked with their former editor. Not that that makes any difference. I'm interested in views on everything ranging from strategic visioning to next generation commercial blurb. Anything, in fact, that's relevant to management. HR, marketing, technology development, financial planning - it's a broad church. Politics is not in the plan.

There's a universe of difference from stating "ethnic sympathy... contributes to US policy. What's the big deal?" and asking whether "Israel -- the location for the Jewish homeland, rather than the underlying notion -- was a terrible mistake?" You're worried that people might think you're an anti-semite? I can see why Nick.

Israel isn't perfect - but then no one is - but it is the only country that I am aware of that has to make a case for her very existence on an almost daily basis right now. And what the fuck it's got to do with management, I've no idea. Clear thinking? I think not.

Rant over. As you were.
I am tired.

That is all.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Selfless Self?
Just got back from Foyles' Will Self reading of Dorian at the Conway Hall.

I've heard Will read/speak before, and I'm a fan, despite his ocassionally self-hating perspective. De-racinated Jew, he calls himself. Also, he has a look and feel so remarkably like my friend P - and I have never seen them in the same room - that I wonder if they were separated at birth.

He read powerfully. No flab, no blurb; short intro, then he strode across the stage, opened the book, and read from chapter one for an hour and five minutes. He's something of a showman, and evidently enjoys his own words. He looked frighteningly angular, all any-colour-so-long-as-it's-black suit, and heroin chic palor, and when lights were turned down while he was reading, his eyes looked like two huge holes had been sunk in his face.

Then he snapped the book shut, jumped off the stage, and strode purposefully to the back of the hall. And he was gone. It was left to the giggly girlie from Foyles to apolgise in her twinset-and-pearls way; he had unfortunately double-booked himself with Shooting Stars and had to leave. Personally, I think his behaviour is somewhere on the arrogant-rude spectrum, just don't know where.
Major Curry Realisation
I've often wondered, when I'm in my local curry house, why the maitre d', or whatever the North Indian equivalent is, is often running in and out in his anorak with what look like the hot versions of freezer boxes. I'd previously come to the conclusion that they were flaunting health and safety regulations, and that his wife made the food at home and he brought it in in a burgundy box. Or that the six or seven curry houses on Crickewood Broadway are a sinister cartel with some kind of shared kitchen. I mean, it would make sense.

So wrong.

On the way back from the tube, I saw a strangely familiar man - short, Asian, be-anoraked, inexplicably wearing a Russian hat - getting out of a car with a large freezer box. Burgundy, it looked from afar. At first, I thought he was Samad from White Teeth, but then I realised that he's a fictional character. But then, so am I. You know when you see people out of context? It was only when he was getting back into his battered Astra Mk 1, with a certain body-inflection that I recognised, that I realised it was the Cricklewood Tandoori bloke delivering take-out. Duh. I am so dense. Or perhaps, because I don't do take-aways on a strictly-vegetarian-kitchen basis, it never crossed my mind.

Aside: you may think that all this talk of curry is a subtle codex for deconstructing the Edwina scenario. It isn't: I have less desire to think about Currie and Major in the sack than I do to consider whether Theresa May's shoes make her a dominatrix. Someone, please, make all these people get back in their box.
I know food fads come and go, and nobody eats prawn cocktail anymore unless they're doing it ironically, but on the number 19 bus this morning, I went past Harvey Nicholls.

OK, that sentence doesn't make sense. Sorry. Anyway, they have a fantastic, creative window display, and the strapline:

Celebrating 10 years of trendsetting in food

I mean, really. What is the world coming to? Now even food is gonna have it's fifteen minutes of fame? I say there's nothing like good, wholesome nutritous food. Call me old fashioned.
London Tales II
(a series of blokes I've noticed on the underground, basically)
This morning, on the Jubilee line, around 8.20am. Slick looking guy with client-enabled trust-me eyes, who'd evidently had many thousands of pounds of management development training spent on him. Merchant banker type, well-dressed, well-pressed, smart pants Hackett shirt under a 100% cashmere jumper, chunky I-can-do-anything watch.

His bag said "Credit Suisse First Boston" around the top, and from the angle I was sitting, I could only see the end of the strapline (which was bigger than the logo, anyhow, so some agency suit somewhere is happy):

..... in the New Economy

He was reading the Economist - rather old economy to my mind - and saw my eye catch his bag, and put his hand over it. Ashamed? Nervous?

What the hell did it say? Floundering the in the New Economy? Creating the New Economy? Retiring from the profits made in the New Economy?

I will never know.
It's National Poetry Day apparently, but I've never written anything that rhymes in my life. Although I spent yesterday writing online banner ads that have to get like twelve benefits in five lines of rotating copy. It's like an advertising haiku. But it doesn't rhyme either.
London Tales I
Wednesday, I was on the tube (tr = subway) going to Hammersmith. That cute pink line that's mostly above ground. The car was mostly empty; a few business people going to meetings, a few generic Londoners going on their way. At the Portobello Road stop, a bloke got on: the kind of person you don't notice. Blokeish. Fortyish. Office-style: coat, computer bag, dark trousers. Overweight. Moustache, I think.

After a few minutes, he got up, went to the middle of the carriage, looked around, got out a shorthand pad from his bag (you know, the take-a-letter Miss Moneypenny kind), looked around, and said, "I have something I saw on an Alliance & Leicester advert for you today, everyone." As if we'd come to his lecuture, or he was a pundit, or he was OK. I half listened; half people-watched, but whatever he said was gibberish, nothing to do with adverts or financial services, or anything. People gave the impression of listening politely, while continuing to read the paper/pick their nose/stare into space.

And I looked at him again. In this new light, he looked a little different: coat didn't quite fit. Might be secondhand? Trousers pretty stained. Shoes had definitely seen better times. Computer bag clearly didn't have a computer in it. Am I prejudiced?

So when he'd finished, he took a bow, and stood around till the next stop. When he got off, I couldn't help wondering if he does that all day; ride the tube system, tell people stuff, think he's doing something. Guess I'll never know.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Can you name even one of the Famous Five? I mean, how famous were they?
Currying Favour All Over Again
Over curry in my local, P pointed out that Hitler's dog was called Blondie. Was Debbie Harry's dog called Hitler?
And when Westminster City Council fines homeless people £500 for rough sleeping, will it take cheques and credit cards?
New Labour? Reformed Conservative? Tory Tomorrow. Tory Dawn. Conservia. The country really is going to the dogs. Let's stop talking about branding and start solving the real problems.
Haven't been up at ten to seven for... quite some time. Quiet, innit?

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Informational Economical
I wonder if in the future the world will be divided into those google-enabled information junkies who can dig through the shit at the speed of sound, and people who don't even know where to start looking?
Travel Sickness
Do you ever have that big-city crap-transport-infrastructure problem? Like I live in Kilburn and need to get somewhere nowhere near a tube for 9am tomorrow. Then, I remembered this: the Journey Planner from Transport for London. It's fab - you can do postcode to postcode searches, and now I know I get a tube to Green Park and then a bus. It would have taken me ages to find that out in a webless world. Although they say it'll take 42 minutes to get to deepest Battersea, but I'm allowing an hour and then some.
Not a lot of people know this, but you can snowmail, which is a daily email from Jon Snow, in a chatty friendly tone that makes you think he's your mate. And you get advanced notice of the relative weights of various news stories. And, chatting to J just now, turns out Jon is even a local NW6er. Kol v'chomer, as they say...
Park At Your Peril
I pride myself on parking in the parents-with-children spaces at Tesco. It’s not that I’m stridently single, it’s just that I resent paying over the odds for my tiny no-mates portions of everything, and think it’s payback time.

So I definitely park in the kids’ spaces at night. For a start, children should be tucked up tight, and I don’t see why I should park in zone 127 just on the off-chance that some boundary-free parent will take their kids on an adventure well past the watershed.

Last week, I was doing some high-speed shoppage on my way out for the evening. Nine-ish, in a hurry, I parked near the store in one of those hallowed spaces. I hadn’t even got out of my car when a North London mother-type (all 4X4, big hair and designer tracksuit) parked across me, rolled down her window and said “what you doing parking there?” She had the proof – babyseats – but no actual children. And I had no desire to get into a slanging match with someone who clearly had a better manicurist than me, so I just stared her down and she buggered off. But I did feel like she’d yelled “can’t get a boyfriend? I can hear your bodyclock ticking” across the whole fucking car park.

While we’re settling the balance, why don’t all the Tesco reward points get redistributed to the single people? Parents have the reward of child-rearing, after all.

And there’s another thing: there’s every chance that yuppie-single types (God how nineties, I know) are more likely to go for the premium products; I’m a Tesco’s Finest gal through and through. Though they do over-egg the packaging; I just don’t need metallic print to feel loved and adored by my multiple food retailer.

Once, in a fit of pique over teeth-gnashingly poor service at Brent Cross Tesco (as I remember it, it was the Wasp In Bag of Salad incident) I performed my lifetime customer value manoeuvre on some poor be-name-tagged sod who happened to be working the late shift and wasn’t sufficiently apologetic about my buzzing salad.

It goes like this. You get out your bill: I paid £40 for my groceries tonight. Say I spend that every week; that’s around £2,000 a year. Say I’ve got fifty shopping years, total, in my life. That’s a hundred thousand pounds, near enough. For potentially losing a hundred thousand pound customer, I think you should give me more than 79p. Don’t you?

As I remember it, my customer service representative was non-plussed and said I should write to head-office. But for a hundred thousand pounds, I think I’m parking where the hell I want.

And, like, surely if I’m a largely premium product customer, I should get premium parking. Closer to the store. Make the Tesco’s Value purchasers park the five-mile hike. In fact, in a product-differentiated world, there should be three parking sections: premium, near the store and with nice blokes to bring you a trolley that doesn’t squeak; regular, and Value, where the broken-anyway trolleys are painted prison-uniform blue stripes to indicate that you buy cheap food.

Mothers might moan about being time-poor and cash-strapped and at the end of their tether, but many of them have someone to help them carry the shopping. Either a child – I never said I didn’t believe in child labour – or their other half. Ergo, they should be the people parking in Outer Mongolia. I don’t see why I should park a short hike from the store when I’ve got no-one to help me unload. And that’s not just emotionally. And anyway, now that the shelves display cost per hundred grammes or whatever, I know that my bijoux-portion purchases are subsidising all the families of five, anyhow. They should pay me. QED.
New Columnar Activity
It's coming, honest. Just wrote it last night. Haven't got time to code a new column page (I am still writing financial services copy, so help me), but it'll be here, in like five minutes. Check back, please.
From now on, I intend to refer to all manufactured reality-style girl-bands as girl B L A N D S.
Roll-up, Roll-up
I mean, like, in a fairground way. And welcome to whoever surfed in here looking for kabbalah water scam. I know where you're coming from. Probably.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Get There Quick
Went to a great little vegan/organic restaurant near the O2 centre with M tonight. I tried to go there with (other) M for lunch Friday, but it's closed during the day. And their website is under construction, which I think it has been/will be for some time.

VitaOrganic is run by a very serene Asian guy who is apparently a hairdresser by day, and they specialise in a 'vitaliszing organic buffet over 20 dishes of raw and hot food'. Too true: I'm like bouncing off the walls, I'm so vitalized. Better than drugs.

There's a very mellow laid back ambience, the food is great, and you feel really, really healthy. And the trancey music made me feel like I'd been to a meditation class. It's so laid back that service is not exactly their middle name, so you shouldn't go there if you're in a hurry. I'm just delighted that there's an independent restaurant that's managed to survive the onslaught of The Man's chainstore massacre food offerings. But I suspect that, despite being busy, they may not last long because they're just not very commercial and positioned bang next door to a broad range of deeply unhealthy food offerings. So get there quick. Oh, and it's cheap.

Star spotting aside: we saw Erran Baron Cohen come and go with great speed. And the people sitting next to us were plotting the yoga-overthrow (yogathrow?) of Triyoga in Primrose Hill.
All Yoga'd Out
After yoga, I went over to H's (not that H) and hung out and talked about writing, had lunch, and then L came over and we talked online communities, and I even built a weblog on blogspot to show them how easy it is. They were seemingly impressed by my limited knowledge (purely a matter of been-there-done-that), and I realised it's all about where you are on the foodchain. I've been at this a while, and taught myself a few basic skills, but to the outsider, I'm like, in the know.

Reminds me of how I sometimes wear a fake tattoo (or as my friend J calls it, a transfer), and some of my friends are mightily impressed that I'll even do that, and others just think I'm a complete wuss and why don't I get a real one. It's all about perspective. As Les Dawson memorably said: "I called up the swimming pool, and said 'is that my local swimming pool?' and they said 'dunno, depends where you live.'

Thanks, folks, I'm here all night.
Quick round up of the weekend: E & L's engagement party last night, which was equally glamorous and replete with people from my childhood who I haven't seen forever. I saw one bloke who had a really square head when we were like four, and he's still got one now he's head of legal at a fixed-line telecoms company. I'd have recognised him anywhere. Got stuck with a couple of people on the who-are-you-still-in-touch-with? game, which is a thirties-variant of the well known Jewish game who-do-you-know, played by the Mornington Crescent Rules.
So Ian Duncan Smith is trying to get the voices to go away. Admittedly, voices from the past. Personally, I ocassionally get confused between IDS and irritable bowel syndrome.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Great little french dance radio station Stuart just told me about.
Glamour Puss, Moi?
Last night's glamour party was a truly done-to-the-nines ocassion. I didn't recognise our hostess, I she was wearing makeup for the first time in the probably.... sheesh, fifteen years I've known her. And high heels. She looked fab, and her other half was wearing a suit, which I think is slightly different from his regular surf-gear, but he looked fairly male-model-esque, so not sure he minded.

I went for black boot-cut trousers - very forgiving, darling - with a sparkly burgundy top, sparkly eye makeup - though when P opened the door, in the half-light he thought I was crying, which is not a good look. With my extremely-high-can't-actually walk boots, and some thirties evening jewelry. People said I looked glamorous, but then what else do people say at such a gathering?

J & T were looking fab in their matching Agnes B style shirts and well fitting trousers. Though J had apparently ironed T's cleverly cut doubtless expensive, crinkly shirt.

It reminded me of going to some friends' wedding in New York years ago, where bizarrely the whole of my hometown came to the wedding. So wandering about NY the day before, I kept running into middle-aged friends of my parents. And they say the world's a village. Anyway, as the bride came up the aisle in her Azzedine Alaia dress (it was the mid-nineties. Actually, it might have been Yohi Yamamoto, but it was a carefully constructed crinkly look, nonetheless), all the suburban women whispered to each other, "pah, she could have ironed the dress." The other thing they didn't really get - it was midwinter - was the table decorations of ornamental cabbages: "what is this, salad?"

So last night was really grown-up; catered, cocktails and conversation par excellence. Oh yeah, and a powerpoint presentation running in the background of pics of their new home. So great, in fact, that I never made it to S's pyjama party (though I fear I may have been a little overdressed), but, then, hey, you can't do everything, can you?

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Strange Fruit
Got a weird telephone call yesterday. I used to be friendly with a guy called H; we met through mutual friends, were - at the time - in the same professional sphere, had lots to talk about. If the world is divided into people who know they're good looking and people who don't, then he definitely falls into the former category (and of course the world is really divided into people who divide the world.... and people who are very annoying). So I have to admit that when I met him I was bowled over by his suave good looks and height (there are very few tall Jewish men). We became friends in a short-lead-time intense way.

After a while, a pattern emerged. I discovered that I was one in a line of women with whom he had intense friendships, that eventually fell by the wayside; turned out I knew a couple of people he'd been friends with. I don't have that many - if any - ex-friends; sure people grow and move on, but I tend to think of someone as a friend I haven't seen for a while, rather than a former friend. It became clear that he didn't fancy me, but liked being surrounded by women with wide social circles who find him attractive. I remember the first time we went "out" we met up in a North London gastropub that was exhibiting a selection of works on womens' bodies; photos of Marilyn, lots of ... that artist who paints curvaceous women; the place was pounding with celebrations of womanhood. And of course there I was, replete in my cleavage enhancing best. It didn't take me long to realise that he's not into that kind of woman. He's into super-skinny boobless boylike women. He once called a mutual acquaintance who I think looks remarkably like Christy Turlington fat.

But we became friends. And I found myself taking him to lots of parties, or including him in social things I was doing, and without fail, at the end of the evening or the next day, he would call me and ask for the number of someone he'd met through me. The first few times, I complied. Then I realised it was an addictive pattern, they were rarely interested in him, and I felt awkward procuring womens' numbers for him. One time, we were in a bar, he'd talked to some woman who'd refused to give him her number, and he asked me to get it for him. I said no.

Anyway, he got into this whole faux-therapy thing, and was very taken with analysing everything I said, which became stressful, and dull, frankly. Sometimes you just say/do things, and they have no meaning. Call me Freud, if you want. And also, he brought out my worst characteristics, which is not his fault. It became more and more cloying to be in the friendship, and I felt increasingly analysed against my will, and I suspect that he enjoyed exhibiting his supreme intelligence over a mere mortal like me. And in other circumstances, I feel quite bright.

So, February time we got into a quite ridiculous email correspondence - because it was too much hard work to be shouted down on the phone - where he used lots of language about "engaging with my problem" and "shifting paradigms" and ended a lenghty diatribe about my shortcomings with "let me know what you want to do. I dont want to have an extended email exchange around this, though, please." And I just got tired. I thought, I'm grown-up now, he's a nice guy, but this is too much hassle. He's not my therapist, and he's probably not my friend, and he's just using me to get to some better/thinner/more interesting woman out there.

And I realised that I never has FUN with him. It was always fucking hard work and fundamentally frigid. So I just never replied to his last email and felt an enormous sense of relief.

Back to the plot. He called me yesterday, out of the blue, basically to offer me some work. Which was thoughtful. Though, in the reverse circumstances, I would just have given the contact his number, and said "not spoken to H for a while, say hi from me." I felt remarkably awkward talking to him, and at the end of the conversation he told me "he'd got himself a girlfriend a little while ago" - I imagine they were on special offer at Waitrose, and that he was "having quite a journey exploring the relationship." Then he said he was "open to reconnecting with me" - which made me feel like playing Connect 4 - and he suggested we meet for a drink. I parried with "the busy with work" move. He said "are you really busy or you just don't want to meet up" and I remembered why I wasn't friendly with him anymore. I said I didn't know.

Part of me can't help wondering if he got in touch because he heard I'm having a party. He hates to miss a party.
Had a relaxing day listening to my neighbours music through the walls. That's conversions for you. On my way out to a party that has this dress code - dress: glamorous. Although J says that I'm generally pretty glamorous and not all the guests have to up the ante. I just don't have a thing to wear, daaahling.