Minutes of Quarterly Meeting 28 February 2012
Keith Permanganate (KP)
Abigail Glanders (AG)
Michael Ullswater (MU)
Head of Publicity
Ollie Damson (OD)
Clive Brumby (CB)
A Merchant of Padua
Ellie Lane-Devenport (ELD)
2. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
OD - Expressed surprise that certain comments made by MU at the previous meeting had been omitted from the record
KP - Stated that it was not common practice to include personal remarks of a sexual nature in the minutes, but promised to consider formulating guidance procedures on the advisability of incorporating contextual interpersonal criticisms in future records.
AG - Agreed that they would look into whatever it was that KP had just said.
3. Name of the Society
KP - Gave a brief report on the progressive goal attainments that have been accomplished since the commencement of the society eighteen months ago. KP is happy to announce that, in real terms, and not withstanding periods in which members have temporarily absented themselves from society activities, membership has almost doubled, and now stands at just under sixteen. However, KP revealed concerns that the length, explicit meaning and connotations arising from the name adopted by the society may be reinforcing negative perceptual fruit pylon chicken vest necromancy onions.
AG - Clarified KP’s comments: the society now has fifteen members, but one or two people were concerned about the name. What did we reckon?
MU - Agreed that the current name is a problem, particularly from a publicity point of view. Stressed the need for something punchier to really put the association’s message across. Possibly something with ‘laser’ in the title.
OD - Asked how it might be possible to ‘put the society’s message across’ when no one within the society knew what its message actually was? Also expressed the concern that the random and arbitrary use of the word ‘laser’ might be considered ‘moronic’.
ELD - Reminded all present that the stated aims of the association were still under review, and would remain a standing item on the agenda until a more robust definition could be achieved. In light of this, it was her belief that a title containing the word ‘laser’ was as good as any, and would have greater impact on her friends at the golf club, who were beginning to entertain doubts about the levels of prestige that ought to be accorded to the membership secretary of such an impenetrably titled organisation.
OD - Reminded the group that the society did not exist to reinforce the standing of individual members within the community, and that its name should not be decided solely on the basis of what will best impress its membership secretary’s golf cronies.
CB - Came up with the suggestion ‘United National Irritation Committee’. This could be shortened to UNIC, which apparently sounds similar to something from Dr Who.
OD - Called CB a ‘space cadet’ and proposed that he should go back to reading his comics and let the grownups speak.
MU - Seconded this proposal, but expressed the opinion that using an acronym might be a workable idea. However, MU felt that it must have a lowercase vowel in front of it, and gave the examples iUNIC or eUNIC.
OD - Registered disapproval of MU’s idea, and called him a ‘fly-by-night jazz merchant’. However, conceded that if a name change is necessary, the board members’ job titles might also need to be reviewed. OD pointed out that ‘Head of Publicity is not particularly ‘punchy’ and suggested it be changed to something with ‘moron’ in the title.
ELD - Asked what a ‘fly-by-night jazz merchant’ was.
AG - Suggested that discussion of possible name changes might be more productive when agreement had been reached on the aims and principles of the society. Furthermore, she had just put in an order for more stationery, and as a result it might be fiscally prudent to stick with the present name until the current batch of headed paper has been used up.
KP - Proposed the instigation of a working party to investigate the origins, meaning and relevance of the phrase ‘fly-by-night jazz merchant’. The results to be presented at the next meeting in the form of a report, with graphs.
4. Aims and principals
KP - As result of an executive think tank established for the purpose of formulating an official mission statement, KP was able to offer the following for consideration: ‘We all feel that there’s something not quite right somewhere and that something should be done about it, and just as soon as we find out what it is, we’re damn well going to put a stop to it.’ KP recommended this statement to the board on the grounds that it effectively encompassed the multiplicity of the sandpit flexibility macrobiotic backwardly transferable bishop fruitcake.
AG - ?
OD - Offered the opinion that, as mission statements go, it expressed ‘diddly squat’. And anyway, if so much time and effort had gone into its creation, why did KP appear to be reading it off the back of an old envelope?
ELD - Asked who ‘Diddly Squat’ was. ELD wondered if he was the man from the chemists with the neck boil.
MU - Observed that all mission statements expressed ‘diddly squat’, this being the chief purpose of mission statements, but the group did not welcome this feeble attempt at satire.
AG - Suggested that Diddly Squat might be one of the Fly-By-Night Jazz Merchants. Undertook to look this up on Wikipedia.
KP - When pressed on the ‘envelope’ question, KP admitted that the ‘think tank’ comprised himself, his brother-in-law and his eight-year-old niece, and that the statement had been composed over Sunday lunch several days previously. However, he did not feel that the circumstances of its conception in any way detracted from its suitability as a working document.
AG - Congratulated KP on his frugality in using an old envelope, rather than wasting the society’s recently acquired headed paper.
MU - Protested that something more focussed would be needed in order to prepare suitable promotional materials. MU was concerned at the prospect of writing press releases that were vague, irrelevant and uninteresting.
OD - Pointed out that this had never bothered MU before.
MU - Made thinly veiled threats concerning a tragic story he was presently working on, involving the Head of Strategic Planning, one of his less public orifices and the blunt end of a bottle of mineral water.
CB - Appealed for calm and reminded the meeting of how Dr Who had brokered a peace between the Axims and the Daleks in episode three of The Mind Milkers of Kahn.
MU - Suggested that CB might like to go home and play with his action figures, and reminded him that he had more than one bottle of mineral water to hand.
ELD - Asked whether society members ought to be engaged in bottle-based brutality, either threatened or actual. Raised concerns that some of the other parents at her daughter’s ballet classes might not react too kindly if they knew that she was a member of an organisation that sanctioned the violent use of glassware.
KP - Suggested that this was a question best put to the membership via a structured programme of procedural data capture droplets.
AG - Agreed that a questionnaire should be circulated, and suggested that this might be an appropriate use of the society’s headed paper.
ELD - Gave feedback on recruitment activities since the last meeting. ELD was happy to report that she had personally recruited two members at last month’s gymkhana, and had received several expressions of interest at a recent Rotary Club dinner, although nothing had yet been confirmed. She had also managed to pick up three members through a flyer in the local hairdressers, although her efforts to infiltrate the Women’s Institute had ended in ignominy. ELD felt that the lack of suitable publicity material was hampering her campaign.
OD - Agreed that a recent run of colour posters featuring a picture of a jet fighter streaking out of the clouds was certainly striking, but that it remained unclear how this image might be expected to promote the association and attract new members.
MU - Undertook to respond to this criticism on three points. Firstly, the Avro Vulcan B1 is not a fighter but a bomber, as anyone with even a basic knowledge of classic British military aircraft would know. Secondly, the Vulcan stands for a combination of strength, elegance and sophistication, three principals which are an essential ingredient of any successful marketing campaign. And thirdly, Keith Norwich at the Post Office had liked it so much that he had put one in the front window, next to the poster with the lottery numbers on it, and if that wasn’t indicative of a successful campaign, MU didn’t know what was.
OD - Seconded the motion that MU didn’t know what a successful campaign was.
ELD - Advanced the opinion that the society should have a mascot - something fluffy like a cat or a rabbit. Definitely not a guinea pig though, as her father had once been bitten by one in the Cotswolds.
CB - Thought that having a celebrity as honorary president might generate more interest than a rabbit. Suggested the renowned Shakespearian actor, Sir Henry Doublebase, whose long list of film credits have earned him numerous Oscar nominations and a BAFTA fellowship. More importantly, Sir Henry once appeared as third Cyberman from the left alongside Jon Pertwee in the classic 1973 story The Catacombs of Steel, and that fact alone ought to guarantee the society maximum publicity.
ELD - Wondered what The Catacombs of Steel was?
AG - Stated she would be happy to write to Sir Henry on the association’s headed paper.
OD - Announced that he was pretty sure The Catacombs of Steel was the first UK single by The Fly-By-Night Jazz Merchants.
KP - Agreed that the society should approach Sir Henry or, failing him, someone from Antiques Roadshow.
ELD - Raised the issue of the mess left behind in the community hall at the association social last Saturday night. She felt that it cast the association in a bad light, and that if someone didn’t step forward to claim the underpants soon, she felt there may be a scandal.
MU - Suggested that ELD might like to lighten up and stop being an ‘old baggage’.
OD - Remonstrated with MU re. his language towards ELD, and ventured that if the latter wished to present herself to the world as a ‘batty old harridan’, then she was perfectly at liberty to do so.
ELD - Reacted strongly to the suggestion that she was a mentally unstable battle-axe, and upset several chairs as she exited the room.
OD - Reflected that if only MU would ‘ponce off’ in a similar vein, his life would be complete.
CB - Asked if the meeting was going to go on much longer, as he wanted to get home and watch an old rerun of The Sweeney, which featured an actor who had once been in something with another actor, who used to live next to the brother of a man who used to write the Radio Times listings for Dr Who.
MU - Said that CB could go with his blessing, but warned him not to get his arse caught in the door on his way out.
OD - Wondered whether it might not be possible for it to be entered into the record that MU is a ‘screaming great tit’.
MU - Raised an objection on this point.
KP - Upheld this objection, explaining that although it was generally accepted that MU was indeed a ‘screaming great tit’ nothing official could be noted until due consideration had been given to the point raised earlier, namely the recording of personal comments in the minutes. Work would begin shortly on assembling a team to look into the methodology of drawing up an agenda for a forthcoming focus group, to be tasked with perambulating a soused nonce inappropriately.
AG - Promised she would write to all interested parties, on headed paper, once a decision had been reached.