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30 June 2016

Psst!

Trumpet

'Ere, you the guy that was asking about hiring a brass band for your summer fete? Yeah, I reckon I can sort you out. I know a few people, I can make a few calls - if the price is right and you're not the type to ask too many questions. What? Oh no, it's all kosher, all above board. None of your tone deaf amateurs with a Grade 1 in the recorder. These people are very nearly semi-professional, and they've got all the right gear. There won't be a bent flugelhorn or wonky glockenspiel in sight, my friend. This is the dog's. It's just that the people I work with don't like to get bogged down with filling in tax returns and the like, so this will have to be a cash-only arrangement if that's all square with you? It is? Lovely. Well, what is it you'll be needing then squire?

Ah yes, a man with the right priorities! Well chief, the cost very much depends on what you're after. See, the way we work it is that a flat fee of £350 gets you your basic setup for three hours. So, for that you get your tuba, you get your snare drum, you get three horns, a couple of cornets and a trumpet. Then we start talking about your add-ons. Trombones are twenty quid a pop and each additional cornet will cost you a tenner. We can get you a drummer for fifty. For eighty we'll supply him with a drum kit, which is recommended really as it gives him something to take out his frustration on. Otherwise he'll just end up thrashing the life out of the front row and that sort of thing doesn't tend to go down too well the punters in my experience.

Of course, if you're... err... if you're looking for something a little bit more exotic then I may be able to have a word with the right people. Nothing dodgy, of course. We're talking about something you wouldn't normally get in a brass band. Oh, I don't know, shall we say a bassoon for example? Perhaps you're more of a clarinet man? Or maybe it's an oboe that floats your boat? Pricey, but it would be a great talking point.

Come now, you wouldn't expect a businessman like me to reveal my contacts, would you? Let's just say that there's a certain national philharmonic orchestra that would be a little light in the woodwind section for a while. Anyway think about it and let me know.

I guess you're going to have to talk it over with your committee or whatever. That's fine, of course, but don't leave it too long 'cos I've got a fair few people interested at the moment. Tell you what, you know Dave down at the Red Lion? Yeah, Dave with the nose. We've got an arrangement, so you just let him know when you're ready and he'll get a message to me.

Oh, by the way, is there going to be a free bar at this do of yours? No? Pity, we can usually knock a few quid off if there is - these guys don't half get thirsty. Never mind. Remember, just slip the word to Dave with the nose and I'll have the trumpets warmed up faster than you can say John Philip Sousa. Whoever he was.

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23 May 2016

The Footy

 

Like me you've probably noticed a lot of people going on about 'the footy' over the past few weeks and wondered what it is all about. Well, I've done a bit of digging around, spoken to a few people and here is what I've found out.

Apparently 'the footy' is a bit like 'football' that we played at school, only grownups do it on the telly instead of working in proper jobs. This year a team called Leicester Wanderers tried extra specially hard and as a result they won all the footy. Everybody was really pleased, the players got their pictures in the paper and Gary Lineker has now got to take his trousers off.

All this is pretty straightforward so far, apart from the trousers, but here's where it gets complicated. Everybody was thinking that Leicester United were best at the footy but then on Saturday there was some more footy which a team called Manchester Rovers won, and now everybody is saying that they're the best at the footy. And the weird thing is that they didn't win it from Leicester County because Leicester weren't even invited. I think that's a bit of a cheek, actually. No, Manchester Wednesday were playing a completely different team called something else - Hull Kingston Rovers, or the Harlem Globe Trotters , or Kasabian. I can't remember.

The point is: who is the best at the footy? Is it The Leicester Hotspurs or Manchester Athletic? Seems to me they've put all this effort into trying to find out and the whole thing has just degenerated into a shambles - probably due to some administrative error. I hear that they're going to do the whole thing again next year, so I only hope they manage to get their act together in time.

I'm Davey Tudor and I bring you the facts. Watch this space for more updates.

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06 May 2016

Anti-Assertiveness Classes

Are you constantly being told that you're an annoying, loudmouthed, over-opinionated pain in the arse?

Do you find that your sound judgement, insightful observations and expert analysis are constantly being ignored, no matter how relentlessly you forcibly inflict them on your friends and colleagues?

Do people, in short, think you're a bit of a jerk?

If the answer to these questions is 'yes' then the solution to your problem, my friend, is simple. What you need is...

Dr Friedrich Harpic's Anti-Assertiveness course

Dr Friedrich Harpic first developed his revolutionary Anti-Assertiveness programme back in the sixties. At the time he was forever thrusting his barely comprehensible theories and philosophies on unwilling and unappreciative audiences, often descending into a frustrated stream of guttural mutterings as he endeavoured to persuade his rapidly dwindling circle of associates to recognise his wisdom. It was only when a close friend, in a fit of uncontrolled candour, told him that he was being 'a real prick' that Dr Harpic recognised he needed to shut the fuck up.


Experimenting with a range of different self-degradation techniques, confidence-sapping exercises and humiliation workshops, Dr Harpic soon managed to 'knock the wind out of his sails' and, in consequence, became a much more agreeable, modest and humble companion. In fact, he became so meek that it took him a further fifty years before he summoned up the nerve to tell anyone about his ground-breaking discoveries.


Today Dr Harpic tours the world, delivering Anti-Assertiveness classes to all manner of self-important, long-winded, conceited, pretentious, overbearing, boorish, immodest and bombastic fuckwits. And he personally guarantees that he can turn you from an arrogant tosser into the embodiment of politeness and discretion after just a few short sessions.


Well... maybe 'guarantee' is putting it a bit strong. I mean, we think most people could benefit, but we wouldn't like to impose our own opinions on anyone. It's up to you, really, and whatever you decide is fine, really it is... you know... okay...

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05 May 2016

Under the Weather

The recent decision by Sir Malcolm Balls, CEO of ailing pharmaceutical giant Poppapill PLC, to award himself a £3M bonus this year has surprised many city analysts and greatly disappointed shareholders. Coming so soon after a string of misfortunes and questionable decisions, Sir Malcolm has come under much pressure to justify the award. We were fortunate enough to let him speak to us for a little while.

UBO:

Sir Malcolm, good evening.

Balls:

Who are you?

UBO:

We, er, we called your office earlier. You said that you'd -

Balls:

Yes, whatever. What do you want?

UBO:

We hoped you might like to make a few comments about the £3M bonus that you recently received. It seems to have excited quite a lot of comment.

Balls:

Well it would. It's three million quid. That's a lot to get excited about.

UBO:

Yes, it is a lot. Do you think you deserve it?

Balls:

Well that's not really for me to comment on. The decision was ultimately the responsibility of the chief executive officer and I think it would be the height of ingratitude for me to question his judgement.

UBO:

Yes. Of course... you are the chief executive officer.

Balls:

Coincidentally, yes, but the decision was made purely in my official capacity, in the interests of bolstering the performance of the company on the stock exchange.

UBO:

How, exactly?

Balls:

Well it's a very public display of the confidence we have in the management. People see that we've splashed out a hefty bonus and they think 'Hello, here's a company that must be doing well'. The share price goes up and everybody's happy.

UBO:

But everybody isn't happy. The share price has plummeted, your market share has shrivelled to one tenth what it was before you took over and for the fifth year running you have posted a loss.

Balls:

Yes, but this is all just a matter of opinion.

UBO:

It's a matter of accounting.

Balls:

Exactly, it's all just numbers. What's it really about, eh? I mean, isn't it more important that everybody is happy?

UBO:

And is everybody happy?

Balls:

Well I am. I'm delirious - I've just landed three million smackers. Kerching!

UBO:

It's been suggested that you could have made a lot more people happy had you stepped down and allowed someone more competent to take over.

Balls:

How are you defining 'competent'?

UBO:

Someone whose actions were calculated to improve the fortunes of the company, rather than drive it to the brink of collapse.

Balls:

Harsh but fair.

UBO:

Perhaps we can consider some of your own decisions and see how they measure up?

Balls:

Let me just stop you there. Tell me, have you ever seen a man bitten by a scorpion?

UBO:

No. Now, what your shareholders want to know is... Bitten? Surely scorpions sting, they don't bite?

Balls:

Normally they sting. But when they bite, it's worse. I saw a chap bitten by a scorpion and it wasn't a pretty sight. Nearly took his arm off.

UBO:

Sir Malcolm, are you trying to avoid answering our questions?

Balls:

Yes. Is it working?

UBO:

No. Tell us about your decision to move the company headquarters to a narrow boat on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Balls:

I've always believed that a company needs to keep moving forward. And we certainly did that. That's probably why we didn't get any mail for three years.

UBO:

OK, moving on. For twenty years Poppapill manufactured the leading pain relief brand in Europe, Poppadin Plus. In 2013 you ordered production to cease. Why?

Balls:

I didn't like the colour.

UBO:

What colour was it?

Balls:

White.

UBO:

What colour would you have preferred it to have been?

Balls:

White - but a different white. Sort of a creamy white, but the chaps in the lab couldn't get it right. You know how it is?

UBO:

No. What about your deal to sponsor primetime weather forecasts the following year?

Balls:

Nothing wrong with that.

UBO:

You only agreed to sponsor bad weather.

Balls:

Ah yes! A shrewd move, I thought. Seeing as we have so much bad weather, I figured that we'd get more air time.

UBO:

And you did, but it also meant that the company came to be associated with drizzle, darkness and wind.

Balls:

Precisely. Since, at that time, we were heavily promoting a product designed to ease flatulence, I thought an association with wind would be advantageous. Turns out it wasn't. Who knew?

UBO:

Your competitors, obviously, since their stock rose considerably after agreeing to sponsor the good weather. Sir Malcolm, it's quite clear that your leadership of Poppapill has been a complete shambles and throughout your entire time with the company -

Balls:

Now look here, I simply will not have this! I'm the boss of a major international corporation. I have a great deal of responsibility. I have skills and talents that are beyond the comprehension of most people.

UBO:

Yes?

Balls:

Yes!

UBO:

Such as?

Balls:

Such as the ability to guide the business through a six vector engagement strategy without incurring any operational loss whilst simultaneously doubling pre-forecast efficiency scheduling.

UBO:

Well that sounds very impressive, but -

Balls:

I have also successfully negotiated five - count 'em, FIVE - marginalisation reduction programmes, each of which incorporated a fully ratified system of exponential inflation control.

UBO:

Again, that's something I think most people would probably be proud of, but it doesn't alter the fact that -

Balls:

But do you know what really makes me stand out in the crowd? Do you know why I'm a genuine asset to anyone who hires me?

UBO:

No, go on.

Balls:

I'm the best bullshitter in the business. And that's worth something. Right now it's worth three million pounds. I'll let you know if that changes. Goodbye.

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04 May 2016

Peasmould Apology

Yesterday we ran an advert for a Tree Warden at Broxborough Borough Council. Following a communication from the council, it has come to our attention that this advertisement was erroneous and that no such vacancy exists. The council has informed us that Mr Peasmould, who describes himself in the advertisement as the 'Chief Environmental Officer', no longer occupies that post. Indeed, he left the authority as a result of an unspecified incident at a local donkey sanctuary, following which the council was quick to terminate his employment and make earnest apologies to all the donkeys involved.

The authority would also like to correct any misapprehensions that may have arisen with regard to its attitude towards trees. Broxborough Borough Council extends a cordial welcome to visiting trees and assures them that they can park in any of its dedicated parking bays without fear of interference. Stories about elms being clamped have been greatly exaggerated.

Finally, the council is at great pains to stress that, while it welcomes applications for employment from all interested parties, it would prefer that potential employees download the appropriate application forms from its website rather than sending in pictures of themselves in their pants. This method of selection was discontinued for all but the most senior positions some twenty years ago. Whilst it is gratified by the recent surge of interest, Broxborough Borough Council requests that applicants consider the feelings of the poor girl employed to open the mail and desist from submitting such communications in future.

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