Monday, 7 June 2010
My Old Man's a Dustman
OK, the song references are getting rather long in the tooth: unusually this one came to me immediately. Normally I write the blog and then have to think of some song title that is in some way links to something or someone mentioned in it.
Where would we be without "The Today Programme", from Jack De Manio through Brian Redhead to the Welsh Wizard, John Humphreys?
It has escorted millions of us out of bed into the bathroom, to the kitchen table and, with a kiss for the misses, out of the front door, Telegraph (substitute your own particular rag) under arm, briefcase clasped and umbrella rolled up and into the Austin A40 to begin a fun packed day dictating all those internal minutes to Miss Jones in the typing pool.
Until, that is, they got rid of the typing pool, and the typewriter and Miss Jones and instead of an absorbing half an hour with Radio 4 and Sue MacGregor, you're constantly interrupted by your Blackberry reminding you, prompting you, ordering you to focus on your core competencies and business goals.
Today, as likely as not, your journey to work will be in an Astra/Mondeo/Audi with voice activated hands free allowing you, no actually others, to dictate your thoughts and actions as you endeavour to get from A to B without a) having an accident: b) getting a speeding ticket or c) getting thumped by a Union Jack flag waving 4 by 4 driver you inadvertently cut up trying to avoid that 60 ton Latvian articulated monster truck driven by the spitting image of Claude Van Damm, with an extremely pretty young girl in his passenger seat.
As you arrive at the office, you take a deep breath and mentally prepare for the first meeting - which just happens to be that God awful team review meeting chaired by the recently promoted, over you, kid in Pampers. As you scan the e-mail on your smartphone trying to think of something intelligent to say about any one of the nine!!! agenda items you calculate that should you retire today you would be in penury, leaving you with the sickening thought that you've another 20 years of penal servitude ahead of you.
But it needn't be like that.
Next time your Blackberry sits up and calls you to attention, calmly press the infrequently used shut down button. Continue to listen to John Humpreys if you wish or, may I suggest, switch to Radio 7 for Hancock's Half Hour ( I assume if you've an Audi you've a digital radio somewhere in the house). As the house phone rings and rings and rings, listen with detached pleasure as your boss/secretary/client desperately entreats you to switch on your phone, log onto your laptop or find a StarBucks and a wi-fi connection. And then with immense calm delete all the phone messages.
Have another slice of toast. Why not put on some butter, rather than that jaundiced health spread. Treat yourself to another cup of tea - Japanese this time so it'll take you two hours at least to get the pot warmed. Tickle the misses under the chin and move back relatively speedily to avoid the deadly uppercut; go out of the front door, into the Audi and set the sat nav coordinates to Zabriskie Point.
And then turn on tune in and drop out.
The song title? I was going to say something about the Today's Programme's lead story about the "bin tax" and the Government's commitment to scrap it. But I couldn't be bothered.