Glastonbury ‘just a muddy version of your office’

Revellers arriving at Glastonbury for days of inebriated mayhem have been shocked to discover that all of their colleagues are there too.

An air of tension hangs over Worthy Farm as festival goers try to reconcile the urge to consume as many narcotics as will fit in them with the need to not expose any genitalia to their line manager, who is camped seven yards away.

Entire reporting lines have sprung up accidentally all over the site, with attendance particularly high among those who claim to work in new media, management consultancy or any form of tech startup. Farringdon is reportedly empty at present.

The situation is especially awkward for the 78% of people who are have told their peers that they are working from home or attending a conference, with many trying to cover their backs by wandering the site and repeating the phrase “this immersive residential course is really going to help me pitch my brand to millenials” to every passer by they encounter.

Networking

“This immersive residential course is really going to help me pitch my brand to millenials”

Festival organisers have expressed fears that the inherently twattish culture of the modern British workplace is having a negative effect on the festival.

“We are worried, yes”, admitted organiser Stephanie Sinclair. “Last night there were only 9 people watching Florence + The Machine on the main stage, while we had almost a quarter of a million attempting to watch one woman talk about why Powerpoint is dead and all your deliverables should be presented in the form of contemporary dance. It might be innovative but it’s not exactly Glasto is it?

“What even is a deliverable anyway? I swear these people just make up words.”

Sinclair did concede that there was some common ground between the spirit of the festival and the corporate hordes who attend it.

“There are literally boatloads of drugs, which is obviously a big part of this whole thing. We’re also pretty sure that Kanye West will be a sellout – when he plays music they all start turning to their friends and screaming “THIS IS MY JAM”, thousands of them at a time. I find this confusing, as they’re rarely actually holding jam at the time.”

It is unclear whether behaviours observed at the festival will impact on workers’ day jobs, although there would surely be mass support for any quarterly review that reads: ‘Overall, Gary’s work has been exemplary, but I did see him chewing a tent pole at Glastonbury. I, however, thought I was a dragon and was wearing only ski goggles at the time, so I’m willing to overlook it on this occasion.’

Meanwhile, Sinclair and her team will have to work out how to attract a more diverse crowd to next year’s event.

“We charge hundreds of pounds for ticket, we open the phone lines at 10am – yet we keep ending up with crowds of people who loads of cash and jobs that don’t sound real.”

“I just don’t get it.”

District Line gains sentience, turns feral

In a terrifying turn of events, it has been confirmed that London’s least reliable Tube line has become a living entity and is refusing to obey its TfL overlords unless a string of bizarre demands are met.

The line, characterised by carriages which pre-date stainless steel and a ragtag collection of empty stations with fancy names, has never been the most efficient of rail networks, but since the turn of the year its behaviour has become erratic to the point where scientists have been able to prove that it has indeed developed feelings, a soul, and the mental capacity of a senile horse.

I have borne witness to these strange unfoldings and can report the following additional features to the service:

Laziness  – The new District Line has yet to grasp the concept of a timetable, adamantly believing it to be a sturdy piece of furniture made of clocks. This means that trains now arrive simultaneously or not at all, as though all the trains have been sent out at once like a massive metal snake. Whilst TfL still insist that your service will arrive at 5,15,25 past the hour etc., the new schedule is random and is currently closer to 3,3,3 and tomorrow past the hour.

All trains lead to Richmond – Much as with the schedule, the neat rotation of destinations is a thing of the past. The thinking District Line has decided that Richmond is very much the place to be and cannot be convinced otherwise. It is said to find the cobbled streets and wildly overpriced boutiques a delight. The pattern that used to run Wimbledon, Richmond, Ealing Broadway now reads Richmond, Richmond, Richmond, and the only services to Ealing occur when controllers can distract the line with a delicious biscuit and quietly change the sign on the front of the train. This happens roughly once an hour.

Will almost certainly go to Richmond instead

Will almost certainly go to Richmond instead

Whimsy

The renewed focus on Richmond as the centre of the District Line’s universe has begun to force out other information taking up space in the network’s mind-carriage which it deems unimportant, such as where it’s meant to go. This morning, while managing to remember the way to Ealing Common, we got somewhat waylaid when the District Line was distracted by a Piccadilly Line train, which it finds highly sexually attractive. Something about the rounder trains and the ability to go into deep tunnels and to Uxbridge leave the District Line all hot and bothered. Unfortunately this meant that our train followed its sexy prey all the way to North Ealing, instead of Ealing Broadway, before the driver was able to wrestle it back under control (I shit you not, this genuinely happened today). In fairness the driver did a wonderful job with his explanation – a masterstroke of brevity – “This train will terminate here”. He left all manner of tantalising questions unanswered, questions like ‘Why?’, ‘How?’ and ‘Isn’t this station on a different line?’

It’s rumoured that unless TfL get a handle on the situation, and let’s face it, they won’t, we can expect this disturbing new beast to continue to act up. Rumours suggest that the District Line has written down a bucket list which it repeats to itself daily in a sort of chant. Items include ‘Punch Victoria Line’, ‘Build new station between Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park’ and the more worrying entries of ‘Parkour’ and ‘Joust’.

The only hope TfL have of taming the beast is to wait until it’s briefly out of service, suspended or otherwise not working and administer a series of massive electric shocks to regain control of the line. Ironically, thanks to its own continued incompetence (or as it prefers, tube improvement works), Transport for London will have the opportunity to do this on most weekends, all bank holidays, and really the vast majority of the working week.

It will only be a five minute job, so they’ve committed to having it done by late 2018.

“Thank you for travelling on the Central line”

Eh?

Did that actually happen? Right, status check: Am I still asleep? No. Am I drunk? No. Is the body odour emanating from the man whose armpit I’m now inhabiting causing me to hear things? It’s possible, but normally there are more dancing rabbits by this point.

No, my ears did not deceive – a mode of transport just thanked me for choosing it.

I’m not sure how many of you have experienced the joy of any tube line at morning rush hour, but choice is a concept that is far removed from such an environment. Unless you’re into being half-crushed by leaking strangers in a box that makes a clown car look roomy, it’s very unlikely that you’ve expressed a strong consumer preference to travel on the Central line.

That’s not to say there aren’t options. There are certainly options. I’ve even tried some, a personal highlight being the bus, which assured me it was a 40 minute journey and then proceeded to take two bloody hours. Cycling won’t get me killed but will make me unsuitably sweaty for a work environment which is distinctly lacking in showers. Walking is a stretch at 5 and a bit miles. So yes, in one way I am choosing to travel on the Central line, but in another, much more realistic sense, of course I’m fucking not. Allow me to paint a word picture:

Person: “I’ve chopped my arm off by accident.”

Doctor: “I can see that.”

Person: “Can you help?”

Doctor: “I can. But first I’d just like to thank you for choosing our hospital today. It really means a lot to us that you’ve chosen to have your gushing, terrifying wound treated here.”

Person: “But the next nearest hospital is 30 miles away.”

Doctor: “I know, but still, you’re a valued customer.”

Person: “I really am losing quite a lot of blood.”

That is the kind of thanks you’re getting on the Central line.

No TfL, thank you.

No TfL, thank you.

This sort of unnecessary, simpering, hollow adoration is becoming more and more commonplace – and it’s unbelievably annoying. Somebody, somewhere, has sat around a table and said “Tube users need to feel more valued. Why don’t we thank them every time they step into a carriage?”, and a group of other, supposedly rational and qualified people have agreed that this is not a wholly shit idea.

It is a wholly shit idea. It’s a massive, flashing, neon sign that says that you know your service is horrendous, and the only thing you’re going to do about it is record a short voiceover. The worse a company is, the more thanks they offer. TalkTalk are serial thankers who are unable to provide even a vague semblance of internet for vast swathes of the year, while Ryanair host a small party for their customers whenever a plane lands on the same day it was meant to.

Meanwhile, better organisations spend less time trying on the empty platitudes. (Sadly, this doesn’t mean they’re actively rude to customers – it would be a glorious day when John Lewis unveil the slogan “Shut up – you fucking love it”) What they do do is spend more time on actually doing things to improve how people experience their brand, which is easy to lose sight of when your company is juggling the really important stuff like getting more likes on Facebook. The best brands don’t tell customers how much they love them, they show them. Actions speak louder than words.

In summary, keep the thanks, buy more fucking trains.

London hyperbole levels return to normal

Hyperbole, exaggeration and ridiculously self-important statements have finally receded in London following last week’s tube strikes.

Following 48 hours of having to endure a slightly shitter tube network than normal, incidences of phrases like ‘Blitz spirit’, ‘Dunkirk mentality’ and ‘travel hell’ have dropped down to normal London levels, roughly five times the national average. An actual judge used the words ‘Dunkirk spirit’ to describe a jury managing to make it to court and nobody batted an eyelid, as though reaching a central London location using a still acceptable level of public transport were in any way akin to floating into a warzone across miles of open sea in a bathtub. Similarly, literally all of the people who described an exchange of pleasantries on a bus as ‘Blitz spirit’ were subsequently at a loss to explain how this event was in any way comparable to having high explosive dropped on your house for several years.

The level of blatant egocentrism sweeping the Big Smoke threatened to exceed tolerable levels and leave Londoners weeping uncontrollably into their soy lattes, bleating about enduring terrible hardship. Examples of these travails include waiting 10 minutes for a tube, unplanned use of own legs and talking to other Londoners in a semi-civil manner.

However did we survive?

However did we survive?

Indeed, the infectious wave of camaraderie threatened to engulf the entire capital – reports suggest an outbreak of singing on one bus and strangers helping a fainting woman on another. Many Londoners found themselves unable to intentionally elbow strangers or block people from getting off trains despite a strong urge to do so. They found themselves speaking in tongues, uttering alien phrases like ‘no, you first’. Many have subsequently described the experience as ‘hellish’.

Thankfully, the episode has passed and a healthy level of fear and hatred of one’s fellow human has been re-instilled across the capital.

The rest of the UK, predictably, have failed to see what the problem is with waiting 10 minutes for a bus or train and have quietly pointed out that while it must be quite tough to have to walk to work, it’s probably almost as tough to have your house flooded, have your transport network washed away and your entire county re-classified as a large lake. They have also suggested that Londoners who still think they’ve got any kind of issues at all might like to swap lives for a week, or kindly shut up.

‘Anyone throwing American footballs will be ejected from the cinema’ – The Room, Prince Charles Cinema

You just know it’s going to be a good night when that’s up on the screen don’t you? And it was.

This is part recommendation, part review, part attempt to make sense of one of the most bizarre and entertaining evenings of film I have ever witnessed.

First the basics. There’s this film called The Room. It’s hands down the worst film I have ever seen. Ostensibly a romantic drama, it’s so poorly executed it has been retrospectively labelled as a black comedy by writer, director and ‘star’ Tommy Wiseau, even though that’s clearly bollocks.

Words can’t describe how bad this film actually is as a film, so here’s the actual official trailer:

There are more gems like that all over Youtube, check them out.

Even this brief glimpse of the film gives you a fairly strong idea of the level of acting, dialogue, plot and set design you’re in for with this.

There are so many, many faults with The Room that it would be a fool’s errand to list them all here, and other sites do a pretty comprehensive guide. As a taster, some of the key themes are:

– Characters who turn up in the film and are never introduced

– Throwing American footballs around in cramped and unsuitable spaces

– The above but in tuxedos

– Eye-wateringly bad sex scenes. There are three; the first two are the same scene re-hashed because the actress involved allegedly wouldn’t do two takes. The third is so long you can comfortably get a beer and go for a wee while it’s on

– Spoons

– People not shutting the fucking door

Bring lots.

Bring lots.

Why would anybody give this flick a chance?

Well, it turns out that the good folk at the Prince Charles in Leicester Square do, and so should you.

They show it about once a month, and it seems to be a sellout (300 people or so) quite regularly. The film has gained such a cult following that people show up in Tommy Wiseau fancy dress toting footballs, and the supply of plastic spoons in London must be put under severe strain as people turn up with bags of them.

Why plastic spoons and American footballs? To hurl at the screen of course.

What results is pure, unbridled hilarity for 99 minutes of cripplingly awful cinema with a long list of ‘rules’ and a properly devoted fan base. One bloke even dressed up as main love interest Lisa, which seemed extreme.

The rules are various and almost always involve shouting. When the picture of a spoon, clearly a stock photo that cam with the frame, is on screen, shout ‘Spooooooooooooooon’ and hurl your plastic cutlery. You have not lived until you’ve seen 500 spoons gracefully arcing towards a cinema screen.

When nobody closes the fucking door in the film, scream at them to close the fucking door.

When another random character comes in and isn’t introduced, enquire as to who the fuck they are.

When the two random characters who aren’t introduced come in and start making out, tell the man to do the face. He’ll do the face. You’ll wish he hadn’t done the face.

When another framing shot of San Francisco comes up to remind us that we’re still in San Francisco, remark on the fact that we’re still in San Francisco.

When the camera pans across the Golden Gate bridge, shout encouragement. Celebrate wildly if it makes it all the way across.

When the camera unfocuses, as it does regularly, shout ‘Focus!’.

When the sex scenes kick off, scream ‘Unfocus!’.

Observe a hushed reverence for the flower shop scene, as this is the acting zenith of the film and also one of the best things you will ever see.

Be prepared to scream ‘You’re tearing me apart Lisa!’

Be prepared to have a game of American football outside the cinema afterwards.

Be prepared for the football to be confiscated after your gangly flatmate overcooks his throw again and almost puts it through a restaurant window.

Be prepared to get significantly drunk beforehand.

Have a celebratory scothka afterwards.

These are only a very few of the rules. A more comprehensive beginner’s guide can be found here.

If you’re a complete newbie, don’t worry – about 75% of the audience seem not only to know the film but to know every chant, callout and spoon-throwing moment therein. You’re in safe hands.

So, yeah, basically, go see it, you won’t have more fun in a dark room.

Sewers ‘tooling up’ at alarming rate

Britain’s underground passages have launched a sinister war against humanity.

The Subterranean Effluent, Water and Everyday Rubbish Society, or sewers for short, have finally grown tired of centuries of mistreatment by the surface dwelling bipeds above who think it’s fine to pour cooking oil down the sink despite knowing full well that it’s a total dick maneuver.

It is also thought that, being sensitive souls, they are irked that people have stopped dropping rings and other shiny metals into drains like everybody did in the 20th Century, as the lustrous object provided a pleasing contrast to the earthy tones produced by the endless rivers of shite.

The sewers have two main weapons in the fight against us. The first is a good old-fashioned explosion. By leaking onto surrounding electric cabling it is possible to create a fairly significant blast, and guerilla elements in the sewer network have become increasingly adept over the past few years. In just a year they managed to increase their attacks by 150%.

A spokesman for the sewers, concealing his identity with a manhole cover, said: “We are bringing terror to the streets of Britain. Literally. Al-Qaeda haven’t got shit on us. Literally.”

Shit's about to get real.

Shit’s about to get real.

Today a new weapon emerged, or rather submerged, under the streets of Kingston. A ‘fatberg‘, a gruesome device cunningly assembled from baby wipes, butter and regurgitated Big Macs, was found lurking underneath a block of flats. Weighing 15 tonnes and around the size of a bus, it is clear that the ‘berg was almost ready for launch. Kingston County Council have rightly been praised for their swift counter-terrorism actions, which involved a bloke submerged in used condoms chucking chemicals at it for three weeks.

It is unclear what the exact purpose of the fatberg is, although experts suspect the sewers lack of satellite signal means they are some what out of touch with current events. Their latest news source is allegedly a copy of the Times from April 1912 and the group is certain that the surface world is still in a golden age of ocean liners with inept captains and insufficient lifeboat provision. It is believed they intend to launch a flotilla of fatbergs into the Atlantic and watch the carnage unfold.

The spokesman seemed to confirm this theory: “Soon all your boats will be sinking like chicken nuggets in a cesspool thanks to our mighty fatbergs.”

“Although thinking about it they are basically made of lubricants, so stuff might just glide off whilst receiving a free wax.”

“But fuck it, you’ll still pay. Just wait til we unleash the turdmines.”

 

Shut up. It’s food, not the renaissance.

I think I have to stop watching television.

Based on my extensive research, if you turn on the telly there is now a 103% chance that you will come across some kind of cookery show.

I used to like cookery shows. I used to like it when they cooked something that I might one day eat myself, like chicken doused in curry powder or something involving fish fingers. I didn’t even mind when it got a bit fancy; aspiration is good. As long as it was vaguely humble or realistic, and there was at least a tacit acknowledgement that they what they were actually making was food and not a recreation of the happy tears of God, that was pretty much fine.

I’ve been drawn into Great British Menu recently. In much the same way a bear trap draws you in – whenever I encounter it I end up swearing, shouting and missing a leg.

Again, the first series, fine. This series, however, has disappeared so far up its own arse that it’s trying to serve it’s own kidneys as a delicious amuse bouche with some duck’s milk creme fraiche.

Last week I watched a man, who is paid to professionally cook food, that he was going to create a witty deconstruction of a kebab.

He then proceeded to just make a kebab. A regular doner kebab. He then served it in a kebab box. He then put it in a bag.

Creamy. Unctuous. Aggressively avant garde. A revolution!

Creamy. Unctuous. Aggressively avant garde. A revolution!

Today another man made a salad, then put it in a box with a barcode on it. Like they do in exclusive shops like Tesco. The voiceover described it as ‘quirky’ at least nine times and then his fellow contestants fawned over how quirky it was to serve a salad in a box.

They ought to come to my work cafe, they’ll have a fit.

I know food has a propensity to get a bit wanky, but we’ve now reached new heights in self-aggrandising bollocks. This isn’t just restricted to the tellybox. In London you can’t move without walking into the next hot Japanese-Ethiopian fusion indie new popup inside a functioning crack den where everything is cooked by trained pianists using irons and served by people who hate you.

And the language! I won’t go into a restaurant any more unless the grub has been described as orgasmic, groundbreaking, edgy, clever and overtly sexual – anything less suggests that somebody may have shat in the fairtrade peas. Even if you want something simple as sausage and mash in even a mediocre pub restaurant you now have to read a brief statement indicating the pig’s breed, name and marital status. This vital information also appears to lead to a £4 surcharge on your dish. I do not care whether the pork was rare breed or found wandering drunk along the M4. It’s now in a sausage.

Don’t get me wrong, I love food. I’m an eater. But please, please can we get over this bullshit?

I had toast for dinner. It was brilliant.