A random run-down of things currently occupying prime slices of the ol’ brain pie:
The corner of Middlesex Street and Harrow Place, London E1 7DB
This expansive stretch of pavement is blessed with capacious hot air extractors running from head height down to the ground. Always warm and dry, even in a light rain, this is where I intend to sleep rough when I am eventually made redundant and become a homeless drifter. Obviously I shan’t be drifting very far from my chosen nest. Maybe just far enough for a different adventure every day, within easy walking distance of Aldgate East tube. A bit like The Littlest Hobo but with less barking on my part. Hope I get a good theme tune.
Compare The Merkin, Dot Com
An alternative advertising campaign I have dreamt up, featuring Tatjana, a charming Ukrainian fanny wig in a silk nightgown. I’ve already sent it in to the men who do adverts and am just awaiting my first pay cheque.
He’s A F*cking Vampire For Christ’s Sake
My proposal for a new dark fantasy television series. It features female lead character Cassie, a feisty young police detective-cum-doctor, and Brendan Lefevre, a pale and mysterious French-Irishman, newly arrived in the city. Cassie soon suspects that Brendan is more than he appears, on account of his pale mysteriousness and the fact that he continually appears at her shoulder off-camera, accompanied by a whooshing sound effect, not to mention how he starts to slightly combust in broad daylight.
Haunted by erotic dreams of this pallid mystery man with his perfect floppy hair and Darcy-esque shirts, our heroine begins to hope for a new chapter in her otherwise mundane life. Her secret prayers are answered when she stupidly lets the guy into her apartment, whereupon he tears her bloody throat out and drinks her dry. Of course. He’s a f*cking vampire for Christ’s sake. I think it would make a refreshing antidote to the current glut of girl-meets-nice-vamp tat out there. Though to be honest, I haven’t yet figured out how to extend my concept past the first episode. Maybe a different feisty young woman each week.
The Loneliness Of The Open Plan Office
Imagine a vast, endless plain, upon which are arrayed infinite rows of office desks, sculpted in ergonomically pleasing curves. Each desk is identical to the others in shape and appearance, as all personalising touches are forbidden by the great powers above. No posters, no fluffy toys, no cloying photos of grinning children to be used as PC desktop backgrounds. Now picture yourself sat at one of these desks, slack-mouthed and slumpy, only dimly aware that 5:30pm is still so very far away. Let us call your desk 06-BK13, for such it is.
This is our mise-en-scene, for which piece of poncy jargon I can thank the six-week Appreciation Of Cinema course I took earlier in the year. I’m pretty sure I must have learnt some other things on the course, but to be honest, mise-en-scene is all that’s coming to mind right now. Apart from that Mildred Pierce is pretty dull.
At any rate, this is our setting – the vast, impersonal open plan office wherein the Chocolate Ocelot is currently resident. The thing about office seating plans, and seating plans in general, is that you only tend to interact with the people you’re directly adjacent to – either side of and facing. Even the guys just behind me seem a hundred yards away in terms of conversational catchment area (Me? Turn round a whole 180 degrees to speak? I think not).
It’s the same at dinner parties, wedding receptions and Christmas meals – anywhere when, even though you’re nominally sat in a group of say twelve or more people, in reality you’re only sat with the three or four within easy talking distance. Though this doesn’t apply if you are loud, drunk, not English or any combination of the three.
This loneliness of the open plan office is never more apparent and mildly painful than when a conversation takes place within earshot but just beyond your own personal Acceptable Interaction Range. For example, a couple of men are sat two rows away, in a different team. You see them every day, but don’t know their names. Thoughtlessly, they have chosen to discuss Blake’s Seven just loudly enough for you to hear, but because they are a) unknown to you and b) outside your personal A.I.R, you are forbidden by laws More Ancient Than Man from joining in. Thus you must sit in agonised silence as they feebly try to remember the two actors who played Travis(1), and the episode where Cally died off-screen(2). Torture, pure torture.
1 – Stephen Greif and Brian Croucher
2 – Rescue, series D