Thursday, 31 December 2009

My ten New Year’s resolutions

1) Resolve more resolutely
2) Resolve to revolve
3) Resolve to devolve
4) Dissolve more resolutely
5) Devolve more resolutely
6) Revolve more dissolutely
7) Dissolve more revolutely
8) Revoluse more dissolve...
9) Okay. Just one last glass.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I hope that's clear

I have an idea on the runway which will be a paradigm shift in the way we communicate. I need to tell you about it going forward. It will be a sea change, a win-win strategy empowerment-wise. Let me clue you. It’s sliced modularity.

Let’s not drink the Kool-Aid on this one. Eyeball the event horizon and get granular. My idea is to turn it all up-side down. No. Stay with me. I want to be totally open kimono on this.

It’s simple. We do some real-time customer-centric turkey basting here. We tell it like it is. We don’t do what they expect. It’s total immersion. Instead of dealing with things holistically, let’s deal with them partially. Instead of being proactive, let’s be reactive. It’s totally new. No-one’s thought of it before. It’s so next generation it’s got to be mission critical to hit the ground running and leverage the synergies.

At the end of the day, it’s all bandwidth. The ROI will be incredible and we can really grow the business. Of course we would have to silo the idea to make it pop with value-added. But it’s not herding cats. With a little bit of BPO or KPO, we can mindshare on this. Back-end netiquette can design pattern the way forward. Collaboration can convergence download the real-time metrics. You just have to think outside the box. Virtualization vapourware brings home the low hanging fruit. Logistically speaking.

Ballpark? It’s Best of Breed.

©Roger Murphy 2009. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

God's Rioja?

Service is the basic form of communication. As children we are taught to serve. Everything from ladies first to putting yourself last in a list. But this has changed. Now we have to queue up in the rain for the privilege of getting our own money from a hole in a wall, and we are told that service has never been better. We squeeze into our local Tesco, fight our way around, queue for half an hour and when we get home much the worse for wear, we read the story that they have just won an award for service excellence.

We are gullible. We believe what we are told, despite the evidence of our own experience. People complain about the gullibility of the religious, but I, for one, would much rather believe in God, than the modern deity, Tesco.

We have made Gods of our buying. The Holy Ghost has become The Wholemeal Toast. The Son of Man, a Pound of Ham. The Holy Trinity’s three persons in one has been out-done by Two for One, Four for a Fiver. Just taste the value!

The divine Tesco doesn’t give a damn for me but rather likes my money. I feel it would be preferable to have a deity that didn’t give a damn for my money, but rather liked me. And I would rather worship in a Cathedral than the modern equivalent – today’s out-of-town hypermarket. These are buildings so vast that Zeppelins would be lost in them.

“Zeppelins? Aisle 390, sir. Watch out for our special on all dirigibles.”

Assistants move like cowled monks among the deep freeze units. Endless queues forming at the few operating checkouts, the confessionals de nos jours, which calculate, enumerate, and measure the cost of our digested sins. We shuffle forward reading the litanies on our packets: ‘…of which sugars, 3.5 grams. emulsifiers, E470, salt, water. Amen.’

And so it was with triumph that I walked away from Tesco Metropolitan Cathedral, New Malden, the other day having spotted an error in their pricing. Four bottles of superb (and usually very expensive) Rioja for £5. I snaffled them and headed for the checkout, where, after I had waited 25 minutes for service, I had the privilege of paying.

I conveyed my wine safely home, but, after the minor frisson of triumph had passed, I felt unclean for I had worshipped at the altar of a God in which I didn’t believe.

I can, however, report that he does produce some excellent Rioja.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

A piece of the action

I have decided to take over.

With the financial world going mad (for example, I now seem to be the sole owner of The Royal Bank of Scotland), I have decided to scare the government by declaring a redundancy package that guarantees me £1 squillion, unless my toxic assets are quantitively eased and forthwith. Obviously, they will cave in as soon as they realise I know what I am talking about.

I once convinced my bank manager to give me a vast overdraft at next to no interest by firmly using a phrase I learned from a P.G. Wodehouse book. In it, the impecunious main character is touching a rich friend for a substantial loan. “Credit is the life-blood of commerce,” he reasons, “without which, the marts of trade lack elasticity.”

I remember the bank manager looking at me with what I took to be reverence, but might, I now realise, have been pity. Either out of fear or wisdom he signed off the rhino immediately.

As the heads of world governments gathered in London the other week to posture and bluster I sensed that these bank managers of the world’s economy have no more idea than my b.m. of what is afoot. Some, half admitting it, say that the situation is new.

But it is they who have created a financial world in which there are no fixed points, where all financial definition became fluid. Concepts that were once fixed to a defined quantity or essence for two or three hundred years, now roam around the place stretching their muscles and looking dazed. It’s as if your living room furniture had suddenly learned to waltz. Too late, the bank managers are realising that once exposed to the joys of free movement fiscal entities will not voluntarily chain themselves back to the oars. As the World War One song put it about soldiers exposed to the delights of the city: “How you gonna keep them down on the farm, After they’ve seen Paree?”.

But to come back to the beginning. I have decided to take over. Capitalism has clearly run its course. What we need is something to replace it. The following are my proposals – a simple Five Year Plan.

1) Year One. Introduce democracy. It has not been tried before. The people will vote legislation directly, using small voting computers the size of a remote control, releasing politicians from the necessity of fiddling their expenses and telling us that honesty in public life is critical.
2) Year Two. Build tumbrils and plenty of them. I don’t know why, it just seems prudent.
3) Year Three. Spangles will be reintroduced, and Opal Fruits will have their name restored.
4) Year Four. Those in favour of capital punishment will be guillotined. I knew we’d need those tumbrils.
5) Year Five. I finally succumb to pleas from many notable figures in the community to emerge from my private life in New Malden where I tend goats. My refusal to accept the title His Majesty, Roger, the Lord New Malden and a tax free pension for life of an undisclosed sum, is drowned out in a tumult of praise. Although much against so many of my principals, I am forced to accept the generous will of the people who wish to express their profound gratitude. A place of honour is prepared for me in the Pantheon. I die of a surfeit of Spangles, which are consequently outlawed, though some feel sure it was a conspiracy among Opal Fruits. Posthumously I am decorated with the Garter and made a Knight of the Goat. I am remembered with love and affection for minutes by a flock in New Malden. In time my legacy is reviewed by historians who agree that my single greatest achievement was the resurrection of the tumbril industry.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


It is sad that the latest Internet sensation is a recording of a film actor, supposedly called Christian Bale, though I think that might be an assumed name, swearing a lot at someone who distracted him and spoiled his concentration during a take. What marks it out is its lack of imagination. It relies almost exclusively on one word that is repeated ad nauseam. That such tedium passes for something remarkable these days is disappointing.

This is weak, mealy-mouthed abuse – sub-standard vitriol. If you are going to insult someone, it should be done with style. The vocabulary should be stretched, the syntactical muscles flexed. How much better if Bale had accused the object of his wrath of being…

"A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir to a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition."

This would have had the added interest of novelty – an actor quoting Shakespeare. This from King Lear II.2. Even just a couple of bits would have been fine. “You, sir, are an eater of broken meats,” would do. Or, perhaps, the beautifully measured, “You are a one-trunk-inheriting slave.”

This matter came up as a subject when I used the word ‘slubberdegullion’ to describe someone whom I felt would benefit from some gentle but reproving encouragement. No-one was more surprised than myself when I used it and later, when looking up the word, I came across a new resource that I warmly recommend.

I will say no more about it, since the author and owner of the resource, Michael Quinion says it all much better himself. It is to be found here:

By looking up ‘slubberdegullion’ in this work, I found a section on invective that quotes the following from Sir Thomas Urquhart’s translation of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel. Quinion says that it ‘draws heavily on vocabulary used in Scotland in his time’(1653)

“ The bun-sellers or cake-makers were in nothing inclinable to their request; but, which was worse, did injure them most outrageously, called them prattling gabblers, lickorous gluttons, freckled bittors, mangy rascals, shite-a-bed scoundrels, drunken roysters, sly knaves, drowsy loiterers, slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubberly louts, cozening foxes, ruffian rogues, paltry customers, sycophant-varlets, drawlatch hoydens, flouting milksops, jeering companions, staring clowns, forlorn snakes, ninny lobcocks, scurvy sneaksbies, fondling fops, base loons, saucy coxcombs, idle lusks, scoffing braggarts, noddy meacocks, blockish grutnols, doddipol-joltheads, jobbernol goosecaps, foolish loggerheads, flutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels, gaping changelings, codshead loobies, woodcock slangams, ninny-hammer flycatchers, noddypeak simpletons, turdy gut, shitten shepherds, and other suchlike defamatory epithets; saying further, that it was not for them to eat of these dainty cakes, but might very well content themselves with the coarse unranged bread, or to eat of the great brown household loaf.”

Now this is majesterial stuff, and includes some of the ripest invective I have read in a long time.

This paragraph should become standard reading for every child in the land and each should be required to memorise it and reproduce it word-perfectly on demand. Imagine the whole of Year Five, for example, reeling this off in unison to visiting dignitaries from the Department for Education, or at prize giving or an end-of-term concert, perhaps harmonised by a barbershop ensemble for the delectation of parents and grandparents.

There is much more to learn from this paragraph than any amount of time spent drafting a letter of complaint to a supermarket, or doing coursework on how to write your CV. Study of this paragraph is of everyday value, enriches discourse, broadens the vocabulary in a very practical manner, and, as a result, stimulates the phagocytes. A prize should be awarded for the child that can most effectively reproduce its effect through imitation – The Rabelais Prize. This would, almost at one go, solve the problem of our disaffected, illiterate and unimaginative youth. A study of the derivation of ‘flutch calf-lollies’ for example, will take the class to an understanding of agricultural and farming methods of the seventeenth century. An etymological exploration of ‘scurvy sneaksbies’ would excite the imagination, develop medical knowledge, introduce a variety of philosophical conceits, and probe the moral law. What could be better?

All this may require a small adjustment to the Education Act, so I therefore urge you to write to your Members of Parliament immediately insisting upon this significant step forward in the education of our children. They will at last, poor lambs, matriculate with a vocabulary that will equip them for modern life and be able properly to inveigh and rail.

You know it makes sense.