At the End of the Day

Tonight I offer advice to those of a certain age and wisdom. It is this: do not put a red and blue tube of muscle heat-ointment in the same bathroom drawer as your red and blue tube of denture fixative.

What happened to me just prior to lunch today had nothing to do with alcohol, but everything to do with being in a hurry – and having left my glasses downstairs. Hurry rhymes with curry, and having a deep-heat product under your denture is a bit like filling your mouth with chilli peppers while swilling the whole around with a vindaloo of raw paprika.

And in other news, I am beginning to get more than slightly pissed off with the informality being adopted by the mice here. There is no longer even an attempt to scurry or hide: a youngster I encountered tonight (obviously born since the works started, and therefore accustomed to human presence plus a lack of interest in killing him) sat on his hind legs, rubbed his nose and stared at me as if to say “Who TF invited you?”

Worse still, the buggers are noisy. They scratch and scrape and have at it with no respect at all for the fact that I am an intelligent and genetically-honed killer with a short fuse. As Lou Reed would’ve sung, “They need a lesson to be taught”.

This means war.

Unfortunately, that would mean a war on two fronts which, as the Führer and Boney discovered to their cost, is never a good idea. For I have a plumber saddled with a dick where his brain should be determined to charge me money over and above the original quote…despite the fact that he delivered less than was promised. And he has decided to get litigious…which no doubt he thinks has something to do with religious readings.

It says a lot about this supplier and his penis-shaped brain that I find myself infinitely more worried about the mice than I am about him. You see, while he might harbour delusions of making life difficult for me, to the best of my knowledge he is not capable of gnawing into small plastic food containers, and then shitting into the contents. And that, trust me, is what mice do when allowed a free rein.

But neither mice nor f**kwitted suppliers can compete with technology. I went to my landline handset today and saw a message waiting. It was in fact a phone number accompanied by the information that “ce correspondent a essayé de vous joindre deux fois”. It gave me the Option 1 of hearing the message again, and so I hit Option 1 to discover that “ce correspondent a essayé de vous joindre deux fois”. The key thing missing was the phone number. As Bob Dylan said in his Talkin’ World War III Blues:

I was feelin’ kinda lonesome and blue
I needed somebody to talk to
So I called up the operator of time
Just to hear a voice of some kind
“When you hear the beep
It will be three o’clock”
She said that for over an hour
And then I hung up.

When I got back to the laptop, a WordPress Helper had popped up to say “Howdy, how can I Help?” So I told him how, but he couldn’t help. Ever since I ended the chat, WordPress has been telling me every ninety seconds that all their operators are busy but I should keep trying. If only I had the means to keep telling the Board of WordPress that all my fruit is now overripe but they should keep on pissing off.

And finally, some encouraging news. Leaked confidential Newscorp financial documents show that the Australian newspaper division dropped $320m in ad revenues and cut one in eight jobs in the 2012-13 financial year. Newscorp’s Australian newspaper revenues fell 14% to AU$1.9b in 2012-13, with circulation revenue dropping 5%, while operating income fell 67% to AU$94m.

And RBS has dissolved its GRG (allegedly responsible for destroying thousands of SME businesses in the UK) in an attempt to wash it hands of fraud. But Alison Loveday, senior partner of Manchester-based law firm Berg, which is representing scores of business people who claim their firms were destroyed by GRG’s actions, does not believe the closure of GRG will block the pipeline of civil litigation against RBS. And insolvency lawyer James Nicholls, former managing partner of Birmingham-based Nicholls & Co, said: “This is largely window dressing. If RBS was serious about cleaning up its act in recovery and restructuring, it would be bringing in a new broom from outside.”

In August 2008, GRG staff were told they would have to become more aggressive – bumping up fees, forcing clients into new terms and agreements, and seizing equity stakes in customer firms, according to a GRG whistleblower who appeared on Channel 4 News. Asked by the programme’s Siobhan Kennedy what these new fees were for, the whistleblower said: “Nothing really. The fees were just there to make sure [firms] were pushed to the brink.”

But still it seems the RBS CEO Ross McEwan says he can find “no evidence” of wrongdoing in the files. We have all the makings a virus pandemic of blindandeaf syndrome here, given that Rebekah Brooks seems to have sailed through a decade of Newscorp management and (despite shagging the bloke now found guilty of hacking phones) never once even heard the the term phone hack, and never once heard her lover say “Do his phone”.

Other blindandeaf sufferers include David Cameron (who sat through Boxing Day lunch with Brooks and James Murdoch without ever hearing the words “phone hacking enquiry”), Rupert Murdoch (who could barely remember his own name or image in the mirror while giving evidence to the Hackgate enquiry), and Ed Miliband (who clamoured for Brooks’s resignation in 2011, but couldn’t recall a grovelling meeting with Brooks during his leadership campaign in 2010. Miliband had been badly briefed, kept calling Brooks “Rachael”, and asked if she had children).

However, you would have to have tertiary blindandeaf syndrome to miss the presence of the Famille des Souris in my house. It would actually be quite fun to get Ms Brooks down here, and note at which point she spotted the mice in the living room. Given her ability to miss rampaging bull elephants in the newsroom, I imagine she might well be a guest here for several years before we got a result.

On second thoughts, maybe the fun part would pall long before then.

Earlier at The Slog: The media correlation between superficial shit and deep shit