Tag Archives: Influence

Our Past, Present, and Future

12 Jan

You are never going to believe the familiar face I bumped into today: Mr Rupert Stanley Quim.

It’s been years since I’d seen my most significant employer. He and I left on relatively friendly terms (thanks to the effective counsel of my lawyer), but we’ve not spoken since (thanks to his now-expired restraining order).

I cannot deny the influence he had on my professional life. He taught me valuable lessons about deals, details, and deadlines. We spent many hours together, hunched over the desk in his messy office, discussing and debating. He was a formidable friend and foe. He could drink me under a table, but I always won when we arm wrestled.

I didn’t offer to fight him today, though, as it was obvious that time had taken its toll on dear Rupert. The voice that had once boomed threats at me over a busy publishing office was now much weaker, barely a whisper. He was smaller, too; I mean this literally — I could have easily pinned him against a wall and stolen his wallet and wristwatch (I didn’t, but I could have). In fact, he confessed that the tattoo of my face which used to be on his thigh has now dropped down to his shin, which didn’t make sense to me but whatever. Otherwise, his wit was still with him, and we enjoyed a short talk, bad mouthing the same enemies we’d criticized so many years ago. God rest their souls.

Seeing Rupert made me reflect on the various ways people move through our lives, and how the crucial relationships — whether good or bad — stay with us forever. Despite today’s nice chat, I’ll be absolutely fine if Mr Quim and I never meet again. I know that something will happen almost every day that will remind me of his influence on my work. And I know he’ll think of me just as frequently, or at least every time he reaches down to tie his shoes while also wearing short trousers.

What Fresh Hell is This?

20 Jan

If you have come here to find out for whom you should vote in the upcoming election (whose date looks to be May 6th, but my goodness, you shouldn’t be relying on me to schedule such important things), I’m afraid you will meet with disappointment. I am well aware that many people are such blind followers of celebrities that they have created a whole industry dedicated to emulating them.  Undoubtedly there are people out there who would love to be more like me (and why wouldn’t they?); however, I refuse to influence anyone’s decision about such an important topic as which party should rule our country. So if you want someone to tell you how to vote, you will need to go to elsewhere.

However, I do feel it is not an abuse of my overwhelming popularity to make a simple statement about the most important issue facing us right now: the economy.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that we’re in a “recession”; just because I have an endless stream of income doesn’t mean I’m not aware that others do not. I read the papers and I occasionally watch the telly, and as you know I have nothing but respect for John Humphrys and if he says there’s trouble, I know there’s trouble.

Furthermore, as a woman of the people, I care about the people. If my neighbours are no longer able to afford to have their paper delivered and instead have to walk down to the news agents themselves, well, that’s worrying. However, I have recently learned that the situation might be even worse than anyone had previously imagined. What has really “blown my mind” is the way it is affecting local council budgets. As a result, the lives of everyday people are going to be affected in ways beyond our current comprehension. Those with a strong constitution may be able to face the entirety of the new budget proposals of East Devon District Council, but for the rest of you, I will just highlight a few alarming cuts:

Cease maintaining town clocks and coloured festooned lights

Now we’re not talking about the removal of the town clocks and coloured festooned lights (I believe this implies that the white lights are safe). In many ways, completely destroying them would be preferable. As it stands, the clocks and lights will still be there, just not maintained, serving as haunting reminders to the townspeople of how low we’ve gone.

No planting of hanging baskets or flower beds at gateways to the town

A gateway without beds or baskets? And the Council expects citizens to still be able to walk with their heads held high?

The closure of Littleham public toilets and ending the deep cleaning of toilets.

Now certainly just because we’re in dire straits does not mean that we need to use the loo any less frequently than we did in times of fecund plenty. Our times are so tight that not only are our excretion opportunities more limited but when we do have to go, the toilets will only have been lightly edulcorated. This must surely indicate that we are in crisis mode.

We are a country in distress. People, friends, citizens of one of the top six or seven countries in the world—please keep these devastating effects of the economic downturn in mind when making your decision at the ballot box.  Think of those poor people of Sidmouth, unable to look at flowers falling from baskets as they rush to unhygienic public conveniences while being unsure if the town clock is correct. The government is chosen by the people for the people. Choose wisely.