Monday, May 25, 2009

The Great Defectors

My team of amiable and only occasionally annoying Clerical Officers have informed me that their Union, the Civil and Public Services Union are staging an embargo on co-operating with the PMDS system, as a protest against the various cuts that have been inflicted on us in recent months.

The Department of Finance has issued a warning in which salary increments may not be paid to members if they refuse to co-operate with the PMDS process. I'm glad that I agreed all role profile forms for 2009 long before all this with everyone, so that they won't lose out for this year. But there's very little else that I can do apart from that.

I mean, I can't start drafting any Interim Review Forms. Ah, Interim Review forms. My staff have been very clear on the matter.

"We're not doing PMDS anymore!" they jeered at me, with tongues extended, blowing raspberries.

"Oh yeah?" I retorted. "I'm really sorry to hear that. Do you realise how much I love writing up all those interim review forms? And Annual Review forms? I mean, my whole YEAR revolved around filling those things up. What is the purpose of my existence now? Was my existence not solely to fill out forms about key performance indicators and critical success factors? What do I do now? Am I adrift in a sea of blank forms?"

I've no doubt it will come back to haunt me and all the other EOs up and down the country who would normally be carrying out interim reviews in the coming weeks.

I'm just going to concentrate on my other work (for there is no shortage of that, either) and let the rest of them battle it out. I hope it all works out in the end.

Soul Food

Well, here we are again, the exhilarating start of yet another exhilarating week in the bowels of a dusty Government office.

Thankfully, I have many interests outside of work. Outdoor pursuits like hiking and cycling, writing this stuff, attempting to resurrect two unfinished novels and endeavouring to delight my palate and those of my occasional dinner guests with delectable and spicy Indian goodness. And not always succeeding. Well, that's part of the fun, I find.

I love to talk about food with my like-minded colleagues. We share tips and tricks and meal suggestions.

Today, I engaged in a discussion with a colleague about what to do with leftover star anises which sometimes find their way to the back of the cupboard and get forgotten about. (That's ANISES, not ANUSES! Although Anuses are sometimes referred to as Chocolate Starfish.) I got a tip to try boiling one with rice and turmeric. Hmm. I will try that later in the week. With a star anise. Not an anus. I don't particularly want my rice to taste of boiled anus. Blehh.

A nosey colleague happened to enter the office just as we were discussing this, and wandered over to listen to the conversation. When it finished she inhaled deeply and blurted:

Nosey: Wow, you're quite the cook, Govstooge? Aren't you?
Govstooge: I try.
Nosey: Is it just Indian stuff you do?
Govstooge: No. I try everything. But Indian's my favourite.
Nosey: Wow. You should be a chef!
Govstooge (Thinks: Umm. Is somebody looking to wangle an invite to one of my curry nights? Just so she can have a look round my house? Well, I'm fucked if that's going to happen, so...) No, Antigone. I couldn't possibly be a chef.
Nosey: Why not?
Govstooge: Because the doctors told me I can't work with knives. You see I have this uncontrollable urge to cut. Others who stand so close to me, usually. Like you're doing now.
Nosey: (Running away) Waah!
Govstooge: But I don't have a knife now! Just this pointy letter opener....

I'm sure my readers of the psychiatric profession are now consulting their Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals. But really, it's a defence mechanism against intrusiveness. I hope our Personnel Department feel the same way.

Anyway, tonight's Tarka Dhal was rather nice indeed. I didn't even burn it or anything!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Good jaysus. The sun is splitting the stones outside for the first time since January 1990, and what am I doing?

Trying to recover from a cheap lager-induced hangover while watching reruns of The Office (Steve Carrell version). It's like a work simulation. I know somebody at work who could be Dwight. In fact, he even looks like Dwight.

Going outside now before I punch the telly...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Douze points!

Last night's Eurovision Song Contest was fun. Silly fun, yes, but in this economic climate, we should take all the chances we can get.

Ok, I was disappointed that our own Sinead Mulvey et al. didn't make it to the final. It was a pretty decent pop song and they gave it all they had in the semi-final. And I was also disappointed that the Serbian bloke who looked like Einstein after an unfortunate incident with a split atom in a paint factory didn't make it through either.

But Cirque de Soleil were bloody excellent and the interval act featuring giant suspended swimming pools was just extrordinary. As was the almost 100% accurate Ronan Keating clone who represented Denmark. I always suspected that there was a degree of genetic engineering going on in boy-band circles, and this only serves to confirm my suspicions.

Alexander Rybak's song Fairytale, the overall winner and most popular Eurovision victor ever, did nothing for me I'm afraid. I thought the Swedish mezzo-soprano was superb, as was the Maltese girl, Chiara. Even in spite of my aversion to all things Andrew Lloyd-Webber, I also thought the UK entry was one of the best.

But just to backtrack to Alexander Rybak for a moment...

I mean...


Jaysus, I'm going to print this picture off and stick it on my desk. It'll be a nice distraction from the forms on a bad day. Yum yum yum yum yum.

Oslo next year I think!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Last night on TV I watched a bloke sniff his armpit as part of a dance routine. Later, I noticed that Elvis had come back to life as a fat Belgian trying to audition for Father Ted and that Freddie Mercury had also been resurrected, this time as a skinny bloke from Eastern Yurp (I can't be bothered looking up which country he was from). Not to mention the almost naked Bulgarian stiltwalkers. Or the Macedonian Bon Jovi.
If you haven't guessed already, I was watching the annual gayfest (gay as they use it in South Park) that is the Eurovision Song Contest semi final.
Is it just me or does it get worse every year? This year, the interval act was the only decent bit because it featured the Red Army Choir in nice uniforms with very, very big hats.
But the worse it gets, the more I watch it! I'm sure I'm in good company.

Dear God, why... WHY?

Using the lavatories at work, as one must, when biological needs dictate...

I enter my favourite cubicle, the one near the window.

I stop dead in my tracks. There is a spoon on the windowsill. That's right, a SPOON. From the canteen.

Just what the hell was that woman doing with a SPOON in the toilets?


I'm sure it has been returned to the canteen by now.

I'm never stirring my coffee again.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I'm intrigued. I've just been browsing my Statcounter and notice I've had a lot of visitors from Japan.

In particular, several visits from a server at the National Center Of Neurology And Psychiatry, Saitama.

As always, I appreciate a new audience, but you'll have to forgive my ignorance on this one - I have absolutely no idea what possible interest Japanese psychiatrists or neurologists might have in my scribblings.

Can anyone shed any light? Preferably not of the axial tomography variety thank you very much.

DepartMental Memo

Department of Squeaky Doors


To: All Lower Level Managers
From: Uber Senior Manager-in-Chief

It has been observed by those of us in the Ivory Tower (i.e. Senior Management floor) that many of you lower level plebs aren't doing your jobs properly, as there have been repeated incidents of extended watercooler chatting among the lower orders. This is detracting from the real work; in a time of recession we must be seen to be doing stuff. What if an external contractor were to come in to dust the forms and saw that and went out into the big bad world and tell their friends what we were up to in our nice civil service building?

So, in order to redress this problem, we are removing all watercoolers from use with immediate effect. There will now only be watercoolers in Senior Management offices dispensing Perrier, Cristal Champagne and liquid MDMA.

Please inform your staff that should they feel the need for liquid refreshment, there is water available on the roof. Or, alternately, they might adopt the practice of drinking their own wee-wee. Apparently there are health benefits to be had from this (Please contact the Employee Assistance Officer for further details). We don't know. We haven't tried it.

You should sell the additional obvious benefit of water conservation in the office to them as well, since they will no longer need to flush toilets. If this becomes a widespread practice, we might close the toilets altogether and this will facilitate new shiny offices for senior management without the need for a costly extension to the building.

Thank you for your co-operation.