Brian's Brief Encounters

This is an Unofficial Kaffe Fassett fanzine. Brought to you from a Leafy Suburb of the Throbbing Metropolis.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Surfeit Of Surveys

I’m not the only one seeking answers.

The ‘Together’ Team are at it too.

I’ve recently received my eagerly awaited copy of their Values Consultation questionnaire. If you haven’t yet got your copy, please seek one out. For those of you that have them, think twice before you reach for the ‘delete’ key. Your opinion is important. Someone’s promotion may rely on it.

In urging my colleagues to have their anonymous say, I’ve been met by a few puzzled looks. I agree it is a bit wordy. To assist you I’ve translated the first (of six) sections into Job-speak. Just to give you the general idea.

This is the section titled:-

“We will commit to Open and Honest Dialogue”

Who sniggered? You’re not helping.

In common with all six sections, the next line reads:-

“In living this value, we will:”

Now, I know it’s not a very good start. This one had me stumped. I had to resort to feeling lucky on a search engine. It directed me to the Vision, Mission and Values page of the Vancouver Hospital. That cleared it up nicely.

“Allow for open and honest feedback”

Bollockings are to be encouraged.

“Encourage challenge, including upwards, to ensure that our behaviour is consistent”

Your chance to tell your boss what you really think of him/her. If you don’t like your job.

“Accept criticism”

See above re feedback.

“Ensure all staff feel comfortable in expressing themselves without fear”

See above re encouraging challenge.

“Be transparent in our information, policies and processes”

‘Don’t tell them your name Pike’ is now a banned phrase. Expect to have to explain the intricacies of the Ways and Means Act too.

“Allow space for dialogue about mistakes to help us learn from them”

Your open and honest feedback is to be scheduled. Ad-hoc criticism is now banned.

“Explain the good and the bad”

No. I don’t know what Clint Eastwood movie reviews have to do with the modern Police Service either. Maybe The ‘Together’ Team are fans?

“Ensure that our structures and processes reflect our values.”

Erm… This one is obvious. You don’t need me.

“Be able to say sorry”

If you have trouble with the ‘s’ word. Try ‘we regret’ instead.

“Communicate everything, not just our failures”

The boys and girls at ‘The Job’ are all over this one.

I hope you’ve been keeping up; it’s your turn now. You have four questions to answer:-

Q1. To what extent do you agree that THIS value is relevant to our goal of Working Together for a Safer London?

To assist you there are the usual five options from ‘Strongly Agree’ to ‘Strongly Disagree’. ‘Bugger All’ is not one of the choices.

Q2. How important is THIS value to you?

Options again I’m afraid.

Q3. To what extent do you agree that the MPS is currently living THIS value?

You guessed it.

Q4. If you have any further comments regarding THIS value, please write them below:

At last.

A free text box.

Bugger away, if you must.

After all, it is anonymous.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Now, I may be on message.

That doesn’t mean the policy makers are.

Who checks them?

Who makes sure they aren’t leading us all down a road that doesn’t fit with 21st Century policing? How do we know they aren’t steering us back to the days of discretion and ear-clipping? Who makes sure Mr and Mrs Risk-Management will still have a job with us when they’ve worn the honeymoon four-poster out?

After such a generous free bar, I feel I should do my bit.

So, I carried out a survey for them. Don’t worry; I didn’t hang around in a shopping centre trying to catch the gazes of the unwary. That’s so last century.

No, I spent a few minutes at a computer terminal. Searching Notices.

Now, these days all major corporations have policies and procedures. These are there so that everyone is playing the same game. The Met is no different. In fact policies and procedures are something we excel at. Never a week goes by without at least one new update. Usually it’s at least 5 or 6. I told you we were good.

To ensure that no-one feels left out. These updates are collated and sent out weekly, in 3 different publications. They’re called Notices. If we need to know the approved settings for the air conditioning in our plush offices, these would be our first port of call. There is a flood of climate control information available.

The inaugural Brian-Poll© results are now in:-

As a base with which to measure our commitment to modern policing, I thought I’d use a reasonably popular word. “Police” managed 21.3% of the vote.

“Human Resources” got 18.1%.

“Risk Assessment” got 20.0%.

That’s a relief. I’d hate for the newlyweds to have returned to an uncertain future. Looks like they won’t be going the way of the nice ladies just yet.

In a nod to some of the more mature readers, I included a couple of quaint, last millennium words. If you used Brylcreem before it was endorsed by a footballer you might recognise these. I’m nothing if not inclusive.

“Burglary” got 4.2%.

“Robbery” got 3.3%.

I’m as surprised as you. What on earth are those sorts of words still doing in Police documents? Somebody is definitely off message. I’m considering writing a stern letter to the editor.

Some of the accountants among you may have noticed that my figures don’t quite add up. Of course there’s something obvious missing. Brian’s top answer. I’d give a prize to all those who can guess the car winner. If it weren’t so blatant.

33.1% of the vote went to the word that’s on the tip of every modern crime fighter’s tongue. A word that defines our existence. A word that focuses us on our number one priority.


That’s right.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Human Risk

I’ve been to a wedding.

Not mine. Mrs Brian would have been cross.

No, it was a match made in heaven. Blessed in a sweet little church. Celebrated at a posh do. Flushed down the toilet before the honeymooners had cleared customs.

I’m sure there’ll be photos though.

He’s in Risk Management and she’s in HR.

Everyone was placed correctly. There were warning signs everywhere. It all went swimmingly. Despite the anxious looks exchanged when Granddad attempted the Lambada with the maid of honour.

I for one am glad that we have people doing these important jobs. Where would we be without them?

Back in the Dark Ages, before 1990. That’s where.

Up until then we had a nice lady who did personnel and risks were things we learned to assess for ourselves. Look where it got us. I hope all the nice ladies got excellent resettlement schemes. Or at least a carriage clock.

When I first started work could I find the e-mail address to send my CV to? Did I go through a structured interview process to help me focus on my strengths and weaknesses? Did I get to negotiate my remuneration and bonus package? Was I pointed to the section in my welcome pack highlighting the grievance procedure? Was I told about my employers contributions to my final salary pension?

No. I didn’t even get a golden handshake.

Just a big bag that I got to take home with me.

It’s lucky that I didn’t forget what life had taught me up to that point either.

Without any intervention from my employer. I managed to remember that steaming brown piles and Dunlop Green Flash plimsolls should not be mixed. That my big bag didn’t stop cars from running me over. That falling down the stairs hurts.

I had to work out new stuff for myself. Like the old, fat man at number 42. Every Friday when I forced a Jackie through his letter box, the door was flung open. I realised that if his bi-focals hadn’t been steamed up he would have noticed that his dressing gown was undone. He really needed a tissue before he had an unfortunate mishap.

I’m happy to report that I made it to the 21st Century unscathed. Unless you count the scars that prove my big bag theory.

Fortunately the modern Police Service has moved with the times. Our HR people have their very own Directorate and we could Risk Assess you to death. If it was proportionate.

I’ve even been trained to carry out my own dynamic risk assessments. A skill I never expected to master. Let me share one I’m particularly proud of with you. Only use this one when faced with a fast-approaching haymaker. It’s quite a complicated process to try and explain. But I’ll give it a go:-

Hit him first.




Run away.

I feel obliged to point out that I’m not asking readers to stand in the way of fast-approaching objects of any description in order to test this. Nor am I encouraging you to strike anyone else. If running isn’t an option please feel free to put your electric chair into reverse as an alternative. Any disparaging reference to ducks is wholly unintentional.

However, failure to follow this advice could result in a removal of sick pay by the HR department.

You see how well they go together? All this talk of ‘invented jobs’, ‘empire building’ and ‘not in the real world’ are all nonsense. They’re worth every penny.

I’m pleased they’re well rewarded for their hard graft.

The free bar lasted all night.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Time For Change

“I hate the Police”

Is something I get to hear/read from time to time.

Most of the time I don’t take it too personally.

The vast majority of people using this phrase have their own reason(s). They’re called convictions.

If this applies to you then you should also hate the court, the government, your ineffective defence team and/or the speed camera. That’s a whole lot of hate. Maybe you could try hating yourself too, for committing the offence(s) in the first place? No? Silly me. Of course it’s my fault.

Then we have a minority of people who hate the Police for being the Police.

The intelligentsia.

I’m sure you can all tell me, in very big words I’d have to look up, why you dislike us. Don’t bother. I’ve got the gist of your views. Since becoming a Police officer I unwittingly also became, in no particular order:

A racist.

A thug.

A misogynist.

A little Hitler.

All character traits I wasn’t previously aware of. Thanks for pointing them out. Repeatedly. I bow to your superior knowledge of me. After all you’re the smart cookies. I’m just a thick bully-boy.

I have just one request of you. One that I’d like you to focus on at your next dinner party. Over the venison cutlets perhaps?

What is the alternative to the current situation?

To kick off the debate, can I suggest that you start with the laws? It’s in your best interests to have these. Otherwise it’ll be survival of the fittest. That won’t be you, no matter how many times a week you visit your private gym.

You might want to include laws that protect people, property and our way of life.

Then the toughie. Who’s going to make sure that everyone follows these laws?

How about no-one? Seems like a good idea until you remember you’re safe little world might not be quite so erm safe. Pick up any broadsheet and you’ll see that there are articles about people you might not want to invite round to discuss house prices with over a Minke whale steak.

You could go for a collaboration of interested parties. A sort of Custodian Collective. It would have to be inclusive though. You couldn’t alienate sections of society just because you don’t agree with their views. What sort of person would that make you?

They could all draw lots and we’d let them have their own rules for a period of time. For instance:-

Amnesty International month would be a time when your neighbours would receive strongly worded letters if they persecute you with their incessant playing of loud urban music.

Vegetarian month would be an opportunity for the “Meat is Murder” people to get their revenge. So long as you had the foresight to bring the death penalty back.

Eco month would give everyone a chance to work on their fitness. Especially the ex-lorry drivers delivering food to supermarkets on their push bikes.

Nazi month would be a riot.

Burglar month would be handy if you misplaced your baby seal club. You could just pop next door and help yourself.

Paedophile month would be…..Oh bother, I’ve just realised this idea might not work too well.

I told you it was a toughie.

Let me know what you come up with.

Please keep the big words to a minimum though.

Someone stole my dickshunree.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Penny For Them

If you were having a vasectomy.

I’m guessing you wouldn’t be directing the surgeon’s scalpel.

If your house was on fire.

I’m guessing you wouldn’t be directing the firemen’s hoses.

Why not?

They take their cut of your hard earned wedge. Surely it’s your right to be able to tell them what to do? You probably had the odd game of doctors and nurses when you were younger. You may even have put a Scout camp fire out. Doesn’t this make you more than qualified to offer your opinion?

No? That’s strange.

I’m sure the Fire Service employees and surgeons would welcome your input. You could dazzle them with all of the knowledge you’ve gleaned from London’s Burning and Extreme Makeovers. I’m sure most of them would be more than happy to listen to your views.

You may find the odd one or two who think they know best. Fools. Who do they think they are?

If this happens, what you need to do is to announce loudly to all who are present that you have experience in something irrelevant. Get your camera phone out and stick it in the faces of everyone who has chosen not to listen to you. Then find a piece of paper and write down every number and name you are given. Threaten to complain/sue/write to your MP/stamp your feet and sulk.

That’ll show them.

It’s such a relief that this rarely happens to me when I’m at work. You seem to realise that I’m a professional and I know what I’m doing. Phew.

There are times that you could offer your much valued thoughts. My colleagues and I are always willing to listen. Your opinion will be taken on board and your pearls of wisdom will be shared amongst us. Probably during our sombre debates in the canteen.

How about instructing us to arrest someone who hasn’t committed an offence?

Or not to arrest someone who has?

Or to arrest everyone except you?

Or to arrest someone for an offence you’ve just invented?

Or how we should be out catching ‘real’ criminals?

Or how certain sections of the Highway Code don’t apply in your case?

Or how to direct traffic so that you don’t get held up?

Or how we played too rough with the man with the knife?

Or how we should have waited to be stabbed first?

Or how we only picked on him because of his ethnic origin?

You see? You can help us out with your balanced judgement. Don’t be shy, we’d greatly appreciate it. Although, to make sure you get our attention, precede any comment with “I have a law degree”.

Just so we take you seriously.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Vocation Or Vacation?

It was the second or third sentence I think.

Somewhere after “Welcome to Hendon”.

And before the directions to the fire exits and toilets.

It wasn’t unexpected. We were there because we wanted to be Police officers. We understood what this entailed. We weren’t there for the cuisine or the nightlife.

We knew we had joined a disciplined service.

Over the years things seemed to have got a bit blurred. A tad diverse.

Every ‘old sweat’ has their own opinion of the current regime at training school. None of them are favourable. It’s the most popular gripe. We love a good gripe.

I am often asked questions by eager beavers who want to follow in my footsteps or are just about to. Most of them involve our current rules. To avoid constant repetition, I thought I’d answer a few of the most popular.

Yes. You will have to wear the uniform you’re given. I know it makes your bum look big. Look on the bright side; you wouldn’t want vomit on your favourite designer jeans, would you?

No. You don’t have to be super fit. Can you break into a slow jog? You’ll do.

Yes. There are rules about hairstyles, facial hair and piercings. I know it’s archaic. Having your eyebrow ring ripped out in a fight might sting a bit though. Rest assured, we have moved with the times. Hair gel is positively encouraged.

No. The food at Hendon is not cordon bleu. Jamie Oliver is yet to work his magic. He’s a bit busy right now.

Yes. Working nights is kind of compulsory. Criminals tend to have erratic schedules. If your mum wants you home by midnight, I’d reconsider my options if I were you.

No. A criminal record isn’t always a bad thing when applying to join. We would ask that you check that you’re not wanted on an arrest warrant before you turn up at Hendon though.

Yes. Some people will shout and swear at you. If this upsets you then I’d suggest you look at alternative careers. Crying or running away makes us all look bad.

No. It’s unlikely that you’ll be allowed behind the wheel of a pursuit car in your first week out of training school. That’s why you were told to buy comfortable shoes.

Yes. The same goes for murder investigations. We have a kind of tradition where we let people who know what they’re doing carry these out. Sorry.

No. Being dyslexic won’t prevent you from joining. Make sure you let your new colleagues know. That way we can all sneak a peek at your arrest notes. We like a good laugh.

Yes. Sometimes we have to start at 6 or 7am. Buy an alarm clock. A loud one.

No. Being a few minutes late every day isn’t okay. Unless you have a discount agreement with the local bakers and like doing really boring jobs.

Yes. From time to time you will have to deal with a very smelly person. Try not to vomit. Even if you do have your uniform on. Otherwise you may find you get to deal with a lot of smelly people. To help you overcome your nausea of course. Not for our entertainment. That would be cruel.

No. You can’t just work in the ‘nice’ areas. It’s a strange phenomenon that most of our time seems to be spent in the ‘not so nice’ areas. Still, at least you’ll get to meet lots of smelly people.

Yes. You will be expected to actually produce some written work from time to time. Your supervisors will get funny about these little things. A bit harsh I know.

On the up side you only have two years of this.

Then you can spend the next 28 being a ‘uniform carrier’.

You won’t be alone.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tossing The Drummer

Sometimes plans go awry,

If they really didn’t want us to get involved they should have made us stop at the border.

Sending us off down a picturesque trunk road wasn’t a good idea.

Not without telling the protestors we were coming.

When we stopped in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason. I assumed there was an unfortunate County bobby being Happy-Squirted somewhere up ahead.

When I looked up from my Gameboy I saw something strange. Something I’d only seen on TV up to that point.

Protestors! Sitting in the road.

They weren’t just any old protestors either. They were a band. With instruments and everything.

Now, it’s still unclear why they decided to sit down in front of us. It’s not like we were actually going anywhere important. I’m pretty sure our brief for the day said something like ‘go and find a pretty field to stare at’. We weren’t rushing to try and convince George not to buy the hybrid car he had his eye on.

We had all received our advance copy of strange Scottish laws two weeks in advance of our visit. After some discussion, an officer who had actually read it was found. He convinced us that sitting in the road in front of 15 Throbbing carriers was an offence. He couldn’t remember if the death penalty applied. That was one for the Fiscal Prostitute.

On the list of ‘Stupid Things To Do While Protesting’, sitting down in front of a large number of Throbbing officers ranks quite high. Refusing to move when politely asked is vying for the number one spot. We only ask nicely once.

What followed could have been very painful, for the protestors. Fortunately, I didn’t even have to get my gloves dirty.

The protestors realised that we weren’t going to enter negotiations. Then they realised that there were no TV cameras to witness their protest. So, in true protestor fashion, they broke ranks and legged it. Complete with musical instruments.

Straight into a pretty field.

A field made all the prettier by the herd of cows occupying it.

As a confirmed townie, I only know that cows are good at milk, cheese and fillet steak. They make ‘moo’ noises, they make the countryside smell and they sit down when it rains. That’s the end of my cow knowledge.

Not anymore it isn’t. I now know that they are very big and they can run really fast. Much bigger and faster than the percussion section of a tofu-eating band.

They also haven’t been on the Throbbing Public Order course. So, they get frightened easily. Then they run. Really fast.

I’m guessing the protestors’ bovine experience was as limited as mine. Maybe without the fillet steak bit. As they stampeded across the field the cows joined in. We stayed behind the fence. Video phones at the ready.

Some made it to the other side, where they were confronted by an angry farmer. An angry farmer with a shotgun. Visions of Tony Martin caused an abrupt about-turn. It was then just a matter of time.

It’s not very clear on the footage. It was hard to keep a steady hand. But, it was definitely a female percussionist who got butted up into the air. Then trampled.

While her mates got herded to the Police station.

She got a trip to the hospital.

Her bongo drum was pronounced dead at the scene.

Special Constable Daisy

What you missed: A picture of a cow.

Unreserved apologies to: Bovines everywhere.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sent To Coventry

A scholarship kid at a top university.

Is the best way to describe being a Throbbing officer at a social gathering of the country’s Police Services.

Like the recent Lodge meeting in Scotland.

The other students don’t really want us there because we lower the tone. We can’t be trusted. We have no respect for the establishment. We insist on dropping our H’s.

This is all to do with ancient history. It seems my forebears disgraced themselves during the 80’s in various mining towns Oop North. It hasn’t been forgotten. Considering how long it took them to forgive the Vikings and to start buying Volvos. I think we could be in for a long wait.

We’ve moved on a lot in the intervening years. “I’ve met the Met” stickers are really hard to get hold of now. Ever since the incident with President Clinton’s helicopter. Yet our reputation outside the M25 continues to suffer. It’s so unfair.

For now we’re just tolerated. Only just.

Despite the gentlemen of the Press egging us on, no-one would let us near anything remotely resembling disorder. A risk-assessment had clearly been done. On us.

While they were off playing with their odd-shaped balls. We were left alone with our football.

Scotland is a very nice part of the world. But, there are only so many fields we could park up next to. There was a limit to how much beer we could drink. There is a boredom threshold that gets reached. Very quickly.

So we prove them correct. We revert to type. We show them the Throbbing version of ‘Happy-Slapping’.

I would like to say at this point that I took no part in the assaults. Not because I was a conscientious objector. I was the only one on the carrier with a video phone.

Apart from a TV, a football, a card game, a word game or a board game. The Bored Policeman’s best friend is a squirty bottle full of water. We stocked up every morning. Only stopping when BBC Scotland started issuing drought warnings.

On behalf of my colleagues I would like to apologise to (almost) all of the County officers who fell victim.

Especially the Lincolnshire PC who was nearly drowned.

And the mounted officer caught in the drive-by.

You did well to stay on.

I’m not apologising to the bloke with the dodgy moustache though. It’s your own fault for not wearing full uniform. There was no call for that type of language.

I’m sure they didn’t teach you that at Bramshill.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Good Sports

“I was playing golf”

No, not me.

Golf is a game played by people with few friends.

The golfer had a caddy. Very necessary when you have just the one club in a bag on the back seat of your buggy. It was a 5 iron I think. He didn’t have any balls. Maybe he’d been playing shadow golf.

Judging from the state of them, they hadn’t been playing by Royal and Ancient rules either. Tut-tut. He’d never make the Ryder Cup team like this. Still, no-one wanted an ambulance. It was just to be my time that was going to be wasted.

“Check the CCTV”

He’d been watching TV too.

After pointing out the lack of cameras on this particular busy road. I thought I’d try some old-fashioned policing. Like asking the person who’d called us what had happened. That would be the shadow golfer then.

“Just do your job”

Aha. A typical Small Corner victim.

“We give a lot of money to the Police.”

Wow. A real, live (if slightly dishevelled), honest-to-goodness taxpayer. Time to pull out all the stops then.

Giving the taxpaying shadow golfer a chance to collect his thoughts. I go on a witness hunt.

Two steps take me to the bus queue. Been waiting 20 minutes? Didn’t see a thing? Fair enough.

I’ll try the half-full pub across the road then. Bound to be some keen sports fans in there.

“We didn’t see nuffink.”

They hadn’t quite synchronised their greeting. It was enough to give me the general gist. I thought I’d explore the double negative, just to make sure.

Apparently, he had been over-extending on his back swing. There was some suggestion of early head movement. Plenty of running on the greens too. I got the impression that no-one would be telling tales to the committee. His club membership wouldn’t be threatened.

I struck gold in the fast food shop next door. Small Corner’s top witness just happened to be present. Mr Pars Refused had seen everything and was waiting for me to approach him so he could give his expert analysis.

It seemed the shadow golf game had strayed onto a baseball diamond. The local American League affiliated team had arrived for some much needed shadow batting practice. The designated hitter hadn’t brought his glasses and had inadvertently struck the caddy. Several times. After chasing him around for a bit.

The shadow golfer wasn’t going to be outdone. He attempted a rather ambitious drive. Unfortunately, he lifted his head too early and lost his balance. The baseball team expressed their displeasure at this in an uncouth manner.

After a brief game of shadow golfer football. The baseball team finished their training session and left at high speed. In a white car and a blue car. Obviously Yankees fans.

I returned to Nick and Fanny to impart the good news.

Nick wasn’t in the listening mood. He was far too busy berating the Yankees captain on his phone. My partner looked puzzled. It seemed Nick and Fanny had never met the baseball team before. Ever. Maybe he had got lucky with directory enquiries.

“You can’t do anything for us.”

That’ll be the phone call finished then. Time for them to get in their buggy and head for the 19th hole.

Damn. Maybe I should have tried harder.

One more unsolved violent crime.

If only there’d been a CCTV camera.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Kill Arthur: Epilogue

In these days of hair gel and styling products.

There are only 4 reasons why a Small Corner Police officer wears a hat.

Firstly, there is the obvious. Some of my colleagues are follicly challenged. They always don a hat when exiting a vehicle. If only to prevent a bright reflection from blinding a passing driver.

Secondly, there is another road safety use for a hat. If you happen to have done your bit for Kyoto and have wiped out one of those pesky road-side ornaments. Then the appropriate head gear is required for the Garage Sergeant’s visit. They like nothing better than to see a properly dressed officer standing next to an ex-Police vehicle. It warms their hearts.

Thirdly, we have the pub visit. To distinguish ourselves from a punter we go in properly covered up. This is so that the publican doesn’t think we’ve popped in for a cheeky half. It gives the customers something else to do apart from staring at the satellite feed too. No, not even if it is your mate’s 40th.

Now I expect you think I’m going to mention foot patrol. A few years ago you’d be right to think along these lines. Nowadays it’s a different matter. If Police officers were to walk about aimlessly what would we do with PCSO’s?

No. The final use for hats is for Death-o-Gram deliveries.

So, if you’re not on licensed premises in Small Corner and you see less than three hirsute Police type people walking up your path. Check for mangled vehicles with blue lights. If you can’t see any then get the kettle on. We may be with you for some time.

Until recently what followed was somewhat haphazard. Now we’ve all been trained. We’ve spent several hours being taught the correct way to say one or two sentences. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration. We actually spent ten minutes learning the right phrases. The rest of the day was taken up telling us what we should avoid doing. For instance:-

Telling the wrong person that their dad was dead.

Out too was the ‘Knock Down Ginger Approach’. That is to say after ringing the bell and hearing someone coming. We were no longer allowed to shout ‘Your dad’s dead’ through the letter box. Then run away.

On a similar vein. If the unknowing orphan lives in a tower block. We can’t give them the news over the intercom. Even if the lift is out of order.

Plain Speaking is the 21st century way of delivering the message. We can’t say popped his clogs, pushing up daisies, kicked the bucket, gone to a better place or shuffled off this mortal coil. The word ‘dead’ has to feature heavily.

We were also subjected to a number of phrases that were no longer considered to be politically correct. That they were, on the whole, factually correct was immaterial. They had now been deemed unacceptable. They were all actual quotes of Police officer’s words used when delivering a Death-o-Gram. There were a number of them.

Top prize wasn’t a very close competition.

“He had a good innings” didn’t make the top ten.

The Brian award for empathy goes to:-

(Drum Roll)

“You have other children”

I’m sure he meant well.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Kill Arthur: Volume 3

With the demise of Brucie.

Our options were limited.

According to Arthur’s TV guide, Cilla had just started matchmaking. We’d have to get our skates on if we were going to catch Our Graham’s witty summing up.

An ear pressed to the door revealed that sobber and weeper were still informing reasonably local friends and family. We had some time before they got to Uncle Frank in Australia. I felt sure we’d hear the shouting over Graham.

The act of turning the television on was a tricky operation. It required a briefing. As a veteran of these situations, I took charge. We had to deviate from the mnemonic slightly. The biggest challenge was the presence of the hearing-aid. This was fully covered in the Risk Assessment. I did skimp a bit on Arthur’s Human Rights. I hoped he wasn’t the type to complain.

I was impressed with my partner’s flexibility. He was able to cover all the speakers using both hands and his left thigh. I was glad we hadn’t been playing Twister for money.

After a silent countdown it was ‘Go, Go, Go!’

In a textbook manoeuvre I hit the remote ‘on’ button quickly followed by the volume down. An ambulance was on fire in Casualty. We held our breath. There was fake blood everywhere.

Back at the door I was able to confirm that we hadn’t been discovered. It seemed Cousin Gladys was recommending funeral directors. A bit premature. Even if they did have horses.

Time for phase 2. We had to get close to the screen so we could catch Graham’s summary. Unfortunately, the ambulance crew had left Arthur in an awkward position. Moving him was out. Although the weeper probably had Alzheimer’s, the sobber might notice something amiss.

In another Twister gambling warning, my partner sat cross-legged by the wall. I shuffled the armchair forward and was able to stretch my legs across Arthur. I let him know I’d found his toenail clippers next to a fluffy Werther’s Original. Not a word of thanks.

We were just in time to see Cilla molesting a young beau with too much hair gel and unfeasibly white teeth. Number 1 was a bit of a babe. Number 2 was a stunner. Number 3 was, err, nice. In a ‘making the most of a professional make-up job’ sort of way. She was very bubbly too. Uh-Oh.

Graham let the side down a bit. Yes, she gave the best answers. That’s not the point. He could have given a subtle clue or two. A quick bark would have done the trick.

A glance at my partner revealed we were in agreement.

The weeping from the open door made it unanimous.


I leapt to my feet ready to put our case for the defence.

Arthur groaned.

The weeper dropped our tea.

We didn’t get any Hob-Nobs.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Kill Arthur: Volume 2

Arthur is still ‘Apparently Lifeless’.

The sobber and the weeper are in the kitchen.

Doctor tag has finished. The Police doctor lost and he is ‘it’.

The control room have my phone number so the doctor can eventually ring me to ask for directions. Doctors could probably tell you all the different parts of the human brain without even thinking about it. Give them an A to Z though and you expose another one of their flaws.

By my reckoning, there’s at least another 2 hours before I get a call.

A quick scan of the room had failed to reveal a football. Even if we had found one, I think I would have struggled to break my keepy-uppy record in Arthur’s third floor window box.

No board games tucked away in the sideboard either. Some people have no consideration.

I had my emergency pack of cards on me. 2 handed games are quite limited, apart from cribbage. Neither of us could remember how to score though. The one-eyed Jack rule always catches me out. If Arthur knew all of the intricacies, he was keeping them to himself.

He didn’t look in the mood for a game of snap either.

We debated asking the sobber and weeper if they were up for a game of contract. They sounded busy phoning Arthur’s relatives, from the kitchen, letting them know he was ‘Apparently Lifeless’. We decided it would be a bit rude to interrupt. Besides, if we left them alone they might get the kettle on. I hoped they had some Hob-Nobs.

A competitive game of Gin Rummy ensued. I called a halt when I got to over an hour’s wages down. I’m sure he was cheating. I think he was getting help. Arthur made no comment when I accused him of peeking over my shoulder. A sure sign of guilt.

Time for the Policeman’s second best friend at times like these. A word game.

In a 21st century twist to an old favourite. We settled for a battle of Alphabetical I-Spy. For money obviously. I needed to recoup my Rummy losses. Arthur wasn’t allowed to play. Cheater.

A was for Arthur…..B was for Body…..C was for Corpse…..D was for ‘Dead’ body (this one was pending a steward’s enquiry)…

..E was for Expired person…..F was for Floral wallpaper…..G was for ex-Geriatric…..H was for Hearing aid…

..I was for Incurable person (another one for the stewards)…..J was for christmas Jumper …..K was for Knick-Knacks…..L was for Lifeless body…

..M was for Morkin (the stewards were going to be busy)…..N was for Needlepoint…..O was for Ornaments…..P was for Playing Possum…

..Q was for Quantity of Lladro…..R was for Remote control…..S was for Stiff…..T was for Television…….

Hang on.

Arthur kept that one quiet.

He had a TV!

The Bored Policeman’s best friend.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Final Countdown

Final Countdown

Working shifts has many advantages.

Chief among them is the chance to sit in front of a television at 3.15pm most weekdays.

For the days that I’m unable I have one of those new fangled video thingys. Not being a member of the fairer sex means I’m capable of working the timer. I might as well chuck it in the bin now.

Shift workers and pensioners nationwide are in mourning.

Now he’s popped his clogs.

For 23 years he’s been with us. Only interrupted by the occasional leather on willow battle.

Now he’s kicked the bucket.

The only ‘person’ with more TV appearances was the miserable cow on the Test card.

Now he’s shuffled off this mortal coil.

The witty banter. The cutting edge jokes. Gone.

Now he’s pushing up daisies.

Getting the Conundrum before the specky blokes was better than an orgasm. For half of the viewers it was the only orgasm they’d had in recent history. Working shifts has disadvantages too.

Middle aged Policemen everywhere were jealous of the way he effortlessly flirted with his trusty sidekick. Lucky bugger. We all wanted to be him. Maybe not so much anymore.

He is irreplaceable. An institution. A shining beacon of decency and good-taste among the never ending ‘reality’ shows. The bleep machine was never needed. Saucy words appeared occasionally. These were dealt with professionally. Even the master couldn’t prevent these small lapses. Specky blokes can be quite smutty.

As a mark of respect I discarded my normal black work tie for a natty salmon pink and banana striped silk number. For one day only. I wasn’t alone. A lot of knowing looks were exchanged that day. Words were unnecessary. No-one mentioned the obvious clash with the rest of my uniform. It was understood.

With his body not yet cold, the press are already speculating about who will be taking his place. This is the man who launched a TV station 23 years ago. A man who could make puns out of almost nothing. A man with no hidden agenda. A man who didn’t lust after the ‘celeb’ lifestyle. A man whose fans numbered in their millions. Including Her Majesty and George Clooney. A man with a unique sense of style.

I can almost hear the cogs at work among the businesspersons who run the TV channel. Is Terry Wogan still on strike? Can they afford to lose the revenue from Sanatogen? Where can they place the stair lift adverts now?

Stop it.

Let sleeping jovial hosts lie.

R.I.P. Twice-Nightly

(..Arthur hasn’t left us yet… back soon)

All ramblings Copyright(c) 2005/2006 by Brian. Ask First.