Brian's Brief Encounters

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Every Cloud

I’m no Gordon Gekko.

Yet even I haven’t had a problem noticing that we’re in the throes of a banker cull.

I’m pleased to see that our leaders are doing their best to keep them in sharp suits and Lamborghinis with a few billion quid. It’s not surprising they didn’t have the cash for my three hundred pounds last year, nor this year. It’s all about priorities you understand.

It was also nice to see the recruitment firms standing outside the failed institutions trying to lure the recently jobless onto their books. Even the teachers have been at it. Yet I didn’t see anyone from Hendon there handing out leaflets extolling the advantages of keeping the Queen’s peace. So let me give it a go.

I know it might not be the first second career choice that springs to mind when you’ve been forced to hang up the red braces, but it’s not a bad one. There are a few changes you might have to get used to though. I mean actually having someone looking over your shoulder to ensure you’re not making a huge cock-up will probably be a first for you. There is often an army of people, right behind me, trying to get a glimpse of what I’m up to just so they can point out my many deficiencies.

The hours of work might not be what you’re used to either. You won’t be going home when the footsie closes every day, sometimes we have to work the odd unsociable hour, until you can get a nice little office number sorted out that is. Then there are the trips away; last minute breaks to Klosters and Barcelona might have to be put on hold if the very nice duties office people have decided it’s your turn to have your weekend ‘off’ enhanced with an unplanned visit to a football match or a front row seat at the ‘Save the Pickled Onion’ march and rally.

The company cars aren’t up to Italian exotica standards you might expect, but then you can’t exactly squeeze two average size officers and kit into an F50 can you? We can offer the latest IT systems though. Not at the sharp end you understand, down here we still use systems based on those used in air traffic control in the 1960’s, but we are constantly assured that there are new projects ‘just around the corner’. The average length of each of these corners is about six years.

Then there is our customer focussed philosophy. It works quite well until you come face to face with someone who isn’t up to speed with the policy of the day. Then there may be some friction that takes a bit of getting used to. Just because Her Majesty, the 650 dole dodgers, the judiciary and every decent person in the country says that certain behaviour is unacceptable doesn’t mean that the customer guilty of this lapse will be in agreement. Be prepared for the occasional cross word. Try to imagine what the language around water cooler would be like if it was dispensing neat wifebeater instead of eau de Thames.

At least you won’t have to lose out on the bonus culture. The rest of us will have to make do with the Special Priority Payment though, so long as Gordon can afford it after chucking the merchant bankers just enough to keep them in quails eggs and Picassos.

I’m not holding my breath.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I’m no Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

But no-one would accuse me of not knowing one end of a stipple brush from the other.

Sadly the same can’t be said for much of my customer base.

It can also be said, quite safely, that I’ve never been to a house pictured in a Homes & Gardens centrefold. Though this doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen some jaw dropping ‘design features’ that should have been in a magazine or two. If there is a publisher out there contemplating a new idea, I think ‘Squats and Sheds’ would fill a huge gap in the market.

As the saying goes:

‘A multicultural society’s non gender specific person’s home is their castle’

So I don’t wish to be rude, but can anyone tell me what place plaster gargoyles have in a local authority maisonette? The stone lions at the gate and the multi-coloured stone cladding are probably a bit much too. How many modern day crackhouse wannabes look right with a fake bearskin rug on the dirty linoleum in front of a radiator?

It’s not that I’m an Ikea (pronounced Ick-aya) snob you understand, but I think I can spot a design faux-pas when it rears it’s shagpile head. I’m sure some will recall the ostentatious furniture of the decadence decade that was the eighties. All long since cast into a landfill in the Home Counties right? Wrong. I’ve seen enough leather, glass, highly lacquered and fake gold leaf embossed fixtures and fittings still in circulation to prove ebay and car boot sales have a lot to answer for.

At least the savings made through this thrift haven’t been wasted. Facing the grease-stained and fag-burned armchair can be found the focal point of the house. The home entertainment system. If you can get the rest of the home furnishings for £3.50, it’s worth splashing out the remainder of your social money on the weekly payments for the biggest flat screen goggle box your house foundations can cope with.

In the small hours of the morning recently, I stood open-mouthed as I gazed at the daddy of all TV’s. The cartoon characters that the two year old was staring at were bigger than he was. His mother subsequently confirmed that Jeremy Kyle was almost life-size. She also promised me that she would check with the council that she didn’t need planning permission.

If a publisher does go with my idea, I think the first edition should be scratch’n’sniff, as well as having a free snide DVD included of course. Property shows may promote the merits of the fragrances of freshly baked bread or brewed coffee, but that hasn’t reached everyone yet. I find that the overpowering odour these days is eau de Staff, as there is always one frolicking with the toddlers. Cigarette smoke is the next discernible smell, closely followed by damp, body odour, used nappies and takeaway food. A veritable cornucopia of nasal assailants.

While I stand taking the report in the one room with a working light bulb I like to let my appreciation of their efforts known.

“I love how you’ve decorated” usually works.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Scene Enough?

A wise response officer is always armed to the teeth.

With a book, magazine or a portable gaming device.

They should also consider the value of a cheese sandwich or pork pie.

What use are they in the modern crimefighter’s toolbox I hear you ask. Surely we won’t be able to rid the Metropolis of murderers, rapists and robbers with the threat of a light snack or two? How will a well-thumbed lads mag help out at a domestic? Will a winner-takes-all challenge match on FIFA 08 really solve the decade long neighbour dispute? Much as I’d like to think so they won’t, but they do have other uses.

This may come as a shock to some of you who think we all go out with our Austrian strap-ons next to our Tasers and backed up with a wad of 124d’s should all else fail. I’m sorry to break the news to you, but sometimes real life isn’t like The Bill. Believe it or not.

The truth is that, when turning up for work, there really is only a 50-50 chance that I’ll be solving major crimes or otherwise assisting with our league position in the national statistics championships. With a superfluity of other important tasks to carry out, it’s a wonder we get to answer any calls at all.

Chief among those other jobs is the crime scene.

If your policing education has been taught by Tony, June and Reg, you’ll know that crime scenes are open for seconds and are always a hive of activity with paper-suited CSI’s performing complex tasks directed by important looking people wearing designer threads. TV tells us that the same thing happens in Las Vegas and Miami; with better clothes obviously.

Back in the real world, the woodentops get a much bigger part in proceedings. Who do you think does the important job of guarding it while the clever people get on with the rest of their lives? We wouldn’t want them to miss out on a good night’s kip would we? They might turn up with a wrinkled suit, and that just wouldn’t be cricket.

If a scene is outside you’d be amazed at the speed it can be dealt with, thanks to our weather. If it’s covered or inside then you’ll be equally amazed, and this where the entertainment aids are required. While all the clever people get on with arguing over who should be doing what and when, our needs are far simpler. The most important things we need to know about a scene are: Will we be exposed to the elements? Can we sit down? Is there a toilet? What are the probabilities of SFQs?

The best way to get everyone out of their houses and to get a bit of community spirit going is to break out the magic tape and make a crime scene. Word will quickly spread and it’ll soon be the focal point of the neighbourhood. Of course there will be the ghouls who’ve been seduced by the rolling news channels and will want a video record of the outside of a house where something may or may not have happened. Unless you’re going to offer me a beverage, please don’t interrupt my enjoyment of the latest Chris McNab training manual. Try to get my best side too if you can.

In these belt-tightening times, I’ve often been tempted to pick a random group of trees in the local park and cordon them off with some tape on my lunch break. Within half an hour, most of the local residents will have appeared to find out what’s going on and there will be a flood of offers of refreshments. Obviously I’ll have to pick a park in the posher part of town.

It increases the chances of a chocolate biscuit or two.

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