Idle Eye 25 : The Bogs

It seems that finally, unexpectedly and mercifully, the good weather landed last weekend. And what better way for yours truly to spend it than to head over to Idle Hour Barnes and enjoy a few sherbets on the roof with my younger and lesser sibling. And when we weren’t taking apart the relentless attack on pubs by successive governments, he showed me the plans for the soon-to-be extension which will double the covers and annihilate those wretched lavatories. So, more of you will get in for Burger Monday but less of you will be able to ‘create room’ unless you bring a bag or get creative.

Now, the relationship between ‘what goes in’ and ‘what comes out’ has long been a bugbear for those in the hospitality industries. The latter demands significant landmass by law and yet yields next to nothing in return (when I say ‘next to nothing’, I mean, of course, nothing of salient value. Don’t make me spell this out.) The former, on the other hand, is the meat and potatoes of profit and loss which, at some point in the proceedings, ends up with the latter.

So what’s to do? When margins are tight, where would you compromise? A dilemma one of our most loved TV personalities is probably not experiencing right now:

Housekeeper : Mr Cowell, I think there’s someone in the conveniences.

Simon Cowell : Never mind that now, I’m on the telly.

Housekeeper : No, really. I think there’s someone up there. Will I ring the Police?

Simon Cowell : Yes, of cour… Er, no, actually. Leave this with me.

Housekeeper : Yes, sir. Goodnight, sir.

Simon Cowell : Max! My Man! Slight snag. Apparently there’s someone upstairs trying to break into one of the traps. Could you give me my position on this one?

Max Clifford : Armed intruder or crazed fan?

Simon Cowell : Crazed fan, I think.

Max Clifford : I see. Ok, Simon, don’t panic. Would you say it was like something in a horror film?

Simon Cowell : Yes, Max, I would.

Max Clifford : Excellent! Sure they’re not armed?

Simon Cowell : To be honest, I haven’t checked.

Max Clifford : No need. Probably a chick with a brick. In one of your least profitable rooms. I’d turn in if I were you.

Simon Cowell : Thanks, Max.

Max Clifford : Don’t mention it. Goodnight.

I was, of course, making out that Nibs isn’t going to provide somewhere for you to ‘drop the kids off’ for comic effect. It’s part of my weekly remit. To make you laugh but keep it topical. And you have my word: The Porcelain Bus will simply be relocated, not removed. Unless it contains a crazed fan with a brick, in which case he will put in a swift call to Max and leave the rest to the bizarre powers of tabloid journalism. But I very much doubt it will come to that. Or will it?

Idle Eye 24 : The Coren Nation (In Search of Giles)

Just off the blower from a feisty chat with our Nibs as per:

Nibs: I’ve got a subject for the blog.

Me: I’m halfway through one already. But thanks anyway.

Nibs: No, I really need you to put this in. Half the ****ers who booked for Mothers Day never showed and we were fully booked for a month previous. I’ve turned away over 200 potential punters and we still lost out. I’m livid. And if you ask them for a credit card they get on the horse. Now, make that funny.

Me: Well, bro, it’s not.

Nibs: I KNOW it’s not. That’s what I pay you to do.

Me: Hang on a moment. I’ve just spent twenty valuable minutes writing about how we track down Giles Coren using hunting as a metaphor, given it an hilarious punning title that includes his surname for search engine purposes, I’m balls deep in attempting to link you two bastards together and now you want me to bin the entire thing because you lost out on a few quid?

Nibs: Something like that, yeah.

Me: Ok. Maybe we could shoehorn the two together, something along the lines of Giles finding the blog because all writers google themselves and then feeling your pain about blowing out bookings as the main thrust.

Nibs: He wrote about exactly that in the Times on saturday.

Me: He what?

Nibs: Exactly the same. In his restaurant review. Check out the website.

Me: Perfect! I’ll start now.

Nibs: Tread carefully with Coren, though. I don’t want you buggering up any chance of a review just because you feel like taking the piss.

Me: I hear you, bro. But he’s no fool. I think he’d sniff out any whiff of sycophancy a mile off. Far better to have him riled than for him to think you’re fawning. Trust me on this.

Nibs: I’ll leave it in your hands. But what’s the title?

Me: I thought The Coren Nation was quite sassy.

Nibs: Yeah, I quite like it. But I’m not sure about the Nation bit. What’s the post got to do with the rest of the country?

Me: That’s not the point. It gets in Giles, and there’s a certain gravitas to it, particularly as it’s the Diamond Jubilee’n’all.

Nibs: What about ‘I Can See Four Giles’?

Me: Don’t think he wears glasses, bro.

Nibs: Well put something in brackets after, then. If you don’t like it you can always say it was my idea anyway.

Me: Ok. I’ll think of something.

Nibs: Call me back when you’re done. We’re fully booked again and I want to be sure the buggers actually show. Quite like ‘I Can See Four Giles’: Think you should use it.

Me: Done deal, bro. If you’re up to the wall can I post it anyway?

Nibs: Just promise me you’ll use the title.

Me: Sure.

Nibs: Thanks. It means a lot.

Me: I know…

Idle Eye 23 : The Future

In a plucky bid to beat the supermarkets at their own game, the Idle Hour has recently been developing its very own customer loyalty card. Using a combination of the latest nuclear, biometric and laser technologies from Iran along with simple household bleach, the SuperMacroMcSimpleDynabiolic™ (or VIP) card is set to revolutionize the entire SW13 eating and drinking experience by actually predicting what the customer will order before he/she has actually left the house, with the added benefit that it is actually organic and a full 18% recyclable:

Punter: I love my SuperMacroMcSimpleDynabiolic™ (or VIP) card. I don’t know how I ever got by without it. Really, I don’t. Sometimes I can’t even remember my own name, let alone what I’m going to have at the pub of an evening. So thank you, SuperMacroMcSimpleDynabiolic™ (or VIP), you’re the best. Now, what am I having again?

Sceptics have been quick to condemn the SuperMacroMcSimpleDynabiolic™ (or VIP) card, claiming there are legal implications infringing the rights of privacy currently enjoyed by people who haven’t got one:

Punter: I’m not having one of them SuperMacroMcSimpleDynabiolic™ (or VIP) do-dahs telling me what to have of an evening. If I want a good, honest pint of Harveys I’ll bloody well have one when I bloody well want one. And them cards can stay right out of it.

Mr Thorp was quick to dismiss such allegations, however. “The situation is still under review” he commented before leaving for a swiftly arranged Press Conference in Tehran, adding to suspicions that his relationship with Mr Aftadinahrmint is perhaps more than political:

Aftadinahrmint: Iran has, at no time in the past or future, been involved in the development of loyalty cards for diners and drinkers in the SW13 area. That is a lie, and I invite inspectors to have a look around when I’ve tidied up a bit.

“Well he would say that” retorted Mr Thorp, echoing a similar political denial of a bygone era.

Like it or not, however, it seems the SuperMacroMcSimpleDynabiolic™ (or VIP) card will be here to stay. We spoke to one of the Idle Hour barstaff about the perceivable benefits:

Barstaff: It’s brilliant, like. Sort of like Brazil crossed with The Matrix. When the punter comes in, we don’t actually have to work out what they want, like. ‘Cos it’s already there in the till. It’s aces, man! And I get more time to smoke fags.

So there’s no denying there will be a sensational switch in the way Barnes barfolk transact as the rest of London looks on with baited breath. The SuperMacroMcSimpleDynabiolic™ (or VIP) card will be big business, so get on board before the bus heads out of town. We tried to track down Mr Thorp for the final say but he was away, which we would have known if we’d read our own article:

“It’s the future”, he said. Yesterday.

Idle Eye 22 : (Round) The Block

Every once in a blue moon, those golden nuggets we scribblers rely on to metamorphose into glorious full-blown posts simply dry up. Nothing to be embarrassed about, apparently, happens all the time. There’s no shame to be had in the non-delivery of goods promised in the conjugal contract between writer and publican, is there? Of course not. In any relationship there has to be a bit of give and take, and when the give breaks down, the recipient will naturally collude with the donor in order to reach mutually acceptable ground. Or so you would think:

Me: Bro, I’ve dried up.

Nibs: Don’t worry, been through that one. Top up the tank with a Jager and you’ll be back in no time.

Me: It’s not the sauce, it’s the blog. I’m spent, can’t think of anything.

Nibs: Balls! There’s tons to write about. What about Mothers Day? And the bogs, remember?

Me: I’ve already covered the bogs.

Nibs: Then tell them that I’ve been out to Dubai. There’s a certain mystery to that, no?

Me: It depends what I tell them you did out there.

Nibs: You don’t have to spell it out. Just hint at the exotic. That’s what I pay you to do.

Me: That’s the whole point. The muse, it’s gone! I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here. And the readers expect a certain standard. I can’t let them down now we’ve actually got a few.

Nibs: Sorry, bro, gotta go. Timmy’s done a massive shit on the carpet and we open in forty minutes. You’ll think of something…

It’s a powerful image: The last remaining morsels of my dwindling creativity being sidestepped by a cat offloading hers in the only way she knows how. So I rake through the clues in our woefully brief chat. What’s in there? What did he mean? I’m Sarah Lund without the sex appeal or the jumper. Hmmm… There must be something. Anything. And then, mercifully, it comes to me:

Me: I think I’ve got it. The cat. Dubai. He’s really trying to tell me something…

Lund: Ooets nawwt thaat simples.

Me: I think it is. He just wants me to get more relevant stuff in. What he’s doing. Timmy: She’s a pub cat. Dubai: It’s where he’s going this week. Can’t you see? It all fits.

Lund: Yaah, buüt mabee we haaf to loork further.

Me: Lund. Thank you for your help. Really, thanks. But I’m not sure how many Idle Hour punters are going to get this reference. You’re a Danish detective from the telly. I can’t believe I’m actually having this conversaton and I’m pretty sure Nibs will have something to say about it.

Lund: Søøry.

Me: Don’t mention it. Oh, and Timmy, you finished yet?

Timmy: Meow.

Me: What’s that?

Timmy: Meow.

Me: No shit! Bin the Dane? Focus on the pub? Ok, Timmy, you the lady.

So then, Mothers Day bookings: Sorry, dudes, all gone, all gone. Don’t shoot the messenger…