Interim Editor writes: we are still in the awkward situation as of last week and have heard nothing more from the Editor in the meantime. We have, however, been able to find another stash of items, unused as far as we know, which were in the chest labelled ‘shorts’. We had not yet looked in that since we assumed it contained running shorts (possibly unwashed) which he stored in the office for his regular early morning jogging (regularly dragged into conversation too I might add.) As we do not know when we may be properly staffed again we intend to release four or five of these items each posting. We should also like to express our thanks to Berthold who has been kind enough to offer practical help, including negotiating with Lady W who has promised an allowance sufficient to cover expenses for the immediate future, and we are particularly grateful to Lady W for making this sum large enough to provide a modest stipend for Maud, the need for which had escaped our Editor. We are also grateful to Berthold for sending us a short item, posted second below. Monty Skew has sent a message. Since he maintains he strongly opposes unfair censorship we have decided to post it precisely as received, immediately below.
Hi girls! Sorry to hear you’re still without your Editor. Never mind, good experience for you, and anyway things could be worse – Manos might come back to help you. At least you can be sure Eddy didn’t do a runner with the petty cash, I don’t think there can have been enough to be worth taking. Sorry I can’t help out with any pieces currently, am doing a major op piece for Newsworth International which could be significant career-wise so I’ll be out of your hair for the next week or maybe three. If you need any practical help you should get in contact with Lady W. She may be a bit of a dragon but she certainly wouldn’t want the site to collapse. Meantime why don’t you clean the office and while you’re at it turn out all the drawers and cupboards? You’re bound to find some old scraps you could polish up a bit. Don’t forget to check the lower layers in the old dog basket (and spray with insecticide first – I’m told fleas can survive for years without a meal).. Good luck! Monty
Berthold writes: The advisory committee on ‘vibrant and dynamic innovation’ for the privatised postal services in the UK is reported as satisfied that its suggestions for maximising the efficiency and minimising the costs of the postal and courier services that the government is prepared to support over the next three years have been broadly welcomed. Measures proposed include
A computerisation scheme which must be used by all staff, with those unable to do so (estimated by consultants to be around 70%) to be made compulsorily redundant;
establishment of a set of ‘postal standards’ for limits on size, weight, and shape of letters and packages handled, with significantly effective ‘surplus postage fees’ to be paid for offending articles before release of same to intended destinees, who must in any case collect from regional head offices; (annual increase in postal fees thereby is estimated at 19% in the first year though declining thereafter as remaining customers purchase envelopes and packing materials of approved design from post offices);
the biggest single problem being the legally imposed rule of ‘universal service’ (i.e. deliveries to every part of the UK) the postal service will establish its own definition of ‘United Kingdom’ which will exclude Northern Ireland, Cornwall and all districts within twenty miles of the Scottish border or further north.
Late news (London): The cache of bullets found last night in a consignment of chewing gum at Gatwick was described as substantial, ‘sufficient to allow an american police force to kill one and a half black men’
(London) : It has been announced that imported passion fruit jam will be more expensive next year because of the abnormally high rainfall this year which has resulted in a shortage of passion in the producing countries.
Business news : Our technical staff have learned that a South Korean company did not merely receive, from an expert who had succeeded in crossing the border, the details of how North Korean television sets can be made to switch themselves back on after being turned off. They are now co-operating with a well-known social media company to develop technology originally designed for facial recognition by security agencies, hoping to produce an ‘intelligent’ tv which not only switches itself on when someone sits in front of it, but determines if they are recognised as previous visitors, and which goes on to assess their facial expression and choose a channel accordingly from a predetermined list provided by the manufacturers
Overheard (Changi airport transit lounge Dec.3rd 2002) : ‘He said on the face of it the decline in divorce rates is bad for business. But as the Ambassador pointed out in fact it probably is simply a result of there having been fewer marriages in the previous ten or twelve years. So it may well be that over the continent as a whole marriage rates over the past eighteen months have actually been rising. And this is good for business for anyone with an investment in high-value slaves, since those who want to buy into the market will find a smaller supply pool, and consequently it will push the price up, in other words the value of his investment.’
The Arts (or Meteorology) : There seems to be something seriously wrong with the traditional picture of Wordsworth as a keen observer of the English natural scene around him, and the evidence has been staring readers in the face for nearly 200 years. How on earth could anyone living in northwest England bring himself to write that phrase ‘lonely as a cloud’?