Monday 18th May – Tall women: Why talking about it makes them feel small.

My daughter, Anna, is five foot, eleven inches tall.

If your metrics are metric, well, that makes her one-point-eight metres.

Clothing-wise, here in Northamptonshire, she’s a size eight to ten.

If she were living the good life in Los Angeles, she’d be a size six.

To paint a picture around these numbers, she’s the same size Julia Roberts was when she Pretty-Woman-ed her way into our hearts in the early nineties.

I was always under the impression that having the same measurements as a runway model was a good thing, something to be pleased about. An enviable, fortuitous gift from the divine that people like Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford got to goddess around with while the rest of us waddled around in our ground-bound, muddy little goblin-holes.

I was apparently misled.

Being tall is no longer a good thing.

And it’s Anna’s number one insecurity.

It’s the reason lots of dudes don’t want to date her.

It’s the reason she gets teased, in fact, it’s the first insult that gets snidey-ed at her when shade starts being thrown.

It’s the single most common observation ever made to her, and about her.

And it makes her want to hide behind the couch although, to be fair, she can’t really hide behind the couch because quite a lot of her sticks out either end but, effective hide-and-seek gameplay notwithstanding, how come being tall has turned into such an issue for young women?

Because apparently, it has.

The adjective ‘tall’ is now a social phenomena that requires the optional addition of an ‘ist’ as a suffix. 

Now, it’s true, the majority of folks who meet her and exclaim “Wow, you’re so tall” as the first thing they say, do so not out of malice, but surprise. And I also think that for the majority of people, in their heads, it’s a compliment. 

I agree, I always took it that way as well, I’d be over here beaming with pride but had completely not grasped how skin-crawlingly conspicuous it made Anna feel.

And, to be fair, I bet most people don’t walk up to Will Smith and exclaim “Shit, you’re really, really black aren’t you?” or greet Ellen DeGeneres by pointing out that yes Ellen, your career is pretty impressive, but “Holy shit, you are literally as gay as fuck innit?”.

So I guess it’s a question worth asking: Why do we think it’s okay to cheerfully point out to someone that we think they’re freakishly tall?

Personally, I’m a bit tall and I love it.

But as we know, I enjoy intimidating people and making them uncomfortable so, if having a bit of height enables me to step up on some gobby jerk in a parking-space related fracas and pat him on the head while murmuring softly: “Calm down little gnome” – then it’s all gravy for me. 

“Don’t throw your magic parking coins at my head little hobbit, you’ll need them to enter Mordor on your quest” has definitely come out of my mouth before now.

Yep, I thoroughly enjoy being mid-range tall.

But it’s 2020 and I’m apparently going to have to leave my Deuce Bigalow years behind.

I’m going to need to remember in future that “Whoa, that’s a big bitch” is something I mustn’t say, even if I think it, and even if it’s meant as a joke.

No more jokes about Will Ferrell style Elf’s.

No more Lord of the Rings references.

Height is an issue fraught with tension.

It’s turned into a thing.

Height is a conversational iceberg that’s making its way into the shipping lane of modern dialogue.

Terrific.

Because more icebergs are just what we need around here.

Wednesday 13th May – Furlough Fraud: The employers ripping off their staff.

Hot off the press.

And continuing the theme of questionable pandemic business practices I raised a few days ago.

 Skulduggery appears to be more afoot than I’d originally thought.

It’s alive, well and successfully feasting on the plump, juicy opportunities afforded by The-Virus. It’s veritably banqueting amongst the fear, slash economic uncertainty, currently faced by many households across the globe.

Today’s Scumbag-Spotlight falls in an area of the UK called Milton Keynes.

Here we find a charming little man, let’s call him Jim-Tea-Leaf-Swindley, who is claiming the furlough money for his employees but omitting to actually pass any percent, never mind all eighty-five of the legally required per-cents, to his loyal team.

And it gets worse.

Jim-Tea-Leaf-Swindley is the MD of a company that, quite stunningly, handles the financial matters of his clients. 

Yes, this piece of work runs an accounting firm.

Unfortunately his company tag-line appears to be ‘Swipe it and Scarper’ which, needless to say, has been left off of his company blurb and so, his clients were probably unaware that, in addition to fleecing his employees, he has no moral objection to stitching them up too.

Old Jimbo doesn’t pay his rent, dodges emails from his clients and routinely ignores their calls. To be fair, and in his defence, the reason that he’s never able to ring his customers back could possibly be that his internal, swanky, telephone system was repossessed earlier this year.

He sends fake emails to clients from his employees, you know, pretending to be them.

And if said employee catches him out and complains?

Well, Tea-Leaf-Swindley simply back-doors his email system again and goes fishing for another employee to impersonate.

He’s literally one of the most colossal douche-bags I have ever had the sorry task of discussing and, bear in mind, I was writing about Prince Andrew a few months ago.

So that should tell you something.

Jim Swindley is being chased for money by pretty much everyone he has ever shaken hands with, he’s been sued for fraud by a former client, and a winding-up order is currently in process.

So my question is this:

Why has he been entrusted with the statutory benefits owed to his employees?

Y’know, those solid, hard-working folk whose dreams extend to things like being able to buy food, electricity and water. 

A winding-up order in The Gazette should surely have been a red flag?

Now, I have to stress here that I’m quite certain the majority of employers are passing on furlough payments to their teams.

I’m equally sure that these business leaders are genuinely concerned about their staff and want to make sure the business is fit and ready to go when the pandemic passes.

And fair play to them.

But before money started being handed out, shouldn’t No10 have run some very basic checks to assess the stability of the business they were showering the free dosh onto?

It’s not exactly rocket surgery to envisage the possibility that a pumping vein of cash might attract some sharks (or accountants apparently) into the waters.

Swindler-Jim meanwhile, is not worrying about his utilities or his supermarket bill. Nope, he is joyously lavishing his Ferrety-Funds on private education for his brood, and private villas in the mediterranean. 

All while his employees are suffering.

Now.

Today.

And because of pick-pockets like Jim-Swindley, action on behalf of the Government is needed.

Now.

Today.

And really, that’s all I have to say about that.

Well.

For now.

For today at least.

But who knows what I might say tomorrow.

<she added menacingly>

NB: All claims made in this blog post can be evidenced should any of the 5-0 be reading on their lunch-break.
Names have been changed to protect the innocent. 
And by innocent, I mean me of course. 
Not the sleazy, thieving, slime-sucker who’s pocketing people’s cash.
Nope.
That Payroll-Pirate can go and duck himself.

Friday 8th May – Profiteering does not equal business genius.

I’ve been feeling more nauseous than usual lately.

And for a nice change, it’s not just my cooking that’s to blame.

Go me.

Whenever I’m watching the TV which, as I already explained, is pretty much constant at the moment, I have noticed a rather unsettling trend.

Maybe it’s just me.

Maybe I’m just being a bit cynical.

Am I just being a Negative-Nancy?

Possibly.

(Also, sorry Nancy).

Anyway, back to the source of my nausea.

It’s the TV adverts.

They’re frankly, a teeny bit disingenuous.

On the surface they’re being all “Oooh, visit our website and find fun stuff for your kids to do” or “Oooh, buy our hand-wash because it totally kills everything that isn’t you” or “Hey, you’d better buy a new sofa because The-Virus had to travel thousands of miles, is totally jet-lagged and has probably gone for a nap in your front room, which is probably well dangerous and that”.

Sorry, did I say disingenuous?

Silly me.

What I actually meant was epically exploitative.

Creatively speaking, I bet there’s been a pretty steady theme in the pitch sessions of advertising agencies around the world lately and I don’t know about you, but it’s not just a little bit distasteful.

It’s an advertisers wet dream.

Trust me, somewhere on the globe right now there’s a career crazed millennial scratching his head trying to come up with a way to spin the sale of vaginal lube into a critical safety precaution against The-Virus.

It feels a bit scrawny to me for organisations to be making bank off the back of this pandemic situation.

And some of the organisations aren’t just making a bit of bank, they’ve literally stuck a saddle on The-Virus and are gonna ride that money-pony until it’s put back in it’s stable sweaty and spent.

Think Amazon.

Think Netflix.

Think remote working tools like Zoom.

Think UberEats.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon has increased his personal fortune by 24 billion as a direct result of a global population who are imprisoned at home, terrified that they might join the couple hundred thousand folks who have died, alone and in agony at the mercy of The-Virus.

And fair enough, these businesses are there to make money, I get it but, if a notable increase in profits can be attributed to the pandemic, (and I think we can safely call a 24 billion dollar banking experience notable) I’m not sure we call that savvy business skills.

I think we call it racketeering.

For me, a bit of profit is all gravy, these guys were in the right place at the right time and I haven’t got a problem with their business having a bit of a pay-day, but come on people.

There’s a pay-day. And then there’s a full-fat Piggy-Pay-Day. 

In the US, for example, there’s a charity that pays off the medical bills of those that had the bad luck to go and get sick when they couldn’t afford medical insurance.

Given that the pandemic is a medical issue, how many citizens of America find themselves in that very situation right now?

Jeff, mate, these are your fellow countrymen.

Step up fella.

And this goes for all businesses as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s the very simple equation that’s appropriate here:

Take current revenue. Deduct operating costs. Deduct any tax burden. Deduct a like for like profit margin on figures for this time last year. Deduct a bit of a bonus for the business and whatever’s left.

Find some worthy causes and start cutting cheques.

Because vampirically sucking a fortune out of the veins of The-Virus doesn’t make you a captain of industry.

It makes you a greedy twat.