To the Institute of Directors this morning and a speech to a large room full of experts from public and private sector, at a conference organised by software specialists KANA.
It is always good to get an audience laughing before going into serious stuff like economic mayhem, political shambles and transport fiasco. So I told a few stories taking the mick out of Tony Blair’s (until recently) technological illiteracy.
The time an unemployed Geordie beat him on a series of tests in a computer class. The time he greeted Microsoft boss Bill Gates with the small talk gambit of ‘how is your mainframe doing?’ His first text message, which was the word ‘this’, followed by his second ‘this is amazing’ and his third ‘you can send words by phone and everything’ (2007!!)
They laughed well enough, and on we moved to serious stuff and a q and a, of which more later.
But first, hubris … you see, I took the mick out of him, but not long after came a technological cropper myself. On my way home, I dropped into a shop near King’s Cross, called Kilts For All, to collect a new kilt and all the works for a wedding on Saturday, at which I am playing my bagpipes.
One sale having been made, they tried another on me, and asked if I fancied a new tweed suit. I snorted with derision, not wishing ever to look like an extra from Downton Abbey, a programme I cannot abide for its (IMHO) celebration of Tory paternalism and creator Julian Fellowes’ yearning for the kind of class structures his friend David Cameron appears intent on reintroducing for the modern age.
Undeterred, the Kilts For All team – who provide kilts and other Fancy Dan stuff for Downton btw – pressed the jacket and waistcoat upon me. It fitted ok, felt not bad, and I got director Victoria Jacobs to take a snap, which I sent to my partner Fiona and my daughter Grace (who tries to be my style advisor), with the simple message ‘Yes, or No?’
They would realise instantly it was a joke, I thought, as I am highly unlikely to wear the kind of thing that Tory toffs do (though in fact when she saw it, Grace thought it rather cool).
However she was not the only one to see it, as instead of sending the photo to her and Fiona’s emails, seemingly I hit the ‘tweet’ button on my iPhone, which sparked some fairly predictable responses about beagling, hunting, used car and double glazing salesmen, Minder, Guy Richie movies and this, my favourite, ‘you look like you’re fresh from deflowering the parlour maid’. … Now my technological illiteracy comes in handy because, No, I don’t know how to put the photo on here, so if you’re not on twitter, tough.
All this, I suspect, because I took the piss out of my old boss. Oh well, at least the new kilt suit (which I have just tried on) looks good, and I will tweet a picture from the wedding.
Now back to KANA. (the full stop is part of the logo) where one of the questions was this … ‘Is David Cameron doing anything right, does Nick Clegg have a future, and is Ed Miliband electable as Prime Minister?’
And I thought, what a great question in which, in very few words, to open the space for so many answers and so much debate.
I will answer it in my next blog, but in the meantime would welcome your answers to the same question. Now off to practise the pipes.
** PS KANA. is the Japanese for women’s wrestling, and I thought that might be the thinking behind the company name. I learned that in fact it was the name of the founder’s dog. So I may well, in this spirit, rebrand my professional work as that of ‘MOLLY.’