29 October 2008

Ageing Calmly

Clearly a pub for grown ups (Teddington Arms) 
Last week at the Bank of England we were shown round by the Curator of the bank's museum. He told me he had joined the Bank in 1960 which is a long time ago by anyone's reckoning.  He didn't swear, but then he was quite comfortably Over 21.

I found the very existence of a Museum - and a curator - to be very reassuring: it's pleasing that the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street cares about history (new joiners are apparently even encouraged to read it):  a sense of history and a knowledge of the past crises must be eminently useful when a once-in-a-lifetime event happens along.

Happens along every week for two months.

Anyway, even despite the end of the world, I'm having a week's holiday. Yes, it's probably unwise: almost anything could happen while I am away: I wonder if there will be a department, let alone a job to come back to on Monday. I comfort myself only with the fact that I occupy a very small and very remote part of the Organogram .

Anyway it's half term, and it's good to get away from it all, so this week Mrs Botogol and I have had some old friends round for a dinner party and we have been to the theatre.

Our dinner party guests exhibited no rudeness,  and neither did they wear caps - even with the heating switched off in the new, cost-conscious-credit-crunched Botogol household.  However, over the cheese course, they did all gang up on me as the sole representative of the Global Investment Banking Industry present holding me personally responsible, by way of excessive greed, for the gloom that now threatens to engulf even totally blameless Brand Consultant Thingummies.   Perhaps I did start it, when I referred to Richard Fuld as a Master of the Universe. Whatever; it was Mrs Botogol who certainly put a stop to it when she leapt unexpectedly and somewhat frighteningly, to my defence.  "He's not a greedy Investment Banker, he's just a very naughty boy".

But again, she didn't swear, and neither was she rude - which is a good thing: when you get to our age too much swearing is, quite frankly, unsettling, especially if it's loud swearing and for that reason our theatre trip also wasn't quite the success we hoped for and I can't necessarily recommend How to disappear completely and never be found at the Southwark Playhouse where they swear a lot; and very loudly indeed.

The play is a modern day Reggie Perrin (who was forty-six in the first novel, cold, chilling thought, but also didn't swear). It's about a seemingly successful executive who finds himself suddenly overwhelmed, friendless and all at sea...

He decides to disappear.

In his last few days at work Charlie humiliates himself flunking a sales pitch and - in a direct nod to David Nobbs  - goes to see the company doctor, who hands out drugs very much stronger than the two aspirin that poor old Doc Morrissey doled out to Reggie, and accuses him of being depressed.

"But, that's the thing", says Charlie, "You see, I'm not at all sure the problem does lie with me: I'm afraid that things might genuinely be shit"

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