Monday, 9 May 2011

Greg's Only Partially-Successful Attempt To Raise The Tone.

"Who's your pick for The Turner Prize, then, Mol?" says Greg, when I arrive at work, still half-asleep, and starving hungry.

I do a double take, before heading to the kitchen to make a coffee - thus buying myself time to think about my response. Nan always said, "Decide in haste, repent at leisure."

So I'm still mulling over the respective merits of George Shaw and Karla Black - and trying to find a clean teaspoon - when the phone starts to ring.

"Ah, Mr Beales," says Greg. "No, I'm sorry. Still no progress on ensuring HGV drivers can earn twice the number of penalty points as ordinary motorists. As I think Molly may have already told you, we are not wholly optimistic of success on this particular issue."

I stick my head around the doorframe and pull a face, but Greg's not paying any attention to me. He appears to be reading The London Review of Books, at the same time as listening to Mr Beales.

"Yes, well," he says. "I think you may have a somewhat dystopian view of society, if you'll forgive me saying so."

There's a pause, and then he says, very slowly: "Dys-to-pian."

Then he hangs up, and starts leafing through a copy of Nature, while I search for a safe place to put his coffee down on his desk. It seems to be covered with piles of new magazines and journals, though I can't see a copy of Hello anywhere.

"Did you just say 'dystopian' to Mr Beales?" I say.

"Yes," says Greg. "I am attempting to raise the calibre of conversation around here. Given the inexplicable omission of my name from the list of the UK's top three hundred intellectuals."

"Oh," I say - which I don't think lives up to Greg's expectations.

He raises his eyebrows, and waits for me to try again.

"A laudable aim," I say. "Though what did Mr Beales say in reply?"

"He asked why The Boss can't employ someone who speaks proper English," says Greg. "I am bloodied, but unbowed."

I wish I could say the same for me, when I look at what I've got for lunch. I'm sure those bread sticks we bought for Christmas have gone off.

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