The Story So Far...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

TV or not TV? That is the question...

Saw an interesting comment on this embryonic little blog which made me curious...

Firstly, that someone kindly took the trouble to read these mutterings of mine and secondly, that their comment seemed centred on the fact that I watch television. I should say that I'm indebted on the first part - glad to know someone's reading this(!) - but am bemused by the TV part. Most of us around the planet have televisions in our homes, sometimes whether we like it or not, and these can often become the focal point of our 'at home' existence if we're not careful.

I have long been an advocate of "why not switch of your tv set and go and do something altogether better instead?" (with thanks to BBC TV's 'Why Don't You?) philosophy. Having said all of that, I have found myself being drawn to it, especially when I and/or my wife are at home, the chores are done and the babies are asleep in bed. I can see why it can become addictive, lol. In Scotland, we have dreary wet and cold winters and, if I'm honest, wet summers usually. So the choice of other pursuits can be limited due to this. In the absence of babysitters, good weather and, occasionally, cash then it makes for a reasonable alternative.

Does it matter where you watch tv? Absolutely! I'd far prefer to be watching tv (albeit briefly) somewhere exotic in the world as opposed to here. If anyone would like to come and watch our glorious UK programming here in the bleak mid-winter then do get in touch.

off to watch some tv (...not)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A photo to make me happy

my first attempt at posting a pic...

didn't work....oh well. This is a learning curve after all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A storm is brewing

Indeed it fact, if you look out my window (which, of course, you can't) then you would see that it's actually here already. In more ways than one, of course. As the literal stormy wind and rain blasta all around my house this evening, the metaphorical storm about Lestat's untimely sacking and the bizarre behaviour of Waterstone's in Edinburgh is whipping up unto a bit of a frenzy.

Not only have the Times online picked up on the story but a whole host of others - see the link for a list of some... - but Lestat will be in the Guardian and The Scotsman newspapers tomorrow. Apparently he was being photographed outside his former workplace on Princes Street this afternoon, much to the amusement of former colleagues. I'm delighted that the overwhelming majority of people who have responded to this incident have been supportive of Lestat. I simply fail to see how you could be anything else.

Foolish to call you workplace Bastardstone's? Or is this satire at work? For example recall, if you will, the many and varied comedians on the BBC who have taken, and continue to take, the total mickey out of the corporation on screen by uttering bawdy insults in the name of humour. Are they fired for this? Of course not. It's a pity Waterstone's didn't assume the moral highground, lust like Auntie and view the Woolamaloo rantings as a bit of harmless fun. After all, I certainly didn't see anythign in the blog before that would've made me not shop at Waterstone's...until now. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

And so, as the winds grow ever stronger around Scotland this evening, I can but imagine the storm that is engulfing the alleged "Evil Boss" (surely alleged no more? - Ed.) and his colleagues who must be surely wondering what's going on?

Have they simply thought that Lestat doesn't have any friends and acquaintances who know him for his work and for his humour and that he would simply walk quietly away into the night?? Oh dear, I think they actually did....

Goodnight, boys and girls.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Where do you buy your books??

Happy New Year.... is that a command or an express wish? Who can say. Either way, I hope you had a good festive period.

For some, it was not a very festive season. Many thousands lost in the Asiatic region... Today, like many others, I took time at 12pm to pay respects.

Closer to home there was more bad news. In my last posting I alluded to a disturbing situation, which may have implications for bloggers everywhere. Well now I can reveal some of the facts.

An old school friend of mine, whose online alter-ego is Lestat, has been operating a weblog for many, many years now called the Woolamaloo Gazette ( Clearly and legally described as a satirical and personal look at the world around him, he has been busily typing away for years, entertaining many around the globe on his views about life. Occasionally, this has strayed into episodes about his workplace, Waterstones (a large UK bookseller). Much of this has been about such everyday characters (who many of us would agree to having from time to time) such as the alleged "Evil Boss" who, for example, refuses a request for a day off to celebrate a birthday or whatever....

The occasional mentions of the workplace, which I can now reveal as Waterstone's Edinburgh East End Branch, 13-14 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AN (Tel: 0131 556 3034/5) Email: , are run-of-the-mill rantings about working late shifts, unusual customers and having to work in the first great crime there. Nobody was mentioned by name and the location was largely unknown unless you happened to live in Edinburgh and, even then, there are s number of Waterstone's book shops in the city.

In Lestat's case, alleged and satirically-named "Evil Boss" (-es? Ed.) has taken a dim view of these altogether harmless musings and dismissed him from the employment of Waterstone's as of this afternoon.

He must've been asking for it, you say? Well, pray read the weblog - go back a few years (search for the word Waterstone's in the text to make it easier) and you will see that dismissal on the grounds that he has brought the organisation into disrepute and is a breach of clear employment policies is incredibly petty and wrong. It may interest you to know that (as of this date) Waterstone's do not actually have a written policy that covers 'blogging' (I checked with someone at their HR department who was very helpful). As such Waterstone's have read more into their rules than they should have. This has been pointed out by a number of leading technology law specialists and may very well cost the company dearly. Still, they can afford it...Lestat, like so many of us, has bills to pay in order to keep a roof over his head and is now unemployed. It is somewhat surprising that a book seller whose reputation was built upon supporting freedom of speech has behaved in such a way. Waterstone's have deliberately made someone unemployed for expressing a personal and private point of view. I wonder ehy they couldn't have dealth with this in a more appropriate fashion, e.g. informal discussion, verbal warning, etc, etc? Moving to instant dismissal rather than any level of warning smacks of knee-jerk reaction.

As a regular customer of Waterstone's, I am deeply disturbed by the dismissal of an employee who has given 11 years of loyal service and appeared on radio and in the press on behalf of the company on a number of occasions. He has organised a great many book events, all of which were highly successful. He is also well-regarded by a number of customers and some very famous authors. Perhaps some of these people will have some concerns about this, I wonder?

So, when someone asks me in the future where I buy my books? It certainly won't be Waterstones...