Thursday, 15 December 2011

The latest from the scammers

Dear Sir/Madam

We regret to inform that your Visa/Mastercard secure has been
set off because to many attendings, and we beleive that others
were ussing your details.

Please download the attach  to reactivate the account.
[I believe the correct answer to this is f*ck in the general direction of off, you miserable thieving b*stards. "Ussing" my details were they? I think not.] 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Counterfeits Revisited

You might know, but you probably don't, that in 2005 I had a book published on the reasons why people buy counterfeit goods. The world has changed a bit since then, but the counterfeiters keep getting better at it. I loathe fake stuff. I can see why people buy it, but I wouldn't want to own any of it myself. I'd feel ashamed to walk down the street knowing I was wearing or carrying an illegal copy of someone else's work.

Last week, a bunch of us were in a lovely place in Nottinghamshire, Langar Hall. It's a country house hotel with a few rooms, all of them interesting, and a great restaurant. While I was there Henry Blofeld rang up to book a room (Blowers on the blower) and I was rather distressed to find that the Milibands and I had both occupied the honeymoon suite (with a few months in between).

Paul Smith goes there too, which is why Langar Hall appears in his Mini on Location series of prints. It's that orange house beind the mini from this year's spring summer season. The hotel have a set of the bags, and I liked them so much I decided to hunt one down and buy it. I put in a bid on eBay and got one, for a fair amount of money, but not full price so I concluded that it was from someone who'd bought it at the end of the season with their staff discount.

Wrong. It turned up and I got a nasty cold feeling as I took it out of its bag. It was a fake, but a good one. The counterfeiters had taken the trouble to emboss Paul Smith's logo all over the leather, inside and out, and on the metal clips that held on the shoulder strap. But the inside pocket zip wasn't reinforced with leather, the lining is cheap and nasty, the straps are synthetic not leather, the strap loops aren't riveted, the top zip has only one end, there was no luggage tag, and the zip collapsed on first try. It wasn't even the same model as the one in the picture. I was feeling pretty idiotic. When I checked the listing I saw that the seller doesn't accept returns, so I was ready to report him.

All the same, I decided to give him a second chance. I contacted him and told him it wasn't the bag in the picture and that he had been sold a counterfeit so perhaps he would like to exchange it for the one shown. I was sure there wouldn't be a reply, but he wrote back and said he would refund me if I returned it. So far he hasn't given me the address, but when (if) he does, I'll send it back recorded and await my refund.

I was pretty keen to report him to eBay, but since he's appearing to make amends, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt at first. But then if he tried to relist it, the wrath will be released and I'll be down like a ton of bricks. Perhaps he was genuinely duped himself. Or perhaps he thought no-one would notice. We'll see.

I did think of cutting my losses and sending the fake to Paul Smith HQ so they could see what was out their trashing their brand. I called customer serivices and got a recorded message of Paul that said I would be transferred to someone soon, then I got the same message again, and again, and again and I gave up.

So what do you think? I'll let you know what happens next.

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Faith Machine

We were at the theatre last night; it had been a long day (up early to go to Nottingham and back) and the play was two hours and forty minutes so I was expecting to fall asleep. Didn't. The Royal Court is an actory place. Once I was sitting next to Alfred Molina (the time his phone rang and played Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy in the second act of Enron) and the last time we were there Alan Rickman was standing at the bar scrutinising his drink as if it were one of Potter's B-minus potions. This time we had one actor, someone I'd last seen as one of Brookside's smarter residents, standing at the front of the stalls and surveying the audience just to check who'd recognised him.

It's a great place. The food's good and it's on Sloane Square right next to the tube station. The auditorium is intimate and comfortable and it's off the usual tourist map. They do really need a good plumber though. Everything leaks in the ladies' loo.

But let's consider the play, why don't we?

I don't think it's supposed to be about a selfish, selfrighteous beautiful young woman who does absolutely everything own her way, and makes everyone around her feel low, small and humiliated. I think it's supposed to be about a campaigning, dedicated, pure-hearted woman who does everything in her power to make the world a better place, and occasionally makes the odd mistake. Two characters come on doing that ridiculous  "I-am-an-actor-taking-my-place-before-I-start-acting" walk, then we open as she selflessly/selfishly storms out on the man she loves because he's taken an advertising job for what is clearly an unethical drugs company instead of devoting his life to writing his novel, and to her. We lightly skip over how he didn't have to earn a living as she could have supported him with her inheritance - but doesn't.

She marries a man she doesn't love, and he knows it, making three of them miserable.

Then there's her dad, the bishop, who resigns over whether or not Christians should approve of homosexuality. We sort all that out in a debate between him and his African colleague. There's their gay friend, who gets married, and the reformed Russian prostitute who does the cooking and cleaning at the Bishop's place in Greece. That's the light relief.

I don't think we're supposed to see her as an irritating obnoxious woman, who's so beautiful and passionate that she gets away with it. I think we're supposed to see a beautiful, passionate woman with a burning need to help those less fortunate than herself. I just thought it was a pity that she didn't acknowledge the common or garden needs of the people who love her. Compassion begins at home.

Anyway, I thought she was a right bitch. Do see it. And please disagree.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Moving Out

The 4160Tuesday movement has its own home. We decided to buy instead of renting, so please come to visit:
See you soon.