Here's looking at you, caller. Or not, as the case may be

BUNHILL

Here is a prediction: the greatest force for social and commercial upheaval this year will be a harmless-sounding device known as Caller ID.

The more modern of you will be familiar with Caller ID - it allows you to see who is calling you before you pick up the handset. The social effects of this will be obvious: unpopular people will discover they are unpopular, mothers-in-law (except mine, bless her!) will find they are unable to make contact, and those of us who are popular will have to get used to being answered by name. I find it quite unnerving when one of my chums greets me with a cheery "Hello Bunhill!"

But the commercial impact could, I suggest, knock a couple of percentage points off the GNP, though few people will mind much. The following categories will find themselves unable to do their jobs:

Double-glazing salesmen, salesmen of all other kinds, public relations consultants, debt collectors, journalists (of the "tabloid" variety), pollsters and lots of others I haven't thought of yet. In fact it might put BT out of business. As my Cityish colleagues would say: Sell!

The Chairman's message to the partners of John Lewis starts: "It has been a most orderly year ..."

There is no one, nothing, quite like John Lewis. As the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride round the M25, as the stars of the sky fall to earth, as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit, John Lewis Partners will still be selling sensible things to sensible people, and the chairman will be writing his next report: "A certain disorder affected soft furnishings, and while Aberdeen and Milton Keynes disappeared into the abyss, we were pleased to note that Brent Cross was performing well ..."

Virgin deflated

Richard Branson's airline magazine is called Hot Air, with the sub- heading "Virgin Atlantic's high-flying magazine". Something will have to change. Either the title goes - I suggest Helium Falling - or the strapline should change: "Down to earth with a bump" maybe.

I have had suggestions for a subdivision of the Euro (Eurine, you may remember, was proposed before Christmas). Before coming to them, Magy Higgs makes a good point: that a good reason for disposing of the penny is that it is either referred to as a "pee", or that "pence" is used as the singular. As I've said before, decimalisation was a horrible mistake.

Back to the Euro Division. William J Mason brings mighty logic to bear with his suggestion of Pean (pronounced pee-an). The trouble is, Pean is also the US spelling of paean, a song of praise, which is implausible. Its other meaning in the dictionary, "fur represented as sable spotted with or" is incomprehensible, so should at least be well received in Brussels.

Keith Flett suggests that a Blair generic would be the New, while the democratic version would be the Pleb: the New Pleb might be a compromise. Adrian Brokin, a self-confessed realist, says the Euro should be made up of one deutschmark, so the subdivision presumably remains the pfennig.

Christophe Sladen has switched nationalities to write this letter, which I reproduce:

"Nous avons abandonne l'Ecu - historique nom francais - pour l'Euro: mot artificiel, sans histoire, sans famille, sans gravitas (comme dit le bon chancelier Clarke). En place de l'Eurine (aussi mot artificiel) permettez-moi proposer un mot tout court, tout simple.

Vous pouvez rappeler, j'en suis sur, le Sou: piece de monnaie petite mais bien utile.

Pour eviter aucun risque de confusion, je propose que chaque Euro soit divise entre cent pieces qui s'appellent, pas Sou, mais Fou. Ainsi, par exemple: J'ai fou (I 'ave fou), Tu as fou (You 'ave fou), Il/Elle a fou ('E, She or Eet 'ave fou) etc.

The word would, Mr Sladen suggests, be a useful exclamation in European negotiations. Just shout "Fou!", and no one could object. Those of a severely monolingual disposition should look up the word "fou" in a dictionary.

Competition time

I am pleased to announce the first Bunhill competition of 1997. Just think of collective nouns for professions. Here are some for starters: a boredom of accountants, an ignorance of non-executive directors, a stupor of actuaries, a waterproof of Internet experts, a wad of merchant bankers. Bottles of fizz for the best (I apologise, by the way, to those of you who were expecting fizz and haven't got it yet - our delivery wagon collided with Santa Claus's sleigh in a Horror Pile-Up on Cloud Nine Bypass just before Christmas).

Frantic phone calls jammed the switchboards of Bunhill Towers last week, demanding to know where I had got to. I am unable, for Security Reasons, to give an explanation, but I can say that it involved my old friend Captain Moonlight and a toad-sexing expedition in Anguilla. Thank you for your concern.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album