Moving house really brings you up to speed with the state of customer service in modern-day Britain. For the past two weeks I have been waging an almost constant war, via Twitter, email and phone, to get companies to do the simplest things like turn up on time (or even on the right day), deliver the correct item or offer help over the phone in something resembling human. I am fortunate in that I am a very minor celebrity with a healthy amount of Twitter followers. Time and again, the moment I tweeted my grievances the managing director or head of customer care would be in touch within 15 minutes promising to solve the problem. This is brilliant for me, but it's a sad state of affairs that problems that are easily solved can only be dealt with because I once dressed as a large squirrel.
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Sunday 31 May 2009
So the other Home Nations are graciously (or rather, ungraciously) allowing Great Britain to be represented by an all-England team in the 2012 Olympic football tournament. Big deal. No doubt though, they'll still be happy for matches to be played as scheduled in Glasgow, Cardiff and possibly Belfast, thus collecting a few bob in gate money. Sorry to disagree with my colleague Jamie Corrigan's Last Word, but such self-centred intransigence will not have gone unnoticed by the International Olympic Committee and Fifa, who see football as one of the Games' money-spinning showpieces. The 2012 chief Lord Coe is too politically polite to say so but you can bet he is privately seething at the bloody-mindedness of the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland FAs. At least both men and women's teams will be there in 2012, albeit as England in disguise. And the probability that the men's tournament will now be restricted to players under 21 (with Stuart Pearce strongly tipped to manage it) is good news for the likes of the England youth captain John Bostock, the 17-year-old blossoming star at Spurs, who articulated his Olympic ambitions so well in these pages last week. Unfortunately, other British youngsters who may feel the same are being unjustly denied their opportunity. Now here is an intriguing Olympic poser for our insular cousins. Rugby Sevens is pushing hard for inclusion in 2016. If it gets in will the Scots, Welsh and Irish again refuse to scrum down with England citing the same "principle"?
Sunday 15 February 2009
Friday 19 September 2008
* The debut crime novel by Peter Leonard, Quiver, will be launched by Faber on 2 October and is already being touted as one of their books of the year. But why has the author waited until he is 57 to publish a book? Early criticism from his dad can't have helped: he once described his son's early characters as "like strips of leather drying in the sun" – and when your dad is Elmore Leonard, the "Dickens of Detroit", that's hard. Fortunately, early reviews of Leonard Jnr's first work are much more positive: it has "a filmic style that is reminiscent of the Coen brothers and Tarantino", says one.
Rebecca Tyrrell: 'It's a JFK/Diana moment in our home. Yes, Carol Vorderman has departed from Countdown'
Monday 18 August 2008
I don't think I will ever forget Matthew's animal yelp of distress as he read a two-day old English newspaper in a Greek taverna on the tiny, peaceful island of Poros. "Sweet Lord Jesus, no," he wailed. "What have they done? God damn them all to hell, what have they done?"
Thursday 10 July 2008
Weakest Link television presenter Anne Robinson was banned from driving for six months today after admitting her fourth speeding offence.
Sunday 29 June 2008
Saturday 31 May 2008
A certain young Englishman may have got us all watching Formula One again, but it's hard not to conclude that the golden era was the Sixties, when Graham Hill bestrode the world like a cross between Ayrton Senna and, er, Leslie Phillips.
Saturday 19 April 2008
Tuesday 12 February 2008
The difference between wisdom and knowledge, according to the late, great humorist writer Miles Kington, is that knowledge consists of knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Monday 05 June 2006
Thursday 01 June 2006
Eurotunnel, the debt-ridden Channel Tunnel operator, finally unveiled its latest rescue plan yesterday, coupled with a warning that unless shareholders and bondholders backed the deal it would mean bankruptcy.
Thursday 01 June 2006
John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, bowed to growing pressure over his use of a grace and favour residence last night and announced that he was to give up Dorneywood.
Thursday 01 June 2006
Wednesday 26 October 2005
- 1 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 2 Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
- 3 Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
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