Stan Hey: If you can't get down to the pub, try the internet

'I have yet to receive a copy of the "Bradley & Claire" e-mail, the apparently salacious correspondence between a London lawyer and the PR executive he had a fling with.'

Share

It has been so widely circulated that his firm is seeking corporate vengeance on its creators and transmitters. If anyone out there has a copy, my address is attached below. This is of course a professional obligation rather than a prurient indulgence, because if the uproar doesn't die down soon, the Government is going to step in and appoint an e-mail tsar to monitor computer traffic, a "Dirty Mac", if you will.

It has been so widely circulated that his firm is seeking corporate vengeance on its creators and transmitters. If anyone out there has a copy, my address is attached below. This is of course a professional obligation rather than a prurient indulgence, because if the uproar doesn't die down soon, the Government is going to step in and appoint an e-mail tsar to monitor computer traffic, a "Dirty Mac", if you will.

I don't want the job. On the contrary, I'm here to argue for the unfettered transmission of smutty jokes and nudge-wink gossip, whether from work places or from private residences. There isn't a business institution or home-based worker that hasn't consumed or sent such material at one time or another over the past five years. The internet has become the easiest forum for the joke, a replacement for the pub banter that we used to enjoy when boozy lunches were still allowed, or before we were forced to work solo with nothing more than a noisy, brightly crested cockatiel for company. ("Shut up, Kramer, can't you see that I'm bloody working?")

That this should have become a necessary process is due to the arrival of such liberating technology as the Internet, and to the increasingly oppressive practices of corporate capitalism. We are expected to work harder than a decade ago, to put up with open-plan spaces so that all human contact can be monitored. We are timed-in and timed-out of the building, assuming you have the right pass or the correct entry-code, and displays of occasional drunkenness or lust are strictly prohibited.

Workers have always sought an escape from the mental burden of factory or office. When I worked in a tobacco factory in Liverpool's docks, the sole means of "escape" was the smuggling out of small quantities of cigarettes or tobacco.

An exotic game was played out between security staff and workers on a daily basis, and it made the stifling, noisy, inhumane environment bearable. By "parachuting" parcels of baccy off the roof to waiting accomplices on the canal-bank, the workers were borrowing the defiant catch-phrase from the TV series of the time, The Prisoner - "I am not a Number, I am a Free Man!"

In my first "media" job, at a cheaply run London radio station, the long hours were relieved by excursions to pubs "out of hours" and there was the first recorded example of "Ugandan discussions". Our racing correspondent used to turn up in top hat and tails, well-oiled but still able to broadcast. Later, at a trendy London magazine in a warren of run-down offices, flagrant assignations and trips to the loo to, er, "powder the nose" were the two usual means of self-expression during the working day. With working behaviour so much more controlled today, e-mail jokes are the contemporary equivalents of these escapades.

I receive an average of five jokes a week by e-mail, 50 per cent of them being about David Beckham, and they have little shelf-life because they are distributed so quickly - a stand-up comedian on the internet would be soon out of material. Some are funny, some crude, some devoid of humour, but I like getting them because it "humanises" my day.

So, did you hear about the Year-5 school-trip to the races? A young lady teacher is charged with helping boys if they have difficulty in the lavatory. One shrimp complains that he can't reach the urinal because it is too high for him. The teacher lifts him up by the armpits and is shocked to glimpse a sizeable Percy being pointed. "Are you really in the Fifth?" she asks. "No, I've only got rides in the first and second races, thanks."

stanhey@aol.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup