15 Jun 2003


Web User magazine asked me some questions – here are my answers:

1) Why and when did you set the weblog up?

I started in March this year after stumbling on blogging via an article in The Guardian. Last year I read KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL by the chef Anthony Boudain, a memoir of working in the kitchens of New York City. He managed to fill his book with interesting and engaging incident and amusing characters to such an extent that I wanted to share his lifestyle. I realised that his work was just as boring as mine, however he had managed to look at it in a skewed and interesting manner that made the boredom seductive. The Blog is therapy, trying to find interest in a job that I hate. I have worked in a Call Centre for over a decade and I now realise what I have been missing: sex, drugs and lost calls.

2) Is the Call Centre as chaotic as it sounds?

Like most things in the cosmos, The Call Centre is subject the second law of Thermodynamics: everything that moves goes wrong, but in interesting ways.

3) Are there any juicy incidents that you have never been able to relate?

There are some incidents concerning sexual, extra curricula activity that has brought down some of the most powerful people in the Call Centre, that I have never discussed: I’m an artist, not a gossip, but then again if I ever get stuck for something to write, sure enough, I’ll be spilling out the sordid details.

4) Do your bosses know about you blogging and the revelations regarding your blogging the antics in the office?

No. If I did, they would text a P45 to me as soon as you could say ‘The Accident Group’.

5) After that bloke who was caught downloading pictures of men in trunks, have there been any other incidents where people have been nabbed perusing “interesting” websites?

Well there is Joan on my team who is so hard of hearing that she thought someone advised her to look up something on “Gobble” rather than “Google” and was quite surprised at the results. Many of the incidents happen by mistake because Internet use is so closely monitored, people are too cautious to look at anything dodgy at work. There is a legend circulating at the moment that claims that some one from accounts wanted to adopt a child from abroad and was surprised at what came up when she typed in “Asian Babes”.

6) What’s the worst call that you have had to deal with/ have you ever been on the receiving end of some very colourful abuse?

Customers assume that the worst calls are the ones that involve shouting and swearing. Those calls are just funny. The worst ones are the customers who think that they are Nicky Campbell. The kind of people who listen to You and Yours, Moneybox Live and watch Watchdog. If anyone starts a conversation with: “I am taping this call: which is my right under the 1991 Communication’s Act,” you know that you are in for trouble. I always want to say “tough tit, you bought it.”

7) Are the toilets patrols still in existence?

Brian, the security man, is built like a brick shit house so he is at home in the loos.

8) Have you got any more stories about other call centre legends?

There’s a legend about a trainer who flipped when giving a presentation to the directors of The Call Centre. He was showing the motivational video FISH! which features fishmongers in Seattle who have become world famous for throwing fish at each other.

Alan, the trainer had been passed over for promotion and was in a rage. During the training session he reached into his bag and pulled out a smoked kipper and without further-a-do he flung it at the managing director’s cheek and shouted “Catch!”. It hit him with a slap and within an hour Alan was at The Job Centre.

9) Do you guys really value our calls?

When you are waiting in a queue, listening to some out of copyright music, just think about the people in the office: they are probably throwing a ball in a bucket.

10) Complete this sentence: “Call Centre Confidential is ...”

The best description I have heard is “The Office meets Phoenix Nights”

11) Any other hobbies?

I have just built a scale replica of The Statue of Liberty out of toothpicks. I am doing the Taj Mahal next.