Thursday, 8 December 2011

8 December 2011. Letter 65

Dear Mark and Sue

Re: 08.06 FGW service from Oxford to Paddington, 8/12/11. Amount of my day wasted: six minutes.

Marky Mark! Siouxsie Sue! What’s new? What’s the view? How, in fact, do you do?

I hope that lots of things are new! I hope the view is glorious, scenic, panoramic! I hope, in fact, that you are doing well. Or good! To be doing well is a fine thing – to be doing good is even better.

Are you doing good, Mark? Are you doing good work? I do hope so.

Hey, guess what? That’s right! You got it! My train this morning… it was delayed again. Only six minutes, admittedly, but still, six minutes is six minutes, Mark. As we’ve doubtless established before, one could destroy the whole world and every living thing in it in six minutes. One could do that one and a half times, in six minutes, if one were so inclined.

One could fall in love six times in six minutes, according to the previously discussed Barlow Standard, Mark. Assuming one could find six girls worth falling in love with, on the 08.06 from Oxford to Paddington.

(My advice would be to wait until after Reading before doing anything rash. I saw at least three proper sorts get on at Reading this morning, Mark. And you know what? They were all clutching copies of the Reading Station News! That’s right! The same Reading Station News that features your face on the front page! That’s what we call a “splash” in the business, Mark! And I’ll tell you this for nothing – none of those girls looked like they were going to let go of their copies of Reading Station News lightly. They were keeping hold of their papers, Mark! I’m thinking it wasn’t for the words, either. I’m thinking it was all about the splash. All about the front page visuals. Alright, Mark! Train groupie chicks! Finally! High fives all round!)

Ahem. Sorry.

What else could one do in six minutes, Mark? Well… one could listen to Otis Redding’s 1967 masterpiece (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay exactly 2.27848101 times in six minutes. For example. It’s the greatest two minutes and 38 seconds of art ever created dedicated to describing doing nothing, Sue, after all. It’s genius. If anything, listening to it 2.27848101 times is not enough*.

Or… or… or one could write a letter to the Managing Director and Director of Communications of the company responsible for wasting those six minutes in the first place. What do you think, Mark? Would that be a smart way to use up six minutes?

Au revoir!


*Shall I tell you something astonishing about (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, Mark? Something that will blow your mind, Sue? You know that whistling bit at the end? The most famous whistling bit in the history of popular music? Old Otis improvised it in the studio. There weren’t enough lyrics – so he just whistled the first thing that came into his head… with the intention of returning the following week to re-record that particular verse. And you know what happened, Mark? He never came back. He died before the verse had been written. Crashed into a lake. And by way of tribute, they released the version with his improvised bit of whistle on it. The most famous whistling in the history of popular music. Just goes to show, eh? Never let a song go unfinished. I bet that songwriter’s feeling pretty silly now…

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