Monday, 25 June 2012

Ticking Off Names

As I mentioned yesterday, David Cameron visited Kent today to deliver his keynote speech on welfare. At least, that's what I believe he spoke about, as I spent the entire meeting sitting outside the door, with my Agent colleague Gordon Williams, ticking off names. We have done a lot of ticking off names recently; Tonbridge, Canterbury and Rochester in the last two weeks alone. In fact, we have become quite proficient at it.  We turn up 30 minutes ahead of time and are given a list of names. We find a table and two chairs, which we move into place to form a barrier between the door and the room where the meeting is taking place. We then place the lists on the table in front of us, search pockets for a pen that works, then sit and wait. After a period of time people arrive. We ask their name, find the name on the list, and tick them off. Simple. In fact, so renowned are we for ticking off names, we are thinking of offering a service. If you have a list of names you need ticking-off, please get in touch.

Today's ticking-off names sounded simple. We had a short list of 90 names, one small door through which people had to walk, and a deadline of 12.20pm when the 'to be ticked' had to arrive. What could possibly go wrong? 

""Hello, are you the ticker's off" asked a pretty lady from Millbank.  "Yes".  "Oh good, let me explain what to do...".  Having shown us how to tick-off names, off she went 'ok yah-ing' into her Blackberry.

We settled down for a gossip, soon interrupted by two burly workmen with another table and chair, which they placed alongside ours. "What's that for?", I asked. "Dunno mate - I'm not paid to ask questions, I just do what I'm told."   Soon we found out. It was for Ok Yah's friend who had a list of her own to tick off.  Her list contained different names to ours.  Then another layer of complication.  Bluewater's own security team appeared, and they too had a list of names to tick off. But their list was not as up to date as ours, and contained fewer names (and none of Ok Yah's Friend's names were on the Bluewater list either).

The stage was set.  Cue arrival of first tweed-suited guest. "Hello, what is your name please?"   "Cllr Mrs Margot Dawson-Daines".  Three head's go down searching in vain through lists. "Did you reserve your place over the weekend or earlier today?"   "Yesterday".  "She should be on your list Andrew." " No, but I have got a Marjorie Baines - might you be Marjorie Baines...?"  "Possibly, my friend booked my place and she has an impediment."   Every few minutes someone arrived who was on Ok Yah's friend's list but not on ours - but we couldn't tick them off as Ok Yah's friend's list contained important people and only she could tick them off, but more often than not she had wondered off to speak to ffiona, or tell Harry what type of sandwich she wanted from Pret. 

Then the Prime Minister arrived.  Ok Yah's friend vanished, leaving her list behind.  Bluewater's team sloped off for a fag. Gordon was dispatched to guard the lift and I was left alone - with all five versions of the list. Sadly, by that time, there was no-one left to tick-off. 

Gordon and Andrew - Specialists in Ticking-Off Names

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