Thursday, August 21, 2003

It is with little surprise that since this weblog began to publish stories of NTL incompetence, stories of further out[r]ages (get it? Good use of pun there I like to believe) have come snowballing in. Well, to be frank it is more of the kind of slow trickle one might experience on a windowsill after the thaw. But hey, Charging is a young beast and cannot be expected to command a Pop Idol level of public response. And for the record (and again) folks, Pop Idol is considered here to be a superficial, unsophisticated, and puerile container of other people’s toss; but yet again I digress.

For instance there is the incident of the customer who complained about the lack of signal and had to wait a total of eighteen weeks for an engineer to visit. Luckily the long-suffering NTL viewer had recognised the problem fairly quickly after reporting it, realising that it was a problem with a cable inside his house. But the NTL engineer came un-announced had a look and said “ooh, this’ll be a job for the Outside Man”. The Outside Man presumably being a strong-armed gangster contracted by NTL to look after problems such as customers who fix their own problems and then fail to cancel their request for overworked engineers (and who then reveal the engineer’s incompetence).

None of this bodes well for my particular predicament. Our free and illegal NTL signal has been suffering a bit from the extreme heat of this year’s global-warming affected summer. And on the day of the Charity, sorry, Community Shield – the first day of the new and eagerly anticipated footy season – it all collapsed fulfilling pretty much every nightmare worth sweating over. Yes, Sky Sports fell apart before our very eyes. We figured it might be the heat: our chipped cable-box went promptly into the fridge. But alas it was an external problem affecting our entire neighbourhood. I know because I asked people if they had a signal. I’m thinking that somebody will complain; but I’m also thinking that only paying customers can complain. And after having spoken to my neighbours, I’m thinking that everybody has NTL cable but no one is paying for it.

I even know what the problem is. I asked a proper non-NTL employed television engineer. Meanwhile I keep my home address secret for fear of a visit from the Outside Man in eighteen to twenty-five weeks.

But there is at least some good to come out of this experience. I now know that the most likely title of any autobiography I ever pen will surely be ‘The Outside Man’. It seems to fit somehow. Obviously I’ve got to do stuff to put in it; else I’ll make it all up Fargo style and call it the truth. I’ll never know why none of the thousands who claim to have been abducted by aliens have ever written an autobiography - possible gap in the market there me thinks. Failing that I could just reprint the archives of this blog in a decade’s time (although I’ll probably delete all the crappy little comments I’ve made within brackets that are strewn across this site).

Mm, that last paragraph gives me an excellent idea. To set up a new blog and write it as if I am in space in an alien’s craft and detail my story in a believable (to the extent that it could be) and realistic fashion. I think I might do that you know. Remember you saw it here first. And if anyone nicks this idea I’ll kill ‘em, regardless of the me stealing cable irony hypocrisy thingy.

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