Out of kilter

So, the floor in my office is being flattened. Or it will be; I rather thought work was due to start on Friday, but apparently it hasn’t. But it does need to be flattened, because it’s got a very pronounced slope, dropping about two inches over the course of ten feet. That’s because it used to be the bit of the warehouse where the most dangerous chemicals were stored, and so it was built to ensure any spillages got themselves into the public drainage system fast enough to maintain plausible deniability. At least, I assume that’s why; as far as I can tell, the people who rented the warehouse before we did never actually stayed to tell anyone about the slope until we’d moved in and got the desks set up.

The actual leveling of the floor is probably a Good Thing, since it’ll hopefully make me feel less lopsided, but in the meantime, we’ve all been moved out to the main warehouse floor, which is proving to be really quite disconcerting. For one thing, it’s actually much brighter (thanks to the magic of grime-encrusted perspex panels in the ceiling) and I’m no longer used to seeing sunlight during working hours; I kept thinking it was home-time most of Friday morning. And, of course, it’s an awful lot bigger, and there’s much more background noise.

I’m not very used to background noise in a working environment, since Libraries are generally pretty quiet (students permitting, leastways), but at work there’s actually quite a lot going on in the way of packing and unpacking shipments, and wrapping things in squeaky clingfilm, and whatnot, which I’m not sure I’ll get used to. At least, I sort of hope I won’t get used to it; the floor adjustment is only supposed to last ten days, so in theory I won’t get a chance.

I’m blotting the noise out, however, with the help of a small radio, some headphones and Jack FM. I tried Radio 4, of course, but that was too interesting, and I kept getting distracted by what people were saying, so I had to pick something more musical, and less talkative.

I actually quite like Jack. I realise that’s a bit weird, what with it being commercial radio an’ everything, but I’ve discovered that whilst it markets like bad commercial radio, it actually sounds like good commercial radio. And whilst I generally stick to the talkier bits of the Beeb, I know whereof I speak. I never once worked a shift at the Union without Dido continuing to bemoan her tragic failure to buy in effective laundry detergent ahead of running up a bedsheet every hour on the hour, and when I was on night shifts at Tywyn James Bloody Blunt used to tell everyone how Beautiful they were once every twenty bastard minutes.

These people, in contrast, avoid repeats, and play things that genuinely good rather more than half the time. Actually quite good to work to. And as a bonus they mock Heart FM for having a six and a half song playlist, which I can definitely appreciate, since Heart is what the people on the other side of the warehouse play, and even a good song gets tedious when you hear it for the tenth time as you return from lunch.

The weirdest thing about it, actually, is still the adverts. Currently the MoD are running a chain of adverts which they have evidently decided are very catchy. I can’t find a version online, but it basically goes after this fashion:

We hear a general hubbub, and background noises suggest something heavy and metallic is moving about behind the microphone. Voices chatter. One voice rises out:

Gruff Man / Stern Woman: ‘Right, Charlie section, you’re guiding the convoy. Bravo, I need you guys to scout ahead and check the route’s clear. And you’re driving the lead carrier.

Dramatic pause

GM/SW: Yes, you. You listening to the radio. I need you here, now, guiding my boys.

Voiceover: Want a challenge? Find out more at mod.co.uk

The first time I heard it, it confused the bejesus out of me, because the AS400 is not a very exciting computer screen, and doesn’t have a mini map, or an objective compass or anything*.

The second time I heard it, it made me wish they’d got the chap who voices Captain Price to do it (‘on your feet, Soldier! We. Are. Leaving!’), and the third time I concluded that my previous reactions, and the fact I like crisps, and have flat feet, and wouldn’t like killing people or being shot at, probably meant I’m not in the target audience.

Also, of course, being at the front of a convoy sounds like a bloody dangerous place to be. Closest I want to be to that sort of mess is the closing down of the access roads to the JR, thanks all the same. And that’s bleedin’ miserable enough, so I don’t quite see how the adverts are meant to divorce you from the memory of what passes by at the end of your streets every few weeks…

Still, it makes a change from the traditional “Look at all the things you can learn in the Military, it is exciting and you are unlikely to have to go and get blown up” line taken by adverts of yesteryear, so I suppose it might give people a nudge they wouldn’t otherwise encounter. Not sure that’s a good thing, y’ken, but it’s interesting from a marketing perspective.

* And on the computer work supply me with, switching to a second window is never faster than reloading.

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