OCT 2014 ALSO INSIDE: Show roundup: The Rise of the EA and office* | Make a house a home
THERE’S AN A P P F O R T H AT PA R T D E U X
OCT2014 I left work in the dark today. Oh, the humanity. In the timeless words of John Snow: “Winter is coming...”. And for any of you who aren’t Game of Thrones fans, my apologies. I’ll try to resist any more references in this issue... no promises. But I digress. It’s time for another edition of your favourite office lifestyle magazine. We’ve got the second instalment of Practically Perfect PA Nicky Christmas’ occupational apps review plus a show roundup with a look at the inaugural Rise of the EA event and a taster review of office* 2014 before the full one in our November edition. We’ve also grabbed 60 seconds with Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud, dissected 50 shades of fashion, and discovered some stylish items to make your house a home this autumn/winter. Wrap up warm! Editor George Carey
NOTICE BOARD UPDATE Super foods and Scottish passport control SAY WHAT?! Boring lunch hours and musical standoffs
ON THE JOB JOB NEWS The latest career news of choice THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT: PART II The second part of Nicky Christmas’ app advice SHOW ROUNDUP The Rise of the EA and office* 2014 feature 60 SECONDS WITH Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud
LUNCH BREAK BREAKTIME Catch up with the latest reviews and recipes OFFICE CATWALK Fifty shades of fabulous AND ONE MORE THING… Beware the pavements
senior account manager
CELEBRATING 75 YEARS
OF INNOVATION IN OFFICE PRODUCTS
StapLING 1939 Matador
1998 NEW Matador
2015 Optima 40 Compact
1945 Crystalfile® Classic Green
1992 Crystalfile® Extra
2010 Multifile Extra
2007 Mercury Jam Free
2014 Auto Feed Micro Cut
2014 marks Rexel’s 75th anniversary. From its inception, Rexel has been known for design, quality and innovation – from the 56 Range® of stapling products, the introduction of market leading Crystalfile® and Nyrex filing ranges, through to development of the awardwinning Auto Feed shredders.
George Drexler OBE, founder of Rexel
For the last 75 years, Rexel has pioneered the world of office products, and looks forward to continuing to lead the way in the future. One thing is certain - no matter how technology develops, Rexel will be at the forefront; providing the finest, most efficient products to the trade and end users alike. 1939
To find out more please see our interactive leaflet on www.rexeleurope.com
NEW SUPERFOODS A new generation of superfoods that tackle heart disease and diabetes could be developed following research into a protein that helps keep cells in our bodies healthy. Researchers at the University of Warwick found that the protein, called Nrf2, continually moves in and out of the nuclei of human cells to sense the cell’s health and vitality. When Nrf2 is exposed to threats to the cell’s health it oscillates faster and activates an increase in the cell’s defence mechanism, including raising the levels of antioxidant. The researchers successfully increased the speed of Nrf2’s movement by artificially introducing health beneficial substances – potential components of new superfoods. The substances comprise broccoli-derived sulforaphane and quercetin, which is found in high-levels in onions. The team used these insights to develop new food supplements, which are currently being trialded to help decrease risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. The research team are the first to record the continual movement cycle of Nrf2, which sees the protein oscillate in and out of the cell nucleus once every 129 minutes. When stimulated by a health beneficial vegetable-derived substance Nrf2’s cycle sped up to 80 minutes. Lead researcher Professor Paul Thornalley says: “The way Nrf2 works is very similar to sensors in electronic devices that rely on continual reassessment of their surroundings to provide an appropriate response.”
BENEFITS OF BIKING Biking offers tons of benefits. Check out Maggie Heath’s top 15 ways biking can change your life. 1. A workout you can put into your schedule: bike to work and kill two birds with one stone 2. Save money: There are plenty of calculators online that show how much you save 3. Get smarter: It can help to build up neurons in your brain 4. Convenience: loads of cycle lanes and racks 5. Bikes are diverse: there are 17 different kinds 6. Family-friendly: a great day out and small carriages can be attached to a parent’s bike 7. Build muscle: glutes, calves, and quads 8. Take in the sights: it allows you to really see your environment and stop anywhere 9. Do it with others: meet people at bike clubs 10. Get happier: endorphins released during exercise make you happy and alert 11. Eco-friendly: only burn your own energy 12. Take bikes anywhere: they’re public transport friendly, so you can go further afield 13. Stay healthier, even afterwards: biking helps burn calories even after you’ve stopped 14. Have more energy: exercise helps you have more energy throughout the day 15. It’s fun: no explanation needed, hop on a bike and see the benefits for yourself.
BEAT YOUR FEAR OF FAILURE In her latest Careerealism post, Ariella Coombs offers advice to conquer the fear that can hold you back every day. As a kid, you made mistakes and sometimes failured. So, as an adult, you don’t want to experience those feelings again. So, What can you do to change your mindset? 1. Admit you’re scared Get a piece of paper and list everything you’re afraid of. Are you afraid of failing, having people laugh at you, or having people judge you? No matter what it is, write it down. Once you’ve written down all of those fears, screw up the piece of paper and throw it away! 2. Own your fear In order to beat your fears you need to commit yourself. Worrying about it is a complete waste of your time because you’re not accomplishing anything. You need to step up and own it. 3. Take action Instead of trying to doeverything at once, take a baby step; one little thing you can do that will help you to face this fear 4. Control what you can control: There are tons of things you have no control over, however, there are things you do. What are they? Figure out what areas you can control and go after them.
LA SOIRÉE IS BACK!
The hit cabaret returns to London for another unmissable Christmas season at the La Soirée Spiegeltent at Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival. Prepare for a night of thrills, shocks, laughter and disbelief as LA SOIRÉE banishes the winter blues and leaves you wanting to see it all over again.
We give you our pick of the top comedy viral videos this month. Click on the text below and enjoy. Tweet us your top videos @olemagazine
So many uses, such little time
Spa day, anyone?
look away now
T A H W S AY
G R O U N D H O G D AY
EARS ON FIRE
We’ve recently been given a staff room at my workplace where we can eat lunch. This has been great for company morale, but we’re already getting bored. Apart from munching our sandwiches and chatting, is there anything else we can do to liven up our lunch hour? Sharon, Stoke
My colleagues have the worst taste in music! The DJs on the stations they listen to have such whiny voices and talk so much; it’s almost a relief when the terrible music comes on. What can I do to put an end to the misery in my ears? Matthew, London
If you’ve only just been given your staff room, I find it hard to believe you’ve already exhausted all conversations with your co-workers. However, if you need an activity, one thing we’ve taken to here at Olé Towers is a good old-fashioned game of cards. It gives you something else to take your mind away from the daily drudge. If you want, you can make it interesting with a quids in – not that we’re encouraging workplace gambling.
Um. Earphones? That would be our first suggestion, however, not all offices encourage employees to wear them. In which case, perhaps you could speak to your colleagues and figure out some kind of rota system, whereby you can all take turns choosing the radio station. This may mean you might be subjected to a bit more whine FM, but it would also allow you to show them what good music sounds like. Assuming you have better taste in music. You do have better taste in music, don’t you?
This month’s picture
Last month’s winner: Joy Prail
HR had decided to take a rather literal interpretation of giving everyone a good kick up the backside ”
Win £50 worth of M&S vouchers! Email your captions to firstname.lastname@example.org
on the job
JOB NEWS CAN YOUR BOSS AFFORD A PAY RISE? %) think their Half of the workforce (50 tter pay rises employer can afford be ff, with only 16% than those given to sta to a YouGov disagreeing, according 56% and 13% poll. The figures rise to sector workers. respectively for private pay has failed The majority say their over the last to keep up with inflation e compared to few years (58% disagre 20% who agree). e that pay for Nearly half ( 47%) agre e organisation those lower down in th h as pay has not gone up as muc recent years for those at the top in to 17% who (47% agree, compared fifths agree disagree). Almost three big (57% agree, that the pay gap is too disagree). compared to 12% who ratio against There's a three to two ce-related pay thinking that performan fairly. systems are operated
DEALING WITH STRESS AT WORK In a post on HR Zone, Jessica Smyrl highlights the high incidences of me ntal health issues at work and advises how managers and colleagues can hel p. There were around 70 million workin g days lost to mental illness last yea r costing up to ÂŁ100bn to the econom y. What can you do? As a manager you should listen to your team member and allow them to explain how they feel and then what suppor t you or the organisation can provid e. The support could be around lookin g at their current job and how they are coping plus how they interact wit h other members of the team. Do they req uire a change in hours or more flexibil ity to support them over a short-term per iod? What support and advice on management of long-term conditi ons is in the workplace? Consider help suc h as counselling and mediation, promo tion of wellbeing as well as good physica l and mental health in the workplace.
on the job
TRUST IS MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS
New research from E.ON shows people value similar attributes in their business and personal relationships, with trust topping the list of qualities they look for. The company polled 2,000 British adults to explore how strong relationships can be built. According to the research, the most important attributes for maintaining strong relationships with companies are trust (60%), honesty (53%), loyalty (42%) and helpfulness (41%). For relationships with friends and partners, trust (71%) is followed by loyalty (55%), humour (47%) and honesty (46%). Dr Lynda Shaw, psychologist and relationship expert, said: “Trust stimulates the hormone oxytocin in the brain, which enhances trust. This feedback loop aids bonding. It is, however, also known to strengthen social memories, which means when we’re let down by those we trust, the effect is amplified. That’s why it’s so important to gain trust and keep it.”
STAFF DEVELOPMENT BACK ON THE AGENDA Research released by breatheHR and OnePoll reveals that, as the economy starts to grow, SMEs are putting staff development back on the agenda. The study compares results with data from 2013 and finds that an increasing number of employees now feel their employer is taking personal development seriously, with 58% responding positively compared with just 52% 12 months ago. This is supported by the fact that the number of employees being provided with structured personal development plans has also increased, up eight per cent year on year to 42%. In addition, employees are also discussing their personal development more frequently with their employer, while those claiming that they never discuss development and training are down five per cent to 23%. These figures are welcome news, but more than half (58%) of all SME workers aren’t provided with any personal development or training initiatives.
S TAT AT TA C K
Percentage of the British workforce who feel the pay gap is too big
on the job
A P P R O U N D U P PA R T T W O
THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL
In the second of a two-part series NICKY CHRISTMAS, the brains behind Practically Perfect PA, details her favourite apps for meetings and events and a few other gems that don’t fit into such an easy category
on the job
EVENTS AND MEETINGS Meetup Time Lite: Free This is a great app for conference call planning that allows you to schedule calls and meetings from all over the world without having to check the various time zones. It’s also handy when your manager is travelling. Please Sign In: Free (only available on iPad) This is a really useful app for event registration, reception desks and parties. Hand over the iPad to a guest who can then fill in a form with their details, take a photo and sign an agreement. The app then sends you an email with their details. This would be a great way to take registration at any events you organise or team building activities! Zwoor Event HD: Free Although I think this is mainly used for events, I also think it works well for committee meetings. All of the papers can be prepared on the website; the attendee is then emailed the meeting code and can view all of the papers and meeting details on their mobile devices. Another interesting feature is that you can give details on other attendees, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles so that everyone can keep in touch once the meeting has finished, which is great if you have guest speakers. Teamviewer for Meetings: Free A quick and easy app for conference calling, which is free to use and can connect people to meetings taking place elsewhere without being stuck in front of a computer or video conference equipment. This is great if your company doesn’t have many video conference calls or only has one room with a video conference kit. CardMunch: Free By taking a photo of someone’s business card the app allows you to immediately transfer his or her contact details to your phone or tablet. The app also links up your social networking details with theirs. This is brilliant for conferences and other meetings. You do need a LinkedIn account to get started with this one. EasyTimer: Free I like this app for events. It simply counts down a set time period, which is perfect if you are counting down a speaker.
MISCELLANEOUS Urbanspoon: Free If you’re in a new city or don’t know where to eat this is a useful app. You shake your phone and it will suggest a restaurant in the area, and you can also make a reservation using the app. This is great if your boss is travelling and doesn’t know the area very well - they can either look a restaurant up for themselves or you can recommend somewhere for them. WeekCalendar: £1.49 The current calendar app on the iPhone and iPad doesn’t allow for a week-to-view setting. This app looks similar to an outlook calendar, which is useful. An additional benefit is you can download your manager’s account and view that on your phone, extra brilliant! Pindrop: Free I love this app and use it all the time because I constantly get asked if I know any decent places for overseas clients to try out. This app allows me collect the addresses of all of those great restaurants in one place. You can search alphabetically or look on a zoomable map. When I read a good review I will add the restaurant to the app for future use. ATM UK: Free If you can never find an ATM this is the app for you. I think there are versions of this app for most major cities. MailMe Voice: Free How many things do assistants have to remember? A load is the answer to that! We can be walking through the office and someone will shout a request out to us. This handy app lets you record that request and then it emails you the recording to action later. Expensify: Free If your company does’nt not have expenses software this is a good alternative. You can take pictures of the receipts, then edit all of the data. The app converts the report to a PDF and then you can send that via email to yourself. Haiku Deck: Free This is currently my favourite app. It’s a great piece of software for creating really interesting and different presentation slides. All you have to do is type in a few ideas; the app will search for relevant images you can use and then all you have to do is add the bullet points or charts.
on the job
EA GEORGE CAREY went along to this evening event, which served as a fascinating snapshot of EAs and PAs all over the world and an inspirational reminder of just how powerful a great PA can become
his networking seminar and workshop’s inaugrural event went off with a bang. Speakers Lucy Brazier, international speaker and global brand ambassador for IYOTSA – The International Year of the Secretary and Executive Assistant) and Susie Barron-Stubley (Castalia Coaching MD, international executive coach to FTSE 100 EAs) discussed how PAs and EAs can change their own worlds, enabling them to feel more acknowledged within their roles and be better understood by others in their companies. It was a great evening for all involved. Lucy addressed the energised audience about why it’s important to become a centre of excellence within your company in order to gain acknowledgment. If EAs and PAs make sure that there’s clarity surrounding their positions, ie. a mapped out job description, a clear progression path, access to training, plus an accessible network to help them feel supported, then it’s much more likely that EAs and PAs will feel fulfilled. Having such a strategy will empower assistants and make them feel in control of their careers, which will boost their potential to evolve within their field.
One attendee asked what the difference is between the terms PA and EA. Lucy explained that there are more than 160 job titles globally for administrative employees (and a fifth of the world’s population works in administration), so there is a need to get job titles and job specifications unified internationally. Susie, who was an EA to Dame Fiona Reynolds, former director general of the National Trust, delivered an inspiring talk around leadership. Spurred on by her experiences, she set up her own coaching company in 2004 to train EAs and PAs to become fully integrated members of the management team. She explored the EA’s/PA’s ability to project their presence in a positive and professional way, to gain recognition as a leader. Susie indicated that EAs and PAs need to be able to teach their executives how to get the best out of their relationship, since bosses often don’t know how to use their assistants. This skill requires both leadership and emotional intelligence. She said that when the assistant can understand his/her self and their own power, they can make a difference. The perception of the EA will not change unless they change themselves.
on the job
OFFICE* Office* returned with all the elements that have made it such a firm favourite with PAs around the country
his year’s office* show was another great event, with a host of inspiring speakers and informative workshops. Lawyer and businesswoman Margaret Mountford, one of Lord Sugar’s original advisors in BBC1’s hit show The Apprentice headlined the keynote session. Former headline keynote speakers include Karren Brady, Deborah Meaden, Michelle Mone and Jacqueline Gold, and this year it was Ms Mountford’s turn to draw in the crowds. Margaret’s session at office* (a live Q&A hosted by Executive Secretary magazine’s editor Lucy Brazier), include insights and anecdotes garnered from a hugely successful and extensive career. Paralympic athlete Martine Wright was another star in attendance, who’s session entitled: ‘If not you then who? if not now then when?’ promised to be the most thoughtprovoking of the event. From 7/7 London bombing victim to competing in the British sitting volleyball team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Martine’s is an inspirational story of triumph over adversity. Since losing both legs in the 2005 terrorist attack, she has courageously rebuilt her life and now embraces new opportunities at every turn. From skydiving to gaining a pilot’s licence to representing her country at the highest level. From one inspirational woman to another. Heather Melville, director of strategic partnerships at RBS, also made her office* show debut this year. In her aptly named session ‘Doing it my way’, she shared insights and highlights from her 36-year career in finance. As the founder and global chair of the RBS Focused Women’s Network, which has around 12,000 members in 33 countries, Heather has done much to promote and support the talents of her colleagues in the financial sector. In 2010, she won the prestigious Women in Banking & Finance (WIBF) Champion for Women Award, and in 2012 she was named a recipient of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) World of Difference 100 Award for her unrelenting work in advancing the economic empowerment of women. Other notable keynote highlights included sessions featuring Liz Doogan-Hobbs MBE, undefeated world champion water-skier and founder of Liz Hobbs Group (the UK’s largest supplier of music in sport), and Vicky Silverthorn, former PA to Lily Allen and founder of You Need A Vicky. . A full review of office* 2014 will be available in Olé November
on the job
6 0 S ECONDS WITH…
KEVIN MCCLOUD The opinionated presenter of Grand Designs has a passion for building that extends beyond bricks and mortar What building has impressed you lately?
I recently visited King’s Cross station – not the kind of thing you wanted to do 10 years ago – but now that they’ve taken down the front canopies from the 70s and built a new extension to the site, it’s a fabulous building.
What’s your favourite memory so far from Grand Designs?
I’m very fond of the little house designed on the Isle of Skye. We filmed in the summer of 2012 when it was raining just everywhere across the UK, except, for some reason, the Isle of Skye. I fell in love with the rural Isle and it’s impossible to separate the direction of the film from the experience of making it and the people. It all rolls into one and it was a lovely, happy experience.
What excites you about the future of architecture?
Architects are designing buildings for developing countries, where we are seeing such huge population growth. It’s important that we develop technologies for building that allow communities to empower themselves and to use available materials, rather than import concrete and glass.
What’s happening at this year’s Grand Designs Live?
We’ve got rather amazing buildings, lots of building techniques to have a go at, and amazing food being created in front of an audience. The event also features a look at the technologies that are driving the future. Also, for the first time, we’ve got bee keepers and architects together in the same room [thanks to the event’s urban allotment]!
Why did you pick Birmingham to host the show?
Birmingham was the cradle of the industrial revolution, and it’s rather cool to think that right now in Britain we still have the innovation and design techniques. We’ve got those great resources and people are beginning to turn them into a new kind of manufacturing and a new kind of making.
Grand Designs Live will run from 9 - 12 October at Birmingham’s NEC.
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Chance to win with every purchase! PLUS 2 LONDON THEATRE WEEKENDS RUNNERS UP PRIZES
Purchase of a Europa notebook or filing product is necessary to enter: Simply go to www.exaclair. co.uk/lasvegas and enter your name, email address, date of birth and telephone details, together with the last 6 digits from the barcode of one of the items you have purchased along with the name of the store and town where purchased. For postal entries, send to: Las Vegas Competition, ExaClair Ltd, Oldmedow Road, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 4LW. Closing date for entries is at 11.59PM on 31.10.14. One entry per transaction, entrants must be aged 18 years or over and resident in UK, NI or ROI. The main prize is a five night holiday for two to Las Vegas including flights, accommodation (room only, double or twin) at the four star Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Las Vegas Strip hotel, £1000 spending money, £200 towards tickets to a show and transfer from Las Vegas airport to and from the hotel. Travel to and from the UK airport is not included. Two runners up will win a weekend theatre trip to London for two. This includes a two night stay in a four star hotel, £150 theatre vouchers and £200 spending money. Travel to and from London and from the hotel to the theatre is not included. Full terms & conditions can be found at www.exaclair.co.uk/lasvegas
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Special 90gsm Brushed Vellum Paper
BREAKTIME desktop dining WEST END W AT C H
PA R M A H A M , G O AT S ’ CHEESE AND A V O C A D O B R U S C H E T TA
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
Gillian Anderson stars in Benedict Andrews’ much hyped, A Streetcar Named Desire, which more than lives up to the expectation. The stage spins constantly while a bizarre, ever-changing soundtrack and soporific lighting complete the assault on the senses. Anderson is mesmerising as Blanche DuBois in this gut-wrenching interpretation of Tennessee Williams’ classic American tragedy for the ages.
Prep 15 mins
INGREDIENTS • 10 thin slices of ciabatta bread • Olive oil • 1 clove garlic • 5 basil leaves • 2 avocados, peeled, stoned, sliced and drenched in lemon juice •100g crumbly goats’ cheese • Zest of 1 lemon • 50g pistachios, roughly chopped • 2 handfuls mint leaves, roughly chopped • 10 slices parma ham
METHOD Brush ciabatta slices with olive oil and toast on a hot griddle. Rub the toast in basil, garlic and seasoning. Top each bruschetta with slices of avocado, goats’ cheese, lemon zest, pistachios and mint leaves. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and top with parma ham.
T R E AT Y O U R S E L F WATCH THIS
LISTEN TO THIS
Battle on the dancefloor Strictly Come Dancing, Saturdays and Sunday evenings, BBC1 It’s that time of year again: the tassels, sequins and fake tan are out in force. Strictly Come Dancing is back, and although Brucie may not be hosting, the show’s format remains pretty much the same. There’s the usual stellar line up of celebs (including the obligatory few that we’re sure have had some formal dance training), costumes that leave little to the imagination and a huge sparkle dusting of camp. Staying in on a Saturday night has never been so cool. Get ready for a love-in Paolo Nutini, Caustic Love
The curly-haired Scottish crooner has upped his game in the last year or so; his latest album, Caustic Love, showcases both maverick talent and a pretty rare ability to write beautifully soulful music that pulls on the heart strings in a non-soppy kind of way (yes, it is possible). The album’s first single, Scream (Funk My Life Up), is a charged mix of funk and soul and sets the tone for the rest of this seriously irresistible album. Top notch. Out now
POWER HOUSE Pole fitness A pole can provide more than a tantalizing striptease – experts say pole classes are sweat-inducing, supereffective workouts, with the added benefits of learning how to flaunt your curves and celebrate your body. Classes like Ann Saldi’s Hip to Strip enhance flexibility, tone your body and build strength as well as confidence. Plus there’s nothing like having a few laughs along the way!
BOOK THIS GREENS This vegetarian haven is a hit even in carnivorous circles. The short set menu (three courses for £17, Wed-Fri and Sun lunch) provides brilliant value, but if it’s dinner you’re after, plump for the roasted aubergine, beetroot and butter bean cottage pie with sauerkraut. Leave room for dessert as well because you’ll kick yourself if you miss out on the white chocolate cheesecake topped with dark chocolate sauce. 43 Lapwing Lane Manchester
As the mercury levels drop, it’s time to move indoors and start enjoying the pleasures of your living room. Try some of these cosy additions to make your house a home
HOME 1 Rose and Grey, Pickle jar lamp, £49 2 Next, Check throw, £35 3 Home Candy, 3D deer word art, £49 4 Oliver Bonas, Mushroom decoration, £39 5 House of Bath, Jelly bean wool rug, £99.95 6 Kelly Hoppen, Ledbury linen cushion, £52
O F F I C E C AT W A L K Dress to impress this autumn with a few shades of grey in your office outfits
1 Fenn Wright Manson, Deanna dress, £200
1 TU at Sainsburys, Donegal jacket, £45
2 Hallhuber, Mantel, £199
2 Burton Menswear, Crombie coat, £99
3 M&S, Best of British dress, £159
3 M&S, Best of British suit, £699
4 La Redoute, dark grey short sleeve dress, £45
AND ONE MORE THING ...
THE COMMUTER CRUNCH R I S E S T O T H E S U R FA C E Executive assistant Lewis Samuel is noticing a worrying trend on our streets, and he no longer feels safe…
LEWIS SAMUEL Executive assistant
Did you agree with the columnist? Think you can do better? Email us with your ‘And one more thing’ of approx. 300 words to email@example.com
Ever since settling in London, the daily commute has never been too much of a grind. While I sympathise with the tube-dwellers, cocooned as they are, nestled Tetris-like into the armpits of fellow commuters, I have thus far avoided the necessity for this daily test of anti-perspirant and patience by locating myself within walking distance from the office. Oh, how I mocked my mole-like counterparts, squinting in the sunlight as they surface from their underground hovels. But lately my gloating has been hushed, my smile faded as I witness the dawn of a new peril. The commuter crush appears to have made it to the surface, and it’s breeding at a worrying rate. The pavements are no longer safe; rows of commuters line the streets in great battalions, forcing opposing traffic into bus lanes and cyclists. It appears that the walkways of our nation’s capital are no longer the sanctuary for the commuting folk. Bustled between fast-track commuters, groups of ‘hoodies’ and dawdling oldies, it appears that these days nobody is safe from the congestion nightmares. And then, of course, there’s the daily gauntlet of beggars, Big Issue traders (a worthy cause, but not at eight in the morning, pre-coffee fix) and free paper vendors. These additional obstacles are merely perpetuating an already dangerously flammable situation. This madness is exacerbated by the onset of winter, which sees the introduction of the umbrella into the equation. Inevitably held at eye-level to the oncoming traffic, umbrellas are like nylon-clad machetes, waiting to gouge the eye from the face of an unwitting commuter. I draw justification for my wrath from the words of British rapper Roots Manuva, a man who has also seen the day of reckoning coming when he quips: “Road rage, pavement rage, all kinds of rage; we’ll be lucky if we get to see some old age.” A new world order is forming where the pavements are no longer commuter havens. Let the escalators be your lifeboats, people - make like the worms and head underground.
FRESH FOR 2014
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