Monday, 26 February 2007

Hildebrande the Indicator

[Scene: Interior of shabby, neglected, poorly illuminated office. A single light-bulb is slowly swinging. There is a tiny stained desk and two chairs squashed next to a crammed filing cabinet. A dejected figure is hunched over in one of the chairs. He has his face in his hands].

Once again I find myself hauled up in front of the CEO. This time he has been blathering on about my poor excuse of a follow up story on dogstitution. I have endured what can only be described as a two-hour rant on the ethics of journalism and the cost of transgressing various legal orders - to wit, one ASBO. I have just learned that for my sins I am being sent for a 'holiday' to Scotland. This apparently will give me time to 'lay low', 'take stock' and avoid further ASBO breaches whilst the CEO negotiates a settlement with an outraged miniature dachshund dog-owner. I have no choice but to submit to the will of the CEO. I am going to Scotland...

[Fade to Black. Cut-to: Scotland].

Scotland: I'd never been here before. I was impressed by its excellent square-yard to Castle ratio.

I am in Scotland, or to be more precise Edinburgh. Little did I realise what an awesome opportunity for the Bottom Line this was actually going to be. I entertained myself initially by climbing steps and venturing into dark alleyways. There were plenty of them.

Steps in Edinburgh: They sure have a lot of 'em.

Alleyways: Also, there are many of these.

There are limits to what you can do to make these sorts of places entertaining.

Having exhausted the fun in this rather more quickly than I had anticipated, I decided that the only reasonable course of action was to go in search of local culture. Perhaps some shopping? After all, I had been sent here to 'take stock', and to avoid further litigation.

Some shopping certainly helped. Embedding yourself in the local culture is a must-do of the modern traveller.

Feeling refreshed and also considerably cheered by the delight of being in foreign parts I scampered to the nearest tourist attraction. Seeing as I was immersing myself in all things Scotland, the only sensible thing to do was to find the nearest and preferably biggest Castle. Fortunately, I was in Edinburgh so there was one close at hand. I felt my spirits soar and was close to forgetting all the acrimony and bitter shouting that had characterised my last few working days. I was most impressed with the big building that loomed in front of me and studied the image I'd captured thus in the digital camera1.

Edinburgh Castle: A Marvellous example of digiphotography, notice the careful use of light, shade, composition, erm, hang-on what's that blurry thing in the bottom right of shot?

As I effortlessly mangled the user-interface of the digicamera I became aware of a fascinating blurry blob in the bottom right corner of my magnificent Castle picture. I was intrigued and outraged. I zoomed in.

Yes. Definitely something almost child-like in the fore-ground there. Perhaps pointing. Not really sure. Not my thumb.

I headed back to where I'd taken the picture and scouted around. I was looking for a tiny, indistinct thing. Possibly pointing. Not my thumb. My journalistic juices were flowing. Perhaps this was a Bottom Line scoop! The CEO would be pleased. Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of a tiny figure, and hands shaking in excitement I managed this digiphotie effort.

Hildebrande the Hobbit. He is pointing to a particularly magnificent piece of architecture. (Out of shot).

TB: Ahem. Hi. Gosh your rather small. What's that you're pointing at?
H: It's a magnificent example of Scottish architecture!
TB: So it is.

Turned out I'd only stumbled upon an adventuresome Hobbit, named Hildebrande, on an epic voyage of discovery. He didn't hang around for long, but heck what a story!

H: You'll have to excuse me, I'm on an epic voyage of discovery and haven't got much time to chat to passing journalists like yourself. I am off up yon hill.
TB: Ah.

Hildebrande strides off into the distance, indicating things as he goes.

As I watched the little fellow striding off purposely into the distance (about 3 yards) a warm glow set upon me. I flicked gleefully through my exclusive shots of Hildebrande and knew that the CEO would look upon me favourably when I returned to the office. This is Techno-Boy reporting, from his holiday, in Scotland, for the Bottom Line.

Notes of the Foot Variety
1. I confess to not actually owning a digital camera and having to experience the joys of digiphotography vicariously. Many thanks to my GF for the use of her pictures and digicamera for the photies contained within this blog.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Dogstitution: The Second Bite.

After being, quite frankly, astonishingly underwhelmed by the sheer scale of public response to the Bottom Line's first article there was a meeting. As lead hack I duly hauled myself up in front of the CEO and was remonstrated severely with the other assembled staff, (to wit - me), over the first e-dition. I was suitably humbled. Anyway after all that, I've gone ahead and published again. So here it is - the promised follow-up Lenny interview that you've all (ahem) been waiting for with baited breath no doubt.

I caught up with Lenny at a secluded location that I'm afraid I can't reveal to you for privacy and reasons pertaining to the Dog's Right Act (2007). Suffice to say, as you can see from the exclusive photo below, we've had to be very careful in making sure we didn't let any of the background into the pictures to protect the innocent. As you can see Lenny is looking a bit worse for wear, after all it's a dogs life being caught up in the hedonistic whirlwind that is .... dogstitution. It fairly takes my breath away to have to bring myself to use that word, but hey, it's all about getting to the Bottom Line right? Here's what Lenny had to say for himself after he'd had the chance to catch his breath and smoke a bespoke roll-up. (Amber Leaf in case you are wondering. Tt).

Lenny's lurid languishing lifestyle is clearly getting the better of him as we can see from this photie.

L: Oh Man, you again geezer, you know you ain't supposed to botherin' me no more since that ASBO.

TB: Ah yes Lenny. Well I understand that your 'owners' aren't so keen on having the truth come to light, but here at the Bottom Line we're not going to let a little thing like the law get between us and reality!

L: Oh Man. I just want some peace y'know. Not askin' for much.

TB: I understand Lenny I really do. Must be tough getting some time to yourself with all the constant attention. The groupies. The hangers on. Must be dreamin' of some space to yourself eh?

L: Just keep outta my face guv'nor alreet?

TB: I respect your need for space Lenny, must be difficult getting some downtime with all this hectic to-ing and fro-ing eh?

L: You're postal. Completely postal! [Looks about urgently for some signs of rescue....]

At that juncture Lenny got whipped away by one of his 'owners'. We managed to secure this exclusive photie that tells its own tale. Lenny was obviously booked in for yet another 'event'.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Spare a thought for the vulnerable dog at this time of year...

As part of our vulnerable dog campaign we interviewed Lenny (left) and asked him to tell us about his experiences of being a vulnerable dog.

As you can imagine, it was difficult to conduct this interview. Partly because Lenny is a dog, but also because of the difficult relationship with his "owners" who were in the vicinity at the time of the interview.

We hope to bring you a one-to-one with Lenny later on this month that's if he has managed to escape the clutches of his nefarious "owners" of course.

[A crowded pub somewhere in North London. It's New Years Eve and pretty hectic as you can imagine. I've managed to grab a few words with Lenny whilst his "owners" were at the bar. Lenny is sat on the arm of the sofa looking, well, damn cute in his bright red hoody. But don't get suckered in by how things appear, there's a sinister underbelly to all this. I'm gonna get right down to the Bottom Line with this one].

TB: So, Lenny, can I call you Lenny - is that all right?
L: Yeah, yeah. Course. Sound guv'nor, sound. [Glances left and right].
TB: Thanks for sparing us a few minutes here at the Bottom Line to give us some insight into, well, being a "vulnerable dog" I guess. I appreciate this is difficult for you. [Sincere, earnest expression].
L:[Puzzled] "Vulnerable"? what yer mean guv'nor?
TB: The constant attention, Lenny, the being dragged about for all and sundry to coo and pet over, the hand-bag carrying arrangments, the non-stop fawning, the hoody. How is it to be a dog prostitute at your tender age?

Lenny, in his bag. About to hit another 'gig'...

L:[Somewhat bewildered] Prostitute? That's loco, man, loco! [Looks left and right with increased vigour than before].
TB: Prostitute Lenny. Dogstitute even. Being pimped for your cute looks. How does that make you feel?
L: Feel? Feel crackin' geezer, crackin'. [Now looking around with a real sense of urgency].
TB: Oh-gosh-no. Not drugs too Lenny. Don't tell me they've got you on the brain-candy as well? [Look of genuine concern, wringing of hands].
L: Drugs? What are you on geezer?
TB: Oh no, Lenny, we here at the Bottom Line stand firm in the drug-taking scene. Don't touch them with the proverbial barge-pole. Oh-gosh-no. They don't have you dealing as well do they? Oh-mi-gosh.
L: [Getting increasingly distressed]. Huh? Are you having a laugh guv'nor. Listen I think it would be a good idea if we just drop this interview thing right here. [Looking around, straining to catch a glimpse of somebody in the crowd].
TB: [Knowing look, winks discreetly]. Ah - they're putting the squeeze on you eh Lenny? I understand. Look here's my number - give me a call as soon as you can get some space eh? I mean that. Here at the bottom line - were here to call a spade just what it is. Anytime you can manage to getaway - no I mean that - anytime, just give me a call. And, take care if you can eh Lenny?

[Lenny jumps down from the sofa and scurries off into the crowd of NYE revellers, tail-wagging].

TB: [Staring meaningfully into the face of the viewing public]. So there you have it folks. Cute little guy like that being traded on for his looks. Being coerced into a life of drug-taking and pushing. Being carted from venue to venue - private parties - public venues. Owners? or Pimps? I leave you to decide. Hopefully the little guy will be able to give them the slip for long enough for us to speak with him more frankly without the pressures of the heavy mob all around him. This is Techno_Boy, for the Bottom Line, signing off.