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» Bastard Colleagues

Way back when
before I stopped pissing about doing ski seasons I worked as a ski guide in Courchevel in France for one of the more upmarket holiday companies. All in all it was a quality gig. Loads of time skiing, loads of freebies and a decent crew of lads for beers on the day off. The exception to this was our head of customer service, who was, I'm afraid to say, a certifiable window licker.

She couldn't ski, was allergic to alcohol and was openly obsessed with Disney films (immediate nickname). Not exactly an ideal combination in a ski resort. Despite this, within a month of the start of the season Disney was advising me and the three other guides how to ski with the punters and where to take them. Now being a laid back fella I laughed it off and ignored it but one of the other lads took a different tack, after the tenth screeched “suggestion” and told her to do one in fairly blue language. This went down like the proverbial lead balloon and from that point on she refused to talk to, or even acknowledge, my compatriot for the next 6 months, the mentalist.

Adding to the overall nightmare was her sudden decision halfway through the season that I and one of the barmen were evidently madly in love with her and that we should watch ourselves in public as "open displays of affection between staff are not allowed". Some truly hideous flirting on her part followed. Now she wasn't an unnattractive lass but the barman in question was quite happy with his girlfriend, who happened to be one of Disney's reception staff...and yours truly was doing the no pants dance with her other dolly bird. Neither of the ladies in question were particularly impressed by Disney's delusions and told her as much in a frank and open discussion that resulted in all three of them being kicked out of the local seasonnaire bar.

The next day she's behind the desk with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp and I could see that she was determined to make peoples lives even more of an utter misery than she had so far. Shifts started being changed so that me and the barman never got to see our respective other halves, except on the one day off a week or after work finished (normally 9-10pm). This finally flipped me over the edge and so an evil revenge was planned.

From the first week Disney had been harping on about the guy she’d ridden senseless in training, another ski guide who was working in a different resort. The lad in question had wangled two nights off and blagged a lift over to spend some “quality time” with her. Now the thought of Disney doing a Meg Ryan in the staff accommodation was not a pleasing one, especially for the barman and me as she’d frequently denied us from making our ladies do the same. Cue the arrival of said victim and low and behold it’s only a fella known to both me and the barman. We insist on his arrival that we go out for a few beers and watch the footie in the aforementioned local. Disney arrives three hours later to take the young gent out for dinner as a precursor to taking him home and raping him to find all three of us propping up the bar with him in what can only be described as an “absolute state”. No sexy time for Disney on night one as she spent most of it holding her would be suitor over a bog. Result.

Day two, repeat with interest. Have the slightly peaky looking boy join my ski group for the day. He’s perked up by lunch and we proceed to navigate the slopes via the many and varied mountain restaurants all afternoon. I was guiding a group of good old boys who were past it in skiing terms but bugger me could they drink. We set up in a bar by the slopes at 5pm or so and set to work on giving our livers an absolute shoeing. 8pm comes by, when Disney gets off work and rushes to find us as a little bird told her that her gentleman lover might be out on the beers again. By that time we are way past beers and have sampled pretty much everything in the bar with the exception of one last mysterious bottle with a green tinge. Chartreuse, for the uninitiated, is basically ethanol with some herbs in it. Now a shot can floor a rhino, or in my case make the room spin in an extremely disconcerting manner so that I had to sit down, on the floor, and hold on. Disney arrives to see her man taking an extremely long pull on the bottle itself at the prompting of the old guard (bless you boys). He turns to see his would be lover approaching spitting and snarling with a blood vessel about to pop and he does the only thing a man could. Vomit spectacularly all over her. I have never laughed so hard in all my life. I promise you I almost shat.
(Fri 25th Jan 2008, 12:35, More)

» I Quit!

The brain fart incident
I still get a warm feeling every time I remember this.

Back in the Harlequin’s misspent youth while at a higher learning institution he dallied with the idea of PR as a possible profession. It’s mostly filled with nubile blonde ladies, famous sorts and free stuff thought I. In order to truly live up to the middle class stereotype I skipped all that pesky interview nonsense and used nepotism to get some work experience. A friend’s mum is MD at a London agency and a quick chat and bit of charm got me in to learn the ropes. Trendy Soho sorts everywhere, the aforementioned females of blonde persuasion and some interesting stuff to work on, namely London Fashion Week.

I’ll say straight off that it was epic fun. Being one of five straight men in a three mile square radius with lots of stunning women running around drunk, stoned or high as a kite led to some rather enjoyable experiences to the extent that I went back to do three more seasons. The last one was the best as the harlequin had his job nailed – basically looking after the photographers and TV crews – and was a little older and wiser. Now fashion sorts are, with very few exceptions, a daft and bloody useless bunch and this extends to their own PRs. All of these seem to be twenty-something girls in leggings and acid yellow hot pants with clipboards and headset microphones. Buggered if I know who they were talking to on these, they were never on the event channels and their job seemed to be to run around and get in peoples way and annoy everyone.

So it was that on the last day of the week the Harlequin found himself arguing with one of these little darlings over why the show for the designer she was working for was running 45 minutes late. Lots of annoyed looking journos, celeb types and fashion people in the audience and Harlequin was getting an earful from the photographers as they had to be at another show at a different venue ASAP. So Harlequin tries to find out what the hold up is and is going backstage when he is waylaid by a slightly frazzled looking hot pant wearer.

“You can’t go back there” says she.

“Erm, I can actually” says I.

“No you can’t, it’s restricted access. Only fashion week staff are allowed I’m afraid” she sneers back, looking at Harlequin’s distinct lack of fashion sense.

“I know, I am staff and I need to know what’s taking so long as I’ve got forty increasingly annoyed photographers to calm down.” I fire back as I pull out the all access spiffy blue “god” pass that proved I was one of the anointed. “Now be a dear and run along and count the chairs or something” I snapped. It had been a long week, with a number of late nights involving booze and women in overly large quantities and so the fuse was pretty short.

I sauntered back stage to see a line of models ready to go and the stylists all looking nervously at a corner table where there appeared to be five people all talking a the top of their voices at the same time. One was the designer in question and he was looking increasingly agitated as I wondered over. Heads turned as I approached - the Harlequin is a tall chap – and a woman I then recognise turns in her seat. It’s a certain English supermodel with a reputation for throwing things at assistants and getting booted off airplanes. Shit the fucking bed. And now she’s glaring at me and barks in a somewhat testy tone “Well?”

“Sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering when the show is going to start”

“Who are you?”

“I work for Fashion Week, I’m a liaison for the photographers and television crews”

“That’s nice for you but we’ll start when I’m ready” she announces haughtily

“I’m sure that’s the case but I was hoping it would be soon as you’re running rather behind time and the guests and the media are getting quite restless.

“They’ll wait for me, they always do. It’s not my fault anyway. Those stupid women – she indicates the stylists – fucked up my make up so I’m doing it myself.”

“Er, I’m sorry things aren’t running smoothly. If you could just finish up as quickly as you can I’m sure everyone would appreciate it.”

She stands up at this point and looks me in the eye. Bloody hell, she’s my height in those heels. “I’ll be ready when I’m ready. I’ve been doing this a while and I don’t need some jumped up little fucking gopher telling me how to do my job,”

The Harlequin is not impressed by her tone. “There’s really no need for insults, I’m merely trying to make sure the guys I’m working with have enough time to get to the next show and know what’s holding them up.”

“I’ll decide if it’s time for insults! Those fuckers can wait for me, it’s their job”

And at this point the Harlequin’s brain / mouth filter failed.

“And it’s your job Miss Well-known-soup-brand to turn up on time and walk up and down a couple of times.”


I just verbally bitch slapped a supermodel. Oh dear.

As what I said permeates her head a tactical withdrawal seemed like the proper move so the Harlequin about faces and marches out passed some rather awestruck make-up artists. I hear a fairly incoherent shout but don’t turn and then I’m back safe and sound front of house. Another 5 minutes and the show started with the snappers all commenting that a certain model had a face like a slapped arse on her. At the end of week party that night after a few glasses of bubbly I fessed up to the boss and made it clear that it was my last season. She agreed it was probably for the best and then got me good and drunk. Drunk enough that I had the balls to go and chat up an underwear model. But that’s another story…

No apologies for length, it was worth it.
(Fri 23rd May 2008, 15:45, More)

» I witnessed a crime

World's dumbest paedo
Not a particularly entertaining title I’ll grant you but I was technically one of his victims.
Well it started that way
sort of.
As a snotty teenager I went to a lads grammar school, named after a renowned churchman, in a southern cathedral city with public school delusions of grandeur. Rugby, Latin lessons, the whole shebang. Generally it was a tolerable time but it included being subjected to “character building” cross country runs. I’ve no doubt it did me the world of good in terms of fitness but fuck me was it dull.

Consequently any source of entertainment that popped up on these post lunch perambulations around the city in question attracted me, and a number of other little scamps, like flies to shit.

On one such afternoon, when the games fields were allegedly too wet for practice (bollocks, the PE staff were just too hungover to do anything) we were sent on one of the longer routes around town that cut through a park in the city. After the grumbling had subsided off we trotted like the good boys everyone new we were.

An hour and a half in and we were approaching the home stretch through the park. Now the park was always a chance for the less well mannered of us (i.e. everyone) to walk, have a fag and generally arse about as the teachers never bothered getting out of their cars when keeping an eye on us (This subsequently changed after the events below).

So it happened that five sweaty teenage lads, all in T-shirts and rugby shorts and furtively smoking Marlboro lights were approached by an odd looking chap in a trench coat. Up he walks and mumbles something about never having seen such nice looking young men and he’d like to show us something. Eyebrows raised we said alright, and low and behold the mack was opened to reveal an extremely skinny and extremely naked body with possibly the worlds smallest penis putting on a brave but futile show. Now I know that had I been on my own this may have been pretty bloody disturbing. As it was, after a second of incredulity, I creased up laughing. My mate A, who was something of a wit by schoolboy standards, managed to stop smirking long enough to pronounce that his was much bigger than that and he was only 12. The would-be molester was not best pleased with our lack of shock/interest/terror/pleasure in having seen his shriveled cock and proceeded to try and grab the nearest, and smallest, of us, S. Now S was a slight blonde lad with angelic features who had all the mothers cooing and would soon have all the girls fainting. It was only us, his mates, that new him to be an utter utter bastard. The dirty old man found this out when he grabbed S by the T-shirt and then immediately had to let go after S put his cigarette out on the fellas hand.

Screaming and cursing he backed off slightly and started to describe in graphic detail what he was going to do to each and every one of us. As teenage lads we were impressed by his use of the common vernacular and, had in been directed at others, may have been tempted to offer a round of applause. As it was we decided that this particular specimen of oddity was best bought to the attention of the local plod. So A gets out his mobile – God bless technology hey? – and rings her majesty’s finest. Now him of the cocktail sausage knob realizes what we’ve done and decides it might be time to vacate the area with some alacrity. We don’t want our prize getting away however and fall back onto lessons learnt in biology (see kids, it is useful), more precisely a pack hunting approach. The five of us surrounded this lunatic and whenever the opportunity arose we’d dive in and trip/kick/wallop the weirdo. This culminated with a piece of artistry from S and the biggest of our clan, R, that saw S bait the unfortunate wannabe kiddy fiddler to the extent that he lost track of R who preceded to administer, on the run, possibly the biggest boot to the knackers I have ever seen. The word “atomic” was bandied around afterwards in reference to the ultimate wedgie of the same name.

So it was that two officers of the law turned up to find a middle aged man dressed only in a somewhat tattered trenchcoat, socks and shoes, in a foetal position with five teenagers from the local “posh school” around him. The local paper’s headline “Bishops boys crash flashers parade”.
(Fri 15th Feb 2008, 17:29, More)

» Bastard Colleagues

The Demise of Disney Part II
As a couple of you lovely people wanted a little more on the car crash that was the colleague known as Disney I shall oblige by writing about her eventual demise.

Following the events described in “Way back when” (see below) we thought we might have convinced Disney to be less irritating/condescending/bullying/mental. Unfortunately it became apparent that we’d merely waved a red rag at a bull as, after denying her the chance to bump pelvises with an unwilling victim, the pinch faced loon really went off the deep end. For those of you that can’t be bothered to read the other post Disney was Head of Customer Service for a holiday firm that I worked for a few years back in the ski resort of Courchevel.

Muggins here was a ski guide for said company, and this translated to minion/lackey/slave/bitch in Disney’s personal lexicon. We were forever doing her bidding for the first few months, she being a head of department and all. Our boss however was less than understanding when her general uselessness resulted in a group of skiers hanging about in resort all morning waiting for one of the lads to finish collecting a prescription for kid with the shits in the hotel when she could have done it herself. He being a proper mountain man from Scotland told her not to be such “an incompetent hag” and get off her expanding behind and do her job. Grins all round when we got back in that day and heard about it.

The smiles were short-lived however as the next morning all four of the guides were hauled into the resort managers office along with our boss and the spiteful bint to address “workplace bullying”. The vile sack of bones had accused us of making sexist derogatory comments and “lewd innuendo” as well as belittling her in front of staff and guests. Cue tongue lashing from the big boss and orders to sort it out “or you’re on the next flight back to blighty.”

Next day being transfer day I was glad to be out of resort and down to Geneva for a few hours talking shite with all the other reps. The trip back up saw us sharing a coach with another resort so once we hit the last town before the climb we were dropped off to be met by three lush people carriers and the company minibus for the extra luggage. Arrive at the car park and it’s just the minibus. Sigh... So I call the hotel to get them to chase the cab company and it’s Satan’s bastard offspring on the other end of the phone:

Me: Hi Disney, it’s me. Do you know if the cab firm has called? I’m at Moutier with the guests and O is here with the minibus but no cabs.

Disney: No, they haven’t phoned, why would they?

Me: Er, because I’ve got 16 guests here waiting in the freezing cold and no cabs for them.

Disney: Why?

Me: What do you mean why?! I’m here with guests and the cabs aren’t here to meet us!!

Disney: You can’t be cos we’re only expecting 4 guests in a cab this week. You're such a prick Harlequin, I won't fall for that one.


After I retrieve my jaw off the floor I phone my boss and explain what just happened, in between grinding my teeth and trying not to go purple in front of all the punters.

Eventually get the cabs booked and two hours later than it should have been 16 extremely annoyed holiday makers and one mightily fucked off guide make it to resort. I grin my way through the welcome drinks and then am quietly taken aside by the hotel manager. He informs me that Disney has again complained of the guides and kitchen staff (top boys, all of them) of making inappropriate remarks and deliberately trying to trip her up and make her look stupid. I open my mouth to put him right but he holds up a hand.

"I was in the office earlier and I heard her on the phone to you this afternoon. I checked things over and she was reading from last week's manifest. She then blamed one of the girls for putting the wrong folder out. It’s her folder.” (I confess I got a semi in anticipation at this point.) He dropped his voice, “Don’t worry about the head case, I’ll have her out of here in a week.” He was a man of his word too and when she got driven to the airport he even coughed up for a cab so our poor handyman/driver wouldn’t have to endure her company for two mind shattering hours. Her leaving present? Everyone from the hotel, and I mean every single member of staff from housekeeping, management, ski guiding, bar and kitchen, turned out to send her off in style. She started to feign emotion and was blathering about how much she’d miss everyone (she hadn’t taken a single number or email) when the Sous Chef (my roommate and a true legend) rumbles from his considerable height, “Oh just fuck off already, you really are an utter cunt you know”.

Absolute silence…Apart from the suppressed sniggers going round the entire group, chief culprit being the hotel manager.

She then very quickly gets into the cab and as it’s moving off turns to deliver a less friendly variation of Winston Churchill’s famous sign. Only to find that every staff member has pre-empted her pithy comeback by giving her the finger. Pure, unadulterated genius and nothing less than she deserved, the rabid bile filled bint.
(Fri 25th Jan 2008, 15:35, More)

» Blood

A few years back before I joined the real world
Aside from being a ski instructor in Canada I was also a mountain medic and frequently worked weekends. This was because:
1. Most of the “work” involved sitting in a deck chair chatting shite with your mates
2. the base was at the top of the hill so you could check out the fanny on the lifts
3. attempting to look good in Oakleys and working on my tan was quite important in those days; and
4. it paid more if you worked weekends.

Obviously there was the odd drama. Broken wrists and arms, busted knees, altitude sickness, having an attack of the Yanks (being American and too bastard fat to get up if you fall over and feigning an injury) and the everyday cuts, sprains, bumps and bruises that you associate with a sport that involves progressing rapidly down a mountain on a slick surface at inadvisable velocity.

And generally it was thoroughly enjoyable. I only had one person die on me and there’s fuck all you can do about a massive heart attack so it didn’t bother me so much. What did bother me happened one fateful afternoon in March and really did scare the poo out of me.

Picture this; lovely sunny day, cold and crisp, great snow and only an hour left on my shift. Get a call at the hut that someone has had a “whoopsie” on one of the more difficult runs down into resort. This gets our attention as a “whoopsie” is a technical term for a massive fucking accident. So off we ski, complete with all our paraphernalia nicely packed into the bloodwagon (basically a stretcher on skis). Arrive at a set of crossed skis to see a young woman waving frantically at us from the side of the piste. Her jacket has a fair bit of claret on it so we assume someone has tried to nut the mountain again as head wounds, however small, are always bleeders and they’re relatively common on the slopes.

We were wrong. She grabs us and starts yammering away in Spanish. Not particularly helpful as me and my partner in crime Alain no speaka da lingo comprende? Still we walk over to the side of the piste and are confronted with a guy flat on his back with a ski pole straight through his thigh.

Bugger me. How the hell did he manage that?!?

Getting over our initial shock at seeing something we never thought we’d see we move in to check the poor fella out. Aside from the obvious he seems ok and there isn’t too much blood on the ground. But. He is very, very pale though. And I mean grey. Anyone that’s seen terminally ill people or a corpse knows what I mean. This probably means internal bleeding and exploratory surgery really isn’t an option on the side of a snow covered mountain so we have to get him off the hill sharpish. It’ll be quicker to get him down to the heliport in town in the bloodwagon than to call the chopper up direct so we work on stabilising the aluminium pole in his leg before attempting to put him in the wagon. For this we need our little Spanish girly. So Alain holds the guy still, I gesture at the girly to hold the pole as still as she can as I get some gauze, tape and bandaging ready to try and keep the pole still. I nod to Alain, who lies pretty much over the guys chest, and then to the girl who takes a firm grasp on the pole.

And then promptly pulls the thing straight out in a clean swift movement. I have a millisecond to stare at her before I am hit full in the face with a jet of nice warm arterial blood. Oh Fuck. For the uninitiated most wounds don’t tend to spurt all over the place like they do in the movies. The exception is a cut or break in a major artery. Put a hole in one of those and the blood will hit the ceiling in most rooms, and probably the far wall as well. Severing the femoral artery that runs through your leg is one of the quickest ways to bleed out. If nothing is done you will be dead in 5 minutes. You are literally a little closer to death every time your heart beats and forces more blood out of the wound. And as it does so it tries to maintain blood pressure by, you’ve guessed it boys and girls, beating faster.

So, the pressure was well and truly on, as it were. With a hysterical Spanish girl screaming at us Alain and I spin the guy around so that his head is down the slope, lift the knackered leg up and get a tourniquet onto the top of his thigh in record time. Tourniquets are not ideal but this at least stops the geysers of blood going in our faces as we rip the guys trouser leg open to the groin and Alain starts slapping pressure bandages on to the really quite small holes that are still farting out a worrying amount of blood.

Here is where nature gave us an extremely welcome helping hand. It can get really rather cold in the mountains, especially in eastern Canada. And by cold I mean about -25 degrees on that day. Not many exposed liquids remain unfrozen for long in those temperatures and that includes blood. The bandages helped contain the bleeding and as blood seeped through it started to help its unfortunate owner as well by freezing into the bandage. We added cold water to this to speed things up and I made the scramble call to the medevac guys in town as Alain got a line in the guys arm to get some plasma into him. The chopper was with us in less than ten minutes and we bundled the guy into a stretcher and piled snow up around his leg to keep the freeze effect going. Then off they soared into the wild blue yonder.

The guy made it. He’d ripped the artery rather than severed it and they patched him up good and proper.

Alain and I tidied up our kit, all the time looking at the huge sprays of blood over the slope and then skied into town. We arrived at the bottom and the first thing that happened was a toddler saw us and started bawling her eyes out. Then a lifty came sprinting over and asked us if we were ok. Non-plussed I looked at Alain who gestured to the hut next to us and in the window I could see why people were a tad concerned. Our reflections showed us to be covered in blood. And by that I mean it looked like we’d been for a bath in the stuff. And then all of a sudden I could smell it and taste it and feel it on my skin and in my hair. A shower couldn’t come quick enough. Followed by a full set of blood tests (my own this time) to make sure our wounded protagonist hadn’t given me something nasty. Then lots and lots of beers to toast another day on the hill.

Not a funny this one but a worthy contender I hope.

Length? About 120cm long, covered in claret with a handle at one end and a spike at the other.
(Thu 14th Aug 2008, 11:54, More)
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