Wednesday, 20 August 2008
With Grasshopper it was clear from the start that the only way my sister and I could work together was if I stopped taking myself seriously and stopped trying to have meetings with her and set targets. If you work with people outside your gene pool they will defer to you, respect you and have meetings about targets to your heart’s content. The downside is the possibility that they will harbour an undetected resentment and leak information to a rival company in order for them to mount an aggressive take-over that leaves you unemployable and in therapy for the rest of your natural life.
The price for the mutual trust that I enjoy with Abi is a daily barrage of merciless teasing which usually focuses on me being Maggie Thatcher/ a hermit/ Rainman. Acting serious is, in fact, a Grasshopper crime punishable by vicious parody unless, of course, the defendant is rendered temporarily insane and morbidly self pitying by the mind altering effect of a hormone surge [AE: Which goes as extenuating circumstances in a court of law]
Mrs Conroy by the way (see top of paragraph) was a universally loved teacher for the following reasons:
1 She was very pretty
2 She had a bike with a wicker basket on it
3 She knew Sade
When I was 16 I wrote a very grim short story about a man who blows his own head off. Where other more conservative teachers might have questioned my mental health she gave me 20/20 and wrote ‘This is of a publishable standard’ in red pen at the bottom. Amid the self-doubt/ train tracks/ acne/ national health glasses while I waited for my proper ones (if you are too young to know what they are count yourself lucky) that recognition meant everything. Mrs Conroy, we salute you.
[AE: I just ran spellcheck over this and it said that ‘Rainman’ isn’t a word and suggests ‘Trainman’. Who’s ever heard of him? Tom Cuise stars in TRAINMAN?’]
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Last time I saw him he explained that Abi and I shouldn't worry about big companies making the same product as us and that we should put as much of ourselves into the brand as we could; that we were our own point of difference. This is a helpful notion and can help alleviate The Fear [See 'The Fear and How to avoid Panic Ping-Pong'] although obviously, we still don't like copycats.
In a parallel universe we settled down together in the big house at the end of Slapton beach and grew rhubarb.
Monday, 11 August 2008
Sunday, 10 August 2008
The only options seemed to be:
1: Get a grant [AE: HARHARHARHARHAR] After exploring this option by filling in 10 grillion forms I concluded that of course, there is no free money except the MARVELLOUS Prince's Trust but we were too old for them. [AE: We LOVE Prince Charles]
2: Beg the bank for a massive loan [AE: Millstone] to fund you [AE: Ruin your life]
3: Go back to the Venture Capitalists [Tony: I'm not going and you can't make me]
Each of these options was equally repugnant and as it seemed like we had to choose one of them I began to feel extremely vexed about our situation. The amount of low-end confectionery I was eating reached an all-time high and green vegetable consumption (principally of the Brassica family) troughed. This period culminated in 2 virtually sleepless nights that went like this:
10pm Go to bed
11pm Get up and watch Jim'll Fix It on Your Tube (check out the girl that sang with Abba, where is she now?)
1am Go through every member of my kindergarten class in my head in alphabetical order to try and hypnotise myself.
1.30am Download Paul McKenna 'I Can Make You Supremely Confident' onto Ipod.
2am Do Paul McKenna 'ICMYSC' twice in a row (to try and garner some benefit from my predicament by using the time to subliminally develop life-long self esteem)
4am Wake up having had a nightmare about being Paul McKenna's assistant and losing something that he needs in his act.
Next night, repeat above.
On day three I spoke to Helicopter Man. He started his own business and has a hairy chest like Magnum PI except blonde. He emphasized the difference between debt at the bank and debt to people who know you in real life. He extolled the beauty of multiple soft loans and it all made perfect sense.
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Everything that I tell her only happens 'once in a blue moon' or 'only on the other side of town' seems to arrive on our doorstep: choppers circle overhead, joyriders career onto the pavement and handbags are blown up by the cops in controlled explosions. Could this be the pathetic fallacy that Mrs Conroy was talking about in fifth form English [See 'You Cannot Be Serious'] Could Abi actually be manifesting the chaos around her through the power of thought? I considered putting my theory to her, to try and find out if we could harness her powers to influence our customers' buying behaviour and boost porridge sales. After some consideration I decided that to draw attention to her dark powers could trigger an anxiety response similar to Sissy Spacek in 'Carrie' inadvertently putting the whole City at risk. So I decided to say nothing and distract her, instead, with a packet of winegums.
Friday, 8 August 2008
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Sunday, 3 August 2008
Since Grasshopper’s conception we have been the unwilling recipients of an almost constant barrage of unsolicited advice. The fact that we don’t know anything about how to build an organic snack food empire apparently doesn’t matter, as we seem to be surrounded by experts. Here are some of my favourite suggestions so far…
1: You should the make the porridge without milk or fruit (when valuing this guidance consider that their recommended recipe would consist of one ingredient only, oats)
2: Get an advert on the TV (30 second slot during Coronation St = £150 000, total Grasshopper marketing budget for 2007 = £nil)
3: Don’t pay your staff more than you have to (We are the only staff and we don’t get paid as we don’t have any money)
4: Don’t aim too high; when things get big it is really hard work. (I have OCD, I love to work)
5: Don’t rush into anything (I rush, it’s in my nature)
6: Patent the recipe (You can’t patent a recipe. Everyone who has ever watched The Dragon’s Den tells us this. I have a short presentation on PowerPoint underlining the basic principles of intellectual property protection which I direct them to because going through it all again makes me upset)
8: You should make bacon-flavoured porridge (there is a reason that no-one has ever made that)
And, my personal favourite:
6: Don’t give up your day job (Too late)