David Parkin on the perils of out of office, Uber, the madness of the Premier League and celebrating Elvis

EVERY week I spend part of my Friday morning deleting several hundred automatic email out of office replies to this blog.

Most of them have the usual message about being away from the office on holiday or on a day off and details of when the person will be back at their desk.

You spot regular names – there is one person who never seems to be in the office and appears constantly on holiday.

But then they do work in banking so you can understand it.

Others tend to “over-share” – using the modern parlance – information in their automatic replies.

One chap actually said in his message: “I am currently out of the office improving people’s lives.”

Who is this impressive individual? Is it a superhero or perhaps someone who spends their holidays volunteering for the International Red Cross?

No, he is actually in recruitment.

Bonkers and pretentious, but no more delusional than most recruiters I have met, to be honest.

They must be, none of them has ever offered me a job.

Last week just as I was about to delete one out of office message, I spotted that the person had included names of colleagues working on specific “projects” that could be contacted in their absence.

Those projects were entitled Contour, Rocket and Trident.

Very impressive, but they sound like team names picked by over-eager contestants on The Apprentice.

I used to play in a five-a-side football league in a team named Hey Nonny Nonny, from lyrics in a song in the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

It took us a while to work out why other teams, often called names like The Bruiser Boys and The Sharks, used to kick us up in the air in every match.

The effete name can’t have helped, but there is no truth in the rumour that we used to play wearing ruffs.


IF you wanted any more evidence that football has lost the plot when it comes to finances then you only needed to glance at the BBC website this week.

One article stated: “Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says he is not worried by the club’s relative lack of signings this summer.”

Apparently he has only spent £129m which includes £60m on Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid as well as £30m each on Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco and defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma.

Then a piece by former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas described as “analysts” on the same BBC website, made the case that Spurs are underpaying their players who earn about £60,000 a week.

Barmy stuff.

As was Match of the Day host Gary Lineker’s odd introduction to the programme last Saturday.

In heralding the return of the Premier League to our screens, he chose to echo quotes by President Donald Trump about the US being “locked and loaded” and possessing “fire and fury” when it comes to the escalating crisis with North Korea.

The former striker might have felt he was being ironic, but it just seemed painfully scripted and rather crass to me.

Perhaps the BBC should get a proper journalist in to present the programme who will cost a lot less than Lineker, write their own scripts and not engage in self-indulgent ‘banter’ with fellow former players Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.


I’VE always resisted downloading the Uber taxi app.

The enterprise is one of those modern disruptive phenomena in that it is the world’s biggest taxi business but it owns no cars.

It’s a great idea but I’ve not been convinced enough by the knowledge of the Uber drivers to jump on board.

The last time I was with someone who ordered an Uber the driver didn’t appear when the app said he would and he rang my friend to ask where he was.

“We’re standing right outside Leeds Station,” he told the driver.

“Where’s that?” asked our Uber man.

So when I jumped in a black and white cab at the station the other day I was interested to learn from the driver that taxi firms in cities across the country, including London, have joined forces to launch their own app aimed at competing with Uber.

Gett is simple to download and offers the dual benefit of a discount for your first few trips as well as a bonus to each driver who encourages a passenger to download it.

If you download Gett then use the code GTQMYQR and you will get a credit to your account, as will I.

Win win.


IT was 40 years ago this week that Elvis Presley died.

One memory I have from my childhood was being at some kind of fun day or county show and the news of the passing of the King of Rock n’ Roll was announced on the PA system.

I remember seeing many adults visibly shocked, some even fighting back tears.

Four decades on Elvis is still an iconic figure and his songs and films are still played regularly across the world.

I will resist giving you a rendition of my karaoke favourite, All Shook Up, given I don’t want the King to turn in his grave.

But I am available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Have a great weekend.

David Parkin has left the building.

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