Compass’ Café Conundrum—and other catering capers

No wonder Security Council sanctions against Syria haven’t been successful: the UN can’t even crack down on mediocre-at-best catering companies.

eatcentral-logo[1]Chartwells have been rebranding Sussex’s various food outlets in a uniquely irritating way. One of the ‘new’ overpriced venues claims to be offering “authentic street food.”

No it isn’t! Pretty blatant violation of the Trade Descriptions Act there, given that the café is located not on an authentic street but in Arts C, which is about as far from an authentic street as can be.

Another building’s outlet  will be offering “pure unadulterated flavour” (not adulterated by such sordid concerns as decent pensions for the staff preparing it, for instance) in the form of “artisan stuffed focaccia.”

All of these venues apparently “offer a free WIFI service.” With this line, Chartwells have conveniently forgotten to admit that there was also free wireless Internet before they marched in, and also omitted to mention that the network works all over campus and not just in places where one might feel obliged to buy imitation Italian bread products – artisan or otherwise – as an excuse for sitting there and surfing.

At least they’re not trying to make a profit out of poor students then.


He ought to have a meddle!

Having a bad heir day? Prince Charles in relaxed mood.
Constitutional law professor Vernon Bogdanor has written an article in the Guardian about how Prince Charles should be free to use his privileged status to meet with ministers and influence government policy.

The heir to the throne has been having, on average, one meeting with a senior minister every month: “hardly excessive,” comments Bogdanor. He’s also been writing the Cabinet private letters, which the government is refusing to publish because “there is a risk that Prince Charles would be viewed by others as disagreeing with government policy.”

Anyway, Vernon Bogdanor is reassuring the public that “ministers are perfectly capable of scrutinising critically the prince’s views” (though readers of the Justice secretary’s recent Daily Mail column on why the judicial system should be dismantled might disagree) and I for one am completely convinced.

So is Prince Charles. In this song…

No place like Rome

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is trying to get down wid da yoof by running an online competition.

Long time, no See.
Long time, no See.

“To mark the second year of his Ambassadorial mandate,” their website says, “Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Holy See [Vatican City] Nigel Baker has launched a competition to meet his twitter [sic] followers and answer their questions.”

For the throngs of people anxious to enter this competition, all we have to do is tweet using the hashtag #meetHMA “replying to the question: If you met the British Ambassador to the Holy See, what would you ask him and why?” And why? ‘Because I want to know the answer…’ presumably. (Yeah right.)

But the smallprint to the competition makes the best reading. “Three winners will meet Nigel Baker at his Residence in Rome later in the year. We are unable to cover any expenses for winners travelling to Rome to participate. Should winners be unable to be attend, their questions will be answered on the Ambassador’s blog.”

How very egalitarian of him!

A lesson for us all

A relative drew my attention to news reports this week about a sixth-form student in Hampstead who was in trouble with his headmaster for running a satirical blog about his educational establishment, in which he compared senior staff to dictators, derided league-table drops, highlighted the school site’s poor facilities and complained that the student voice is ignored.

The right-wing man’s right-wing man: Hampstead School headmaster Jacques Szemscjoecsoq.
I don’t know why this relative felt the story was in any way relevant to me, but I can’t help thinking that the head of Hampstead School, Jacques Szemalikowski (crazy name crazy guy), over-reacted slightly to the blog.

He not only blocked school computers from accessing the rogue website, he also reported its author to the police, on a charge of “developing into an anarchist” (yes really) and even ratted on them to their prospective university, Glasgow.

“In the last year he has become more and more enchanted by anti-establishment ways of thinking,” said the highly responsible teacher to a Daily Mail journalist, speaking about the personal information of a named pupil. “I also reported his mad writings to the police.”

Anyway, I’d like to offer the blogger in question, Kinnan Zaloom, a hearty well-done and the very best of luck with his future writings!

Five of the best

The ‘great chefs’ of today’s blog post
In tonight’s episode, Compass Group brought authentic made-up food to Falmer. Prince Charles stuck his royal nose in places it was not wanted (ie. any places) and Nigel Baker proved a fascinating raconteur after all. This was an Gabrielquotes production.


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