Thursday, 9 August 2007

30 Days and Counting...

I'm sorry, mea culpa, all that... not a moment to gather my thoughts!

It's been hectic, but thankfully Bumbalina's been here to carry the day! I've just waved her off, departing to dear old Blighty, still dressed for 35 degrees and 90% humidity. It's just so easy to get used to it. She may regret that when she touches down at Heathrow on a temperate summer evening.

I recall a visiting American colleague who when asked of his first impressions of Brits on their home soil explained 'it's not that you're eccentric, it's that you dress for the date not the weather'. It's a habit that's hard to break. We create wardrobes of outfits that meet particular requirements: office formal, office laid-back, smart casual, middle-aged student, but when we migrate to a different environment none of it's appropriate.

In some respects I find the outfit became a uniform that we build a new persona around. I always hated 'dress down Fridays', but not because it brought laissez-faire Saturday afternoon attitudes into the office. I despised it because it meant that I couldn't strip off the stresses and the issues of the desk when I got home, and pile them in the dirty laundry basket alongside my whiffy socks.

So Singapore makes me different. It's impossible to wear a suit into the office without coming to the conclusion that a litre of water an hour is insufficient to make good the waterlogged flood plain around your torso. Every taxi ride means pulling out your shirt tails to make good the condensation on your specs when you climb from the Alaskan chill of the back seat to the tropical punch of the street.

So out the window goes the Aquascutum classical wear, and in comes California chinos and open-necked shirts. Out goes the crisp, starched formality of daily dry cleaning, and in comes crumpled creases around my midriff. As I waft to the 18th storey of my next meeting I reflect in the mirror that I look a shadow of my former professionalism. Now I look like a cliche of colonial jounalism, although not (I hope) with saggy cheeks of chronic alcoholism.

So I need to get laid-back. If I can't hide the beads of perspiration around my hairline, then I must make use of them, and so I do.

Welcome then, floppy Huguenot. Let us celebrate the opportunity to swing by the office with two buttons undone. If not quite naked to the navel, then at least I have opportunity to prove that despite rumours to the contrary, I do not wear a medallion.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Wet Feet

24 hours - jetlag a very real experience. It reminds me of those vacations where you swing from city to city to get the most out of your time, but in reality you're swimming in this grey fug of dulled perceptions. You flounder along suffering the vague resentment that the morbid hand of an earlier planning indiscretion is propelling you along like a bouncers grip on your belthooks.

For those of you inexperienced with this feeling, try getting on stage with the gals at Stringfellows. Having hauled you out of the limelight these bastards grip the back of your trousers so tightly as to deliver a semi-wedgie. You tippy-toe (to conserve your manhood) at considerable pace under the green exit signs looking like a ballet dancer on a cross channel ferry in January, and that friendly paw supports you all the way... Bad Planning.

This, naturally, isn't Bad Planning. It is a fab idea, but hey, I've crossed time zones, didn't sleep for two days, and now my body's so confused I slept all evening and I'm up all night. A bit like a gentleman friend on the Trans Siberian Express.

I despise those people who 'don't suffer jetlag'. I remember boys' own stories about paratroopers who due to their experience and general manliness can drop off to sleep on demand to retain their energy for the combat ahead. To say thay you don't suffer jetlag is to say that you're kinda square-jawed and muscular, and you're gonna get the chicks. It's embarassing and dated, so terribly 70s. Indulge, I say. Glory in your temporal porridge. Create like a hyperactive 4 year old in this mudbox of modern invention!

So now it's 3.11am. How depressing.

I know you want to know what I'm doing, and where I'm staying. But all in due course, all in due course. For now, back to the movies on demand and the warm golden welcome of equatorial dawn...