Nick Clegg’s performance at PMQs today was all very fine and splendid and a jolly promising opening show and all that business, and it is therefore unfortunate that he also accidentally managed to make me cry, which I am sure was far from the intention.
My flat is on a prepay meter. It costs a bloody fortune. We’ve phoned British Gas about eight times in the past year to try and get it changed to Direct Debit, and every time, they refuse to accept that our flat exists.
“But I buy my gas from you,” I sob, “I know, because my little ‘I am a Second Class Citizen On a Prepay Meter, Shit On Me As Much As You Like’ Card says British Gas on it.”
“Do you mean 116A Alexandra Park Road? Or 116C?”
“No, I mean 116B.”
“We don’t have a record of that property.”
“And yet you have a record of both 116A and 116C. Try the other database.”
“How do you know about the Other Database?”
“I’ve done this before. Go on, have a look. We’re on that one when there’s an R in the month, especially in the middle of the week when there’s a fair amount of cloud cover. I know it’s only Monday but there’s some decent nimbostrata around today, so I say we give it a shot.”
Pause, in which I hear someone hold their thumb over the headset and say “Lisa, she knows about the Other Database. Call Bootle and have them dismantle it and remove it piece by piece to Warrington.” Thumb is removed.
“No, nothing there. Have you just moved into the property perhaps?”
“About a year and a half ago. Never mind, perhaps the surroundings I am currently experiencing are just a mirage.”
Then they say they’ll have to send someone out and register us as being in existence, and we arrange a date and time. No-one ever comes. Ever. And then I ring them up to ask why and the whole process starts again.