The Lighter Side Of Brenda

Sometimes, Brenda lets you into her world. It’s a strange thing, to be embraced by someone you despise – especially if you have the instinctive desire to be liked by everyone, no matter how much they’ve proved themself to be a big anus.
On the one hand, I was enjoying the fact that this creature had come from her desk and was telling me her funny story… but the actual telling of the story was close to unbearable. It was only by turning on my dictaphone that I was able to relax – I could listen to her without vomiting so long as I had this noble, ulterior motive. To record our conversation and play it to [three inhabitants of] the world.
Before telling me this story, Brenda had sat at her desk, laughing at something. Immediately after the laugh, she looked around. Then she laughed again, and followed it with an “oh, dear!” that clearly emphasised the askability surrounding her mirth. Looking over to me, she took my grimace as an inviting wince, and wrinkled around the desks to my chair. She had a photo.
It was a photo of her, laughing. Laughing in the sense of “mouth widening, teeth bared, eyes squinting”. I recognised it as a laugh, anyway – even though these same expressions can be used for “on the floor, awaiting a kick to the stomach”. The latter describes my face. Hanging from her blouse in the photo is a “Do Not Disturb” sign used in hotels. The weight of the sign is pulling her flimsy blouse down a touch – not obscene, but enough to remind me that she was once a sexual creature, and God save us, may still be.
This sign is a comical one – it features Winnie The Pooh struggling, with a pot of honey stuck onto his head, and has the caption;

“Don’t Bother Me, I’m Having A Bad Day”

It’s the kind of photo that stands for itself. It’s not awful – I mean, it’s not nearly as bad as the office posters you more usually find – and if she’d had it pinned to her partition, I wouldn’t have thought any less of her for it. But she’s not willing to let it rest there, is she? She’s not even going to rest, having stuffed it under my nose. This picture is so amazing to her that she wants to give me the back story.
It came at a difficult time in the office – morale was low, and good old Brenda was keen to portray herself as the office jester. This is an image that she genuinely holds – when it is painfully clear to everyone else that she’s nothing more than vocal shrapnel lodged in everyone’s fucking face. This is where we join the story – the dictaphone is now on.
[what follows is the transcript – click here to listen]

just start lightening it up, to have a laugh about it, because we were all getting a little bit tetchy. So I hung this little sign up that said “don’t bother me, I’m having a bad day”. So Peter came around with his camera, and said he wanted to take a picture. “Don’t bother me, I’m having a bad day…”
that’s why I was so pleased, because actually… you can actually read it.
No, you can read it.
It’s quite nice… it looks a bit sultry, hanging off your bra like that.

I was showing off for the dictaphone, there. She looked spurred.

Well it’s quite funny because … that’s why I’m laughing. Because when he was taking the picture, right… he kept lowering… he kept lowering the camera. And I said “oi, what you doing, lowering the camera?” And he, well of course he’s….. [voice tapers off into nothing as she makes mouth gestueres that look a little bit gay]
Yeah, I know, yeah.

Brenda physically can’t say the word “gay”. After the recording finishes, she says “I know it’s the fashion, these days, but…”, which prompted me to write down “anal sex isn’t a pair of nice shoes” and promise myself I’d make it into a T-shirt.

So… I… er… So I knew he wasn’t, you know, but I was just you know, kinda winding him up. And in the end, he got embarrassed, and started blushing… and that’s when I started laughing. And then he took the picture, and it was just perfect.
So he was lowering it to get all the words on –
yeah, of course he was
rather than actually take a filthy sex shot of you, for his own purposes.

She enjoys the fact that I’m responding to her, but what I’m saying is irrelevant. The tracks to this conversation were laid minutes ago, and I’m just a passenger.

So that’s why I’m laughing, and not only that, to make matters worse, there’s a barrier there…
a barrier?
a barrier, a partition… and when he was lowering the camera, and I said “ere, what are you doing, lowering that camera, what do you think you’re doing, what do you think you’re taking pictures of”…
Did faces slowly appear, above…
…there were people on the other side, listening to the conversation! I completely forgot, I was so engrossed in winding him up! Stop lowering that camera, stop lowering that camera, and he was laughing, and I was laughing, and of course the people on the other side, I only realised afterwards that people must have been thinking “what is going on over there?” which made it even funnier! And that’s why I’m really laughing, it completely went, and he, and he took the moment, he went CLICK.

She is making me laugh inside my head, now. When she said “and he was laughing, and I was laughing”, she’s just given up her right to claim any part of reality, beyond being a character in a sketch show.
Brenda fondly thinks that the people on the other side of the partition – whose morale she was trying to raise with this photo that she doesn’t seem to have shown them, only me – were thinking “That Brenda!”
She would probably come flying apart and dissipate in a tearless, sandy sob if they told her what they were really thinking, which was “why does death come to so many, but not to this immortal crone?

What makes it even better is, I didn’t mention it to my husband before, right, just because I just can’t. [makes more gay faces] He’s… he’s…
You don’t have to whisper the word… you can say gay these days.
He’s not going to think… he’s not going to think… he’s not going to think… he’s not going to think “what was he doing taking that picture”. I haven’t told him, you see, so it’ll be a nice surprise for him.

This section boils down into three statements;
1. “It will be a nice surprise for him to see that I was photographed at work.”
This is a classic case of “The suprise that was met with a ruffle of a newspaper and a that’s nice, dear”. Unless…

Possibly Brenda and her husband, yesterday

2. “I couldn’t tell my husband that I was photographed by a gay man, although (1) – it will be a nice surprise for him.”
Oh, Brenda. Brenda, Brenda, Brenda.
3. “My husband will not assume I am fucking the man who photographed me, because he is gay. Although (2) – I cannot tell him he was gay, just because. Still, (1) – it’ll be a nice surprise, anyway.”
I am glad that Brenda has taken me into her confidence, and I hope to get more stories out of her. I’m thinking of writing an anthology. Shit, I wonder if I could get her to invite me around for sunday dinner?

14 thoughts on “The Lighter Side Of Brenda”

  1. She can’t tell her husband she was photographed by a gay because she can’t say gay
    Brenda provides a perfect demonstration of why Little Britain is shit. Don’t you find?
    What would happen if she let her subconcious let rip under hypnosis. “Gay gay gay bent big bendy woofter POOF” I would hope.

  2. The secrets of a long and happy marriage:
    1. Surprise your husband by showing him a picture of you wearing a sign that says, “I”m Having A Bad Day”, taken by your (g…) work colleague.
    2. Laaaaaaaarf. LIghten the mood! Always make time for laaaaaaaaaaarfing. And surprises. That’s why I was starting laaaaaaaaaaaaaaarfing. Laaaaaaaaarf.
    4. Listen. Be a good listener. Listen to what he has to say. Has he had a good day? Has he had a bad day? Whatever has happened, it’s important to talk about each other’s days. Tell him you couldn’t get on the server you couldn’t get on the server you couldn’t get on the server you couldn’t get on it; maybe you can laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarf about it now. Maybe you can’t. You couldn’t get on the server!
    5. Be a whore in the kitchen, a whore in the bedroom and a whore in Morrison’s car park.
    6. And laaaaarf!

  3. The audio is magnificent as it is, but I won’t be wholly satisfied until I see the accompanying photograph. Come on, Log – you’ve already used high level espionage to record a crone and mock her on the interweb… surely acquiring the associated filthy sex shot won’t be a problem for you?

  4. Believe me, I searched her desk when she went to lunch; and all I found was a bottle of Milk of Magnesia, which filled me with dread. The idea of Brenda having milk – magnesia or no – made my tummy twist. I pretended to use her computer to “find a file” (no-one questioned me, as no-one had any idea why I might need one of her files). I also found a mug with a budgie on it, which read “TWEET YOURSELF”. Her drawers were locked, which does match with the personality of someone who writes their name in Tipp-Ex on everything within claw-reach.
    I asked her about it two days later, saying “did your husband like that photo, Brenda?” She said “what photo?” I replied, “you know, that photo of you with the Do Not Disturb sign”. She replied “oh, that. Um, yes.”
    Do you know what? I’m not convinced she showed it to her husband at all. I hope she doesn’t turn out to have a fantasy family, that would almost be too obvious…

  5. Can’t you just get A picture of Brenda, even if it’s a not very good one? I find it really hard to visualise these stories without knowing what Brenda looks like and I’ve just eaten a big bag of pretzels whilst trying to conjure up images of Brenda in my head.
    So please, a picture of the Brenda.

  6. An idea….
    1. Go through your recordings of Brenda, and select a few choice quotes.
    2. Save them as wav files.
    3. Get a 1024×768 photo of Brenda
    4. Create your own Brenda Windows theme
    5. Put it on the PC of as many people in the office as you can get away with.
    6. Wait for her cries of “that’s not me” when she eventually hears herself.
    7. Inform her that, yes, indeed it is. You saw a …. y’know…. recording and photoing her the other day, but didn’t want to say anything in case he attacked you.
    8. Realise this isn’t quite as good an idea as it was when you started.

  7. Dear Log
    I liked to think of Brenda as Immune to Sexuality. Like a(n) Eunuch! THANKS FOR RUINING IT FOR ME and others. But I bloody well enjoyed this part so much:
    “He’s not going to think… [CRAB SCRATCH] he’s not going to think… [CRAB SCRATCH] he’s not going to think… [CRAB SCRATCH] he’s not going to think”
    And the other parts.
    Kind Regards,
    IOYC Priority Seating

  8. Josie is my Brenda. She is also my boss. She asks me to do things that are urgent by writing snotty notes in red pen on post its and put them in my tray rather than just saying “This is quite urgent, could you do it now please”. This means I miss them, as they go to the back of my in-tray, and remain undone for four days, at which point she can give me a dressing down.
    Her computer has sound samples from Blackadder. When she gets an e-mail Rik Mayall shouts “She likes the taste of a man’s tonsils” from the ‘Bells’ episode in Blackadder II. When an Outlook reminder pops up, Helen Atkinson-Wood shouts “huge suspicious looking sausages” from the Scarlet Pimpernel episode of Blackadder the Third. Every time a bit of me dies. Her laugh is dry and humourless, as she has no sense of humour. Every time she laughs I want to cry.

  9. I think:
    B: “What makes it even better is, I didn’t mention it to my husband before, right, just because I just can’t. [makes more gay faces] He’s… he’s…”
    L: “You don’t have to whisper the word… you can say gay these days.”
    is my favourite sitcom exchange of the year. It could be used in a new comedy called “Adminfrustration” starring Patricia Routledge and Martin Clunes. After saying Log’s line Martin would huff, and roll his eyes, and a short piece of music would fade us into the first ad break.


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