Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Pugugly
This is the thread where the contributions will be hosted. The mystery celebrity Judge won't know the identity of the competitors.

They'll all be posted here under my name after the closing date.

The prize ? - Feeling of wellbeing and the glow of having "won"

Rob - Moderator.
Neglect - Pugugly
Neglect. Now there's an emotive word in our modern society. You may neglect your child, probably one of our most heinous crimes. You may neglect your wife or other relatives and rightly be considered to lack moral principles.
You might neglect your house, or garden. The neighbours will "tutt tutt" and call in the authorities if it all gets out of hand.
To neglect your motor vehicle, however, is of no importance to other people and actually represents the relationship between yourself and the vehicle. Ordinary folk really don't care if your car is dirty or has a scrape down the bodywork. They don't know that you have failed to have a service for the preceding 7 years and usually fail to notice that your tyres have no tread upon them. They don't notice that you have no road tax and cannot know that you have no insurance or MOT. They do not associate the faceless driver with the car he drives.
Sadly, when the neglect of the driver leads to destruction, injury or, sadly, death, society becomes inflamed with anger and hatred, rightly so, just read the pages of the Daily Telegraph for the evidence.
My conclusion. Neglect, in its many ways, of your vehicle, is a personal contract with yourself and your conscience. Only you can calculate the infinite consequences of such neglect.
Time. - Pugugly
Whats the time?

Well, officially: 1 second=9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation, corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the caesium-133 atom.

Whizz for atoms, you say.

Unofficially, despite physics, time elongates and contracts behind the wheel of a car.

You sure?

Definitely: 90mph on a motorway at night. Swinging sharply past a truck to make an exit I'm sure to miss. Time conveniently dilates that vital second by a factor of oh-crikey, and a relatively slow human nervous system lives to drive another day-though adrenaline secretion would betray me, raising my bpm to counter time's graciousness.

Whats the time, Dad? Here's some more elongation for you. We're stalled in traffic on a simmering afternoon, long ran out of entertainment in a sea of slowly-moving metal, and the kids want to be there yesterday. Time drags. That cant be 5 minutes, surely? Are we there yet?

Yet on the other hand- a quiet, twisty road, a Ford Focus and some fuel, a sunny day, and hey! the seconds pass in a blur as we have far, far too much fun. Is it really that time already? Well I never. Time files when you're having fun, eh?

Time, gentlemen, please! I remember the day you were born, our Gary, says Dad- out we went to wet the baby's head, drove back home in that old Hillman, no idea how I made it. Couldn't do that now. Times were different then, of course.

Ain't it funny how time slips away?
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Pugugly
Only two entries sadly :-( Anyway here they are - HJ had offered to judge, but given we only have two entries - suggest that BR member vote. Voting closes tomorrow (Monday) at 9.00pm.

Add your posting and vote. I'll then disclose the winner's identity at the end.

Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Citroënian {P}
Now feel slightly foolish that I didn't enter myself, but

The Citroënian jury awards its vote to "Neglect"
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - pda
So do I, but I got intimidated by not being able to understand the 'dreaded threaded view'!

I vote for Time.

Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Manatee

Thanks to both entrants.
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - pmh3

Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Armitage Shanks {p}
The time limit for entries was far too short IMO. Less than a working week = not enough. Try again'please' and give it a month
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Robin Reliant

A week would be good, now we've seen your effort Pu, I'm sure more of us would be willing to show out literary talents(?) in future.
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Pugugly
They're not my efforts - they're other people's - posted anonymously so that your judgement might not be swayed - all will be revealed tomorrow. I'll consult with Oilrag on the timescale for the next one.
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - oilrag
I like them both equally. In particular the concluding paragraph in `Neglect` - and the broader context of `Time` written as I had hoped with creativity that I had intended for that title.
Time as we know is generally perceived as a river in flow, Newtons river - as it were. But we also know that space time is something else and even further that time outside abstract concepts is `felt` by the individual differently at different ages and in different situations.

This particular essay was my `wild card` and I`m pleased that it was taken up.

If you consider the titles, I tried to give a broad spread of options with both pragmatic and esoteric possibilities.

I thought a week for only 250 words was just about right - long enough to do the task, but not so long that it could be forgotten.

Unable to participate myself of course due to writing the titles ( which I just knocked up in about 45min while watching TV) but we all know what would have happened if I had approached `Time`...

The Silly Thread would resurface - blowing ballast and taking on air - before plunging again to 400 fathoms. ;-)

Thanks for participating, reading and supporting the competition.

Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Martin Devon
Both great efforts, but 'Time' wins by a short head. Rings more than a bell or two. Excellent and thank you.


Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Dave_TD
Both essays equal for me in content, "Time" edges it on presentation.

I will have to attempt an entry to the next one, although as mentioned above a week is not enough!
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - rtj70
Vote for Time from me. Does it count from a mod?
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - oilrag
Yes rtj. As long as you are not the mystery personality ;-)

Regarding timescales - perhaps most preferences could be met? You could have a 1 month and 1 week version.
I would be particularly interested in competing in a 1 hour competition.
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - cheddar
Seems like Time has it, if only I had the time ;-)

Actually I might have entered if it were freestyle, a few hundred words on anything ...
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Chris M
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Lud
I would be particularly interested in competing in a 1 hour competition.

Heh heh... done any news hacking oilrag? It's often a bit like that.

In the early eighties I used to be telephoned at 4 am a couple of times a week and asked for 200 to 800 words - usually about 450 - on whatever took the fancy of the foreign editor. Then if it was radio I had to bawl it down the phone at about 8, or if for the paper at about midday, in French, in my dodgy accent.

Oddly enough doing it in French - mine is far from perfect - didn't really bother me. What I hated was being up before dawn and having to make sense of sometimes utterly senseless data in an enormous hurry. It was just as bad doing it in English, indeed worse in a way because no one made any allowances for one's foreignness. Indeed the copy takers in Paris were very indulgent, and the London-Paris phone was pretty clear. Doing it over a lot of static, echo and interference from a hotel desk phone in some small African capital, with a snide carphound of a Fleet Street shop steward on the other end and sinister French, American and local spooks listening interestedly in the background, could be quite trying. Some papers would insist on dictated copy although I much preferred telex (what we had before email young sirs, and much more roundabout to use... punched paper tape, don't'cha just love it? I did actually. Must be my luddite side).
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Lud
Tsk. Tried to delete the second 'indeed' in two sentences but was too late and got the pink no-no. Old habits die hard.
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - oilrag
"Heh heh... done any news hacking oilrag? It's often a bit like that."

Hi Lud,
I would typically go out and interview for a Social Inquiry Report - then put around three pages of typed A4 onto a dictafone over thirty minutes or so, with the case file on my knees in the car. You could never do it back at the office due to constant incoming phone calls.

Many times, over the years, I would work late into the evening on a Mental Health Act assessment, hand write contemporaneous notes in the clients medical file (as required by Code of Practice) Then outside in the car, in the hospital car park, put a full report onto the dictafone - to be typed the following morning and circulated to the GP and Psychiatrist who had formed the medical part of the joint assessment under the Act.

The overarching issue if you were exhausted (typical assessment + researching & setting up, 5hrs in total, sometimes starting after a full day) was whether you could risk retention of all that information in your memory until the following Morning.

I never did - so you could say that `one hour memory` was well exercised.

I still miss the buzz of a deadline (well maybe;) perhaps that`s the same for an ex Journalist, such as yourself, Lud?

Edited by oilrag on 13/10/2009 at 10:25

Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - doctorchris
I used to be a GP but gave up due my health.
I used to really enjoy putting together a referral letter or report onto the dictaphone, using good grammar and making the effort to get the issues over to the recipient in lucid English.
Then it all changed, I had to self type a horrid, brief letter onto revolting NHS software and just hope that the information would get through and be understood.
Wretched, production line medicine.
Backroom Essay Competition Thread Vol 1. - Pugugly
The winner is "Time" - the author being

"the terranaut"

DocorChris was the author of Neglect.

No prize for the first stab at it - but HJ has intimated that we might be able to come up with a prize in future. We await the next competition with bated breath !

Edited by Pugugly on 13/10/2009 at 21:40