Anyone who works in a call centre will get their fair share of challenging calls to deal with but, as a number of directory assistance operators have experienced, some of these calls can be downright bizarre! We found a few entertaining transcripts showing some interesting queries and some very patient operators.
A caller asked for a knitwear company in a place called Woven…
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Woven? Are you sure?
CALLER: Yes. That’s what it says on the label: “Woven in Scotland”.
CALLER: I’d like the RSPCA please.
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Where are you calling from?
CALLER: The living room.
CALLER: The Water Board please.
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Which department?
CALLER: Tap water.
CALLER: I’d like the number of the Argoed Fish Bar in Cardiff, please.
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: I’m sorry but there’s no listing. Is the spelling correct?
CALLER: Well, it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar, but the ‘B’ fell off.
CALLER: I’d the number for a reverend in Cardiff, please.
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Do you have his name?
CALLER: No, but he has a dog named Ben.
CALLER: The Union of Shopkeepers and Alligators please.
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Do you mean the Amalgamated Union of Shopkeepers?
The 87th Academy Awards will be taking place this Sunday evening (or 1:30am Monday morning for us Brits). Here’s your chance to brush up on your awards trivia:
1. There are only three films in the history of the Oscars that have walked away with the “Big Five” awards (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay): It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoos’s Nest (1975) and Silence of the Lambs (1991).
2. Midnight Cowboy (1969) is the first and only X-rated (as per American film ratings) film to win the Best Picture Oscar (the rating has since been reduced to R). The only other X-rated film to be nominated in this category was A Clockwork Orange (1971).
3. The only actor to win an Oscar for portraying an Oscar winning actor is Cate Blanchett who played Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator.
4. John Williams has racked up a staggering 49 nominations to date (45 of which are for Best Score). However, he is beaten on this record by Walt Disney who was nominated 59 times with 26 wins!
5. Beauty and the Beast (1991) was the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Since then, animated films Up (2010) and Toy Story 3 (2011) have been nominated in this category. Beauty and the Beast lost out to Silence of the Lambs but did take home the award for Best Original Score.
6. The sealed envelope was first introduced at the 13th Academy Awards in 1941 after the Los Angeles Times had leaked voting results in 1939.
7. Bob Hope hosted the Academy Awards 18 times between 1940 and 1978. The next most frequent host is Billy Crystal who has hosted 9 times between 1990 and 2012.
8. Seat fillers are employed at the Awards Ceremony to make the place look full if people either haven’t shown up or someone has temporarily vacated their seat e.g. to accept an award. The only people who can apply for this position are relatives of people who work at the Academy or employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers (the accounting firm that counts the votes).
9. There are many rumours surrounding Marisa Tomei’s Best Supporting Actress win in 1992 for My Cousin Vinny. Few had anticipated that the relative newcomer would win against the other veteran actresses in her category. There was speculation that the presenter, an elderly Jack Palance, had misread the name and the Academy were too embarrassed to correct the mistake. Another claim is that the other four nominees split the vote to such an extent that the only solution was to allow an underdog (Tomei) to take home the award.
10. The number of blondes to win the Best Actress Award is 18; the number of brunettes is 45.
In the jazz and swing era, the instance of the naming of a band by someone other than the front person was quite common, but in the rock and pop era, this is quite unusual.
Here are a few exceptions:-
Fat Larry’s Band
Known in most territories for their single big 1982 hit, if you view the video of “Zoom” below you’re probably not going to be surprised to learn that Fat Larry was not the singer but was in fact that large chap on the drums. Sadly, and perhaps (again) not surprisingly Larry passed away just five years after this record hit the top.
The Dave Clark Five
It remains fairly unusual for a pop or rock drummer to be a band’s leader (Phil Collins and Don Henley being notable exceptions) but drummer Dave Clark (also the manager and executive producer) didn’t sing on those sixties hits such as “Glad All Over” and “Bits and Pieces”; here they are with the latter song in 1964:-
Keyboard player Manfred is not the singer of either the band’s sixties era or the later “Earth Band” who hit the charts in the 70s with a Springsteen cover. You can see the chirpy Paul Jones singing below:-
Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes
This one is something of an exception; Harold was the original singer of this “Philly sound” vocal group, but he stepped back to let Teddy Pendergrass sing on their biggest hits, notably “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” and “Don’t Leave Me This Way”.
Here are the band performing in matching blue suits (of course) on Soul Train. Teddy is handling the miming of lead vocals, and Harold is to his right. The “Dad dancing” part is at 1.57
Sadly in 1982 Teddy was badly injured in a car crash that left him a quadraplegic. He performed at 1985’s Live Aid concert in a wheelchair, and passed away in 2010.
The Spencer Davis Group
Spencer was the guitarist. The band featured Steve Winwood who sang on their hits “Keep on Running”, “Gimme Some Lovin” and “I’m a Man” before leaving to form Traffic. Here they are in 1965:-
The decision by lead guitarist and singer Peter Green to name his blues band after his drummer and bass player has left a legacy that has endured for almost a half century.
In this clip of “Oh Well” you can see the beardless Mick Fleetwood on drums and bassist John McVie at the extreme left, slightly in the shadows.
We suspect that most people have read, seen or heard news stories about absurd calls to the 999 emergency service. It’s always an enjoyable read; one can smugly chuckle at the antics of the callers as they attempt to obtain help for their predicament from understandably unsympathetic and in some cases exasperated 999 operators.
Recently, however, it has come to our attention that:-
In the light of this disturbing information, we thought that we would help to clarify the correct usage of these numbers.
If you need to report a genuine emergency, dial 999.
If you need to speak to the police about a non-emergency matter, dial 101.
If you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency, or you think you need to go to A & E or need another NHS urgent care service, you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call, or you need health information or reassurance about what to do next, dial 111.
For more information on the 111 number please visit the 111 website.