On holiday with his kids, Dan Brooke is subjected to some urban slang. It’s not the kind of language he hears back home, at the House of Lords for dinner
Back to work for a break after a week of bodyboarding, go-karting and Mine-crafting in southern Spain with my kids – Gus, 10, and Fordie, eight. They kept calling me a “nube”.
I’ve no idea what this means, though urbandictionary.com says it is “someone so pitiful and idiotic that they have not even the meagre skills to be titled a noob”.
The second top definition is: “The incorrect spelling of noob or newb. Only noobs spell this word as ‘nube’.” Noof said. Lol. Sorry, Lool.
Easing my return to the real world is my new assistant, Harpreet, for whom new words also need inventing. She is that good.
First up is the Government’s crisply named Paralympic Legacy Advisory Group, to present Channel 4’s exciting plans for Rio 2016 to the new Minister of State for Disabled People, civil servants and various charity group heads.
In the afternoon, my team makes a presentation to Commissioning about what we do in Marketing & Communications.
In the hope of coming across as innovative and creative, we have adopted the departmental acronym, “MAC”.
We come up with a theme for the presentation, which, naturally enough, is... wrestling. A SmackDown, no less, after those WWE-organised tag-team bouts.
My A-team of main-eventers – Chris, Harpreet, James, James, John, Lynette and Mark (in alphabetical order) – goes down a storm, making me look a lot better than the hoss mid-carder that I am. The extra cherry on top of the day is catching up on two missed episodes of Humans.
On Tuesday, the Channel 4 cricket team, which I captain, is off for a Twenty20 evening match at a new pitch in Hounslow. Ben, our Bob Willis-style opening bowler from Channel 4 News, emails, bemoaning thelocation and pointing out that “when you move to Birmingham, there’s a much nicer ground in Solihull”. I haven’t the faintest idea what he’s on about.
Next, it’s a Channel 4 Board meeting, which one member attends via video conference. From our seats inHorseferry Road, the hotel he is in has a portentously Fawlty Towers feel, but the IT turns out to work like a dream.
Less successful is the self-portrait I continue painting at home that night. My art-school training occurred more than 25 years ago and it shows in that left eye, which is drooping like one of Salvador Dali’s clocks.
Thursday is the home of a diversity task force meeting. Titans of the subject, such as Oona, Ade and Ralph tolerate my presence as the Exec Diversity champion.
I think I’m in the role specifically because I’m white, male, middle class and public-school-educated.However, I am also half Brazilian and used to have a disabled brother, which intrigues them.
For dinner, my old man invites me to the House of Lords, which rarely turns out to be one of this mortal coil’s unpleasant shuffles.
My dad, Peter, prides himself on his memory. “My mind is less of a factory,” he observes, not infrequently, “more of a warehouse.” Concerned that his asset is depreciating at an undesirable rate, he has good news: “I’ve developed a new system for remembering things!” – though there’s bad news, too: “I sometimes forget how the system works.”
He was a cabinet minister under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, presiding, in his stint at what is now the DCMS, over the creation of Channel 5. This is, like his fondness for double negatives and elaborate clausal sentences, a source of not insignificant family pleasure.
Friday morning, I breakfast with a media journalist who passes on lots of interesting gossip. I fail to reciprocate adequately and feel decidedly nubish. Again.
Dan Brooke is Director of Marketing and Communications at Channel 4.