The Office Quote Book

Youve started a profound quote book, have you?
– Ken Scott, noticing these jottings being made in a notepad at the Watford Observer between October and December 1990.

Got a second?
– Peter Wilson-Leary, Watford Observer Group Editor, repeated every day

Lucy Parks talking to reporter Richard Arquati about his construction workers story: I would have jumped on their tools.
News editor Frazer Ansell observing Lucy: Shes fucking mad. She gets too many E numbers.

We are doing our best to put other peoples mistakes right. Sometimes in doing this, we make other mistakes.”
– Malcolm Waller, deputy editor

Ill take that on board.
– PWL every day

I remember the old News Chronicle
– Malcolm Waller, every day


Chris Beech talking about office computers: I think thats what wed call in the trade a false economy. But then we would because were pretentious like that. Other people would call it a waste of money.

I love my computer. It works so beautifully at the moment.
– Malcolm, famous last words

Why do I always have to be Eeyore?
– Chris

This machines playing up again!
– Malcolm, not long after the above and again every couple of days

Keith to Malcolm as he opens a stationery consignment: Have you got a couple of dog turds in there I can use instead of this PCS [typesetting] junk?
Malcolm, looking up: Yes!


Were trying to be a community newspaper and that includes putting everything in that happened in this area.
– Malcolm, every week

I have done, would you believe, a piece on the M1 Link Road.
– Simon Scoop Berlyn

Chris, to me: Have you subbed [edited] it?
Keith: Well, Ive read it half-heartedly. Thats the same thing isnt it?
Chris: For you, thats pretty in depth.

Ill tell you what. Ive got a real problem actually. The council offices scheme has become a roaring great controversy.
– Simon running on auto-hype

If you call someone a duck murderer is it libellous?”
– Richard Arquati, asking the important questions.

Bugger the inspiration. Just get on with it.
– Malcolm Waller

Ill book the photographer for 25 past cos theyll always be late.
– Frances Lewis optimistically talking to a contact


Fiona Duffy, women’s page editor, regarding some fashion pictures: Its nice, but you wouldnt wear it would you?
Chris: Id rather eat my own head.
Simon B: You dont want to give yourself indigestion.


Features writer Ken Scott was married to a Thai girl whose complicated name was customarily abbreviated. After bumping into her one lunchtime, Chris Beech was heard to say: We just saw Kens Dik in town.


Simon Berlyn: Why is sport always later finishing than anything else?
Sports editor Ollie Phillips: Im afraid we try to get todays news in Simon, not Mondays.
Simon: The only news today is how long youve taken to do your pages.


Keith: Ive lost my list of good ideas.
Chris: It was so small, it was only a matter of time.


Frances: I just couldnt bee-leeeeeve it!
Malcolm: Well, shes genuine is she? This seventy year old?
Frances: Oh, ab-so-lute-ly!
Fran, getting impatient with Malcolms changes to her copy: Youd rather have something thats not too accurate?
Malcolm: Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah!


Arts editor Grelle White discussing property with features editor Ken Scott:
Grelle: You should move to Streatham. My sons just moved in and hes really comfortable.
Ken: And its only a four hour drive in
Grelle: No, but its really nice in Streatham.
Ken: Grelle, youre not too old to be spanked.
Chris (aside): Youre not too old to have your fingernails pulled out.


Simon Berlyn: Do you want to have one sort of amorous fling with me before the menopause is over?
Lucy: No, I dont. Thanks for the offer.
Simon: Its strange really because I always fancy the people I like least.
Lucy: What a bizarre person you are.
Simon: I always think of myself as one of lifes originals.
Chris Beech (aside): One of lifes throwbacks.
Simon: Its nothing personal, I just hate everybody.
Chris, spotting a coincidence: Thats uncanny
Simon: I think you talk in ironic terms.


Malcolm: Actually theyre loveable warm creatures these daleks. Ek-stir-min-ate!
Chris: Hey! I thought I was sitting next to a dalek!


Keith: Did you know fog backwards is gof?
Vince: I think thats one of the nice things about life, Keith. Its a constant voyage of discovery.

Chris: I remember you you used to work here.
Keith: I deny that.
Chris: You used to sit over there and do bog all.
Chris, several days later: Can I add to that now? You used to sit there and do bog all badly.


Im not a snob but one cant help feeling one doesnt want to mix with such social outcasts.
– Chris excusing himself from an office outing


Keith: English is my illegitimate offspring.
Chris, watching me write this into the book: I dont think you can put your own unfunny quotes in there.

Malcolm: I think the whole media is rife with nepotism.
Keith: No its not, dad.
Chris: The trick is knowing which bum to lick when. Dont put that inthey might realise Im a bum licker.


Im not going mad tonight.
– Chris discusses the evenings drinking strategy before heading to the bar

I do feel unwell. I think Im going to have to go home and lie down.
– Chris with a raging hangover the day after.


Mike from advertising: As Kens not here will you take care of that for him?
Lucy: Yeah, put it in here.
Mike (dropping envelope in what looks like a slot under the desk): Is that an In Tray or something?
Lucy: No, thats the bin.


Honestly its no joke being a topical cartoonist, Keith. Christ knows how Giles gets on.
– Terry Challis, Watford Observer cartoonist

Keith: Well, what can I do to achieve excellence?
Group editor PWL: Nothing at the moment, Keith.
Keith: My first exercise in futility will be switching on the computer.
Chris: Hey, its what you do best.
Keith: You always go home at the end of the day. Its what Ive noticed about you.
Chris: Its what I do best.
Malcolm: Right, its industry full steam ahead!
Chris: Shovel some more coal in the back of the computer…


Simon Berlyns an objectionable little runt. He should grow up and become a professional journalist.
– local MP Cecil Parkinson, as reported by Jeremy Austin from a phone call to the office, which elicited the following responses:
News editor Frazer Ansell: Ive never liked Cecil Parkinson until now.
Reporter Charlotte Adcock: Did he sound as oily as he looks in real life?
Jeremy replying: My ear had to be syringed out.
Chris: So I dont suppose well be getting a scoop out him then?
Simon: I wasnt sure of the meaning of that word but Ive looked it up and its pretty objectionable. Its Parkinson all over, slimey toad. If he thinks Im a runt I can think of a word Id use to describe him that rhymes with runt thats more apposite actually.


Wouldnt it be great to have a car that you were not too bothered about?
– Christine Musgrove, TR7 driver


Keith continuing a discussion about what to do with a girl from the printing department if you were stranded on a desert island: If it was a choice between reproducing and starving…?
Chris: Id bud.

Keith, pointing to picture on the wall next to Jeremy Austins desk: Last questiondid you have sex with this woman?
Jeremy: Yes. But she wasnt there at the time.

Keith: Whatever happened to Malcolm Vallerius? About this time, hed be calling for a knob inspection.
Malcolm: He clearly missed out by not doing national service.


No matter what time I stop here they still keep me standing here til five oclock like a cunt.
– John Batchelor, the most miserable man in the printing department.

The editors indecision is final.
– Ken Scott

I dont help no fucking empire builder.”
– John Batchie to Ken


“Did you ever feel that life’s ‘warm up man’ never turned up?”
– Pete Stevens, 1991

7 Responses to 'The Office Quote Book'

  1. Richard Arquati Says:

    So were you a bit quiet in September then Keith!
    All the best

  2. Lucy Says:

    You made me laugh so much I snorted all over my keyboard. You sad bastard that you actually kept the office quote book.

  3. Adam Says:

    I can’t believe any of these things. I lived with you for ages and I simply don’t remember you saying anything this funny at home or in the office. I reckon you just nicked all of Chris and Malcolm’s best lines…

  4. Keith Says:

    As you know, I confined my humour to creative writing and producing such brilliant advertising headlines as “Manor, manor, b’boo be doo doo.”

  5. adam Says:

    and, of course, an ever-growing mountain of itsy-bitsy Reliant Robins. Saw Chris the other day. Asked him if he had seen your blog. His answer was, predictably enough, “why would I want to look at that?”

  6. Keith Says:

    At least you talked about me. That’s the main thing.

  7. justin Says:

    I used to work as a paste up artist at the WO in the ricky road in the 90’s when the earth was still young and iwas younger. It was a sweat shop and I spent 2 years slaving away pasting up the pages for very little money, most of us where made redundent and paid off but I think soem satyed behind. I want to know how is the happy John Bathelor (the old guy who shows up in your conversation, he used to make up the back pages and adverts) and is he still alive? what happend to Jerry Sillivan who married Odett and Chris Musgrove, and that thug Mac and Tom who ran the section?

    Do you remember those days? Like to hear from you. Justin