The Luncher

Having endured spells in the army and a minor public school, it takes a lot to shock The Luncher but he's as PC-literate as the next man.

Politically correct, that is. That's why when he heard IBM Personal Systems Group managing director Mike Lunch describe new business manager for ThinkPads Katharine Sharp as "a younger, prettier version of [predecessor] Nick Eades", he blanched.

"Back in Armonk where the eight blue bars have their home, a man could get sued for that kind of talk," he mused. "Or is that San Jose I'm thinking of?"

It mightn't have been so bad but for an incident just the day before - again at IBM's municipal library-lookalike London offices - when an innocent Luncher asked product manager Pam Mills why Lotus hadn't stuck with the name 'Kona' for its Java applet suite now dubbed eSuite.

The whispered response regarding Portuguese meanings saw The Luncher blush crimson. "Why, I never knew that," he stumbled.

It was a stumbling sort of week. The period just after Comdex and with Christmas still four weeks off is always a lull. That's why The Luncher was happy to receive a crisp £20 note from Gateway 2000 UK boss John Shepheard.

"Heh, heh! Told you Software Warehouse would still have a PC line by the end of the year!" said The Luncher.

"It'll just go on beer," muttered the usually loquacious Shepheard.

More good news. One tipster rang up to suggest trying Apple's switchboard number but with a central London '0171' code.

"Ministry of Defence," comes the greeting.

"Heh, heh! I've heard of defensive measures but that's ridiculous," giggled The Luncher. "What next? Steve Jobs in full body armour?"

Speaking of Apple, what's the score with ex-Apple exec Mike Newton leaving Dell UK, asked one nosey chap.

"Dunno," said The Luncher, scratching his balding pate, "but when you think that UK is their best-performing country in Europe, they certainly have a bit of management turnover."

Things were heating up but The Luncher still wasn't completely happy.

"Send a few ghosts around on Christmas Eve to teach me a lesson if you like, but I'm not feeling so festive," he complained. "Where are all my silly PR giveaways?"

Just then, a flock of phone calls.

"Luncher, the rest of the stuff that goes with the virtual pet thingy given to you by the Fujitsu PC Company boss's daughter Mareike when you were in Las Vegas is in the post."

"Yo! Lunchie, there's a Fin Fin chocolate advent calendar coming for you here."

"Oh, Lunch-meister, TDK want to take you to see Newcastle beat little old Crystal Palace this weekend."

Things were looking up.

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