The sound of our new teletext system has dominated my last ten days. Ring-ring, buzz-buzz-buzz, and then one carefully marshalled fact after another is spewed onto the page from South-East Regional Office. Ring-ring, buzz-buzz-buzz: ‘crisis’, ‘POA’, ‘management’, ‘overtime’, ‘warnings’, ‘intransigence’, ‘position’, ‘violence’, ‘danger’, ‘contingency planning’, ‘riot’, ‘fire’, ‘stand by’, ‘stand down’, ‘prisoners’, ‘escape’, ‘abscond’ and ‘Home Secretary’. To many of these words it is necessary to respond. With deliberate gravity, so as to impress John, with whom I share an office, and who almost wrecked the whole teletext system by using his shaver from the adjoining socket, I move the teletext out of ‘answerback’ and into ‘send’.
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