I had already attended the two day induction, had my security pass printed, had my thumb print scanned, made the poster of the Merlin Values out of bits of cut up magazine, received the security talk, and signed the thing telling me not to say anything nasty about the place, which is perfectly fair. I know no one reads this blog, and I've always tried to write fairly and fondly about the place - I've worked there on and off for ten years - but I've never had to sign anything to that effect, and I don't trust my tone. For this recap of 2013 then, I'll stay within the bounds of common knowledge, and the public domain: It's common knowledge, for example, that County Hall is just across the river from the Seat of Government, and once housed the Greater London Council. (I saw a waxwork of Ken Livingstone in the corridor.) According to Wikipedia: "The façade of County Hall frequently in more than one year of [Margaret Thatcher's] tenure served as a billboard for opposition slogans. When the government of Margaret Thatcher abolished the GLC in 1986, County Hall lost its role as the seat of London's government. Talk soon became of what was to happen to the building, and plans to relocate the London School of Economics to the site from its Westminster campus were overruled by Mrs Thatcher, seemingly disapproving of further slogans from students."
Eventually, it was sold by the London Residual Body to Shirayama Shokusa - according to Tony Banks in the Parliamentary records for 7 May 1996 "a shadowy Japanese body." Yeah, but what's his angle? Reading on: "I am not an ambitious man, but I want to take horrible revenge on the London Residuary Body. I want to introduce an element of red terror to those who have stripped the GLC of its assets and sold so many of them at give-away prices. I want the opportunity to find out where all the bodies are buried. If my hon. Friends will let me do that, I shall die a very happy man." Well, at least he's honest.
According to Wikipedia, then, Shirayama Shokusan... Ah. "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name." I can't find a website for it either. I had a look when I heard sixteen Dungeon colleagues had been briefly hospitalised following an injudicious choice of industrial cleaner by the neighbouring Marriott. Fortunately it went unreported, but the fact it went unreported got me wondering just who was in charge. And there's next to nothing. "Shirayma Shokusan", feel free to have a Google. I returned for a day's work in November, and was given two tubes of cream as soon as I walked through the door. Now there'd been an outbreak of scabies. Now I know signed a thing but, come on! Scabies? How cool is that! It was all very well handled. But this is why I haven't been blogging about the Dungeon lately: its still staffed by heroes, and there's a coffee machine that does mochas, but I just don't work there that much any more. And I signed a thing.