DATE: Thursday 16th February (Grandma's birthday!)
VENUE: La Rueda
RE: Setting up a detective agency
We talked about a name for the agency and its purpose.
Name: We settled on Smiths Bureau of Investigations (mainly because we can say SBI and it sounds a bit like FBI so it's lispily amusing, secretive, American and important-sounding), though we weren't sure whether we should use the apostrophe or 'go Waterstones' and do without.
Purpose: To investigate mysteries, anomalies and wonders. We will be responsible for researching our own cases and will confer as to their meaning. We will not be constrained - we can investigate whatever we want. We are not for hire. We will write a mission statement at some point, though we won't call it that.
How will we investigate?: We need to keep our eyes open. We need to write down anything that strikes us as being worthy of investigation. We need to discuss it and draw conclusions.
Timings: How will we know when a case is solved? We didn't reach a conclusion about that.
What sort of kit do we need? I would like a detective raincoat. I could use Nana's one that Leanne gave me. However I would also like a red one to match the cover of my novel. We need to be prepared by carrying a camera and notebook and pen at all times. A ruler would be useful. (Just read my notes back and in fact I had written that the police non-emergency number would be useful, not a ruler. But a ruler would also be useful so I'll leave that in. I'm thinking of that time you measured the snow.) We need to give more thought to this.
Assigning case numbers, etc.: We will assign individual case numbers, starting with 0001.
Categorisation: We need to decide if something is anomalous, paranormal, frightening, ordinary, etc. We talked about having a category named 'smystery' (a telescoping of Smiths' Mystery, there's a word for this telescoping, no doubt). We probably won't call anything a smystery publicly, but we found it funny anyway. If anything is too far-fetched, it can go into an Emily Castles mystery. Other categorisations might include 'menopause', 'money under mat' and 'Jessie'. Also, you mentioned a joke on Seinfeld where hair is lovely on someone's head (ooh, can I touch your hair, it's so soft, etc) but disgusting when separated from it (ugh, I found a hair!). So there could be a 'Seinfeld's hair' category for anything that alarms because it's out of context.
What sort of investigators will we be?: [I'm not sure if it's OK to put a : after a ? punctuation-wise] We talked about writing a job description for ourselves, but avoiding jargon. But once we have one, we can make sure we measure up to the standards we have set. However, to answer the question another way, we will mostly investigate from home.
Self-assessment: Wouldn't it be great if we could measure our brains and see if we get cleverer by developing our ESP using paranormal investigation? e.g. you and Kyle now sense when Claudio is nearby and use 'code Claudio' with red, amber, etc. to describe different states of alert even before he arrives at your flat. That's really clever. It's like Mio being able to speak two languages even though she's barely two years old.
What to do if in danger?: We would need to leave a message somewhere public, that would have meaning for each other but wouldn't tip off our enemies. You mentioned that if someone phones a spy and asks if they're OK in a hostage situation, then the response 'Honestly, I'm OK,' signifies that they're in danger. So we can do something like that. Also, I liked the idea of leaving a codified pictorial message in e.g. a charity shop window in Clapham High Street. But first we'd have to gain entry to the shop and rearrange the display (getting a job as a volunteer seems too long-term/deep cover). Then we'd have to make sure the other person walks past and sees it and knows. So this needs more thought.
Anything else?: Two things. 1) I was going to bring home the bill from La Rueda and photograph it and document it - after all, it's an important day for us as it's the start of our exciting new detective agency. But the waiter took the bill away and I was too embarrassed to ask for it. I have decided that, in 2012, I want to be more fierce. So I hope that working at the agency will bring some personal development. 2) It's Grandma's birthday today, as well as Day One at the Agency. Should we call it Doreen Day and remember to celebrate next year if we're still going then?
Anything else apart from that?: We said we'd set up a website, and here it is. Also, I love you x