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Blanchard's Frequently Avoided Questions
It was inevitable that Blanchard, sooner or later, would have his own FAQ, though Blanchard, being a computer illiterate himself, would not know what a FAQ is. ...And being a stickler for English as the queen speaks it (no..... NOT the queens at the Boom Boom Room), he has an innate distrust of any titles that have been reduced to capitals and become new words themselves that have little business hanging around in the Oxford dictionary anyway.
Because we know little of Blanchard apart from his journal entries, unfortunately the title could be translated more correctly as "Frequently Avoided Questions" rather than "Frequently Asked Questions". Nevertheless, this is the most up to date and full documentation available on Blanchard's world, which no doubt will be revised from time to time as more journal entries make it clearer.
Thanks to all those who have contributed to the frequently asked questions and apologies for the paucity of answers. Then again...if we were to know all the answers to life's imponderables, the world would be a far less interesting and rich place....
...And given the lack of detail, it may well be that the dishevelled character propping up the bar at Beijing airport, waiting out the latest flight delay may indeed be Blanchard
...or is it?...
...I guess you could always ask him....
1. How old is Blanchard?
In his early 40's we would guess.2. Where does he come from?
England of course, probably the South, though some sources seem to be more precise and locate his home in the South-West, anywhere between Bournemouth and Lands End.3. Blanchard writes a lot about his extra-curricular activities and not much about his work. How does he earn his money?
Your guess is as good as ours. He writes mostly about his spare time activities either because his work is very mundane or that he dosent really want anybody to know. For all we know he could be a salesman, engineer, auditor, CIA agent, or one of those ubiquitous management consultants that you meet all the time in the region.4. What makes Blanchards' hotel and restaurant reviews so different from the rest?
Blanchard has a unique ability to focus on what Fodel and Clement Freud miss. He has reached a stage in life where he knows the seemingly inconsequential and trite can be indeed substantive. And that is what can turn a sterile and often jaded restaurant\hotel experience into something on a higher plane. He memory is attuned to what other people automatically repress.5. Blanchard wrote an unfair review of our establishment. What can we do about it?
In Freud's (Sigmund) terms his "id" is overdeveloped and his superego has trouble controlling it. In Jungian terms, his conscious brain is truly in tune with his unconscious, which as we know, is the real enduring result of an experience. Think about your last experience at a restaurant or hotel. While Fodel and Clement Freud and even Sam Orr would concentrate on the quality of service and the presentation and consistency of the lamb chop, Blanchard prefers to concentrate on the piped music....! What really is important?.......the traditional criteria for a restaurant or the piped music. Think about it. After the aroma and the taste of the food, and even the attentiveness of the waiters has resigned itself form both short term and long term memory, the unconscious still remembers the piped music, even though at the time you probably were not aware of it.
Blanchard is anarchic, in that he notices things that restaurants actually go to great lengths to disguise.. Thats why Blanchard invariably lists the songs from the piped music. You can check the next time you go that they've changed the tape.
Of course the restaurant and hotel experience is dynamic. It does not exist as an independent entity but is acted upon and vice versa by the participant's actions. Of course Plato and Socrates worked this out many years ago during their interminable chinwags. Plato's reflections on the cave walls are only a reflection of reality and are interpreted by Plato's mind itself. Thats why Blanchard does not give star ratings. Thats why Blanchard is always careful to indicate the actual date. Thats why any person's perception of reality, even Blanchards', are as valid as the next persons, and why we can never be sued.
Forget about it. Research shows that the World Wide Web is mainly read by pre-pubescent adolescents who mistakenly type in "Blanchard" instead of "Playboy" while netbrowsing. They are unlikely to visit your restaurant anyway unless it has a big Yellow "M" sign on the roof. ..... And Blanchard rarely eats there anyway.6. Yes, but seeing that the profile of WWW readers is changing fast and the fact that I dont believe any research I read anyway, what do I do about it?
Invite Blanchard back. He is always looking for ways to reduce his travel budget. And his interpretation of reality can always be swayed by free accomodation, meals, copious quntities of French wine, Mekong whisky, and a judiscious selction of dinner companion. ...And make sure he writes about it. He's a bit lazy sometimes.7. Does Blanchard have a family?
Hortense, we think, is his wife. We are not sure about children, and if he does have any, he dosent write about them. Possibly they all left home at an early age and rabbited off to places European to get as far away from Blanchard as possible.8. Does Blanchard answer email?
Yes, but he prefers postings to the Asia Management discussion group. That way everybody gets to read it, and also Blanchard's replies. He dosent have an email system himself, but we fax off his email to wherever he is at the time. And he replies with responses written on the back of hotel stationary, Do-not-disturb door handle signs, stained serviettes, and sometimes when he is particularly productive..the whole tablecloth. We are saving up to buy Blanchard a laptop computer with modem. That should cost 3000 US. ...And $4000 US for the Computer for Dummies course needed to bring him up to speed.9. Does Blanchard ever get lonely?
Sometimes10. Will Blanchard ever go back to live a quiet life in the UK with Hortense?
Probably not. There are no karoake lounges in South West England.11. Does Hortense ever get worried that Blanchard plays up when hes away?
Probably not. He dosent play up in their bedroom, so why should he anywhere else?12. What languages does Blanchard speak?
English, Singlish, and a few words of most Asian languages. He knows the translation for "Too much" in every language.13. What does Blanchard usually wear?
Grey suits. They go with everything. Wash and wear.... so he dosent have to iron clothes or pay those outrageous hotel ironing bills. Lots of white shirts. He adds color with silk ties bought regularly in Chinatown and Orchard Road in Singapore, Sukhumvit in Bangkok and Nathan Road in Hong Kong.14. Is Blanchard superstitious?
Hes smart enough to know that you dress down to visit the hawker stores for dinner. Hortense keeps knitting him cardigans which he can only wear in Hong Kong or Beijing in the winter. Once a year he buys a new tailor-made suit from Raja tailors in Sukhumvit Soi 4 (grey). He avoids offending the sensibilities of others by refusing to wear sarongs, malay shirts, or tropical shirts bought in Bali.
Not in the slightest. He has realised that if you list all the unlucky numbers from every ethnic group in the world, you wouldnt have any left. In fact he uses this fact well. He knows that Apartment No. 4 on Level 14 of a building next to a cemetry is susceptible to some clever bargaining. He dosent really understand all the "Feng Shui" stuff, so he cant be suspicious of it. Once he almost made the mistake of sending red carnations to a sick Chinese friend. He hasnt seen a hungry ghost yet either....15. What is his favourite music?
Blanchard's attitude to Philipino lounge bands differs widely. Sometimes he hates it and sometimes he loves it. His reviews of piped music and especially elevator music is however much better documented and even critically acclaimed. He expresses disdain for all pop music, particularly Madonna and Michael Jackson though he does admit infrequently that "he was young once" and sometimes catches himself singing various licks on the way home from business meetings at discos. His favourite songs at the Karaoke are (in order)
Apart from that, Blanchard is actually a mainstream jazz fan at heart and knows all the jazz establishments in the region. Thailand is a favourite because the king is a great sax player and like the King, is high on the popularity list among the citizens. His tastes are a bit eccentric here, his favourite artists including Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Nina Simone and Aretha (before she sold out!) ...And a bit of Chopin and Elgar are on top of the list as well.
- New York New York (Sinatra)
- My Way (Sinatra)
- What a Wonderful World (Armstrong)
- The Shadow of your smile
- Cant help falling in love with you (Presley)
- Georgia on my mind (Charles)
- I cant stop loving you (Charles)
- I got you under my skin (Sinatra)
- I get a kick out of you (Sinatra)
- Let me try again
- Hit the road Jack (Sinatra)
- My funny valentine (Sinatra)
- White Christmas (Sinatra)
- Somewhere over the rainbow (Garland)
- That lucky old sun (Charles and Sinatra)
- Mack the Knife (Armstong and Sinatra)
- Satin Doll (Sinatra)
- ...Plus that Bahasa song Nini taught him at Club Rose but he cant remember the title apart from there being a lot of "chinta's" in the words
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