The phone rings, as, unfortunately, is its wont.
Me: Hi. Features Desk.
Caller: Mr Leadbetter? Hi. You don't know me but I just wanted to let you know about a conference this Saturday. It's right up your street.
Me: Sounds interesting. Could you give me some details?
Caller: Well, it's been running a few years now. It's called the Boring Conference.
Me: Boring? As in tunnel boring?
Caller: No, actually. It's a conference about the acceptance of the mundane. It's got lots of interesting subjects - you know, ice-cream van chimes, pothole gardening, German film titles, that sort of thing.
Me (after a long pause): Sorry, is this some kind of hoax call?
Caller (sounding hurt): Why does everyone say that when I phone them? No, this conference is for real. Look, can I tell you what its organisers are saying?
Me: No, thanks.
Caller: They're describing it as a one-day celebration of the things we often overlook - the little things that sound trivial but are actually quite fascinating when you look at them closely. I've got a list here of previous subjects if you'd like to hear it.
Me: No, thanks.
Caller: Barcodes, for example. The Shipping Forecast. The sounds made by vending machines. London shop fronts. Oh, and apparently it's also examined the features on a Yamaha keyboard, the PSR-175.
Me: Look, I really have to get on with some work here.
Caller: Can I just give you some other examples of things it's discussed?
Me: I'd say no thanks but you'd just press ahead regardless.
Caller: Well, it's also looked at sneezing, and toast. And IBM tills. You know, these things that, as I say, sound dead commonplace but are actually quite fascinating.
Me: OK. Well, look, if you give me the details I could maybe pass them onto a colleague.
Caller: You won't regret it. Did I mention that this Saturday it's also discussing domestic inkjet printers from round about 1999? Anyway, the address is Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London. 10am. Can I put you down for the media section?
Me: Let me think about it. Before I go, could I just ask, why did you phone me?
Caller: You really want to know?
Me: Yeah. Sure.
Caller: Well, it's because I've always found your work really boring.