back to article 'Don't tell anyone but I have a secret.' There, that's my security sorted

Where's my free promo tat? Fellow convention attendees have no such problem being showered with promotional gifts from all sides as they totter up and down the rows of booths. You can see them staggering back to their hotel rooms, arms full of corporate-branded freebies, where they have prepared an empty suitcase specifically …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Nobody tosses any in my direction

    If that's a concern I'm sure Benjamin Griveaux has, er, time on his hands.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Nobody tosses any in my direction

      Hopefully now he has given up polling the erectorate.

      (Mine's the one with tissues and lubricant in the pocket.)

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Nobody tosses any in my direction

        Given Mr. Dabbs' current residence and in tribute to the, er, masthead of this esteemed organ, I suppose the situation of M. Griveaux could be described as:

        bite* in the hand that feeds it

        *I assume the fact that the word is feminine is just Gallic wishful thinking. Or misdirection.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Nobody tosses any in my direction

          Perhaps in tribute to Monsieur Dabbs we should refer to it as 'une liaison romantique avec Mme Main et ses cinq délicieuses filles'

  2. phuzz Silver badge

    Well that explains things. I was assuming that the video was of the politician having an affair, and I was having trouble understanding why that was frowned on in France. However, if it was him "spiralising the old courgette" (as Dabbsy so memorably puts it), that makes more sense

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "spiralising the old courgette" (as Dabbsy so memorably puts it)

      I'm assuming something is being lost in translation here, as I'm really, really hoping that the man in question did not film himself shredding his manhood into something resembling spaghetti.

      If that was the case, I'm not at all surprised over the media furore, and consequently I don't think I'll be able to uncross my legs ever again...

      1. Ordinary Donkey

        A large part of Dabbsy's column is simply intended to share the pain. That feeling you are suffering from is journalistic integrity in its purest form.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      I was assuming that the video was of the politician having an affair,

      He may have thought he was on the way to one, the woman he sent the video to is allegedly the girlfriend of the Russian activist who posted it online. Sounds like he was well & truly honeytrapped.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        I'm pretty sure a French politician would get in more trouble for not having a mistress.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Equal opportunities

          Nowadays a French politician may -be- the mistress! Not to mention that a politician could be (politically incorrect word) instead. Or they are (another politically incorrect word). Or indeed, all of the above. Qu'il y ait des images, sinon cela ne s'est pas produit. :-)

          (Unforgivable abuse of the French language, I suppose, by means of Google Translate. I just assume that if it turns back into what I put in originally then it'll do.)

          1. Psmo Bronze badge

            Re: Equal opportunities

            Well, there was a big discussion about the title of Holland's partner.

            First Girlfriend was one suggestion, and much dissatisfaction was had for the financing of her personal PR crew.

            The occupier of the role changing during the presidency (from a politician to an actress) also made people uncomfortable.

    3. Strahd Ivarius

      The proper video:

      And if you want the lyrics, here you are:

      (let Google make sense of it, or you can try with DeepL)

      Note that this was aired in a program for kids...

  3. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

    La République en Main

    Where can I apply for my freebie El-Reg branded replacement keyboard?

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      There are times I truly appreciate having French as a (distant) second language (I learned it by osmosis as a wee one in Brussels...)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "a wee one in Brussels"

        Thank you for sharing that.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        a wee one in Brussels...

        That statuette is you?

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

          Re: a wee one in Brussels...

          Grower, not a shower

  4. LDS Silver badge

    "is how an intelligent, well-connected and tech-savvy party executive"

    Only one of those three features are correct. And like the object of his interest, it's the one in the middle.

  5. macjules Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    I gave up expecting freebies many years ago after visiting an expo and seeing the staff of a rather large well-known company that makes graphic software re-sorting the goodies bags to remove anything they wanted for themselves.

    Since then I have contented myself with the occasional unadulterated bribe such as free Wimbledon or Lords tickets plus the occasional "business incentive" trip that extends to "bring your whole family".

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Freebies

      I gave up expecting freebies many years ago after visiting an expo and seeing the staff of a rather large well-known company that makes graphic software re-sorting the goodies bags to remove anything they wanted for themselves.

      In the interest of balance I remember visiting a stand (I think it was QBS) at a conference a few years ago on the lookout for swag. I mentioned to the guy on the stand that the kids kind of expected me to fetch them some stuff back...very kindly he asked what ages the kids were, went and got a load of goody bags emptied them out to discard the tat and retain the coolest items and build me a couple of bags of stuff best suited to them.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Freebies

        Cool stuff? You can never tell what it'll turn out to be. Years ago my kids decided the actual bags, company-branded, from the shop on the ground floor below the office were the coolest items. They used them to take stuff to school.

      2. Blackjack

        Re: Freebies

        Does stuff like that actually happened?

        In my case I was just pointed at the closest Toystore.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Freebies

          You need to work on your scrounging technique. It's a skill like any other, it can be learnt.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Freebies

      I gave up expecting freebies many years ago

      I think the last tech-related freebie I got was an IBM OS2 Warp t-shirt that I blagged at a trade show..

      (IBM were doing a promo of an SB-16 sound card, CD drive and a copy of OS/2 Warp for less than the cost of an SB-16 sound card. I managed to blag a t-shirt as well. I still somtimes wear the t-shirt. Everything else islong lost in the dustbin of history).

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: Freebies

        Bloody hell. They'd invented t-shirts back when OS/2 was around? Are you sure it wasn't just an animal skin with an IBM logo on it?

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Freebies

          They'd invented t-shirts back when OS/2 was around?

          Definitely. I had one, with the ninja. It may even still exist as a garment, deep in a box unopened since the last move.

          But no SB16, included or separately; mine was a PAS16.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Freebies

          "They'd invented t-shirts back when OS/2 was around?"

          OS/2 is still around. I use it in several places, where it makes sense. See eComStation and ArcaOS for more, if you are interested.

          With that said, OS.2 was released in late '87 ... I have a Big Brother and the Holding Company tshirt from 1968 and a Country Joe and the Fish from 1969.

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Freebies

          Believe it or not, there were T Shirts in the even dimmer and darker past. I got one once at a seminar pushing Lotus 123/G for knowing what WYSBYGI stood for (What You See Before You Get It - didn't make a lot of sense back then either)

          I wonder what ever became of it (Lotus 123/G I mean - I still have the T Shirt)

        4. batfink Silver badge

          Re: Freebies

          TBF I'm sure if I dig deep enough I can probably turn up my old SB-16. Those heady days...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    In my younger days I visited a lot of trade exhibitions for both literacy and eduction IT. Very few freebies came my way. Even sample copies of new schemes etc. were often begrudged.

    Because I wasn't attached to a school.

    As an advisory teacher in those areas I had a lot of influence on my local schools - who'd often spend a lot of money on my say so.

    Far more than a primary teacher on a day's ideas gathering ( because they commonly had no budget or authority to purchase).

    Used to piss me off no end.

    Also, lead me to conclude that these companies hadn't a clue what their customers needed.

    Maybe that's why these days they resort to government patronage instead.

  7. Chris G Silver badge

    Not a freebie in sight

    I used to go to a few trade shows in the UK for various types of equipment, even as the guy who signed the purchase orders, I still never received better than the odd propelling pencil, something I have never used.

    However, most of the exhibitors I already had a working relationship with, would pull out bottles of good scotch and offer me a snort, I always declined as a: I don't like scotch and b: I like to be able to remember what I have ordered and signed for. The upside was that I used to get good discounts for personal purchases that I needed for ahem, my side job.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Not a freebie in sight

      It's witchcraft isn't it?

      That can surely be the only explanation for propelling pencils. I remember getting cheap ones with school stationery kits - and the leads always broke and the things were horrible and plasticky. It took one whole lead refill to do one drawing - they snapped so often.

      After a few years in the world of work, I accidentally wandered into an engineering sales job that requires me to sometimes sketch out a design or two. Now I have access to high quality propelling pencils, that snap their leads every 30 seconds requiring you to use an entire refill to get one sketch done.

      I've seen people use them. I've tried to be the most delicate draw-er I can be - pressing no harder than a mouse's caress. And bugger me if I just can't use the things.

      My conclusion is that it must be witchcraft. There is no other possible explanation for the damned things. I hate them!

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not a freebie in sight

        Pentel, Zebra, or go home. Try the 0.5mm leads

        A good one is a joy to use, a cheap one deserves to be discarded immediately.

        The built-in erasers, however, are unuseable. I have a separate Pentel refillable "Clic Eraser" that can handle the size mistakes I make.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Not a freebie in sight

          I recently spent quite a while browsing various places looking for a fine-tipped ballpoint. Admittedly not the best places... several supermarkets (ahem) and eventually a reasonably large WH Smith. Found what was commonly available 40 years ago, which still is (when you look in approximately the right place; Bic with a yellow barrel. Sold loose with, now, a neatly placed barcode sticker.

          Most of the time, I use the "medium" four-colours-in-one job - phone-coiled and elastic-banded from my trouser belt loop, so that if it falls out of my back pocket, it just dangles anent my knees. The trick is finding occasions to use the red and green to even out the life span.

          1. keith_w Bronze badge

            Re: Not a freebie in sight

            "The trick is finding occasions to use the red and green to even out the life span."

            Can't you just find refills for the black and blue?

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Re: Not a freebie in sight

              I haven't seen refills compatible with Bic four-colour pens for quite a long time. I think I remember a multi storey stationery shop in Glasgow (Scotland) was the last place: their special line was wedding invitations etc. and they probably stayed in business on that, until they didn't, permissive society and divorce I suppose. I am not sure how foor-colour pen user support fitted into that business model.

              Then again... there's probably more different types of pen on sale now, so no room for utilitarian refills. Though WHS did have some different types of refill on my last visit. But there's felt pens, gel pens, erasable pens, fluorescent pens, fluorescent-only invisible pens, left-handed pens, fat-fingered pens, ten pens economy pack, laundry markers, CD markers, gold and silver pens, perfumed pens, unicorn pens, and still quite a lot of fountain pens which I think exist mainly to be gifted to children of other people that you don't much like (child or parent or both), as a cunningly subtle punishment. If you don't want to be subtle, give them laundry pens. The effect on clothes will be the same.

              I'm old fashioned and am used to shopping physically, in person, which may be the problem. Though if you were rich enough, ordering stuff for delivery was always an option. In ancient Roman times... no, you'd have a slave to send, the market wouldn't deliver. But once you could write a message without a stone slab and chisel... all right, yes I know the Romans could send messages on their hand held tablets, this is getting a bit vague.

        2. Pangasinan Philippines

          Propelling pencils

          I have one where you press on the eraser to push the lead (?) out of the other end.

          However, the eraser has worn down to nothing so I cannot advance the lead unless I use the end of a ball pen to push on the plastic that surrounds the empty eraser holder!

      2. Omgwtfbbqtime

        Re: Not a freebie in sight

        Get a 5mm clutch pencil, the lead never snaps.

        2mm is probably ample but I like my 5.6mm for notes.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not a freebie in sight

        The alternative seems so often to be wooden pencils containing pre-broken leads. Start to use one and the lead wobbles. The end quarter of an inch is loose. Remove it, resharpen and start to use it. The lead wobbles....

      4. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Not a freebie in sight

        Must be you then, I've never had a problem with them (in fact, they're my go-to sketching/drawing utensil as an engineer).

        How much of the lead do you let stick out? Should be no more than a millimeter or 2 at most.

        The sturdier clutch pencils with 3 or 5 mm leads also work fine if you can find a good quality one. Almost all I've found recently are cheaply made shit.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Not a freebie in sight


          Nope. It’s definitely not me, it’s you. You’re a witch!

          Burn him!

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Not a freebie in sight

            In addition to imanidiot's excellent advice ... It's all in the care and handling of the lead. If it was abused in shipping and handling, the entire batch might have micro-cracks, and thus display the results that you observe. My solution has been to purchase my leads from a rather high-end arts & crafts store habituated by actual artists, as opposed to bored housewives. Ask a local Architect (real one, who knows how to draw on paper) where he gets his.

  8. Baldrickk Silver badge


    Possibly Snapchat? I don't use it, but wasn't that one of the key features of the app?

    Of course, I believe it was only a week or so after release until another app was released that would copy all the media received by snapchat before it was viewed and subsequently deleted, thus preserving it for posterity.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: App

      One report states it was "Instagram Messenger" which is ludicrous so I ignored that.

  9. baud Bronze badge

    Regarding the election, recently Griveaux was losing in the polls against the incumbent and the candidate from the right, so he wasn't in any good position to get elected as mayor of Paris.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Regarding the erection?!!!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "so he wasn't in any good position to get elected as mayor of Paris."

      But what good position was he in?

    3. Strahd Ivarius

      It may explain why it was people from his own side who made the video noticed by the main media...

  10. Aoyagi Aichou
    Thumb Down

    Enlightened society

    It's the current year and politicians are resigning from election clashes, if heated ones, over a privately shared rod polishing video in a remote extramarital relationship? Well if I've ever thought a society would rid itself of such prudeness, it would be the French one.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Enlightened society

      A political philosopher told Libération he thought it was because Griveaux deliberately focused his campaign on his brilliant domestic personality - family man, wonderful dad to his children, etc - rather than on LREM's unpopular policies such as stealing pensions off nurses. Take away party policy *and* the family man thing, and he had nothing left. He was standing against two strong women as well.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Enlightened society

        >He was standing against two strong women as well.

        But that is another video ...

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Enlightened society

      My grandfather had a large sign in his shop saying "before using the hands, ensure the brain is connected". That would lead to an "enlightened society".

      Someone who evidently believes his brain is at a far lower position, and feel the urgent needs to share that, even privately, is hardly someone who could bring people towards an "enlightened society" - it's not the object, nor the act itself - it's the fact someone is being driven by his/her instincts only, and can't think properly before acting.

      I don't want people like that to take decisions on my behalf.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enlightened society

        I think the brain and hands were intimated connected.

  11. Dr_N Silver badge

    "(or as we say here, 15 days)"

    That Gallic extra day margin, eh?

    Glad to see Norbet Spankmoney[sic] get an honourable mention. It's been a while.

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: "(or as we say here, 15 days)"

      Not just Gallic, other Latin languages have similar expressions.

      1. GTSageDev

        Re: "(or as we say here, 15 days)"

        Yes. In Welsh it's pythefnos (15 nights) and a week is wythnos (8 nights)

  12. 0laf Silver badge

    Spiralizing the courgette

    Sir, I commend you for the creation of a new novel euphemism for bashing one's bishop. No mean feat these days in an overcrowded market.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Spiralizing the courgette

      So why did you fail to doff your mitre in appreciation?

      Or you could have reclined your rod? Or even had him for tea at the palace.

      I suppose a good service is out of the question?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spiralizing the courgette

        I suppose a good service is out of the question?

        As the actress said...

  13. Floydian Slip
    Paris Hilton

    Best Freebie

    Way way back I attended courses delivered by Compaq in relation to their new IP Telephony kit designed to provide remote access to corporate HQ and outlying offices.

    All delegates were given a T-shirt (hey big spender) with the Compaq logo and the words "Compaq Remote Access Partner"

    Suffice to say I don't think anybody chose to wear the T, either in Compaq HQ or outside.

    Paris Hilton because I'm sure she'd recognise a C.R.A.P

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Best Freebie

      You gotta wonder how much fun the BOFHs that came up with that had getting it past the training/sales department.

      Bit reminicent of: <a href='>"Synergy of Hardware and Information Technology"</a>

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Best Freebie

        Dangit, missed a colon "Synergy of Hardware and Information Technology'

        1. baud Bronze badge

          Re: Best Freebie

          Username checks out

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "cheap pad of unsticky notes"

    Have a word with Griveaux. He can probably supply some sticky ones.

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge


    No mention of MeWe?

    One of the features of MeWe is self-deleting videos that you can send via IM and chat on the MeWe platform.

    MeWe also touts users privacy as a major important point, and will not sell out their users.

  16. batfink Silver badge

    Is this an example of "cocking it up"?

  17. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    New alias

    Norbert Spankmonkey

    Ta, I'll use this alias the next time some website asks me for my name and email address to initiate a download.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: New alias

      Was Peter Ian Staker already taken?

  18. SVV Silver badge

    Fellow convention attendees have no such problem being showered with promotional gifts

    I once went to a conference and had to arrange it all myself online using my company credit card. As I knew that the large badges you have to wear often bear your job title and company name, and I was working for a small subsidiary of a massive company, I decided that I would fill in my job title as "Global Strategy Analyst" for a laugh. It worked well, as all the promo people were falling over themselves to throw goodies at me and try and get me interested in their stuff, and I think I pulled off the non-commital but prepared to listen briefly attitude pretty well. The conference itself was interesting and useful for my (actual) work. A month after returning, the first letter arrived for me at work with the title "Global Strategy Analyst" under my name and I was asked what this was all about. When I explained, it thankfully caused massive amusement and thinking up fictional impressive job titles became a sort of competition when applying for stuff like magazine subscriptions and event tickets for a while.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fellow convention attendees have no such problem being showered with promotional gifts

      I think maybe companies selling stuff (IT or just pencils) into education don't have a clue who their customers are or what they need. So the product often isn't fit for purpose and the marketing is aimed at job titles that sound impressive to an outsider, but those people may only be monitoring the work of other teachers, not buying materials.

      For two examples of the former, one otherwise really good package of schools' software used to a) default save to its system folder, which in a school was inaccessible to saving or doing anything else except by the admin* b) didn't mention this fact in the instructions that (untrained, learn on the job) teachers had to follow and the options within the programme that allowed the programme settings to be changed were well hidden and c) most egregious of all would say it had saved the kids' work, but it hadn't and error messages were suppressed or something so there was no clue the work hadn't saved, let alone why or how to resolve the problem. It got sold to schools by enthusiastic advisors who persuaded the school managers to invest in it, but then remained unused because it all went pear shaped when they tried and no one had the time or energy to find out why, let alone resolve that.

      Another package required pieces of text for the kids to work on to be installed. It came with a long list of preloaded texts that weren't named other than as "text 1,text 2..." so the teachers had no way of knowing or remembering which was which, there was no way to install new texts ( like by saving them into a folder in .txt or jpg format, say) except by laboriously copy typing them into a built in text editor that was just so clumsy to use that no one could ever do so.


      *You're hardly going to let the kids -or the teachers come to that- get anywhere near the system folders

    2. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Fellow convention attendees have no such problem being showered with promotional gifts

      I have told my son he can be deputy follow-up manager in our company. He actually had a job title here which was "Animador Turistica e Auxiliar da Lavandaria" (Tourist entertainer and laundry helper), which we abbreviated to "Animador de Lavandaria"

  19. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Some things for more than just weekends, Dabbsy

    Give it up. Nothing is private any more.

    A sparkling gem of brilliant wisdom to impart and import/export to Cabinet Chimps and Proxy Parliamentarians alike as they dither and abdicate to deny another major escape of highly sensitive information Supplying All Manner of Advanced IntelAIgent Sources which can easily even be for/of an Alien Force.

    And Presently Testing Earthly Means and Memes for AI Casting to NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Programs ..... Virtually Realisable in AIMaster Piloted Projects via the Sublime Swarm Root that always fails to not deliver any victory without the pleasures of insatiable desire to quench with further lust seeking more satisfactions.

    :-) As you can imagine, that be a Right Hornery Beast of an AIDriver to Master with Effective Remote Commands and Virtually Real Controls.

    And when you can do all of that, and all that is done, one can be engaged in everything.

    Can you imagine the pleasures and desires in that?

  20. Tail Up

    Political SExpo Sec Advisory

    Another Mmercilessly Influencing post, AD.

    Where's the button "Download ElRegMesser"?

  21. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Suppressed bad memories...

    "Come Christmas morning, imagine my dismay as spouse, first-born and runner-up get around to unwrapping the nasty powerbanks I had given them… just minutes after unwrapping powerbanks given to them by other people. Inevitably, the latter were quality products purchased with actual money from the likes of Anker, making my freebies look twice as shit."

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