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Office tongues — London, 2010

I work in an office where everyone speaks a different language.

Some talk in riddles, codes and complicated phrases like “the interstitials correspond to the recent jellyroll and TPN files located on the Isolon”.

There are those who speak, it would seem, to no-one in particular. They stand about in lengthy conversation but their glance never meets.

There’s a girl who says little and speaks only in the language of hysterical laugher. The Colombian, always on her phone, whispers sweet Spanish to her lover.

The tongue with the most practice belongs to a mouthy east-Londoner. “I’m not the sharpest cookie in the jar” she assures us, after a firm lashing of opinions on every possible subject. Her voice is a constant, buzzing feed of bum implants and other banal information. For some reason I want to be her friend and to feature in her bulletin. I want her to slap my hand and call me buddy, we all do.

—London, September 2010

 

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