Clerical staff at Manchester City Council were left dumbstruck yesterday when one of their colleagues failed to enter into a conversation about the weather. Dave Hampton, a white male aged 29, has been an employee of the council for two years and has never previously refused to discuss weather conditions, according to his colleagues.
'Around three of us were in the kitchen, making tea,' said a female colleague who refused to be named, 'and we were all grumbling about how unusually cold it is for this time of year. Dave came into the room to get a drink, but instead of joining in like he normally would, he just walked straight out again without saying anything.' Another employee added, 'we really couldn't understand it, because it has honestly been a lot cooler than you would expect.' It is not yet clear exactly why Mr Hampton passed up on this opportunity to engage in chit-chat with co-workers.
This is not the first time Mr Hampton has courted controversy whilst at work. It is reported that in September last year he did not even raise a smile when Maureen, the office manager, made a popular and much-repeated joke - that whilst being clinically insane is not a pre-requisite for a position at Manchester City Council, it certainly helps once in post. It has been suggested that some colleagues were made to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed by Mr Hampton's unwillingess to express mirth.
Having so far refused to speak to the media scrum on his doorstep, Mr. Hampton issued a brief, but potentially explosive, statement yesterday: 'I didn't mean to cause any offence. I just find the endless talk about the weather a bit tedious, that's all.' The Council is considering disciplinary action.