Friday, August 29, 2008

train musings

I seem to have spent most of this week on a train to something work-related, clutching a succession of tepid cups of coffee that are more closely related to soup in consistency (starbucks, have a word. Please. A nation of commuters is begging you).

And here I am again, on my way to an event that is so completely over my head it's almost funny. I've been invited down to leafiest surrey for a demonstration of various technical wizardry. The guest list is like a who's who of british broadcasters... And moi. Hilarious. Ah well. It's a day out of the office. Only one week until I start the scary tv job (yup, the fear has kicked in now. Am terrified).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Down with the kids

I’ve been asked to write some online stuff for teenagers. Scanning the list I see the boxes this place wants to tick on its advice site include ‘ugly feet’,’stretch marks’ and ‘exes – how to move on’. I am trying not to dwell on the fact that the person who has asked me to write for him is also someone I happened to date briefly many moons ago…

Anyway I don’t know anything about teenagers. I am ashamed to say I have become one of those 30somethings whose acquaintances are either of a similar age to me or are still in nappies. So I thought I might just point the troubled youth of Britain in the direction of this. Because from what I remember the concept of how to avoid not getting laid (double negative but do you follow?) occupied most of the time, energy and conversation of my friends and I. Still does, for that matter.

Thanks to Almost Witty for sending it through. It has sucked hours out of my life today and been a very welcome distraction from the Powerpoint presentation I am supposed to be preparing for my boss. El Editor, it transpires, is not very familiar with preparing slides. I am also having to translate what he wants to say into communications jargon for the Big Cheeses he is presenting to. Thus the contents page is now ‘navigational signposting’ and our justification for doing something new because we think it’s cool is officially the result of ‘an audience-based editorial decision following in-depth consumer analysis’. I am rather enjoying myself.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Diamonds are a girls best friend...

And I now have three of them on the ring finger of my left hand. Today MC and I celebrated the end of the gruelling TV conference with a very successful hunt for the perfect engagement ring. Ladies, let me tell you that wearing a succession of diamond rings (at one stage I had them on three different fingers - in the interests of comparing/contrasting, naturally) is undoubtedly the most fun I have ever had shopping. Ever. It's shallow and materialistic and Kanye West would go mad but nonetheless it made me feel incredibly special.

It's not as easy as it sounds though - buying a ring you intend to wear for the rest of your life is seriously difficult. You don't want something that's going to look shit next season. In the end (after I had milked the trying-on session for as long as was feasibly possible) we went for a simple platinum band with three small diamonds set in - I tried on a few traditional big rocks but in the end, they just weren't really for me. Bizarrely I actually have quite small hands and they were completely dwarfed by the bling. Perhaps that's exactly what's supposed to happen but it didn't feel right. MC bought a plain titanium band to wear too - a very metrosexual gesture but I love that about him. So yes. We are officially getting married! It is still sinking in, to be honest. But it is very exciting indeed.

(Oh - I also want to give a little plug as a thank you to the lovely, crazy jeweller who took us under his wing and found the perfect rings for us. He doesn't seem to have a website but if you're ever in Edinburgh check out Argentium at 106 Rose Street. That is all)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

tv industry day 2

Okay, today has been a lot more encouraging. Perhaps the hangover brought on by last night's mediumweight drinking has made me more placid but I am actually starting to warm towards the tv crowd a little.

I also finally understand the fuss about Clay Shirky (sorry gang, can't do links on blackberry but his name is oft bandied around these parts in the context of him being some kind of web guru. I thought he was all smoke and mirrors but actually the guy really does know his stuff. Clay, I apologise for not believing your hype).

Unfortunately this epiphany coincided with the realisation that my move into tv could be a very short lived one as according to him there's not going to be a tv industry as we know it for much longer. Marvellous.

Speaking of the big move, the industry grapevine must be working overtime because practically everyone I've spoken to, at the point of hearing my name, has said they have heard about my job. And believe me, I am small fry. They must really be scraping the gossip barrel this summer.

Friday, August 22, 2008

the tv industry love in (day 1)

(Written on a blackberry as I refuse to pay 15 quid for the hotel wifi. Wtf?)

So I am up in Edinburgh, ordinarily one of my favourite places, for an annual meeting of tv industry execs (this probably means nothing to anyone except The Divine Miss M).Naturally, I am a mere scribe for the event, hence I suspect my desire to kill half the delegates already (and there is still a day and a half of this tripe to go).

On friday afternoon I attended a session about how to attract new people ('talent' is the lingo... Feel the pretentiousness) to the industry. It quite frankly made me feel like making a national tour of all of the UK universities informing bright young things not to bother.

First up: a production king who 'slummed it' away from his country mansion (I shit you not) to work 'undercover' (with a film crew naturally) in a hackney caff for 48 hours and find 'talent' that wasn't already sending him begging letters. His resulting appointment was, he said, 'raw' and had 'energy'. Yes but she is being hired as a researcher. can she use finalcut pro? Of course not. This is box ticking at it's very worst.

And then there was Smug Exec No 2, who is proud of the fact that she fished a media studies student out of Teeside and gave him a job as a runner on a bitchy london-placed production (probably on a salary designed to keep him 'hungry', quite literally). Has she really done this kid a favour? She's probably ruined his life.

The point is that it all comes down to who you know and they weren't even denying that. In the words of Smug Exec No 3: when you get a cv it's great to see what someone new has done, but it's also great to check them out with someone you trust in the industry, to whom you can ask the 'real' questions.

And don't get me started on Smug Exec No 4 (the least smug to be fair) who told the anecdote about someone who came to see her - this person had been on unpaid work experience for SIX months.

In my own little way I always, always look after our work placements and I also ensure that at the very least we pay their travel expenses (not meaning to sound smug but in my place this is no mean feat). It's no big deal... I don't go around giving speeches about it. It's just something that I quietly get on with.

jesus. It's going to be a long weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Saturday was completely, unashamedly given over to drinking. My best friend and I had planned a summer party and with the added excuse of the engagement, we were seriously thirsty. It was originally intended to be an outdoor party in the park, with champagne and scrabble and the like. But British weather being what it is (shitty) we decided to compromise and re-diverted our party to a riverside bar in Tower Bridge.

As a rule I'm not a fan of chain bars, especially the more pretentious ones. But if you're ever in need of a good bar in the centre of town, you could do a lot worse than head to All Bar One in Shad Thames. It's right on the river, and right behind Tower Bridge itself; the trick is to walk past the bridge and then shimmy up a tiny little alleyway evocatively called Maggie Blake's causeway. You will find yourself suddenly off the tourist trail and on the river, with a selection of bars and (overpriced) restaurants at your disposal.

It was at the point when the sambuca shots arrived that the end was nigh. Three rounds later, each more imaginative than the last (who on earth downs double measures of Martini Rossi? Us, apparently) and it was definitely time to call it a night, despite the pleas of three boy mates determined to find a karaoke bar and party on. Perhaps at another time I would have joined them and who knows what would have happened. But I'm glad I didn't. Even though MC had to drag me away from the Veuve Cliquot we had diligently carried home (a lovely gift from Confuddled) when we got in....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

cloud nine

Okay, no announcement this time! The last few days have been lost in a vat of champagne and cake and congratulations and more champagne and more cake... you get the picture. Am slowly realising that while getting engaged may be lucrative on the free drinks front, it is going to be a nightmare on the actual wedding fund front. Fortunately for me I have met someone recently who seems to think I could make my millions as a voiceover artist. It is fair to say that a lifetime of whisky and cigarettes (well probably about 10 years in adult life) have given me sufficient vocal chord damage to leave me on the Madge Bishop end of the audio spectrum. 'The great thing about your voice is that, without looking at you, you could be either in your 20s or mid 40s' chirped my new fan. Talk about a back handed compliment.

Anyhow next week I have a session in a studio with a lovely radio producer chum and I have lined up a talent scout from *big talent agency* to have a listen. It does help when said vocal admirer is a senior TV exec I suppose. But still. Paid for reading aloud? I'm not sure...

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Even Bigger Announcement

Okay guys, something really very weird is happening to me. My life has leapt from relative stasis to complete whirlwind. First the new job, after five years stagnating in my comfort zone.

And now this.

My friends.

I am getting married.

I never thought I would write those words. It is absolutely true - even though I am half cut after a lovely, celebratory, impromptu wine/cake moment in the office (and we're on deadline which actually makes it all the more endearing) so please humour the nostalgia. My oldest blogging mates - Peas on Toast, Fake Adult, Confuddled, Almost Witty, Peabody, The Leak, Mrs Pop and all you others (including you lurkers - Google Stats, my dears!) - will understand how much of a fucking miracle this is. The Old Blog was a quagmire of hilarious emotional fuckwittage in which I genuinely believed I would marinate for life.

MC and I went away this weekend to celebrate our anniversary (it was exactly a year ago on Sunday that we first met, consumed a vat of wine and ended up snogging like mad in a west london wine bar). On Saturday we realised that we hadn't done anything remotely practical like exchange gifts/cards. But we were away so rather than spend a whole day shopping on our own we decided to limit ourselves to one hour of intense gift buying. I went conventional... clothes, aftershave etc. He emerged with a giant bag of something, and despite my irratingly persistent curiosity, we both agreed to wait until the anniversary day itself.

That night we went out for a gut-busting curry. I awoke on Sunday morning after a bad night's sleep feeling grumpy, full and generally annoyed with myself for having scoffed so many bloody onion bhajis (and let's not even mention the naan). We were about to exchange presents when he ordered me into the bathroom while he 'prepared'. I thought he was going to go down to the breakfast bar to get breakfast in bed and was wondering how on earth I would manage to eat any more.

Finally he re-emerged and led me back into the room. Our bed - a beautiful four poster dressed in white cotton linen and chiffron curtains - was strewn with roses. So romantic, I thought. 'Can you read what they say?' he asked... at which point I panicked. 'I *think* so,' I said slowly, thinking, shit, if I get this wrong, and actually it says 'cup of tea?', I am so screwed. But no - it really did say 'marry me'.

Cue ten minutes of 'are you sure? Are you really sure?' and ten minutes of crying. Which was nothing compared with my family, who shrieked and sobbed and wailed their congratulations through the resulting phone calls (am still half deaf); at about midnight I resorted to text because the average conversation was lasting 45 minutes and I still had at least 15 other calls to make before the B List found out on Facebook.

We have no time, no date, no budget and no idea where to begin. But there is a hell of a lot of champagne to be drunk while we figure it all out.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And for my next trick…

Finally I can share my news. I still can’t quite believe it myself but, in potentially the biggest blag of my career so far, I have managed to get myself a job in TV. Not only in it – but potentially on it! I may have to issue a blanket ban on widescreen when that day comes.

The fact that I have absolutely no experience in either TV production or presenting is apparently not a problem (I was brutally honest about that; there’s artful blagging and then there’s downright career suicide). I start in early September. I was petrified of telling my boss but he seems to have accepted the fact, although he did send a note round the team today saying that someone else would be taking on my current role ‘with immediate effect’ so I guess it kind of sounds like he’s fired me. Still. No more print deadlines! Hurray!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I have a very exciting secret. I'm absolutely bursting to share it with you but I don't want to jinx it. And no, I am NOT pregnant!

Hopefully I will be able to reveal all tomorrow :)