Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Life goes on

So, I decided I haven't really done a big, interesting entry for a while, so here is one ... hopefully.

I had a birthday, a very important one, I'm halfway to 50 and nobody remembered! Well, thanks for the good wishes here and on Facebook. I would have liked to do some kind of big party thing, but I don't really like hosting big parties, so it was more of a quiet weekend at home, not doing a whole lot. I got a lovely bottle of rare breed Wild Turkey from L. It got 95% in Jim Murray and - all I can say is I have rarely tasted anything better. Anybody who thought American whiskies were limited to rough n'ready Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, think again, because this is sublime and perfect. Not that there's anything wrong with Jack - everyone gets the urge to rough it once in a while.

On the job front, there's been a little movement. With any luck - this is a test to see if any of you actually still read this thing - you'll remember I went for a senior reporter position at one of Reed's business titles down in Sutton back in December, and it was judged then that I wasn't really ready for the position that was on offer. So that was disappointing, but not particularly unexpected, and I wasn't sure I'd wanted that job much anyway. Well, a couple of weeks ago the company came back to one of the media agencies that I've registered my CV with, and asked if I'd be interested in applying for a similar position on another one of their many titles, which I thought was particularly encouraging and not a little flattering for my poor, bruised ego. The upshot is that I went in to see them again yesterday and the interview went much better this time. I have a good feeling about it, and I'm pretty confident I will make at least the second round.

Another agency that I'm registered with also got me in for an interview on Monday, this was for an editorial position on an in-house title at quite a prestigious business advisory body in London, with offices very close to Hyde Park Corner. That also went really well, the editor seemed really pleasant and the interview ticked all the right boxes for me. However, yesterday afternoon the other agency phoned me up and said that while they'd been very impressed, they felt I am overqualified for the position. Which, well, I don't really know whether to feel vaguely insulted or quite flattered by that. The word is that since the job had a lot of administrative duties attached to it and that I came across as ambitious to progress in the trade to the degree that it made them think I wouldn't have enjoyed the administrative job much.

Now, that may not actually have been so far from the truth, because that particular position was only paying £500 more than I'm currently making, and I think that, in all probability, they were actually worried by the fact that I would have - with justification - wanted to be making a much better salary very quickly, and they probably want someone who's career they can develop. In that regard Reed seems like a far better bet, not least because the starting salary is a good £3,500 above my current wage, and I reckon I could push them up to £4,000 with some creative bargaining.

And bargaining I may well have to do, because the deputy editor at my current job has moved on to pastures new and I'm moving up the ladder in his footsteps. So I asked them to go to £20,000 - which I think is an unreasonably low wage for a deputy editor in any strand of the media - but given the company is in pretty dire financial straits right now, I expected them to either stonewall me completely, or meet me halfway. Happily they met me halfway, but the plain fact of the matter is that I'm now stepping up into a vastly more responsible position that carries a very heavy workload, and the reward for the late nights I will now be expected to pull is just not enough. My current salary only barely covers my monthly costs. Suffice to say that I'm not happy with how things are going, and although I'll feel bad about walking out on these people, they also just made three people redundant in quick succession to save on some costs, so I'm under no illusions that they'd make me walk the plank if they had to.

We've had a smattering of chums in town over the past couple of days; F and Sarah caused delicious dim sum on Sunday lunchtime, and as far as the state of the tablecloth goes, I still maintain that the pork dumplings were out to get me, and the teapot was really very badly designed. We then piled back to ours, where the resourceful Sarah helped me finish off the disgusting bottle of Isle of Jura Legacy 1810 that I mistakenly bought last November in a duty free shop. Monday evening we hosted Sophie, who was in town for a university interview, and last night, Mrs Pokery joined us for a layover whilst waiting for a flight to the States with Flatmate Ricardo. However, I only got to see her briefly, given that I went to my first gig last night...

Yes, yes, okay, I'm 25 and it was my first proper gig. Please don't tell any of my friends. Whatever, it was actually an edition of Later With Jools Holland over at TV Centre, and the lineup was pretty fantastic; I consider I've made up for lost time now because I've now seen Patti Smith, Joe Cocker, Simply Red, The Cribs, The Cold War Kids and some Myspace-type female soloist who was a bit of a Lily Allen rip-off, but was still awfully good*. The highlight was, of course, Patti Smith, who did three tracks off her new covers album, Twelve, which was out last month. We got Gimme Shelter, which is absolutely my favourite Stones track of all time, Gloria, and a track by George Harrison, I believe, but I could be wrong; I'm actually looking at the track listing on the iTunes store right now and I'm completely unable to work out which one it actually was. Oh, and then they went and very nearly spoiled it all by letting her cover Smells Like Teen Spirit for an encore, which was actually atrociously bad. Anyway, regardless of the ill-considered encore, it was an abolsutely killer night out on Auntie, and if you get a chance to watch the show, you really must. I'm pretty sure it's on this Friday evening on BBC2. A little bird whispers in my ear that Eddie Izzard and John Barrowman will be on Jonathan Ross on BBC1 at the same time, but you really should be watching BBC2 because you might see me, and I'm clearly far more important. I'm the one at the back in the black shirt with slightly long indie hair looking spectacularly bored and ... wait ... that was the entire audience.

Tellywise, I'm still enjoying Ugly Betty, of course, that's pretty much my must-see show of the moment now that Skins is over. I hated the first episode (of Ugly Betty and Skins, coincidentally) but all the others have more than made up for it. The new series of Peep Show is ... only okay. I'm currently working my way through the box-set that I borrowed off a friend at work and it was much better back then. Naturally, last Saturday I watched Eurovision on my own! I expect to see party invitations next year, people. Anyhow, I was disgusted, I really thought we stood an outside chance with our entry this year. I voted for France, not because they sung in English, which is a capital offence over there, but because their costumes were designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. My Eurovision theory is that we scupper ourselves because we either enter a carbon copy of the previous year's winning song - remember when it went all Arabian-influenced a couple of years ago and the next year, we sent Javine - or we send a carbon copy of Abba, because that's the sort of group that most British people are convinced still win Eurovision. So next year expect us to send a troupe of butch lesbians.

What's to come? There's boy this weekend, hopefully with my spare iPod headphones - the ones I use have broken so I've been without music on my commute for a fortnight - and at the end of the month I'm expanding my forays beyond the Iron Curtain and heading to Romania for a couple of days to cover an industry event, flying into Otopeni Airport outside Bucharest, whose IATA code is, fittingly, OTP. I've been promised a tour of Bucharest by night, and a dinner with traditional Romanian cuisine. I don't actually know what traditional Romanian cuisine is like so when I found out I was going I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it appears to be largely polenta-based. In early June there's a wedding to be attended in Scotland ... I'm trying to get my parents to give me the money for a new suit for it, as all mine are really boxy, and I want something a bit more slim-fitting, that I could maybe wear with Converse if I wanted and pretend to be David Tennant. Although not around Ricardo because it would make him want sex.

Things are pretty good, really.

* Some time later, ETA this was actually the luvly Kate Nash

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