Downsized and out in Bristol and Somerset

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Interview update

It all went very well, the bloke was very nice but seemed to have the erroneous impression that the world of trade magazines is entirely populated by sensible, hard-working, professional people who meet their deadlines and that I might be put off by the fact that his team have the radio on in the office and girlie calendars on the walls. I say "seemed" because of course in a job interview one can't ask anything gender-specific, so I gleaned this from things he was saying like "it's really not a very PC office, in fact I'm afraid it's often quite the opposite" and "the staff writers are all guys in their 20s, but in the nicest possible way they're not the most mature of 20-somethings".
Anyway it seemed like a wicked place to work, although I don't want to say too much in case I identify it, and I've got a little caption-writing test to do which is fun (I like writing captions).
If they like me I've got to go back and see the publishing director, which will be a bit of a trauma as I don't have a) any smart clothes that still fit me or b) any days when I'm not working in London for the next two weeks at least.

PS The interview guy also said that even if I don't get this long-term thing, there is a massive shortage of decent magazine production freelances in the West Country, which really cheered me up. There's nothing that warms the cockles of a job-seeker so much as hearing that a potential employer is absolutely gagging desperate. So there's plenty of work, McReadie, Taxloss, Sundried...what are you waiting for? Let's head to Somerset and start that commune we've always talked about. I'll feed the chickens, Hypatia can knit jam and Sundried can be chief goat girl.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Just a few informal words...

Yay! I've got a job interview tomorrow. It's for six months' or so maternity cover at a place in Bath, so it's ideal.
They've asked me in for an "informal chat, just to get to know me a bit and so I can find out what they're about", so obviously I'll be preparing a full presentation and taking in quadruplicate copies of my CV and cuttings. I won't be falling for the old "informal chat" line again, that's for sure, not like the time I went somewhere for an "informal chat, just to rubber-stamp your appointment" and ended up facing the most horrendous job interview I've ever done with some woman whohadn't read my CV, seemed to think I was some second-jobber who should be begging for the privilege of joining her magazine and kept saying things like "so, you're moving out of London for a different pace of life, that means you won't be willing to work after 5pm, then, does it?".
The bloke on the phone sounded nice, but the thing is that a West Country accent makes everyone sound cuddly and loveable so I expect he'll actually be some super-charged uber-efficient type. Which is actually probably a good thing if I'm going to be working for him coz there's nothing worse than working for a nob-jockey.
Anyway I'm v pleased. Even if I don't get the job, which is highly likely, it's encouraging to have an interview.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

My American TV drama habit is getting out of hand

Last night I snapped at Prince Charming because he tried to talk to me in the middle of my two-hour Dark Angel session - and earlier today I saw the CSI partwork thing (builds week by week into a fascinating behind-the-scenes guide, plus a look at real-life crimes and how forensics help to solve them!) advertised on TV and for a moment I actually thought to myself "hmmn, that sounds interesting".

It's all Taxloss's fault, for it was he who first said to me, "You know, I think you might quite like CSI, you should give it a try". You know, he gives it all the "I'm such an intellectual political observer and wry satirical commentator" but tonight Provincial Princess can exclusively reveal that actually he regularly rots those Oxbridge-honed brain cells in front of prime-time dromma.

Anyway, I can't afford the CSI partwork because I'm going to be spending my £6.99 a fortnight on The Pocketwatch Collection (builds week by week into a fascinating history of classic timepieces, and each week there's a reproduction pocketwatch with a high-quality mechanism, absolutely free).

Apparently, the only publishing sector growing faster than partworks is the women's mag sector. So I think maybe I should be sending my CV to De Agostini instead of Future.

Do you think they'd be impressed if I sent it a little bit at a time, so it builds week by week into a fascinating resume detailing my skills and experience? I could include a stylish binder with the first page and a free example of my previous work absolutely free for them to keep, every week.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Monsieur, there is a burrrmb

Ah, but of course it was Nina Myers. I mighda known that scheming bitch would be at the bottom of all this...

Still, who cares, now that Miguel's on the scene? Darn it, if you guys had told me about him I'd have watched this whole thing a lot sooner. Hummuna hummuna! He dresses like a 1991 British indie kid (why do American 'rock' people do this?), fights like Jean-Claude van Damme, had his own recording stuido, loves kids, isn't afraid to mess with the authorities, is happy to rush across town, leaving his place of work, just because his girlfriend gets a bit whiney on the phone and then when she says there's a nuclear bomb about to go off in Los Angeles, he believes her and (and this is the crucial point for me) helps her escape, rather than rushing back to his recording studio to save his guitars,which is undoubtedly what Prince Charming would do. And hell, I respect him for that, but you know, sometimes I dream...

Another thing: I'm up to 1pm now, and no one yet seems to have realised the comic potential of dropping in the classic "there's a bomb in the city!"/"a buh--!!"/"no, not a buh, a bomb" dialogue. What this show needs is Leslie Nielsen - dagnabbit, if I was dying of radiation poisoning and only had 12 hours to live, I could sure use him popping up to say "the encryption key? what is it?"/"it's a series of numbers and letters that would allow us to decipher the files we transferred to NSA, but that's not important right now".

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Could you be in '24'?

The events in this blog entry happen between the hours of 6pm and 7pm. Typing occurs in real time.

I'm celebrating my purchase of a brand new shiny TFT monitor - and therefore some blessed relief from my migraines - with a '24' DVD marathon courtesy of Amazon's new DVD rental service. It's been great fun (I'm up to midday in Series 2) but several things have struck me.
The first is that all the women look exactly the same - even the little girl is like a minipops version of Elisha Cuthbert/the two sisters and what the presidential aide woman would look like if she had blonde hair. Only the lesbian daughter from Roseanne is distinguishable and she's about to die, which is a shame because she's a vastly under-rated actress who brings a touch of class to a show that is, frankly, chod, although enjoyable chod. Why isn't she in more stuff?
The second is, why does Hollywood insist on equating obsessive compulsive disorder with perpetrators of domestic abuse? If it's not '24', it's 'Sleeping with the Enemy'. But for crissakes, just because a man likes his ham'n'eggs arranged in a particular way on the plate doesn't mean that 45 minutes later he's going to be whacking his daughter's head against a bedstead and shouting "Kim if you move I will kill you".
The third is that almost the entire cast of characters appears to be phenomenally stupid. Not the actors, they are clearly clever enough to be laughing all the way to the bank, but - aside from possibly Tony Almeida, who by the way really should have been promoted by now - the characters are all just dim-witted as hell.

To illustrate, I’ve prepared what Americans, for some reason, call a “pop” quiz. It’s got nothing to do with pop, though.

1) You are an FBI agent working undercover with some armed terrorists. They reveal their plot to blow up a building full of your friends and former co-workers. Do you:
a) Smile, tell them it’s a great idea and attempt to sabotage the explosion
b) Smile, tell them it’s a great idea and start looking for a way to get away from them so you can inform the authorities
c) Wait until they’re 15 feet away with their backs to you, pop behind a parked van and call the president of the USA on your mobile phone for a quick chat?

2) You are rescuing a badly injured little girl from her physically abusive father. He has threatened to kill you and has told the police you’ve kidnapped the child. Your own father has advised you with no small sense of urgency to go to your aunt Carol’s house in San Jose. Do you:
a) Go to your aunt Carol’s house in San Jose
b) Call the police and explain your side of the story, citing the child’s battered mother as a witness, then take the kid to a hospital so she can receive treatment
c) Call your father’s former co-workers at the Counter-Terrorism Unit, disturbing them in the middle of serious FBI business, and insist on taking the child over to their premises?

3) You have found out that your sister’s fiance has terrorist connections. Your family’s life could be in danger if anyone finds out what you know. Do you:
a) Act normal until your private investigator can give you any more information on what to do
b) Call the police
c) Tell your dad what you know and then act all weird and grumpy, snapping at your sister and freaking out when her fiance tries to take you to a mystery location in his snazzy red car?

4) You are a terrorist goon guarding a nuclear weapon factory, the centrepiece of which is a glass case containing highly radioactive plutonium. Some police and FBI chaps break in and start looking around. Do you:
a) Sneak out and make a run for it
b) Call your bosses and tell them what’s going on
c) Open fire with a machine gun, shattering the glass case and thus putting your own life at risk from radiation poisoning?

5) You are a terrorist planning to bomb the Counter-Terrorism Unit within a matter of hours. An old mate shows up, fresh out of Joliet, carrying the severed head of your arch-enemy who has been in impregnable protective custody for a number of months. Your right-hand man suggests that the timing suggests more than a coincidence. Do you:
a) Wonder how this bloke managed to get access to your arch-enemy in order to kill him, put two and two together and realise that he is an undercover FBI agent
b) Tell him it’s great to see him again but you’re a little busy right now and could you call him tomorrow
c) Welcome him with open arms, tell him details of your plot and invite him along to help out?

If you answered mainly c, then congratulations! You are stupid enough to be a character in ‘24’.

Still, it's top entertainment. Trouble is, I can't work out who the woman in the photos is, because she just looks like every other woman in the show, only wearing a brown wig. Hey ho - only one way to find out I suppose!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Och, ma heed

Sorry for the lack of posts, dear reader. I have started getting migraines so I'm trying to avoid looking at words on VDU screens as much as possible (for someone who earns their living working with words on a VDU screen, this is something of a challenge). Anyway I'm going to see my lovely GP on Friday and no doubt she will prescribe me a course of antibiotics, as they usually do, although being as she is the nicest doctor I've ever met she might have some constructive advice too. I'm also going to go for a massage as well which will probably help so I'll be back soon with all the news from the sticks.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I hate computers.

I just wrote a really long, funny, new year's post and then clicked "publish" and went downstairs to feed the cat. When I got back my screen was showing an error message and however many times I clicked "back", all I got was the empty blog input screen and my 500 beautifully crafted words were lost forever. Feeling very disgruntled because it was my first post in ages that was actually about what this blog's supposed to be about, ie my experiences of downsizing. Can't be arsed doing it all over again, particularly as I have to write some job begging letters.
So here's a quick synopsis: happy new year; I nearly exploded from eating over the holiday but yet strangely there is much tasty food still left uneaten at Castle Provincial that's bound to interfere with my fnew year's resolutions, see below; I've made a compost heap with sides fashioned from an old futon, which still has the Ikea sticker on for a touch of Scandinavian design flair; Nigella Lawson is quite irritating; the next door neigbours are going to give us their three-piece suite, thus proving my theory that if you are faced with a stressful situation such as how the hell you're going to be able to afford a sofa, sitting around on your arse doing nothing until the problem sorts itself out is invariably the best option.
Seriously folks, you should've read the unexpurgated version. Still, I'll save some of the best jokes for future posts.
In the meantime, here's my new year's resolutions:
1) Write my posts in Word and then copy them into Blogger rather than just typing into the screen
2) Smoke more fags. They really are lovely and I don't get through enough of them.
3) Watch the entire new series of America's Next Top Model, which starts on 12 January, and this time there's 14 finalists instead of 12, just to add that extra 16% of drama (although to be honest half of them could be the same people as the last series and who'd be the wiser, most of them look identical anyway)
4) Lose the 9 pounds I've put on since I stopped dieting in August (to this end, I've just ordered "Penny Smith's Power Yoga" and "Tracey Shaw's Salsacise!" on video, so any readers in Bristol may hear thumping and swearing coming from a seemingly ordinary suburban house in the next few weeks)
5) Spend an hour a day working on some serious creative writing, instead of writing stream-of-consciousness nonsense on this blog or coming up with a variety of creative reasons not to write anything.
Hmmmn. With number 5 in mind, now seems like a good time to hoover the living room.