Dear Readers! How you must have missed me! But lo! I bring you good tidings of great joy… I HAVE JOB!!
Let me write that again…. I have a job!
And that’s where I’ve been, readers… away from this desk and at another, altogether different desk. Filing things and writing things in which I have no interest and take no delight.
And I love it.
I love being able to grumble about laborious office jobs that make you yawn!
I love being sat in a gossipy room full of women with idle chatter and quick tapping fingers.
I love it.
I love working.
And finally. Finally. I am.
Should I use an emoticon there?
Yes, I think this news warrants an emoticon:
And finally. Finally. I am. 🙂
But how did I get to said wonderous job? Aha! Well that, in itself, is a story. And, for my sins, (and love of alcohol to celebrate Easter), I’m afraid I shall have to tell it in two parts: ‘The Night Before’. .. And ‘The Morning After’. ‘The Night Before’ will explain why on the morning after, I made a very snap decision that has left me couch surfing and financially broke in Bath, but also extremely, very happy for the first time in months.
And The Morning After will explain…. Wait for it… The JOB!
So without further ado… let us go adventuring together. Only this time, let’s go to London…
So a few weeks ago I was in the Radisson in London – no I hadn’t saved up my paltry £60 a week JSA for a night in the Radisson, I was there with an old and wonderful (if not a literal ungrateful) friend, Mike. I should tell you now that I am incurably lucky with my friends. Although when it comes to love I am an arse-hole magnet (this is not hyperbole, this is a fact), when it comes to friends I am sickeningly blessed. They’re all beautiful, smart, funny, intelligent… and worse, they all have enviable jobs. I am, suffice to say, the runt of the litter. Mike, however, happens to be one at the top of the pack. Now, one of the perks of knowing people who are incredibly talented and good at their jobs is that a few of them, such as Mike, have “jobs” that include being shipped off to all manner of wonderful places on the globe and being paid for it. Mike is an IT contractor and he’d been *ahem* “stuck” (his words not mine) in London, in a swanky hotel suite, with a view over the river and Big Ben for the week. So, naturally, I offered him the pleasure of my company for the evening so he wouldn’t be so bored. I was in my element, although it did take me a while to pluck up the courage to actually go into the hotel. It’s a hotel where even porters wear suites. Like full on three pieces, with waistcoat and neck tie. All very impressive. And when the nice man on the door asked me if I’d like to go inside because I looked cold – “Look at you shivering, Ma’am.” He commented. (Ma’am! Miss, I’ll have you know!) – but when he said those fateful words I, suddenly extremely aware of my broad northern twang, put on my best Sybil Fawlty voice and said “Yaaarsss, that would be delightful”. Don’t ask me… I wasn’t even drunk. I don’t know what the fudge I was thinking – but I was shivering (out of fear – not because it was only 3 degrees and I was wearing a summer dress). Three piece suit man just blinked at me and had the good grace not to mention that he’d heard me talking Lancashire only 3 feet earlier. He just blinked, smiled, and ushered me to the revolving doors the way I imagine doctors usher mental patients into hospital. But never one to back down, I sashayed through said revolving doors with my head held high, trying to provide the I’m-totally-down-with-this-I-do-this-all-the-time look and stepped on to the escalators just behind Mike who was looking at me with a what-the-fuck-was-that-all-about look stamped all over his jaw line.
I can feel you feeling sorry for him. Don’t. Mike, you should know, is a hypocrite. Mike is a Brummie whose own Mother hated their accent so much that, when Mike and his sister showed signs of being phenomenally intelligent, had sent them at the tender age of, I dunno, 6 and 4 for elocution lessons to rid them of their accent problem, so I chose to ignore his looks of disdain. The problem I now faced, however, was that I couldn’t simply come back down the escalator with my regular accent suddenly pinning itself to me like a badge of Northern honour. And I enjoy that, I do. I enjoy flying the banner for the North and our friendly ways. In fact, in London, I’m quite content at being the crazy on the Tube who smiles at other people and actively engages them in conversation about the weather, the state of our economy, our job crisis. I enjoy saying things like “Thanks Duck” and “Cheers Love” and “See you soon, Darlin’” and a whole manner of pet names we seem to fling at each other up in North. My personal favourite is “Shug”, because Southerners are never quite sure,what, exactly, a ‘shug’ is. I enjoy people struggling to work out if I’m being genuinely nice or if I’m about to pull a flick knife out and hold them for their I-Phone and all the Wrigley’s gum they have in their pockets whilst cooing at them. They are a strange breed, Londoners. Anyway. That was my dilemma, and, I’m ashamed to say. I pussed out. By the time I got to room 666 (that’s right, 666, <insert evil laugh here>) I had somehow got into character and couldn’t stop talking with the most ridiculous accent I have ever heard. I mean, I didn’t even sound posh. I just stuck a few R’s into words that don’t have R’s in the spelling and took a breath mid way through words like ‘marvelous’, so it came out “ma-harvelous”. God, I am such a twat. But of course, with the accent, came an attitude and that evening I spent my time in the Jazz bar, slurping…I mean, sipping, sipping, on perfect Manhattans and generally pointing my nose as high in the air as it would go. Giving demure and, I’m pretty certain, not so sexy looks at the handsome bar man. You know, batting my eyelashes and looking up from under them whenever Mike wasn’t looking. Yes, I was convinced I was Julie London – or, seeing as I’m blonde now, Peggy Lee – tapping my toes in time with the music and running my finger, broken nails and all, round the rim of the glass stained with my bleeding red lipstick. I must have looked a treat. But that’s the problem with perfect Manhattans – they’re perfect. And whilst I may not have been a treat, they certainly were and they slipped down just a little too easily. I was plotted and doing that thing that plotted people do when they’re trying not to let anyone know they’re plotted, I kept denying my plotted-ness, even though no one had asked me about it. And then, oh no, it happened: The band came on.
Now, it’s a hotel bar. We’re not meant to have high expectations. But I was armed with a whole new accent and, seriously, at this point I was off the reservation, so my standards may have just hit a high somewhere near Simon Cowell’s belt buckle. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. We know there’s going to be an Evie-ism happen any moment, don’t we dear reader? Well, happen it did. Mike, who had nipped out for a cheeky ciggie (although I imagined a cigar) and a telephone call to someone in God Knows Where and I was left to cocktail.
The saxophonist stole the show, he really did and the Pianist (as he called himself – he was playing a keyboard) was pretty good too. Think Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot, had they been actually playing that is. They were old hands at this malarkey. And the singer was…well… he could sing. Technically. That is, he could hold a tune. But he seemed to hold about 5 or 6 tunes in every song. And he was paying homage to the Ratpack. The Ratpack! He even had the hat. The hat for Frankie’s sake. So we knew it was coming. Everyone in the bar knew it was coming. And come it did.
“Right, we’re going to finish now” he said, in an accent that was deepest Croydon. “And we’re going to finish with a song that means a lot to me. Err, this guy is actually one of my heroes.” He said, blushing. “You’ll probably know it.” Err, yah! “This song,” Pause for dramatic effect. “This song is called ‘My Way’.”
I swear there was a collective gasp that went along with the smattering of applause. What the fuck they were expecting I don’t know, Frankie re-incarnated before them? To be in the presence of ‘the next big thing’, to be able to say they saw him before he was famous? I don’t know. I don’t understand how the crowd thought this song would be any better than any of the other songs he’d sang, but they seemed to expect something.
I mean, I’m not a die hard Frankie fan but as a nation haven’t we have naturally come to have low expectations of anyone singing this song? Because in my limited, and humble experience, usually when this song comes on it’s being sung by a drunken man from Grimsby in a cheap bar in Pathos at Happy Hour. That or a family wedding. Maybe Karaoke down the Lord Nelson at half 12 on a Saturday night. Like this. But certainly not a jazz bar. It’s suicide if you consider yourself a singer. I mean, it’s Frankie, innit? And oh dear friends, what a treat was in store for me at the Radisson. True, the guy was in key – but he was in about ten keys by the time we got to the chorus, X-Factor stylee. I deliberately slurped my cocktail. It was painful. Mike came in and flopped on the chair across from me and said:
“Thoadhljgfusfgajf… mumble mumble.”
“What?” I shouted back.
“Thoadhljgfusfgajf… mumble mumble.”
“WHAT??” I shouted back again, leaning in.
“I SAID, HE’S PRETTY GOOD ISN’T HE?” Mike bellowed over the last few bars of WAAAYYYYYY. Which sounded more like “WWwwAAAaaAYYyYYyyyYyYy”.
Now, as I have mentioned I was a teensey weensey bit drunk. Just a smidge. And my ears had been up and down so many times during that song they thought they’d been stitched to a rollercoaster, so I feel I can be forgiven for what I yelled out, over the polite, if not slight stunned applause that followed the My Way Rendition.
Leaning into Mike conspiratorially, in my broadest Lancashire, I yelled (and I can’t believe I have to type this)
“WELL WHATEVER WAY HE DID IT, IT CERTAINLY WASN’T FRANKIE’S FUCKIN’ WAY, WHARRIT??”
By this point, *sigh*, the claps had died out.
Agonising, painful, movie type silence. Simon Pegg would have been proud.
Mike pulled away from me, stood up and beamed at the room. Laughed heartily. A big, apologetic belly laugh.
And then, in a gesture of support, he walked out.
AND LEFT ME!
What could I do? I had to get out of there. But I couldn’t exactly run, could I? Not even because I like to stand by my opinions, but because I was drunk and in 5 inch heels. So I stood up, very slowly, smiling wide like the ladies in the JSA office and somewhere, mid stand, I heard myself say, in a timid, yet once again mightily posh voice:
“Ma-harvellous. Simply ma-harvellous. Really, I think you were quite, quite… (searching for a new word to say in Posh and failing) ma-harvellous” as I walked, as quickly as I could in a pencil skirt, out of the bar.
So. That was the state I was in. Yes. That bad. Several sheets to the wind, with conflicting accents and a slight wobble, I made my way to Suite 666 and flopped into bed, fully dressed, contact lenses still in. I was snoring by the time Mike had brushed his teeth. A sore head , a bad attitude and Neurofen on toast for breakfast the morning after was a certainty. But hey, I could have a lie in, right?