Friday, August 29, 2003

Hello from Amsterdam! So here I am with Taxloss in an internet cafe in the centre, getting ready for a Friday night out. So far this trip has involved:

- one beautiful loft-style apartment which we are looking after as well as the two lovely, lovely cats residing there
- an extremely exciting trip on a double-decker train which you can smoke on! (I've never been to Amsterdam before so forgive my gibbering excitiement about the public transport system, k?)
- some shopping
- lots of sleeping
- coffee on the balcony and general relaxation
- rain.

And to look forward to in the next three days I am spending here are trips to the Anne Frank museum, the Van Gogh museum, coffeeshops, meals out and nights in and general holiday-ness with delightful feline and boyfriend-type company. Not exactly missing London and all that London holds for me but looking forward to going back nonetheless, if only to gloat and discover how Boatie Flatmate has fared with all his vegetable matter. Keep having images of getting back into the flat to discover him blank-eyed and bloated, sitting on top of a pile of vegetable peelings, groaning softly to himself with half a carrot dangling from his lower lip.

Speaking of flatmates, it appears that Former Flatmate B is enjoying Africa and not poorly at all which is good to hear as she is supposed to be healing people out there and not succumbing to any available illnesses - though the radical weightloss plan involving a convenient bout of dysentry is still on the cards. And Former Flatmate A is also abroad at this very moment so it seems that the three of us previously domestic beings have well and truly Moved On. A reunion is much needed - suggestions anyone for appropriate reunion-type doings? No paintballing or school discos please - suggestions of that ilk will be laughed at scornfully and derisively in the searingly hurtfulway that only we three can jointly manage.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

“You did very well, but…”
Have recovered from the manly meat-scorching weekend and have been surprisingly busy since then: one interview with a performance poetry outfit who turned me down in the nicest way possible for an administration position, a picnic in the park with brass bands, cooing babies, ice-creams and sunshine, then a thought-provoking film that made me and attending mother and sister contemplate our own family history, computer updates and protection against that nasty virus going around, lots of films to watch on my external hard drive (ooh, I do love that thing…) including the Gerald Scarfe designed Hercules which is perhaps the most sarcastic and knowing of any Disney production, sackloads of home-grown vegetables courtesy of Boatie Flatmate and his allotment owning Dad, strenuously avoiding the carnival, two new books, 1 x CD of piano music (Chopin, Debussy, Beethoven, Ravel), 1 x CD of rare original recordings of gospel music, 1 x CD promising an “ambient trip to Bombay”, an empty space in my bed where my beloved should be and many, many happy thoughts about my impending trip abroad to join him in the land of clogs, weed and tulips.

And after all that excitement, I’ve got another interview coming up, my last day in The Office of Doom is nearing and I’ve got tickets to France to spend some quality time with my sister and her husband. Join me, readers, as I throw my head back and let rip with a great big “Woo.”


Monday, August 18, 2003

”Help, help, I need some cheap white wine and new shoes! Lipstick! Glittery hairclips! Anything delicately scented and frilly! The testosterone is driving me crazy…!”
- slept in
- got up and started preparing the barbecue scheduled for the afternoon as Boatie Flatmate had promised to play host to the men’s squad before they all scampered back to the river for a boat party (they clearly can’t get enough of the Thames these guys…)
- made houmous
- the flat slowly filled with enormous men clutching cans of beer and steaks and sausages; I retreated to my room with an armful of job applications and the complete scripts of Father Ted as I was slightly overwhelmed by the testosterone level suddenly shooting up so rapidly
- August Dangerlove tottered into the bedroom after his afternoon drinking session nearby and had a little lie-down so I was relegated to the living room where I was surrounded by huge men wandering about taking showers and getting changed into dinner jackets, bow ties and dress shirts for their boat party
- Big Sister wandered in just as the men’s squad was leaving and found herself in a maelstrom of aftershave, cufflinks and shirtstuds, joining me on the patio where we sat momentarily stunned
- We sat and drank white wine and ate crisps and balanced out the boyish traces remaining in the flat with our girlie chit-chat about shoes, tan marks, our winter wardrobes and houmous recipes
- August Dangerlove woke up and joined us looking bewildered and a bit startled
- Sent Big Sis on her way and then tumbled into bed
- got up extremely early and toddled off to Brixton market to gather together a back-breaking mound of fruit and vegetables
- had brunch with Taz, a rare and pleasant thing where we caught up on everything that has happened since we last met oh so long ago
- showed him the flat and whilst there, we discovered Boatie Flatmate and a casualty of the night before cooking a reviving repast of sausages, still in their dress shirts and looking slightly green
- fired up the barbecue again for dinner after spending all afternoon writing and chatting to the casualty
- sat around shouting abuse at the TV as Titanicwas being broadcast then introduced Boatie Flatmate to the joys of South Park: The Movie. The second Leonardo DiCaprio finally died, we bore witness to the fabulous line uttered by Boatie Flatmate as he slotted the video into the machine “Right, time now for some Uncle-fucking”
- ended a long and fun weekend with the realisation that though my current household is male-dominated (very much so as this weekend has proved), my hateful workplace is very, very female dominated and my cycle has synchronised with everyone else and the cycle I assumed I was stuck on and have actually planned around it well and truly out of the window. This means that I was totally unprepared for the way I feel today which makes everything so so so so so much worse: I am now in the midst of crippling “Women’s Troubles” with a banging headache and an unutterable urge to KILL AND MAIM. A LOT. If I hadn’t done so already this time last week, I would have resigned today.

Monday, August 11, 2003

"I hope you understand that the experience and opportunities I have gained here have been invaluable in informing all my decisions about my future in the arts and charitable sector."
I have resigned.

I have no other job to go on to but fuck it, I'm not going to stay here and face more insanity from insane people who presume to be my managers. I have come to the conclusion that I no longer want to work for such an abysmally shite and unreasonable witch and her crook of a son who I'm sure is only employed by Crazy!Mum to save money from sending him to the drug rehab / vet. I have also learned the valuable lesson of never assuming that
1) being given a raise
2) not seeing it in my wages for two months is 3) a reason to discuss it with the finance officer / her son as "we do not support a culture of gossip and rumour in this organisation and perhaps there is a reason why we have been witholding your extra pay but did not wish to discuss it with you."

Dear readers, boggle with me and pull similar gobsmacked expressions of contemptuous disbelief at this list of other things that have driven me to hand in notice this morning:

- wages were incorrect and at risk of being processed late last week due to the son suffering "flu" i.e bleeding copiously from the nose and coughing a lot and not being around to put pay through to us
- Insane!Boss was then called in by her cowardly son to sort things out as he was too appallingly shite at his job to know how to do it
- she put the wages through but not until she had literally spat at a colleague to "move these fucking cabinets out of the fucking way, I don't know why the fuck these have been put here in the first place; sort it out"
- I've had four different line managers since getting here 10 months ago, one of whom walked out to work in a shop, another who developed diabetes and had to leave
- I didn't have my own desk until January
- that desk I had to give up the accountant every Thursday until two months ago and so was the only member of staff to be hotdesking at any point (i.e there was never a spare desk for me to use except during lunch)
- I have too much self-respect to cast my lot in with this bunch of retards, crooks and self-deluded miserable bureaucrats

So I am going. Ta-ta and toodle-pip: if it is possible, I will begin to care even less about this place and actually get some of my soul back.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

"We could tape this and sell it and create a fortune and never have to work here again!"
[Int. main doorway to office, blinding hot sunshine and the white hot concrete of the car park fills the view. Pan back to include full kitchen area. Colleagues 1, 2 and 3 (all female in short skirts and very small vest tops) stand with Hypatia by the fridge.]

Hypatia: Fuck me, it's so hot today. I spilt some water on the stairs outside and I swear I heard it sizzle.
Colleague 2: Ooh, I wonder if there's any ice in the freezer?

[Colleague 2 throws open freezer; zoom in on full ice cube tray.]

Colleague 1: Ooh...

[Colleague 1 grabs ice cube tray and knocks out two ice cubes; the rest copy her]

Colleague 3: Oh god, that feels good. [She starts rubbing the ice on her upper arms. Colleague 2, 3 and Hypatia copy her.]
Hypatia: Ahhh... that's just absolutely lovely...
Colleague 1: Hmmm... oh, yes...
Colleague 2: Very nice, very nice...
Colleague 3: Could you rub some on my back?
Colleague 2: I'll try but your skin is all slick and moist.
Hypatia: It's really nice sliding these ice cubes up and down my inner thigh... have you tried that yet?
Colleague 1: Mmmm... that's good, I like the way I can feel the cool ice water dripping down across the back of my knee.
Colleague 2: Ooh, look, you're all wet...

[Cut to exterior shot through doorway, framing these four women running ice cubes all over their hot bodies. Enter Colleague 4 into shot, male, mopping his brow. He pauses, stops and stares at the scene.]

Hypatia: Hello Colleague 4, do you want some ice to rub across your chest?
Colleague 4: [Silence]
Hypatia: Colleague 4, are you alright? It's very hot today isn't it?
Colleague 1: Have some ice, we've just put some on ourselves and it feels really good.
Colleague 3: Really, really good.
Colleague 2: Yes, it can really lift a day like this when you make yourself all moist and cool.
Colleague 4: [Faints.]

:: sigh :: This hot weather is making the most mundane and unending day at work go a bit funny. And you know what? I live in a basement, I work in a basement, I travel by underground all the time... I cannot bear this unrelenting, remorseless, merciless heat, I cannot... it's driving me and everyone around me totally nuts...

In other news, I'm off to Lyme Regis for the weekend! Woo! Not London! Huzzah!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

"What's more, a certain infamous fantasy of mine was being fulfilled..."
"...For years I had dreamed it: the idea would steal up on me whenever I hit a dull, obsequious stretch at work, and I had a chance to look out over the coming years and realise that there was nothing much to follow but more of the same. A little house, I would say to myself. Just a little house of my own to care for, just mine, just my house, a few rooms to think about, a big kitchen and a yard out back..." Why The Tree Loves The Axe, Jim Lewis.

Ah. And that sums up the last few weeks so far in the new flat, my infamous fantasy being fulfilled. I've been cooking and cleaning and keeping the place tidy and had my parents over for dinner on Sunday - we sat on the patio at our candlelit table and looked at aerial pictures of the whole of London during coffee, I've been shopping in the delightful little market buying fresh foccacias and (unfortunately ungutted or cleaned) fish, fruit, vegetables, prosciutto and chorizo and olives from the numerous delis nearby... ah. It has been nice.

So, apart from the domestic bliss (jesus, I've even started sewing and "turning over" my dresses in the evenings like a genuine Victorian housewife...) I've started job # 2 hunting in earnest. Fucking hell, I'm out of here as quick and as soon as it is possible, oh yes.

In other news, some of a worrying nature from Ananova:

Thirty-seven held for cockle-picking

Thirty-seven people have been arrested for picking cockles from a beach.
They were arrested in Morecambe, Lancashire, after they were allegedly involved in illegal cockle-picking on the sands at Morecambe Bay.
A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said three vehicles containing the suspected illegal immigrants from China were stopped.
She said: "This incident appears to follow on from something that occurred back in July when complaints were received from the public about the activities of the Chinese cockle-pickers who were becoming a growing concern to the community."

Shit - where are my parents today?