Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Selling my soul

Let the job-hunting commence!

Although I can't go anywhere until October, I've started to look around on the job boards & agency websites for a suitable new role for me in London.

Gone are the days I can work for £25k in a fun, casual, media-type role.  Instead it's looking like I will indeed have to sell my soul to the City, put on a suit & go into professional mode in order to make a decent living.

It's been a long, long time since I've even considered wearing a suit to work.  I'd be laughed at here if I put so much as a smart shirt on I'm sure.  I'm used to flexi hours, access to Facebook & a fridge full of whatever my heart desires.  I'm ready for the change though (I think).  I will put my best RADA training into practice and look all interested when Hedge Funds and the FTSE 100 are mentioned (oh god, my stomach is actually churning at the thought).

I honestly can't remember the last professional type company I worked for.  It was probably my first job in an Accountants in Wiltshire though which was the grounding for all my future jobs and a company to which I'm very grateful for giving me that start at 17.  I was there for 10 years and worked my way up from Office Junior to Senior P/A and gained the experience to flee the sticks and move to London that first time.   I think I did wear smartish clothes to start with but by the end of my 10 year stint there, I was wearing stripy tights, had a pierced nose and dreadlocks down to my backside.  They put up with a lot and it was probably a good thing that I left for the smoke when I did! this space lovely blog-readers.....there will be plenty for me to write about I'm sure.  I'm still hoping for that fun, creative job that pays over the £35k that I need (& want) but I'm not holding my breath and am going out to purchase a suit in readiness at the weekend.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Hens, Stags - be gone with you!

Warning - Grumpy Old Woman blog coming up!

As lovely as summer in Brighton is, it brings with it train after train of hen & stag parties.  They're everywhere, cluttering up our pubs and our restaurants, and bothering the likes of me who would rather they were hurded, like cattle, back onto the train they came from, as soon as they reach Brighton.  They can keep their inappropriate clothing and their beer guts (and that's just the women!) or save it for Croydon Uncovered (Sky Channel 11).  How any of these people ever found someone who would marry them in the first place is beyond me.

If I were to get married, I'd have a civilised affair beforehand.  Perhaps a nice quiet meal somewhere or a bit of pottery painting (ok so that was a joke).  If any one of my friends thought a night out dressed in penis-embellished t-shirts was "fun", they would be gone, quick as a flash. 

Yesterday was generally a bad day for "people I don't want to associate with - EVER" in Brighton.  Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was parents having one last night out before they are trapped indoors for the summer holidays with their kids, who knows?  Either way, I felt positively upper class around them and, occasionally slim!!!

As much as I will miss Brighton when I move back to London, I won't be missing these hideous creatures.  I don't think there's much call for hen & stag nights in Bar Italia etc.  Here's hoping there's not anyway.

I will leave you with this lovely sentence I heard yesterday from one of these hideous creatures.......addressed to a bus queue of primarily pensioners and people with children "Oi, bleeding hell, are you looking up my f@cking skirt or something?".  Says it all.  Over and out.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Streets paved with Gold.....allegedly

Big changes happening in my world....changes that have been forced upon me......but good all the same (I think).

Last Friday we got the (not so) unexpected news that our office will be closing down at the end of September.  Rather than sit in a corner sobbing, I'm going to take my severance money and my laptop, and move on to the next phase in my life.  I'll be very sorry to leave this place as it really is the best place I've ever worked (and probably ever will) but what will be, will be, and as I always say in times like has died.

So that news has prompted me to think about all things financial.  Brighton salaries are generally rubbish.  I can no longer work for £25k and moreso, I refuse to!  My current salary is rare and one I will never get again in Brighton....or at least at the moment.  So.....after a lot of soul-searching, I've made the decision to move back to North London.  This wasn't an easy one - I'll miss the sea, I'll miss my flat, I'll miss the Laines - but needs must.  I don't want to struggle for money anymore and the only way I can avoid that is working for decent money in the smoke.  I'm only going knowing that I can come back to visit friends at weekends or on days off....and am only 50 mins away.

I've been in Brighton for 10 years now and for most of those 10 years I've said I will never move back to London....ever.  Oh how things change.  I guess things over the past year have made me like the place again (or least parts of it) - I loved doing Lipgloss in Chalk Farm (albeit with a very short shelf life), I loved going to South East London for illicit meetings, and I've fallen in love with Soho again.  So...rather than dreading this move.....I'm looking forward to it....and only wish I could go now rather than have to wait until October.  At least I'll have Summer in Brighton and all that goes with it, and when it gets colder and less appealing, I'll be off...MacBook in hand.

I'm looking forward to being a North London girl again so will be trawling the property websites for a 1 bedroom flat in Highgate, Crouch End, Tufnell Park, Archway.  I'm very choosy though and won't be living in some kebab-shop infested street above a laundrette or anything of the sort.  I will, of course, have to find a job first but I'm hopeful.  If nothing else, I'm resourceful and can market myself quite well when needed.

Any job offers or flat offers gratefully received.  See you in Bar Italia x

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Auf Wiedersehn Pet!

This past weekend saw a very long overdue trip 'up North to Newcastle to visit friends and partake in a bit of Pop Klubb action.

I've been going to Newcastle for a very long time now but not nearly enough.  I'm happy to say that I would recommend a trip to the North East to anyone - it really isn't just all about lasses in inappropriate clothing and Paul Gascoigne you know!  (Although to be honest, it wouldn't be the same without them!).  I'm probably the only person who does but I love the Angel of the North.  It's very welcoming after a journey from practically the other end of the company, and it means I'm nearly there.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I started an indiepop night with some friends called Pop Klubb.  We booked an old social club, with cheap drinks, sticky carpet and "Brian from the Committee".  That first night could have gone either way.  A very special friend's band played and people sat around listening to Belle & Sebastian, and Jens Lekman, not really knowing what to expect.  Nearly 4 years on and Pop Klubb is still going strong......although I'm not involved in it, I'm very very proud of what we all achieved and how it gained such a great reputation for playing the best music and putting on great bands.

On the subject of Pop Klubb....long live Northern social clubs.  If we have them down South, I'm not sure where but they really are an institution that need to be kept.  I love the bad decor, the fact that it must have taken someone hours decorating the place with England flags, which are still up despite us losing weeks ago, the bubblegum vodka shots that have seen the downfall of many a twee kid, the entertainment that's advertised which looks like a bad joke but isn't.  I love it all.  I will never forget the look on a swedish friend's face that first time we walked in to one man and a whippet - it just about said it all.

We drove to the coast the next day.  The coast at Tynemouth & Whitley Bay is absolutely stunning - all sandy beaches which I miss.  As lovely as Brighton is, pebbles just don't do it for me.  Broken parking meters, closed cafe's, lack of parking spaces, and pushchairs blowing away in a near tornado didn't dampen our spirits at all and I loved my fish & chip lunch, the old tearooms and Master Whip (spawn of Mister Whippy) who looked strangely like Raoul Moat and someone I wouldn't let my kids near in a million years (if I had kids).

Tynemouth flea market is lovely - a mish mash of old & new, cupcakes & things you wouldn't ever want.  Slightly shocking was the fact that we firstly found nazi action man type dolls (the stall holder had a hitler at home you know!) and then a whole stall of nazi memorabilia.  Strangely interesting but a bit worrying too.  I was more worried by the dolls if I'm honest - as they're new and apparently there's a market for them. 

To my friends in the North - I will be back soon - if only to say hi to Master Whip!

Monday, 5 July 2010

I heart Soho....and more

This summer seems to be the busiest ever.  All good but fitting everything in is proving difficult.

I was hoping to be able to write about lovely indiepop things in this blog but Saturday night went down the pan.  Never mind......was obviously not meant to be!

It was the Race for Life event this weekend.  Brighton station was a mass of pink t-shirts yesterday.  I saw one particularly lovely thing that I wished I'd taken a picture of - a lady with a card on her back that said "I'm running for myself as I survived".  Fantastic, and surely what this is all well as obviously remembering those who didn't survive.

Soho was calling again yesterday so on a whim, off to London I went.  No room for small people and prams in Bar Italia this time but we went back to my newly found gem, the Mediterranean Restaurant on Berwick Street.  I love this place and am recommending it to everyone!  £7.50 for two courses of yumminess.  Not the smartest of places and you might not even notice it from the street but the food is great!  Halloumi salad starter, and grilled salmon main - wasn't I good?

I wish I could tell you I did lots of cultural things yesterday or shopping, or at least spied a good celeb or two...but in all honesty, all we did was eat & drink.  Baby in tow was a good excuse & who's complaining?  Pattisserie Valerie next.  As I was having a good "don't eat all the pies" type of a day, I just had a milkshake but cakes are on the menu for next time.....all that'd be rude not to.

Still on a food note...I was happy to see The Stockpot was still open on Old Compton Street.  I was sure this had closed down before.  Love, love, love The Stockpot.  Nothing special on the food front but cheap & cheerful, and great punters.  I used to go to the one on the Kings Road regularly and would see Holly Johnson without fail every single time.  I think this place has been around since the 50s and nothing much has changed from what I can tell.  Vintage lasagne too no doubt!

.........and just because I like it, here's a pic of a hairdressers window in Kingley Street, just off Carnaby Street.  Am wondering if this is the place that Ian Earl of Ealing visits.  Perhaps he'll tell me.

Soho done.....this week is unfortunately not a good nor exciting one.  Two dental appointments (which my friends will know fear me with dread) and a meeting at work on Friday which will determine our fate as an office.  Expect moaning, groaning and tears in my next blog.....or perhaps not as I'm off to Newcastle on Saturday.  Swings & Roundabouts!