Saturday, November 12, 2005


The most accurate and useful thing anyone has said to me since I’ve been in this country was uttered by one of the TH’s bosses at a fairly debauched stag night affair the other evening. (I can only blame the language barrier for the reason I was at a stag party in the first place, since you ask.)
It was also pretty much the only thing I understood of what anyone said that evening because the music was so loud as to render any attempt at conversation totally pointless, but then clearly that’s not what stag parties are about anyway and the gap between mouthfuls of alarmingly rainbow-coloured drinks was only generally enough for everyone to prove that they had reached the oblivious state of consonants-only chat that such occasions demand. But I digress. This very lovely gentleman said to me, in the short space between James Brown and Herman’s Hermits and with the wisdom only ever stumbled upon by the equation
1am + 54% proof x 10
‘Nobody cares in this country where you’ve come from or what you’ve done, only what you’re GOING to do’.

Up until now I had been operating under the misplaced assumption that at least someone I met, at some point, was going to ask me what my career-background is and what I’d been doing with the last 42 years of my life. In truth, not one person I’ve met since I’ve been in this City has asked me about anything further back than yesterday, and frankly I was beginning to think that this was rather impolite. As a consequence of this, I’ve developed very clever ways of sneaking said information into conversations, although anyone has yet to take me up on these starting posts.
To give you an example.
‘What would you like to drink?’
‘I’d like a Sapphire and tonic please, which became my drink of choice whilst I was working at the RFH between 1986 and 2005 in four different arts administration posts’
Expected reply –‘Wow – really? You worked at the RFH!?’
Actual reply -‘Do you want that with lime?’

I’d almost reached the point of getting my CV tattooed onto my arm, which one would hope would be a conversational starter for ten just by itself, but now I have been enlightened into the American way I realise that all I need to do is to write a
which, loosely translated, means a document of the course of my life and where I will be going and what I will be doing in the future from this day forth (including my progress word for word and letter for letter), each year up until the day I die. With God’s help. Clearly.
(Actually it doesn’t say clearly, I added that for greater emphasis.)
And once I have a document laying out exactly what I’m GOING to do, everyone will want to talk about it (and me) all the time and I will be offered a myriad of exciting well-paid jobs the moment I receive my work permit.

All of which is very heartening. Especially as I see that the London Jazz Festival is happening without me this year. I saw the ads and everything, but really didn’t imagine for one minute they would actually go ahead……


Anonymous Anonymous said...

London Jazz Festival in London off to a good start. Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer plasma screens advertised Archie Shepp as 'a dynamic new singer-songwriter'. But he must be 70 if he's a day or my name is Madonna!

3:59 PM, November 13, 2005  

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