The Weekend My Boss Retired

I now remember why I stopped blogging. I have an uncontrollable desire to ramble about my days activities, but no time to actually type up the rambles for the blog.

So, I’m going to rely on my old friends, ‘Sections and Headlines’, to organise my digital thoughts.

Friday — Lorainne’s Retirement Do
Saturday — St Andrews Fun
Sunday — The First Author is Informed (Sort of)
Sunday — The Prodigal Nationalist Returns

Friday — Lorainne’s Retirement Do

This was just a fantastic night. Lorainne and Philip’s kids were there. London and Paris came down. London brought her partner, and Manchester even came along. (There had kind of been hard feelings when she left, but we got over that ages ago.) A whole host of publishers came and so did a few of our long standing clients.

The four of us (Lorainne, London and Paris) went to dinner first. To be honest, it felt kind of weird, but in a nice way. I mean, I’ve only been with the Agency for two years, these other guys have been with Lorainne for years. She’s really helped develop their careers, and they — in turn — have been a massive support network for Lorainne. What have I done? Clutch onto their coat tails trying to make a career for myself. In other words, I haven’t done much.

So, when the four of us went out to dinner, in a last super of the Agency sort of thing, I felt — at first — like I was intruding. How could I comment on a lifetime’s work, when I’ve only known her for a small percentage of time. But, that’s the great thing about these guys, they really know how to make a person feel like part of a family.

I don’t know why I was so nervous about going to dinner, because within minutes we were chatting and toasting and laughing and slightly drunk. I’ll still see Lorainne while I’m working from her house, but I’m sad that soon she won’t be a part of my everyday life. I owe so much to her. Not just as an employer and mentor (and then as a partner) in my career, but as someone who made me feel welcome in Dundee. She’s been a positive constant in what could have been a really tumultuous time. And to that I raise my glass.

One other positive of the weekend, is that I spent quite a bit of time with London and Paris, and it made me realise that I’m excited to be sharing an office with them in London. Yeah, I’m still in the shit with HP over the London move, but it will be nice to work with these guys everyday. Oh, and Paris is going to try and work a deal where she comes over once a week on the Eurostar and the rest is from home. I don’t see why that won’t work.

After dinner, we went to the party. So many people from the industry were there, and it’s times like these that I love working in publishing. The chat is amazing. Everything from Independence talk (of course) to social media to Russian politics to sales of crime fiction. Publishers are by nature well read, which makes them by nature interesting people. I left that evening feeling on top of the world. And while I was a little sad HP wasn’t there, I was happy that he wasn’t. It meant I didn’t have to spend the evening making sure he wasn’t hiding in a corner. I could just be social and be my self.

Saturday — St Andrews Fun

Woke up Saturday morning to a massive hang over and a text from Paris saying she was going to St Andrews to an exhibition, did I want to go? Despite feeling as if a rat had crawled into my head, gnawed at my brain, and then died, I met her across the Tay.

After a full Scottish and a bucket of coffee, I was feeling better and we headed over to the gallery. It’s this crazy little place on South Street. The front looks like a typical gallery, light coloured walls, and four of them at normal angles. Then you step into the back room and it looks like a catacomb. Narrow stone walls and a low arched ceiling. Not what you’d think for a gallery. But they have the light just right and it feels quite intimate.

The work on show was by an artist called Colin Brown and he does sort of art punk collage sort of stuff. Really bright colours, seemingly random images. You know how there are walls in a city centre that have had so many posters glued to them, that as they peal off you can see years of posted notices underneath. That’s what his art work is like…but with colour. I like them.

As Paris and I left the gallery, who did we bump into? Giles. He was in town meeting some friends for lunch. We got to talking about some plans Paris and I had for a few authors who are published by the same company to do a book tour of English language book shops in Europe together, and how we were looking forward to seeing each other more regularly.

I also noted that I would be missing Dundee, but looking forward to seeing Paris and London more often. I then casually mentioned that Dundee is such a cheep place to run a business, and that it’s becoming quite the cultural centre (nearly won 2017 City of Culture, the V&A museum being built, Malmaison has bought another derelict building, and the Waterfront Development), so the fact I’d continue to travel back to Dundee on the weekends to be with HP was a benefit to the New Agency.

Giles then asked about when I worked in Glasgow. Did I like it? I said I did, but I’d come to like the smallness of Dundee. He then mentioned the riots in Glasgow the night before.

As I had been off social media the night before, I hadn’t heard about all this. The riots were a bunch of neo-Nazis/Unionists causing trouble for ‘Yes’ supporters, and then everyone got into a fight.

It then dawned on me that I hadn’t heard from HP in over a day. What if he was caught up in that stuff? Not that he’s violent, but he’s not silent about his support of Independence. And because he’s not a fighter, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d gotten his head kicked in for wearing a ‘Yes’ badge into the street.

In a panic, I called. No one answered. I called again. No one answered. He was supposed to be hanging out with Roger, so I called him. No answer. In an absolute state, Paris offered to drive me over to Glasgow (she’d rented a car), but luckily just before stepping into the car I got a text:

‘I’m okay. Spent the night at an Independence lock in. What’s your problem?’

What’s my problem? ‘Yes’ers are getting gashed in Glasgow and he asks me what my problem is? How was I to know he was locked in a pub all night? I didn’t even think people did lock-ins any more. And it’s not like he keeps me informed of anything.

Being thoroughly annoyed, I didn’t respond to his text. I had a hotel in Aberdeen booked, because I had an appointment early Sunday morning with an author in Aberdeen (it was the only time she could meet me, as she was leaving for a flight to France at lunch and would be away for a few months), and I decided to go up the night before. I wasn’t sure if HP would be back that night, or…actually…when he’d be back. So, I decided that I’d not be home when he got there.

Right, I was going to continue on with these sub-headings. But the intern has arrived and I have some work I need to give her. Why she’s just now here. It’s nearly lunch, and she was supposed to start in the morning.

So, I’ll have to return to the blog latter today.


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