Goatee and I went and saw Mockingjay last night. What an amazing series. I could never get into the books too much, mostly because they are written in first person present tense and that drives me crazy. But the films I am really into. I leave the theatre feeling totally fearless and like I can take on the world. (And the films aren’t as gory as the books.)
In the past, I hated going to the cinema with Goatee. It was an HP and I thing, not a Goatee thing. The reason I never liked going with Goatee is because he fucking deconstructs everything. He’s got to break it all down and discuss it and turn it into an academic argument. Yeah, I know, pretty rich that a literary agent doesn’t like deconstructing a film. I should be able to academically read a piece of literature in a heartbeat. But, I guess that’s the thing. I shouldn’t. As an agent have to know what sells, what’s part of the zeitgeist, and what is intriguing enough to hold a reader or audience’s attention that they will recommend it and the read or watch the next in the series. This has nothing to do with an academic reading. Yeah, I can do that too. I do have a degree in English. And I think it’s quite fun to deconstruct books and films. But, it can also ruin it for me.
So, back in the day, I hated going to the cinema with Goatee. When he suggested we see Mockingjay I was hesitant. Plus, it was something I had wanted to see with HP. But, since that wasn’t going to happen, I decided that going with Goatee was better than going alone. And, we actually had a good time.
We went out for a meal after the film — there’s this great little vegetarian café that doesn’t make you feel like you’re eating vegetarian – and we talked about the film. He argued that the film is actually quite socially conservative, that it paints media branding, PR and propaganda in a positive light. And that the ‘good’ people are those that ban alcohol and get down to some serious labour in matching jumpsuits. I argued that that makes it a socially liberal film. We had a great time chatting and I really enjoyed myself.
We then went to a pub and had a few drinks. I finally got back to the flat around 1am, and he wanted to come in. It’s his flat, so I couldn’t tell him ‘no’, but I was absolutely knackered. So, I fobbed him off, and I’m so glad I did as I nearly passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Goatee has dropped me off in Dundee, but I don’t need to be into the office for another hour, so I’m having a coffee before catching the bus up to the office.
Yeah, and work.
So, yesterday, I had to tell him that the Intern was leaving for a proper job that paid money and didn’t ask her to commute for two hours. But I had to do it in a way that didn’t bruise is delicate poshy patriarchal ego.
Oh, and I had an email from one of my bloggy followers asking me if it was normal for someone to get a job in publishing without an interview (like the Intern had done). No. It’s not. But sometimes things aren’t as straight forward.
When I got the job with Lorainne, I had an informal interview with Paris, and then I met London and the rest of the gang later. So, while I didn’t apply for a job advertised and then go through the traditional selection process, I did interview and was vetted. As for the Intern, I had left a bit of that story out. After I noted that the Intern was looking for a job, and the editor noting a post had come open, they had a brief chat. Then I left the office for a bit – just popped across the road for a coffee — while the Intern met the rest of the team and they had an informal interview with her. When I returned to meet her, they had offered her the post, and I jumped in and negotiated a bit for her with pay and start date. I did this of my own volition, because she’s still quite shy and I knew she wouldn’t speak up for herself. But, for the record, working in publishing is no different than any other job. It may be about who you know, but if you don’t have the skills you won’t get hired…unless you work for Giles. Then he’ll hire any moron.
Anyway, back to work. So, I told Giles the Intern had come with me to MNM, ‘and when they discovered that you now own the Agency, they were so impressed. Your name has really gotten around. I had mentioned some of the work the Intern had been doing, and she noted instantly that you were personally mentoring her. So, any great work she was doing directly reflection on you. It’s true though. She would still be just some student if it weren’t for you. You’re really given her an advantage. Well, MNM immediately had to have her. I’ll be honest. She did turn them down at first. She’s loyal to you. But they pushed, and they offered her a package she could not refuse. They’ve offered to fit in with her studies and a nice bit of pay. So, I’m sorry if you’re going to be angry, but I pushed her to take it. It’s really my fault, but I thought you’d agree that having a former intern working at a publishing house is a great in for the Agency.’
He was silent, nodded, and then said, ‘Yes. I have been an amazing influence on her. I’m not surprised they snapped her up. It would be like having me work for them. When does she start?’
I told him that she’d work another two weeks with us, then her exams start. And she’ll go to MNM after that. He nodded his head then said, ‘That’s sound I guess.’
I figured that since he had been properly buttered up, I would then broach the subject of me working from home or coming in late, or anything to manage this commute from Glasgow. It was time to drop Goatee’s surname. No noted Goatee, but left out that he was a personal friend. (One thing that I’ve learned about people like Giles, they don’t want you to have connections. It puts you on the same par as him, and that blows his little class-ridden world to pieces.) So, I said that MNM put me in contact with Goatee – due to Giles owning the Agency – and that Goatee now owns an art gallery. He very much wants to be connected to the Agency, because of Giles’ fine reputation, so he’s loaned me the use of his artists loft when I’m in Glasgow. I said that I had a few book launches to attend this week (I don’t) and a few clients to meet for dinner (not dinner, but coffee). These late hours makes it difficult for me to get back to Dundee, so Goatee has given the Agency the use of the loft. Therefore, I’ll be coming into the office from Dundee this week, so would it be okay if I just worked from the loft rather than running back and forth between Dundee and Glasgow.
Giles thought for a moment then said, ‘I really don’t think it’s appropriate for you to be heading these meetings on your own. You really should have a senior manager with you. Or, actually, I think Patch would be better suited to lead in a client driven atmosphere. As he stays in Edinburgh, it’ll be easier for him to get to and from Glasgow. You can just send him the info and he can take those on. As for the loft, to use it, I’ve got tickets for a performance later this week in Glasgow, and after a glass or two of Champagne I’d prefer not to drive and usually get a hotel. So, how would I go about getting the keys for this place?’
What the fuck! This was so backfiring! Not good. Not good!
Time to use Patches ‘I’m a Dad, it’s what I do’ bullshit. I leaned in close and said to Giles, ‘It is wise for Patch to not be at home in the evenings? With his wife, well, so incapable. Patch is quite humble, but from what I gather that household would fall apart without him. A family needs their father, even if it just in the evenings.’
This was a risky plan. Giles and Patch are related (through Giles’ wife I believe), so it could backfire once again. But, luckily, this played up to Giles notions of ‘being a man’ and his misogynistic lifestyle. He leaned to me and said, ‘You’ve got a point. Women are fine with the day work, but a husband needs to be home in the evenings to make sure the ship is being run correctly. Perhaps you should be the one to go to these things in Glasgow.’
‘Not a problem. Not a problem at all. As for you using the flat this week, I’ll be using it also – the last train from Glasgow to Dundee is quite early. I assume your wife will be okay with us sharing a bedsit. I’ve got your home number, so let me ring her just now and talk to her. I don’t want her to think that there will be any impropriety in that, we are work colleagues after all. Unless, she’s the person you’re taking to this performance. Then, she’ll be in the bedsit with us.’
This worked a charm. He nearly batted the phone out of my hand. ‘No. No. That’s fine. I’m taking my “cousin” to this performance, and…no, no. I’ll just get two hotel rooms. Better in the long run.’
Just as I thought. Giles was going to use a flat, provided to us by a “generous benefactor”, as a fuck pad. What a cock.
I had a coffee meeting with a client this very morning (she still works a day-job, we had to meet before she was to be in the office). Actually, it’s the one we pitched the MNM book to, and the author is loving the Intern’s suggestion of putting the post-Referendum chapters online as a follow-up, then publishing them later.
Goatee said he had to go to St Andrews today, so gave me a ride into Dundee on his way, and then he’ll take me back to Glasgow this evening. It’s like having a private chauffeur.