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Tuesday 10 December 2013

No job for someone with a brain

 Become a journalist and prepare to be despised.  No regrets. Age 11 I told my father my aim. Age 15, ahead of dodgy O-levels, confirmed my choice. Some stepping stones:

Restaurant critic. Eight months quite enough. VR and I discovered eating-to-order is not as much fun as just eating. Drank well but meals out should be occasions not transactions.

Pretty girl 1.
Salutary. A feverish adolescent, I transcribed pretty Miss Barker as Parker. The shame touches me even now.

Pretty girl 2.  Now an editor with sarky reputation. Comely PR practitioner admits being terrified meeting me. No longer adolescent I find there's less delight in this than I imagined.

Venezuela. The Orinoco is close by but an international hotel is just that.  The steel plant is fabulous, however.

Celebrity. London men's club; hand is shaken: "Hello, I'm Denis Compton."  I knew that and wanted to say so. Modest, cheerful, youthful memory still intact.

Francophilia. "I'm ABC, commercial secretary, French embassy. We'd like you to speak about logistics in Paris. But first, what about lunch?"

Magic 1. Computer show in New York, post-dinner. It's snowing; a pal and I make our own tracks down the centre of the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue).

Magic 2. Winding up final publication details with book's author in San Francisco. Touring vineyards (with VR) in hired Dodge Charger in the afternoons.

Trying to find the exit I need at Shinjuku (?) tube station. A manly experience.

WIP Second Hand (50,220 words)
But Pratt’s serious conscientious face split suddenly with laughter and he slapped his hands flatly on his thighs. “This is fascinating, bloody fascinating. You’re (ie, Francine) changing – right in front of my eyes. You’re learning to doubt things; the essence of your new trade.”


  1. This has led me into the realm of slow left-armed chinaman bowling, and finally into the general language of cricket. With coffee only half down I've decided to mull the lovely summer chirping of black beetles....the crickets of my youth. And hoorah, WV has simplified again!

  2. You have revived a memory or a nightmare. Sometimes I think that I'm still in Shinjuku raiway station trying to find my way out. Perhaps I am. It would explain a lot.

  3. Wow! Shinjuku! Navigating that one is a 3D experience with other dimensions thrown in. You are indeed 男らしい!

  4. MikeM: People are opting for ellipticism in my comments box. Sauce for the goose...

    Joe: A part of you - is it growing or shrinking? - will always be left padding hopelessly round Shinjuku station. There's a literary analogy here and the resolution probably lies in Pound's poetry. But, after Out Of Arizona, I think I'm all done with Pound. Pad on.

    RW (zS): Yes, but it's not the same for you. You're at home with the ideograms, you don't have to seek out the anglicised versions of the street names. For you Shinjuku is a game (a world centre for pachinko) whereas for us it's the first page of a Kafka novel.