Apr. 7th, 2010

dark_litany: (Scully Glasses)
I think work experience has broken me - my body keeps wanting to wake up at ten in the morning. Which doesn't make sense in the world of Sinead, especially when we're talking about holiday time here. I make it a point to sleep till even more ridiculous times when uni has broken for break. Shows how productivity and employment can't be healthy for me.

Still, I have something bright and shiny and, thank fuck, actually useful to put on my CV now. It was practically a God-send, being given the opportunity to work at Little, Brown Book Group - it's owned by Hachette Livre, which just so happens to be the largest publishing group in the UK (can't you just tell I brushed up on all this publishing shit before I started? Not that it can in handy AT ALL), so I was suitably excited about the fact someone dropped out at the last minute and gave me the chance to squeeze onto the programme.

Plus, it was during the week before Easter, so it was a four-day week and an early finish on Thursday, muhaha! Though, three hours were relinquished each day (two to the Tube, one to getting to the damn Tube) to merely getting there for 9:30, which was all sorts of a pain. I have been thoroughly initiated into the commuter life after a week, which might explain why my brain hasn't downshifted yet into "student!mode". Maybe my body still expects to be thrown out of bed at 6am to start the cold (often rainy) trek to the station to be bungled together in a metal tin with a load of equally miserable commuters. I had to spend two hours a day getting too intimate for comfort with a load of strangers (and backpacks - backpacks seem to be the curse of the rush-hour commute), while skipping from line to line (Metropolitan to Finchley Road, Jubilee to Westminster, Circle/District to Temple). Though, getting off at Westminster was interesting, as it's the deep, evil station where lots of pigeons seem to roost and people like to commit suicide (that's why there's a glass wall between the platform and the tracks, though people apparently jump from the very high escalators, too). Must be the MPs.

The Little, Brown offices were in this plush building along the Victoria Embankment, so I had the Tate, London Eye and Big Ben at my shoulder when I was walking down it. You could actually watch the Thames from the publicity department, where I was sorted for the week. Though, main thing I took away about Victoria Embankment? The smokers. I don't know how many times I had to start power-walking out of the way of smokers trekking down it. It didn't help that in the mornings there was a pandemic of early smoking breaks, so you'd get people squatting shadily in backdoors to the corporate buildings, having a fag or two.

Luckily, publishers don't seem to be full of those types so much - in fact, Little, Brown was a pretty young crowd, like the sort of 20-somethings you see walking around OC's Topshop. Lots of women, apart from some mean looking businessmen in the marketing department (which I thankfully wasn't scheduled to work in) but I was in the publicity department nearly all week, with the ladies from the literary imprints.

Monday was interesting purely because I got to turn financial voyeur and take a peek at what type of pay authors can expect for their books. Pretty paltry. I even felt depressed for them. Especially as most fell under a deficit, being recorded as an 'unearned balance' and when they did get anything it was like a fiver or something. Though, Sharon Osbourne is doing healthily, according to her royalties statement. I surprisingly didn't really talk about literature much that first day - I was put under the care of this older guy called Richard (who had some pretty spectacular nose hair) and we spent much of the morning talking about horror films and bemoaning the loss of the gay in vampire culture.

Rest of the week, though, I was hanging around the publicity department, getting to sit at an actual desk and everything rather than being banished to the kitchen with about fifty crates full of royalty statements. It was fairly cosy round there and quite interesting in terms of eavesdropping - the ladies were pretty frantic all day, phoning up journalists and sorting out press releases and generally doing mysterious, publishing things on their computers. They were a really intelligent bunch, as well, the way they discussed literature and authors all the time, so I was pretty much salivating from all the wondrousness of it all. I mean, the office looked basically like a mix between a bookshop and a library - there were all these nooks scattered about to read books, like mini-libraries and these high-backed, cushy sofas. Books were just about EVERYWHERE - I had problems getting my feet comfy under the desk purely because there were so many bound galleys there; and there were book cover designs scattered all over the table tops, alongside shelving units filled with books and these deep filing cabinets also FILLED WITH BOOKS. So, yes, I was in my own personal employment Heaven.

My duties weren't anything particularly thrilling or literary - though I thankfully wasn't expected to do any coffee runs at any point in the week - just your typical menial fare aka organising the newspaper cupboard (I won't miss having those ink-blackened fingers) and sorting out press releases by mailing out books to the critics and scouring the newspapers for press-cuttings. Basically the stuff the workers are too busy to do. Though, I wasn't complaining - I got to have some nice cosy jobs to do while appreciating the office's cappuccino machine - even if it's a shame I didn't get posted to the editorial department, which is the area I'm really interested in.

I did get a load of free books at the end - a dozen of them! The publicity ladies were saying goodbye and then just started scouring their bookshelves, grabbing books and chucking them at me. It made getting the Tube back pretty annoying but I have a stack of new books to enjoy over the summer holidays!

I braved a trip to Stevenage on the weekend, mainly because daddy has become some pathetic in this whole Antoinette/divorce debacle that I think he needed the company. Siobhan was going, as well, so that made the whole thing a little better - daddy got the chance to whinge and I had the opportunity to spend a few days with Vaughnsy. It was actually kind of disturbing how little things change in middle-class suburbia - everything was exactly the same. Not that I expected things to be drastically different or anything but you'd think the passage of two years would show up somehow. Though, my old room does resemble nothing less than a transit camp nowadays. I went in there on the Saturday night to find my bed missing and piles of random shit left over by Antoinette and Dominique. I picked through some of the useless tat, just to see if I'd missed anything, but all I wanted to bring back to Ricky with me was my Holy Communion dress and my old children's books. Felt a little sad over my abandoned teddies squashed into my old wardrobe, though.

We didn't get up to much - not that bank holiday weather would ever allow you to - just lazed about in front of the open fire daddy slaved over and geeked out over Star Trek. I got to meet Dominique's guinea pig, as well, (named Susie, bizarrely, after an ex-girlfriend of daddy's) and basically laid claim to it for the whole weekend, keeping it in my lap for ages and stroking the thing half to death (though I'm sure she enjoyed it, if her purring is anything to go by). Anything that falls under the thrall of Dominique is to be pitied, after all, and given some extra lovin'.

I'm in Londinium for some R&R tomorrow - or, in other words, for some shopping. I got down on the Saturday before my birthday, as I was in town for some birthday cocktails with Vaughnsy, but I didn't really get it all out of the way. We went to Match EC1, which was fairly quiet for a London bar on a Saturday night but we had a nice chat with the bartender - he was one of those sorts that you could just tell what sort of flavours you were into and he'd create a new cocktail on the spot! There's something undeniably sexy about a man who can create fancy booze. Shelled out eighty quid for the night (I picked up the tab) but it was worth it all - especially when I got banana beer and chocolate coffee and funny, popcorn-flavoured candles (strangely addictive in terms of sniffing) out of Vaughnsy as a birthday present. A quiet birthday, then, but I quite like it that way.


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