Monday, 15 September 2008

And now for something personal...

The most frequent complaint of these wayward sentiments (made by my motley crew of loyal readers) is that, though they appear as if belonging to a blog, do not actually constitute a blog, rather a mere collection of essays. 'Tis true to be sure - I like essays - it means I can make believe I'm writing my own newspaper column, but without the pressure of deadlines or word count. Nevertheless, I shall endeavour to occasionally take on the mantle of confessional (compulsive?) bloggette.

Starting now.

Two firsts for Monday the 15th of September. I started a new job, and given that "working" is a concept I find in every way unpalatable and reprehensible (academia partially excepted, of course), I was looking forward to today with trepidation and apprehension. I needed not worry, however, as my new post is pretty swish. I am, as of today, the newest editorial assistant at the Architects' Journal - part time so I can still PhD (yes, it
is a verb), good pay (the publishing industry's equivalent of spotting a narwhal in the middle of a desert), cool editor, and an equally groovy editorial team (afternoon "water cooler" chat consisted of a discussion of the merits (or not!) of Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions"). I'm quite fond of writing, keen on architecture, too opinionated for my own good, and a fascist pig dog when it comes to editing AND I've already snagged an invitation to the private viewing of Gerhard Richter's new show at the Serpentine next week. Me and the AJ are going to get along just fine. Oh yeah!

In an attempt to ensure my bottom spends good time on a chair in the library, especially now that twenty hours of my week are now dedicated to the AJ, in a whimsical fever of, uh, whimsy, I joined the London Library a few weeks ago. Today was the first opportunity I'd had to consummate my membership and I wasn't disappointed. There's a nice frisson of sexual tension given that the overwhelming majority of LL users are either male or very masculine looking women. It also doesn't help that the floors in the stacks are metal grates, meaning that anyone on the floor below looking up may have caught an eyeful of my stockings and knickers. Needless to say, I won't be wearing dresses in the library anymore. Don't want to encourage the pervy old men. The selection of books is ace and open stacks are such a good idea, especially compared to the Fort Knoxness that is the British Library. But the best thing I discovered in the library this afternoon was in the Members' Room where I retired after a few hours of reading to revive myself with a cup of tea. I picked up the magazine nearest me to page through and then noticed it wasn't actually a magazine. The cover letter on the manuscript politely explained that the author of the screenplay resting in my hands had been unsuccessfully pitching said manuscript for the last three months. He had bribed a friend, a member of the Library (which incidentally is rather costly to join), to surreptitiously sneak the manuscript into the Members' Room so that any directors or producers (who happened to be members of the Library) might take pity (or interest, whatever) on his script and make his dream come true. The best bit was the post script which indicated that, for their trouble, the kindly producer/director would be treated to a "large drink" and that the author would make a "small donation" to the library. Though I am neither kindly nor a producer nor even a director, I was intrigued by the gumption of the author and turned to page one only to find (not unexpectedly) that the writing was terrible and the story even worse. If you're going to go through the trouble to hob-nob with the great and glorious of the LL, at least make sure you've got a good story to tell and then do it justice by telling it well. For all the awfulness of the script, I was quite taken with my studious afternoon in the reading room and look forward to many more such productive sessions surrounded by the charms of the library. In trousers mind...


J. Harker said...

Congratulations on the job - and a productive afternoon at the library.

Ours has no such metal grates, and I think that's likely a good call for the safety and concentration of everyone concerned. Good luck on avoiding the creepy old men.

J. Harker said...

(Sorry to reply to your comment here - for the life of me I can't figure out how to leave a follow-up comment.)

The class is of mixed attendance... It is an upper level undergraduate class and a lower level grad class. So, theoretically, anyone in there should be at least a third or fourth year undergraduate student. Unfortunately, at this university, three or four years of undergrad experience doesn't count for much.

I'd love to do Tibullus next, actually! I've read a bit of him, but not much. Then again, maybe I'll just leave it to you and read along.

Very pleased that your friend passed the link along - hopefully it has helped soothe some of the cravings your Catullus fetish must produce