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So now that I’ve stripped this trip right down, I’m starting to bring in a bit more complexity. And this morning I was thinking introducing the idea of racing someone. Or more than one. How about it?
How about we choose a mutual starting point on the West Coast and pledge to attempt to meet up in Austin and then again at some finishing spot on the East Coast. But what happens in between is up to us and our networks.
What might happen? Who would you like to see “race” against me? Would I care if I “lost”? What would “losing” or “winning” look like? We could turn that into an event perhaps – a closing thing (in NYC or back home in London?) where we all got together and swapped stories in front of an audience…
(photo by Taylor Davidson)
These are the cafes that seem to be going on regularly in the UK. Realistically I think I’m unlikely to get around to any before Christmas, so I’m looking at dates in the new year. If you run one of these and I don’t know you well already, or if you’re doing one somewhere else, please do get in touch.
Manchester – First Tuesday? Evening
Thames Valley – 1st & 3rd Thursdays – Morning
Cheltenham – 1st Thursday – Evening?
Cornwall – 2nd Tuesday? Evening.
Coventry & Warks. – 3rd Friday – Morning
Birmingham – Last Friday – Morning
Nottingham – not sure…
Now this is the home of, among other things, the Metropolitan Police Authority. But in the spring of 1988 it was the first place that I went to work in an office in London.
I’d just finished a few weeks at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham in the chorus of The King and I and I had no more work. My then girlfriend, later my wife, now my ex-wife… chivvied me (I think that’s the right word) into signing up for temp office work rather than “resting” – she insisted that I sign on with agencies and pester them until I got some work, any work, that would bring some cash in and stop me sponging off her. Damn!
So within a week or so I was sent along to this building in Dean Farrar Street, just behind New Scotland Yard to work in the General Office of Cipfa Services Ltd – which had been a kind of research and consulting arm of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy before a management buy-out.
I truly have very little idea of what the work was that they did there, although it was probably very close to work that I later did at the Audit Commission. All I knew was they produced reports, lots of them and they needed to be photocopied and bound and that was my job. I’d never used a photocopier before, but I quickly became a master of all its functions, dazzling my manager with stunning copying geek skillz – mainly because I think I was the first person to actually read the manual and think about what they were doing.
Of course I also enjoyed being stationed opposite the typing pool For younger readers, I should explain that this wasn’t a swimming pool provided for staff to sit around with their laptops. No, this was where typing got done. Very few other people in the building had a computer on their desk, let alone their lap – and those that did would never have thought of using it for word-processing, that’s what the pool was therefore – about 10 young women who sat and typed from audio or manuscript and who would feel overworked if you asked for something with less than 24 hours notice.
I stayed there for a while. They offered me a job. I turned it down to go to non-existent auditions for never-appearing acting work. I loved the non-commitment of temping, like I was a bit of an outlaw, not fully employed, but getting paid (£5ph!) and I really enjoyed doing a good job, quickly and surprising people with what could be done to make the reports look even better. I particularly loved pasting up pages that had charts on them. These were created by a separate team who had a computer and a plotter. The charts had to be cut to size and pasted (yes literally, with a pritt stick) into a space left by the typist in the middle of a page. Reworking reports was therefore horribly time-consuming and stress-making so many things would go out not quite right.
The style of these reports were the inspiration for the first (and so far only) Tuttle Club Annual Report that I wrote 18 months ago.
This blog was nabbed to provide a space for collecting my writing, but then I thought, why shouldn’t it all go to Perfect Path? so I’m setting that up, but need to make at least one post here to test the autopost settings.