Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Confidence Tricks

Christ, Day 8 of the Great Job Hunt, and the cabin fever is starting to clamp down really, really hard. As much as I love home life, an unleavened diet of sitting hammering away at the laptop, rarely venturing further than the little shop on the corner is driving me slowly out of my fucking mind. If anybody I know out there is reading this, for crying out loud, drop me a line and invite me out for a drink or something, whilst I’m still capable of stringing a sentence together. I’d forgotten how quickly social skills erode and float away when you don’t often have the opportunity to communicate with other human beings.

I think I’m starting to drive Mrs. AKA insane with my grumpy, monosyllabic grunts as I pad around the house like a bear with a hangover, and I rarely change out of the clothes I’ve slept in before the night rolls around again. I bet I don’t look like the best husband in the world right now: no job, bad attitude, ripped sweatpants, and chronic bed head. What a catch!

Fed up of trying to find a new job. It’s thankless work. Throwing e-mails and application forms out into the world, never seeming to get any kind of response. Countless phone calls to recruitment agencies that don’t get returned, until I finally get hold of one of the fuckers, who tells me they’ll call me back in a minute. That minute never seems to come…

Trying to keep myself occupied with writing work. Weirdly, even though I’ve been at this writing malarkey for over five years now, I still get a strong dose of The Fear every time I stare at a blank screen for the first time. It’s always the same thought that bounces off my frontal lobe: “I can’t fucking do this”. Regardless of the fact that I’ve managed to do “this” many, many times before. I’ve started a film review a few times now, and abandoned it a sentence in every single time. Researching the ass out of another project at the same time, and with each sentence tap-tap-tapped onto the screen, my confidence grows and I remember that, yes, of course I can do this.

Fuck it. There are words to write. Time for me to dig deep again and find a little bit more hope.

Friday, June 24, 2005

London's Burning

And so my fifth day of unwanted self-unemployment begins, and the sky is no longer on fire. And I’ve got yet another day of fruitless job-hunting ahead of me.

I haven’t had the chance to do any writing of any kind for the last week, and I fear this may turn into a permanent state of play until I start carving my day into immutable chunks: family time, job-hunting time, writing time, etc. At the moment, it’s just a huge lump of shapeless hours that disappear quickly and before I know it, the sun is setting again and I haven’t got anything done.

I’ve been battling a particularly virulent bout of hayfever for the last week, trying to get stuff done with my head swollen, a neverending supply of mucus clogging up my nostrils, strangling my brain, coagulating on mountains of tissues strewn all over the house. Lovely.

On top of that, London has been melting for the last week, a wall of heat pushing down from above, not a breeze in the air to take the edge off the fire. Yesterday, on the hottest day of the year, with temperatures topping out at around 31 degrees C, I bravely / stupidly (delete as applicable) ventured into the heart of London for a press screening. Which meant tackling the horrors of the unventilated subterranean inferno that is the London Underground, drowning in the sweat of a thousand commuters, my skin permanently slick with a sheen of bubbling perspiration, rapidly darkening with the grime of the Big Smoke clinging to me like a black membrane of ash.

And to make it worse, the air-conditioning at the cinema was broken…so there was a room full of film critics pumping out acrid heat, listlessly fanning themselves with press notes, swilling warm water that was supplied to try and keep us from passing out.

After the movie, there was a bit of a party thing going on, so I grabbed a couple of ice-cold beers and propped up the bar, with the beer turning into steam the second it touched my lips. I didn’t stay for long: I didn’t recognise anybody I knew there, so I headed for the exit soon after.

What else? The last week has included my leaving drinks from my last job; Father’s Day; my second wedding anniversary; Batman Begins…but I haven’t got time to get into all that now. There are jobs to find, writing deadlines to meet, facial hair to shave. Otherwise, before I know it, the demands of family life will interrupt my already fractured flow, and it will be the weekend again.

I’m busier now than when I had a full-time job! Where the hell has that 40 hours a week gone?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Liquor in the front, Poker in the rear

What can I tell you to stop the blood pouring from my eyes and the brains oozing out of my ears? The last hours of my current employment are dying away minute by interminable minute, and I’ve become so bored and disconnected from it all that I’m tempted to get up and head for the exit now, rather than wait for the hollow good wishes and back-slapping sure to be spewed onto me tomorrow morning.

Can’t wait to see the back of the lot of them, to be honest. Having these fucknuts pollute my life for the last ten months was quite a steep price to pay to watch my little girl grow up. A little girl that I am on the verge of renaming “Mad Monkey Kung Fu” by deed poll. My body seems to be the most exciting climbing frame she has ever seen, and her little legs flail around like fleshy nunchakus.

That is all. The next time you hear from me, I will have rejoined the ranks of the unemployed. Again.

Oh yes. One last thing. Stop reading this now. Find the nearest cinema and go and see Sin City. Go. Run. Now. Film of the Year so far (if you got the stones for it). A world where a film like this exists seems to me to be a world worth tolerating just a little bit longer.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dead Man Working

All change please, this job terminates here. It’s almost time for me to pack up my Spongebob Squarepants Pez Dispenser and get the Fuck Outta Dodge. Less than a week to go now.

Friday afternoon. The last Friday afternoon I’ll ever work in this office. Or this building. Or even this postcode.

I know everything will be OK. All I need is a smile from my two girls to get me through the day.

And comics. I need them too.

And movies. And maybe some funk CDs.

Mrs. AKA is pulling out every trick from her repertoire to keep my spirits up, so she’s taking me to see Mr. & Mrs. Smith tonight. She knows the effect that Angelina Jolie and an arsenal of high-tech weaponry can have on the pleasure-centres of my simple ape-brain. Whattagal! (Mrs. AKA, that is, not Mrs. Smith.)

I don’t envisage being in the office a great deal next week. Going to snag a couple of days off to look for The Next Job, whatever it may be.

One positive note from this week: I bagged a new writing gig, and now I’m working on a script for a short documentary featurette for a forthcoming DVD release, which will keep me out of trouble, might fatten my ailing bank account ever so slightly, and could always lead to more work. No downside on that one. It’s doing what I love, and doing what I’m good at.

So, until the axe finally drops and gets snarled up on the gristly bit of my spinal column that keeps my head attached to the rest of me, I’ll just sit here staring at the walls wondering what the hell I’m still doing here.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Talking to Myself

“So, you’ve had your second consultation now. What’s the happs?”

“Well, despite positing an eloquent, powerful argument to try and hold on to my job, the end result hasn’t changed. I’m being made redundant. My last day will probably be next Friday.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“Pissed off. Angry. Resentful. A bit fearful. I’m being given the bare-minimum of a month’s notice and getting a foot in my ass as they show me the door.”

“But you fucking hated that job! You thought all the people there were stupid, shallow dunderheads. You thought the work was tedious and unchallenging. You learnt nothing in your 10 months there.”

“I know, I know. But I wanted to be the one to walk away from them. I wanted the choice and the power. This way, I have neither. THEY get rid of ME, and not the other way round. And then there’s the great big unknown. I don’t have another job to go to. I don’t know what the future holds. And I need the money.”

“Don’t worry. These things have a habit of shaking out fine. You’ll look back on this and be glad with where you’ve ended up. You’ll get another job, and you’ll cope, and you’ve got a wife and daughter who dote on you. (And I bet that they’re secretly pleased that they get you all to themselves for a little while).”

“Maybe. I could just be the grumpy fucker who paces the floor at home angsting about where the next job is coming from. They will be gagging to get me out of the house.”

“Wait and see. The next thing could be good.”

“Yeah. But the next thing could be bad.”

“Guess we’ll find out together.”

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dumb Shit I've Heard

More in the occasional series of stupidity my ears are assaulted with. And, yes, I really did overhear someone saying this:

“I was watching that Pulp Fiction the other night. I didn’t understand it. Halfway through that John Travolta gets killed, right? And then later on, he’s alive again! What’s that all about?”