10 May 2010
In the day job, nothing stays the same for long. The two Claires left me. ‘The Hutch’ to do something less stressful and ‘Lady Claire’ to create a new human being from scratch.
Mark ‘Welsh’ Jones is my new City wingman. He has almost as much panache as me and is only slightly less handsome. He talks about rugby, and his girlfriend who is scatty (lawyers – typical) but gorgeous. Mark and I pull off ingenious business moves then congratulate each other on how clever we are. When someone pisses us off he gets out his travelling computation device (an i-Something), calls up Facebook and gives us a visual. We’re more likely to forgive the beautiful people.
Mark Keizner isn’t Welsh. He’s a big loud London family man and a creature of pop culture. He knows all about films and TV personalities and talks a lot (sometimes almost continuously) – having something to say about everything and quite a lot about nothing. ‘The Keiznertron’ is also a tub of enthusiasm who hassled me until he got some book to look at. I printed out chapter one for him. It’s 25,000-words long. He read it in one sitting. Now he can do no wrong.
Joanne ‘the Caped Crusader’ Young is our tasty northern boss. She’s from Middlesbrough (lovely place by all accounts) and returned from abroad after a dark chapter catalysed by a weak young man. Now she’s through the storm, out the other side, in charge of the team and has herself a minted high-status boyfriend. He’s a kung fu expert who does yoga three times a week to “improve his core strength” (matron…). In our City-based commune the hard times are over and business is booming. Joanne and I giggle in the kitchen about how we’re going to be rich. These little things provide such titillation.
Ella-Louise Robinson is my arty administrator. She soothes the pain away when the bureaucracy becomes too hurtful. She also nags. Her nagging is part of our mutual communication strategy (rather than any imperfections whatsoever on my part). It’s like being in a sexless marriage with a pushy gothic knitting goddess (the girl actually knitted an octopus, with eight arms and everything – astonishing). Ella orders exotic wool off the internet then allows me to run my hands over it and think up adjectives to describe its unearthly softness.
That leaves only Charlene, who sits behind me. Charlene and I promenade down to Liverpool Street after work, then go shopping at Tesco and discuss her love life (she’s been agonising over a soldier). Charlene uses her feminine charms to get me to do stuff. She will sidle up and announce her latest desire (generally that I am dispatched to buy food). If I’m too busy she crosses her arms, turns up her nose and looks petulant. Sometimes Ella and her tell me to do things simultaneously.
I am henpecked in stereo.
‘It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.’ – Roald Dahl