Monday, March 19, 2007

Lessons in Temping

It is Monday morning and I am supposed to be at work. My temping agency called on Friday to say that they had some work for me at a local town council starting today. Despite having been given no details I agreed to it, because I am currently experiencing a whole new world of financial horrors. Trying not to think too hard about the fact that a whole week of this sort of work will earn me the same amount as I can earn singing for three hours, I told them I would be ready to go on Monday morning, awaiting a phone call with instructions.

This morning I carefully selected the very few items in my wardrobe which are at all suitable for an office. A knee-length skirt I have had for six years, with a broken zip which means I have to pull it on over my head, a neat black top (not too low-cut), and a pair of my mother's sensible shoes. With my hair tied up and subtle make-up, I studied myself, concluding that I could probably blend in with the nine-to-fivers, and nobody would know I was just a work-shy 'musician'. In my bag I have a hastily-packed lunch of sorts, which comprises of some rice-cakes, two apples and some walnuts. It was all I could find. Also there is a plastic bag containing some loose green tea leaves, which I must admit look rather suspect. I am all ready to launch myself into the hectic world of the town council.

As much as I intensely dislike office work, I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to actually earn some money for a few weeks. Having not heard from the agency by nine fifteen, I called them. I was told to wait for them to get back to me, which I still am doing. I am still waiting, hoping that there is actually some work for me, that I will actually be earning some money this week.

On Saturday I had my second piano lesson. My teacher says he will give me gold stars if I continue to do so well, and that, to be honest, is all the incentive I need. I can't wait to be able to translate the songs I hear in my head into piano parts. At the moment when I write a song I record the main vocal onto my computer and then put other vocal lines around it to denote where I want the accompaniment to go. It works, but it is arduous and doesn't make the parts accessible to other musicians. By learning the piano I am giving myself autonomy as a songwriter and I am also improving my music theory so I can work more easily with other people as well as write better songs. Also it means I will be able to entertain myself by playing showtunes and singing along enthusiastically, so between that and the promise of shiny gold stars I am feeling very enthusiastic.

This week I have a rehearsal for a band I had a first audition with last week, and who are brilliant. The two other members are friendly and down-to-earth, whilst also managing to be super-glamourous and desperately fashionable. We met and had coffee in Soho on Friday early evening, before going off down an alley to sing some songs. I sang for them, and then they taught me a quick three part harmony vocal. I listened to my part three times and then we launched straight into it, with the guy taking the bass part and the girl the top, and me in the middle (not like that, you pervert). It went well, and they seemed to be keen for me to be involved, but we need to see how the rehearsal on Wednesday goes. I am excited about it, it is a really performative project which already has a profile but which needs another girl who can take an active part in the creation of songs as well as be a third voice.

After that on Friday I went to the Jazz Café in Camden, where a friend of mine was drumming for Kid Creole and the Coconuts. He got me in (free, I hasten to add: thirty-five pounds entry is a little beyond my reach) and I had an amazing time. The band were fantastic, with a brass section, percussion, drums, bass and guitar, three backing vocalists/dancers and, of course, Kid himself, who has an incredible amount of stage presence and charisma. That added to the dancing of the girls in the little outfits made the whole gig really high-energy and loads of fun. I was there on my own, but within about five minutes two guys had started to chat to me and I no longer had to stand by myself. Time slipped by so quickly, and before I knew it I was getting in a taxi to get on the last train home. Feet aching and ears buzzing I fell into bed at about three, setting my alarm to be up for my piano lesson in the morning.

Saturday eveing was Dan's birthday party in Camden, which was huge amounts of fun. The dancing migrated from one bar to the next, and then to Dan's living room at about four in the morning in a shoes-off, mixture-between-drunkenness-and-exhaustion-based frenzy.

Today I am reflecting on last week and contemplating this coming one, in which I have a rehearsal and maybe some work. Also maybe a date, depending on whether I can work up the courage to send a tiny little text message. Only coffee, probably. Maybe some cake.

It is past eleven now and I have called the agency twice, so I will call them again in about ten minutes. If not I shall probably sit here all day, wearing these unfamiliar clothes and watching the phone. Perhaps I will give up and change, and go out running, then try to get some singing work. Maybe busk in the back garden whilst being eyed suspiciously by the dog.

What a strange Monday mornng.


Blogger Clarissa said...

How incredibly rude rude rude of the agency!!!!!! I would like to dress up like a singer and wait for a call ... except if the call came I would be in deep dog doo because I can't sing worth poo. xx, c

7:18 pm

Anonymous greavsié said...

The Piano! Are you turning into Elton John? ;-)

7:26 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

C - They ARE rude, and I have had a horrible day as a result. Bastards.

Greavsié - Mainly. I am working on becoming diva-ish and a bit fat, with a predilection for flamboyant eye-wear and flowers.

7:38 pm

Anonymous andre said...

'flamboyant eye-wear and flowers'

Elton is in big trouble

7:48 pm

Anonymous emma said...

a lot of the big temp agencies are a real pain in the arse and unreliable. I used to temp with prospect temps (they give you jobs in the non profit sector) they are quite nice and also do not expect you to dress up like a dolly bird. they are here:

9:03 pm

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

That is really rude of the agency.. but hey, piano! I haven't played in years, but I was never amazing at it. Nothing is sexier than singers who can play piano.. Fiona, Tori.. Ben Folds is even sexy.. ok.. well, mostly he's funny, but still.

1:01 am

Blogger Dancinfairy said...

That is so annoying. I would hate it so much if I got up to go to work, got ready and then didn't have to go. It would be like getting up by accident on a Saturday. Scary.

Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend. I hope that your rehersal goes well too :o)

12:39 pm

Blogger Curly said...

Train the dog to bring you money when you busk in the garden. Then go out on the street and do the same thing, people will be amazed that a dog has such good taste in music - they'll be throwing fivers at you left, right and centre!


4:56 pm

Blogger lady miss marquise said...

God I hate the employment agents!

And thank you for your Camden story, I needed a little bit of Camden on my Wednesday afternoon...

12:59 am


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