Sunday, January 11, 2009

Will Work For Ponies*

*This means that I am happy to be employed by ponies, or paid in ponies. Obviously.

Friday's job-hunt very quickly began to resemble a montage from a bad film. Imagine, if you will, a thirty second sequence involving lots of people peering over the top of various counters, saying "NO" loudly, and shaking their heads resolutely. All different kinds of people in all different kinds of establishments, but all united in their opinion of the chances of me being employed. Most of them were perfectly nice about it. Only the girls about my own age seemed to be able to say "no" without being fettered by all that horrid human decency. Walking out of one place, where the reception to my question had been a mirthless smile, the curving of an neatly-plucked eyebrow and a slow head shake, had me saying "oooh" with all the sarcasm I could muster as I pushed the door open on my way out. I wanted to tell her that working somewhere with posters on the wall and fairy lights does not automatically make you cool, but I'm not sure she would have heard me, what with being all that way up her own arse.

Actually, some places claimed that they would be taking people on in the next couple of weeks, in which case I duly handed over my CV. One café had said the same thing last week, though, so I went back in again. It was a different girl this time. When I spoke to her she went red and shrugged. "I don't know if they'll have seen your CV. There's a pile of like, hundreds, in the back. So, yeah. Dunno." She avoided my gaze and knocked over a coffee cup.

Her manager was not available to talk to. He or she was probably making an origami swan from my GCSE results whilst sitting on a chair fashioned from eight hundred pieces of paper that each read "in my spare time I enjoy socializing and watching Celebrity Big Brother."

I have reasoned that it is a numbers game, and that eventually I will be employed. By the time I reached the Royal Exchange theatre to ask I was thoroughly dejected. The manager, like all the others, did not seem hopeful. He took my CV anyway.

"We just took on two people last week, so, I can't promise anything" he told me, shaking his head and looking through my CV. "What sort of thing are you looking for?"


He looked up, clearly wondering whether to make a lewd joke and deciding against it.

"Right. When can you work?"

"All the time."


"Yep. All the time." I smiled, to try and take the edge off the desperation.

"Right. Well that should improve your chances!"

He still couldn't promise anything. Nowhere could, but I reckon if I keep up this level of perseverance somewhere will eventually take me. Although by that point I will probably be so desperate that I will be cleaning floors for fifteen hours a day on a salary of half an old tuna sandwich and the odd copy of yesterday's Metro.

I am still keeping my spirits up, though. Yesterday my friend Thea came over with her son Ben, who is nearly one. I was helping her out with an application, and in return she bought me a beautiful scarf. The scarf was gorgeous but totally unnecessary, as the pleasure of playing with Ben was payment enough. We all had a lovely evening, Thea and I drinking tea and Ben mashing bits of apple into his face and giving us high fives. I walked them to the tram station, then returned home, thinking what a lovely, free and healthy evening we had just passed. No money spent, no alcohol consumed, just a wholesome, happy time. Wholesome is not my usual state.

Today I have been going through all the music I have written on my computer, and deleting loads of the rubbish that I have seen fit to hammer out over the last few years. It felt good to do this, even in spite of the fact that lots of it has been very painful to listen to. I have muttered "God, did I really write that?" to myself more times today than I care to mention. There was one track that I had titled "shit". Accurately, as it turned out. I also got a bit of a shock when I pressed play on one, secretively named "vm". Out boomed my voice, proclaiming in cut-glass tones that "I love vaginas!". I had forgotten that, when I was in a production of the Vagina Monologues a few years ago, I had recorded my monologue for rehearsal purposes. That one went in the trash file pretty quick sharp. As a result of this cull, though, I have a clearer idea of what I need to be working on to post something else on my myspace, and which can be adapted for live gigs.

Tomorrow I am going job-hunting again in the morning, then to meet another friend, Aisling, at two. She is an actress and has no money either, so we are going to have free adventures in Manchester. I have meandered around the Art Gallery a few times, now, so I am on a mission to find alternative free delights in this wonderful city. The arctic conditions will not, I suspect, help us in our ambition, so I am taking a fiver for coffee/a single glass of wine.

On Tuesday I will hop onto the bus to Bury Job Centre, to sign on. When they ask how I have been trying to find employment I fully expect to collapse into a puddle of woe, as I inform them of how many trees have been wasted on copies of my CV that are now floating around the seedy café underworld of Manchester. I am going along to a choir in the evening, but first I am meeting my friend Lorna, who has an induction day at the Royal Northern College of Music.

On Thursday I am going to The Lanternhouse, in Ulverston, which is where Ben has been since last week. His friend Sumit Sarkar is the artist in residence there, and it is the opening of his exhibition on Thursday. I am very excited about going, as Sumit is an amazing artist and a wonderful person. You can look at the details of the exhibition here.

I am looking forward to seeing Ben, who has released himself from writer prison today in order to go off on his bike and explore the coastline. He sent me an email with some pictures of where he went, including some gorgeous beach shots and some of a Buddhist temple he found. These were great, but the best by far was the video clip of a pony he met, to whom he fed some grass and with whom he had a brief chat about the pros and cons on glove-eating. I'm not sure why I find the notion of a glove-chewing pony so very hilarious, but I do. I really, really do.

So on that uplifting (albeit slightly concerning) note, I am going to go and Google "free stuff to do in Manchester" and hope that it doesn't just bring me straight back here. May your week be full of fun and impish ponies with a penchant for outdoor hand wear.


Blogger justme said...

And may your week be fun filled and full of ponies too! Do not fret. You are far too talented and lovely not to be snapped up into employment soon. Just keep on hanging in there. The people who succeed in life, are the ones who do not give up!

10:43 pm

Blogger Curly said...

Initially I just skimmed through this post and had comically confused Baby Ben with Boyfriend Ben. I wondered why he was smearing bits of apple over his face.

You'll find somewhere to work soon, there's no doubt about it. x

11:19 am

Blogger Léonie said...

Justme - Thanks. That's lovely to hear, I will keep trying in my weary way, hoping that someone employs me, even if it's just out of pity. I appreciate you saying those things, though, it helps.

Curly - Excellent. I now have an image of Thea and I sitting around elegantly sipping tea while Boyfriend Ben sits on the floor with a pile of apples, occasionally demanding high fives. Actually it's a bit of an unsettling image, really. But when I read it back and imagined your mis-reading it made me laugh out loud (LOL) (ack) so thanks! x

11:40 am

Blogger Ys said...

Aw I hope you find work soon.

You can visit my horses if you like to cheer you up :)

3:52 pm

Blogger Red Shoes said...

Aww, job hunting is one of my all time least favorite things to do. I'd rather have a pap smear or viciously stub all of my toes than go through what you are currently going through, poor thing. Best of luck.

I did sort of cringe at the thought of all the things you deleted. I look forward to whatever your next myspace page addition is though.

4:24 pm

Blogger Jaywalker said...

Would you like a job as mother to my children? The incumbent is really not up to the job. I can pay you in small dog (singular), waffles, beer.
Perks: free cossack beard, improved immune system, punctured ankles.

7:48 pm

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

I wish better than a cafe job on/for you.. and more salary than just a half of a tuna sandwich. Also, do you think actually working for ponies would be a positive experience? I imagine their management style might be a little stressful unless you had a supply of gloves to keep them happy and occupied. Just saying. Good luck sugar! xo

3:15 pm

Blogger marko said...

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6:57 pm


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