Back to work! I had to actually get out of bed on Monday morning for my first day in my new job. It’s so good to be back at work, safe in the knowledge that I will get regular (good) money at the end of the month. So, I am now the Senior Secretary/PA to the Director of the Centre for Access and Communication Studies (CACS) at the University of Bristol. What a convoluted title for a fairly straightforward job. Now, I know I said I didn’t want to do another ‘boring old admin job'; but there are some mitigating circumstances surrounding this job which make it perfect for me really.
Firstly, it’s temporary: the centre closes for good at the end of the year so I know that I won’t be doing it forever. This also fits in nicely with James’ and my idea that we will be moving to London in the start of 2007 (because we will make our fortunes and the streets are paved with gold, don’t you know). Secondly, it’s excellent money and all my holiday from now until the end of the year is paid for. This means that France, Croatia, and Atlanta will all be paid vacations! Woo hoo! Besides that, the Uni closes over Christmas so I have to take that off so it boils down to financial security until the end of the year and twenty days paid holiday to boot! Finally, since they know the centre is closing they’ve as good as told me that job-hunting in November is expected, and the flexibility of working in a unit that is closing means that I should be able to go to writing as normal! All in all, perfect for me.
CACS facilitates the University’s approach to students with physical, neurological and learning disabilities. My first day involved a half days training with the new Student Union officers (a lovely bunch of young ‘uns, reinforcing my mind-set that I am, in fact, only twenty-one years old) about the nature of disability and what the Uni tries to do to provide for disabled students. All very interesting. The afternoon involved a tour around the centre, an introduction to the staff and my new desk, and the revelation that from October I will be, in effect, the office manager! To think that I was a jobless bum a few weeks ago and now I am virtually running a university department; how things change, eh?
No sooner had I started than it was time to have some holiday: Tuesday night was the Madonna concert. James bought my ticket as a birthday present and it was just AMAZING. Wembley Arena was sold out: 100,000 screaming fans eagerly anticipating the show of a lifetime. She didn’t disappoint. When the lights went down, the cheers went up and Madonna was lowered onto the stage inside a giant glitterball. With a beginning like that, you’d be disappointed if the rest of the show weren’t as camp as tits: it was. The whole thing ended in a giant roller disco sing-along. Brilliant! You have to admire the girl: nearly forty-eight years old, doing a two-and-a-half hour long show dancing away non-stop in killer heels. Whatever you think about her, she’s got experience and knows how to put on a show: she can make even the oldest song in her repertoire seem brand new, and the stage show was as young and fresh as any you would see from someone half her age.
That said, there were a couple of things I didn’t like about it. The religious controversy was, to my mind, trite. Putting yourself up on a giant mirrored crucifix with a ‘tiara of thorns’ is corny. It was well done for what it was, and I’m not bothered by the Catholic-bashing (rumours abound the Pope plans to excommunicate her) but it just seemed lame. The thing that really turned me off was the holier-than-thou approach to world events. Say what you want about the situation in the world today (and believe me, I say plenty: I’m a militant liberal through and through), but don’t force your own agenda down the throats of people who paid a LOT of money to be entertained. Am I taking it too personally when I feel affronted that Madonna tells me what to think about current affairs as though I don’t know anything about it myself? Maybe so, but I didn’t appreciate being preached to about the situation in the Middle East, or gang warfare in the West. I know that she, as an international superstar, is just availing herself of her extraorddinary pulpit to raise awareness, but she will go back to her Gloucestershire home and shoot ramblers. This happened around the corner from me on Thursday, so if I don’t want to go and listen to Madge harp on about it I don’t think I should have to; that’s all I’m saying. And one last thing: it’s too bloody hot. God bless British Health and Safety officers.
The rest of the week was spent racing around doing bits pieces for family and friends, though we did go out for dinner on Thursday night with James’ parents. Plantation is Bristol’s only Caribbean restaurant and the staff are simply the best (we Brokeback Mountain on DVD and drank wine and chilled out. What a treat. Good film too – neither of us had seen it before; it’s always nice when a much-hyped film turns out to be worthy of the attention. On Saturday we strolled up Gloucester Road and bought paté and cheese from the deli, and french bread from the bakery and had them for lunch. That evening was Simon and Laura’s housewarming party and for the first time ever, I saw James vomit through having too much to drink. Poor fellow; perhaps he’ll think twice before suggesting the whisky next time…
Next week: Two weddings in one week! August is shaping up to be the busiest month of the year!