It’s that time again when we’ve just remembered those lost at war and now we’re turning to children in need. All of which is worthy and wonderful of course but, lest we forget, there are adults in need too. I can only speak from the heart and personal experience.
This morning I received an email from a job I applied for, saying I’d been unsuccessful on this occasion – one of those letting you down gently fuck offs that from time to time serve up an irritating cocktail of emotions: disappointment, relief and anger.
Taking these in order, the disappointment is obvious because it means yet another kick in the bollocks and yet another month on the streets. The relief is also palpable because you think to yourself at least I don’t have to wear a suit, fork out for the travel, dance to someone’s tune and lie through my teeth that this is my dream job when in fact any fucking job will do because I’m penniless. The anger – the most negative and unhelpful of all, yet kind of cathartic and comforting – is that you know you can do the job with your hands tied behind your back, standing on your head and blindfolded like Pudsey, and that you say things like “stick your fucking job up your arse!”
On the subject of anger, I received another rejection last week which began “Dear Mike…” which took super-human effort on my part not to reply as follows: “Thanks for your kind comments about my application and your compliments of my work. Thanks also for rubbing salt in my wounds. My name is actually Mark and if you can’t even be bothered to get that right I wouldn’t want to work with tossers like you anyway.”
But I reined back on that because I’m not a bitter man – when I’ve failed I always think I’ve failed because someone else needs to succeed, and jolly well good for them, those are the rules and them’s the breaks. That’s the kind of man I am. Magnanimous. My previous job was to find new talent and I was good at it. I still get emails from new talent seeking advice on how to find work in television, which I always give, because I’m a professional and a champion and because I’m me. But the most salient piece of advice I give is “Don’t be me, because it’s shit and the wheels always come off and you end up living in a van and crapping in a bucket.”
So what can you do to stop the rot? A very heartening phenomenon of the past few months of blogging is that I’ve received so many missives in support of my work. Comments vary from enjoyable, brilliant, more-ish, addictive, and can’t wait for the next instalment. Some even say I should do this for a living, which I confess has got me thinking and I even Googled “how to make a living from blogging.”
Among the options, I found, are crowd-funding and advertising. Regarding the former, I guess I’m already a beneficiary in that I have a crowd of friends, family and loved-ones who’re always there with a meal or a bottle of wine, and to whom I owe a massive debt and if (when) I get a job I’ll be booking tables for them all. And with regards to advertising, well I guess I’ve helped to sell or place products most of my working life including twenty years or so at ITV. And in terms of advertising in this blog I suppose I’ve done my share of that too in posts past, either unwittingly or downright brazenly.
Among the products I’ve plugged are Pot Noodle – “Fill the kettle and fill your belly”, Asda tinned chicken curry – “Mmm-more than a mmm-morsel of mmm-munchable mmm-madras”, and North Ridge Hiking Boots – “Kind on your feet, good for your sole and no blisters to heel.”
I’m most proud of that last one, so let’s hope North Ridge are reading! If they’re not, and this and all else inevitably fails, I have my precious Ottermobile to sell – “A good home needing a good home.” But then again that would be foolhardy and a desperate measure too far.
So what other ways can I find of stopping the rot to keep going? Well, there are my few sticks of furniture I mentioned yesterday. Also, now I come to think of it, I’m sure the box in Bubble’s back bedroom contains the dinky toys and ceramic dogs I used to play with and might be worth thousands. I’ve seen such things presented on Antiques Roadshow, where ordinary white-knuckled people show priceless family heirlooms and pretend nonchalance about their value and swear blind they’d never part with them whatever their worth. Perhaps that’s worth a shot.
But to revert back to the Children in Need theme, I managed a chuckle this morning that lifted the gloom I felt on rejection. What gave rise to my chuckle was this childish memory which I hope you’ll share with me…
I was playing with my dinky toys and arranging my ceramic dogs in alphabetical order from Alsatian to Spotty Dog, and suddenly something stole my attention. It was my mother watching me, not with pride or maternal affection but with dismay.
“What’s wrong, Mum?” I asked.
“Mike,” she said.
“Mark,” I corrected.
“Ah yes. Mark, I think it’s time you got rid of those toys.”
“But Mum!” I cried, “I can’t! I love them!”
“If you sold them,” she said, “the money would come in handy. You could buy something useful, like books.”
“I can’t!” I protested, “I hate books!”
“You must,” she insisted. “All this playing with toys and putting dogs in alphabetical order isn’t good for you.”
“Because you think I’m OCD?” I said.
“No,” she said, “Because you’re 32.”