Journal Entry, 10 Oct 2000: On Friday had a call from Toby Smallwood at Alliance Recruitment saying that Chemence were looking for someone with just my background.
Anyway, yesterday he rang me at work to say they were very keen to interview me immediately. However, he then added that the money on offer was 14k rising to 18k over two years.
Normally in an encounter like this I would become sarcastic and flustered, but I simply said that I couldn’t afford to live on that sort of money so I was no longer interested.
He seemed hurt; explained that I needed to go back before moving forwards, and he kept mentioning my PhD. Later on he rang back to say he’d managed to negotiate with them and that I would be guaranteed weekend overtime to enable me to boost my income.
Still not interested. Am convinced it was a strategy to get me off their books. ‘Well’ I said, ‘if they’re offering that sort of money then they obviously want someone with a lot less experience than me.’
11 Oct 2000: At work, Pete was away again all day. Miss Tovey was bleating on about dope and legalisation etc. I told Martin that I wished dope was legal, cos then Steve could have a joint at teabreak and would spend the rest of the day in silence.
24 Oct 2000: Today at work gave Pete my brilliant green formulation and he then brought it back saying that the opacity was low and could I increase the pigmentation level by 20 percent.
So we’re lowering the cost and then raising it again.
Found some illiterate Peter Hassell memos – ‘Zeneca’ and ‘coalescent’ misspelt, and suggested adding zinc stearate to Haloflex.
Arthur Evans came along for a chat about pigments; made a comment about all the directors at Masons being reduced to managers again.
28 Oct 2000: Today’s mail – letter from Limbs and Things – we are considering all applications and will contact you in the near future.
Went to library and looked in graduate careers book (GET?) where it says starting salaries for Chemists are about 14 grand.
Bizarre experience: listening to Radio 4 where they wre discussing secondary education and how parents would attend half-a-dozen open days armed with league tables and interrogate local residents about what the kids were actually like before deciding on a suitable place for their cherubs –
And then turning over to BRMB where a phone-in listener was saying that homosexuals were perverts and would try to convert all the men in their social circle and how he would gladly kill one who tried it on with him.
30 Oct 2000: The end of the world. Last night strong winds, heavy rain, fallen trees blocking rail lines, leaves blocking drains, roads badly flooded. Snowing in Stoke.
23 Aug 2001: Phone call from Dean Morris: apparently Newtown’s solicitors have offered me a derisory sum as a compromise, and sent a copy of my redundancy scores – which shows me to have less experience than everyone else, poor timekeeping and attendance, low willingness and ability to learn etc.
27 Aug 2001: Fri night rode down to Newark and eventually found rally site. Put up tent in dark, not too bad, field flat and dry. No message from Mary (who I knew was going to be there) but was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the Foxes were there, along with Mike and Scotty, Simon and Vicky, Joan and the Jailers, and Mel. Gary and Ness turned up on a brand new FJR, saw Steve Rhead with a young lady, and Mary and Wink.
Silly games on Sunday. Val (yes, Val was there as well!) persuaded me to have a go at being wrapped in clingfilm and thrown down a wet plastic sheet. Of course I got soaked so I stripped off. At least it wasn’t cold.
Then Vicky lent me her clingy red dress which I wore all night. Does my bum look big in this? Dave (my next-tent trannie from the first PIL rally) won the cross-dressing competition. Bitch!!!!!
Alex climbed a tent pole in the marquee with a length of burning bog-roll hanging out.
Got back here and found stack of mail including paperwork from GMH and the sale contract from Bolloms. But they didn’t include the Compromise Agreement, and the sale is covered by TUPE. Have managed to dissect the score sheets, little bits that weren’t adequately obscured.
21 Oct 2001: Just Group shares – beloved of the staff at Newtown paints – have plunged from 10 pence to one-and-a-half pence.
There have been all-day tailbacks on the M4 motorway, some bloke holding his son hostage.
An elephant keeper was crushed to death at London Zoo.
At work our production manager, Andy, has his CD set on auto-repeat so that as he pops in and out of his office he can hear a song in fragments in full.
Whereas in the lab I hear every repetition. And one of the songs in his collection is by Janet Jackson, based on the melody from one of Satie’s Gymnopedies.
And it intrigued me how the composer of Vexations would be impressed by knowing that one of his tunes was being repeated ad nauseum.
21 Mar 2002: Sean was a very shrewd manager who neatly appropriated other peoples’ ideas and bolstered his own career. In the canteen, he asked how I was, and I said ‘fine…I think I’ve cracked the Air Products problem.’
‘Oh?’ said he.
‘Yeah, I reckon they’ve used a reactive diluent to boost the solids and speed up the drying.’ To which he smoothly replied ‘Yes, that’s what I was thinking…’
So why didn’t he say anything last year when he analysed their sample?
At work got my Membership Certificate from Groupama, which says “This certificate forms part of the Employee Handbook” etc. But I’ve never been shown the Employee Handbook or the Scheme Agreement, nor have I been told that they even exist.
10 Dec 2000: Yesterday got the fast coach down to B’ham and went to Pavilions for brekky. Rang Manda, she said they were off to Evesham shopping.
Went to the Muster Arms Hotel for Les Giles’ birthday party. Decorated with a long series of portraits of Irish authors, Presidents, major curling teams etc.
Went downstairs to the ‘Blue Room’ (beige walls, brown ceiling) saw Mark Sweeney, Les Murray, Frances, loads of the youngsters who are now much taller. Gary L now second Dan, then someone said ‘He’s here!’ (lured in on subterfuge of a quiet drink).
We all grabbed party poppers and fell silent.
Les walked in to be greeted with streamers and cheering. Patrick turned up (two black eyes), Riaz turned up, the Dhaliwal brothers both away at Uni, Alison still running a nursery.