And WHO is in charge of THIS?” booms an angry looking man from Nottingham Trent, thrusting a pristine copy of my first edition into the frightened faces of the front row…
“Um that’s me”. I gingerly raise my hand.
“Well, I don’t mean to be critical…”
“No, it’s ok, it’s good, fire away!” I pat myself on the back (in my head) for being so mature, flashing what I thought at the time was a “winning-smile.” Clearly not. After roughly 20 minutes more of treacherous paper whealding, vigorous thigh slapping, and a fair quantity of spittle, he works his way to this very column…
“And who the FOOK is Charlotte Hogarth-Jones?!”
At this stage there’s quite a long pause. I keep schtum, thinking I might get away with it. Sadly, hoards of features writers immediately swivel round, most smugly raising eyebrows, a couple gasping aloud. I try to blend in, also swivelling round, adopting an angry face, and joining the witch hunt for Charlotte. This admittedly has a limited success, and I am forced to admit that she is, in fact, me. “Um that’s me again, sorry” I admit with a nervous, hysterical sounding titter.
“Who cares who you are then? Why’s your name in the title?” I seem to develop a Gareth Gates-esque stutter. After much muttering about “nationals do it” and “tradition” I finally cave in. “Um, probably no one.”
“You’re right. The title needs changing, and what’s more….”
At Sinclair’s ready to sign a contract for another year in our rodent infested gaff, in which the rent is increasing. The man explaining the terms of the contract has a face not dissimilar to that emoticon with a straight line for a mouth. Nonetheless, my wonderful housemates and I are in “high spiwits” and “rwisible” a la Life of Brian. Having already failed at what I thought was a truly chuckle-worthy jolly (“Why are we paying more then? Is it to cover the costs of the mice?!”) another brave chum faces our wet-flannel faced advisor.
“When are your post-dated cheques for?” he asks in a long, unfaltering drone.
“One week” she states, adding cheekily “…in a MILLION YEARS TIME,” as he writes it all down.
Whilst we all cackle heartily, emoticon man raises his stony head, opens his mouth and seems about to inform us that the cheques will certainly not be accepted for dates in a million years time. Instead emanates a long, bored sigh, like when cats yawn. Ah well, we thought it was funny…
“DON’T TOUCH THESE” I shout to the assembled office, waving pages of a long sought after spreadsheet. “They are VEEERRRY important.”
I spend the rest of production week running around like some Pantsoc Dame, clasping my hands to my cheeks and shrieking. “Aaaah where are my sheets? Who’s taken my sheets? Everybody check under your feet, these are soooo important!”
I begin writing up my top secret letting agent related article. As I swing round on a wheely chair to once more point out the importance of said sheets to a new Nouser, I simultaneously fling my wayward arm into a ridiculously oversized thermos of coffee, soaking both my crotch and my precious papers. This leads me to jump up, grabbing my burning loins and shrieking in horror. Whilst embarrassing, it did lead to a truly realistic Jacko impression.
“Sorry Charlotte, what did you say I had to be careful of?”