Stories from 1996 Chapter 32 A Britpop Journal

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October 2nd 1996

This call centre is really starting to do my head in. After a whole month of fun classroom based training with a bunch of like minded souls, this week we have been deemed capable enough to be allowed to go ‘live’. This means talking to actual members of the general public. It takes a month to get to this stage. A month. The going ‘live’ week is begun with a morning meeting of balloons, donuts and back slapping because it is a ‘celebration’. Seriously.  The whole Americanised ‘group hug’ mentality is sending me slowly deranged. If I have to hear the phrase, “Make your smile heard” from the mouth of some power mad manager in a bad Matalan suit again I will not be able to restrain myself from breaking their smile. Even the flexi time which allows us a 2 hour pub break on a Friday does not compensate for the boredom and daily insults to mine and everyone else’s intelligence.

I have never been patronised so much in my life. As if ‘Positive Problem Solving’ over the phone is not bad enough – listening to grumpy grannies and Trisha viewers for 8 hours a day, we also have to content with these jumped up control freaks analysing our, amongst other categories, ‘Cheerful Factor’. Well my cheerful factor is nil while my F*ck Off Factor has been turned up to 11.

Work had already managed to break me today, then I had to walk home in the rain and to top it all I have just opened my credit card bill. I am in hiding in my room avoiding any human contact after being contacted by humans all day. Woe is me. I can hear the phone ringing but am too melancholy to brave the big. bad world. Having decided this is a day of shit, I can see no way of that changing and besides it is probably just my credit card company.

*      *      *      *      *       *       *       *       *       *        *      *      *       *       *       *        *

October 3rd 1996

How someone’s fortunes can change. Luckily, Alan was in when the phone rang and answered. This inadvertently spun my day on its head. It was Ben and he was ringing on the off chance that I was free. He had been given 2 spare tickets to see The Bluetones at the Newport Centre and he instantly thought of me as he knew how much I loved them.

I was changed and out of the door as quickly as my mood shifted. We caught the train to Newport, had a few beers in The Griffin (on guard in case of an appearance by Him, this being his territory) and then watched the beautiful Mark Morriss and guys perform their fantastic tunes. They were amazing and the whole evening was a brilliant, unexpected escape from the tediousness of the last few days. After the gig we raced through the wet Newport streets in Slight Return mode and caught the last train back to Cardiff by the skin of our teeth. We held hands and giggled over our shared can of warm lager as our ears rang from the music. As Ben walked me to the door, in the pouring rain, he cheekily said “I could go home or we could get into bed and have lots of cuddles.”

Well how could I resist?

The day of shit transformed into a night of greatness.

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