Looking Forth And Aft

My mother and my bank manager both told me that I would never be out of work. This week, I am beginning to believe them. Suddenly every day brings strange new opportunities, and I don't know whether to be dubious and sceptical or run towards them all with open arms like an exciteable schoolboy who realises too late after ravenously devouring his Easter egg that he's left with just shiny foil wrapping. That was a ridiculously long sentence and outrageously contrived metaphor. My apologies. I'll calm down a bit and try to explain...

OK, if you're a regular reader or you know me, you'll have figured out that I have been granted an interview for a position within the public sector. But that's just the beginning.

Last Friday I attended the first part of a superb course entitled "Personal & Career Development Workshop", which seemed to lift a veil of mystery that has pervaded over my futuristic career-oriented visions for the past year. During the course my mobile rang - the caller was displayed as 'Anonymous', so I diverted to voicemail. I would probably have done so anyway (surely it's bad manners to take a call during a course?) but the anonymity clinched it. When I listened to the message, it was from a recruitment agency. So maybe I'll call back and maybe I won't. That wasn't meant to sound arrogant and overly nonchalant, I'm sorry.

Today, though, came the most unexpected event. A call this evening on my mobile from someone at a local software company. Well, local to my mothers house that is - the place I pay council tax on and still call home. They were looking to employ programmers, and my name had come up in conversation. The caller apparently knew me from as early as my junior school days, though embarrassingly I didn't recognise his name. Maybe that fame I've always yearned for is coming along in small doses. He gave me some basic information about the company - I took a number and agreed to call.

I am honestly surprised and humbled by these experiences. Maybe nothing will come of any of these experiences, maybe I'll stay working for my now-global company, on placement at a major bank. Or maybe I'll work for my Government. Or maybe I'll try to move to a teeny weeny company where I can easily make a name for myself. Fish and ponds, and all that. It's nice to have such opportunities, I feel very very lucky and not at all worthy.

Hmmm, I wonder how many people from my current company read this journal? Not many, I hope. Actually, not any would be preferable. Maybe I should block access from the corporate domain. But then that seems so petty.

There was a Manic Street Preachers documentary on the radio this evening which got me all nostalgic and thoughtful and melancholy. So, in honour of that, I present a chronological list of the first half-dozen "Bands who Changed my Life":

1989 - The Beautiful South

Odd, I know, but their debut was the very first LP I felt compelled to buy. The saccharin sweet singles hooked me, but I learned to love all the other tracks. This, then, was my much-too-late-in-life introduction to the concept of "the album". And now I have hundreds of them!

1991 - R.E.M.

I don't recall ever enjoying the way a song could tug on the heart strings prior to the "In at #19 with a bullet" hit that was Losing My Religion. To this date, I still own more R.E.M. tracks than any other group.

1992 - Suede

Seeing Brett on the cover of the music papers. The clothes, the androgyny, the sound. The first indie press darlings I had occasion to read about. I thought think they're wonderful.

1993 - Radiohead

Creep was the obvious start of it all, but then when Anyone Can Play Guitar got lodged in my mind and refused to budge for weeks, I knew they were something pretty special. And then they followed up Pablo Honey with The Bends! What more can I say?

1994 - Smiths / Morrissey

Just in time for my student life, I fell hopelessly in love with The Smiths. They remain everything I could ever wish for in a band.

1995 - Manic Street Preachers

If I had begun listening around the time of Generation Terrorists, I would probably have been a fan for longer. But for all its greatness, The Holy Bible was not the easiest of introductions. But I perservered, and boy, was it worth it.

Ah, I'm an odd chap at times. I think I'll go revert to my introverted self, hide in a corner and listen to my walkman. Where's my Guinness?

I really want a little palmtop. All this is currently scrawled feverishly in biro on stolen paper, and I'm not looking forward to typing it all up. Maybe I'll go flick through PC Pro...