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For the past three months I’ve been filling my days with yet another internship.  I’m happy to say that this latest stint of unpaid labour, has been anything but dull. In previous offices, I’ve worked in silence and always kept my head down, but in my current place of work, voices are raised, phones are slammed and coarse language prevails!

I’ve witnessed hysterical laughter, hysterical tears, fierce bitching and silent treatment. From what I’ve gathered, every stereotype about working in “The Arts” is true. It really is a world of airy kisses, boozy lunches, hot tempers and shameless self promotion. But for every dollop of high pitched emotion, there is an equal portion of love and respect. I think it’s just the nature of working in theatre – these thespian type don’t like to hold back.

One bonus of the whole experience has been all the freebie trips to the theatre. I’ve been lucky enough to see a handful of shows, some funny, some sad and some plain awful, but it certainly is intriguing to see what appeals to the British public. People may claim that there is nothing that they want to see at the theatre, but I can confindently say there is something for everyone!

My first gig as a promoter happened that very same day. Armed with two crates of Alibi and a hefty wad of leaflets I headed to a swanky office in the West End.

Completely under-qualified for my impending task, I bounded into the office and set up my stand by the canteen. I’m not gonna lie, I was looking quite the part with my Alibi polo shirt and a matching baseball cap worn at a jaunty little angle.

As I set to work pouring the drink into little sample cups, I was almost blinded by the toxic coloured liquid that poured out of the can. Alibi may well be packed full of natural ingredients, but it sure doesn’t look like it. And as I took my first gulp of the stuff I realised that not only did it look toxic, it tasted pretty toxic too.

I slighlty panicked. This promotional business would not be as easy as I’d anticipated. But not afraid of a little challenge, I was determined to look over such minor details as taste and appearance and ensure that every employee leave their lunch fully informed about Alibi.

Much to my relief and surprise the employees seemed to almost like the drink. They even feigned interest in my sales pitch and some actually brought cans.

But just as I was getting a bit cocky, the bombshell dropped.

Three tall, good-looking boys were approaching me. Instead of feeling a little flirtation coming on, I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment. Much to my disbelief, I knew all three boys – we  had all been at university together. Whilst they looked dapper and corporate, I looked like an American drive-thru girl. Suddenly I wasn’t so proud of my baseball cap.

Before I could run and hide, one of the boys asked with a raised eyebrow:

So KK… is this what you’re doing now you’ve graduated?

I mumbled some vague answer and rather nervously offered the guy a sample of the drink

Errrrrh! That’s disgusting! … Oh well good luck with the promotion. See you around

Gosh! I felt thoroughly awkward. But then after a minute or two I realised that I was actually having quite a fun time. In fact I was having a hoot. I loved chatting away to curious faces and I got such a buzz from my occasional sale.

What’s more, as everyone filed back to their desks, to sit at their computers and carry on working, my shift was coming to an end.

Maybe promoting Alibi wasn’t that bad after all. I quite liked adding a touch of fizz into the boring corporate world.

It was Tuesday morning and I was not prepared for another aimless day. My flatmates had already zoomed off to work, so I sat myself at the kitchen table and began to write a productive plan for the day.

I did not have long to wait for inspiration. Out of nowhere an email pinged into my inbox.

“Workers urgently needed to promote fizzy drink”

Now I’ve been a Russian waitress and I’ve even been a poo-shoveling PA so I’m pretty much qualified to do any odd-job. If a fizzy drink needed promoting – then I was going to be the one to promote it.

I quickly called the number, explained that I was available to work and was employed on the spot. It was as easy as that. I think they must have been desperate.

The lady on the end of the phone gave me the lowdown. I was to hand out free samples of a new fizzy  drink –Alibi– and inform the public about its magical ingredients. Because, let’s get this straight, Alibi is not just any old can of pop, it’s the world’s first and only pretox drink.

Pretox? What the hell is a pretox? Well, if I’m being honest I’m not exunctly sure. But if you consume a can of Alibi before you head out on a big bender, you won’t have a hangover the next day. I told you it was magic.

Packed with vitamins, herbal extracts and amino acids – one small can of Alibi is simply bursting with goodness. You can forget taking supplements, you can forget going to the gym, the answer to a healthy lifestyle is a can of Alibi.

I hadn’t even tried the stuff, and already I was mesmerised. This was going to be an easy one to sell.

My stint as a PA was over. Marley Matthews had moved to Zurich and no longer needed my ‘spirited’ services. So there I was again, back to square one. It was a Monday morning and I was faced with a jobless week ahead. I called up all the recruitment agencies in London but to no avail. There was just no work. Unable to sit moping at my desk any longer, I packed up my stuff and headed out.

There is nothing weirder than roaming the streets on a Monday morning with nothing to do and no money to spend. Whilst most people labour away in the corporate world, London becomes an altogether different place – a place heaving with tourists, school trips and yummy mummy’s.

If a satellite camera had tracked my progress throughout the day, I’m convinced NASA would think I was a madwoman! With no specific route in mind, I just followed my senses and went where the wind took me. For one-day only I was a professional ‘flaneur.’ I was guided by the smallest curiosities: a glamorous group of Italians, an alluring new cafe or an undiscovered street.

During my travels, I redirected two lost Romanians to Hyde Park, I took a photo-shoot of some rowdy Americans and I even went as far as discussing Obama’s health reforms with a complete stranger. There were no limits to my bizarre, yet brief encounters.

Image credit: Flikr

I saw laughter, tears and frowns on the faces of people that whizzed by. I watched couples kissing, dogs fighting and children playing. And as I walked through Leicester Square, I discovered, not without a touch of disgust, just how ugly pigeon’s feet really are!

I don’t plan to make a habit of mooching around London with nothing to do, but I couldn’t help being touched by my unusual day.

Luckily enough, a new job was waiting for me the very next day.

Day 2

It was 7am on Tuesday morning. I was psyching myself for another demanding day ahead. Just as I was leaving my flat, I received a text message from Marley:

“Drama. Come at ten.”

After milling around for several hours, I duly arrived at the later time. On entering the Gloucester Road mansion I was greeted by the most appalling stench.

One look at Marley and I knew something was very wrong. His pained expression and the bags under his eye said it all. Had Marley unearthed a rotten corpse? Had a skunk paid an unwlecome visit?

Fearing the very worst, I politely enquired about the -as yet – unspecified drama. With a lamentable tone he replied:

“It’s the dogs. They’re sick.”

So no dead bodies or odour emitting animals then. Something much worse.

Image credit: Flikr – SmartPoodle

It’s not necessary to describe the exact source of the vile smell, but let’s just say that the beloved black poodles had very upset stomachs. The homeopathic vet was obviously not up to scratch.

If Diva and Majic were “sick,” life could not possibly continue as normal. Just as I saw one of the dogs scuttle past, I began to wonder if Marley knew the meaning of normal. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but a second glance confirmed the very worst. Sagging between the animal’s hind legs was an enormous pink nappy. It really was quite an extraordinary sight.

After this incident, I struggled to take Marley seriously. I don’t think I have ever come across a more ridiculous man.

As I was ordered to take the soiled diapers out to the trash, my reaction was a mixture of repulsion and hysteria. But somehow, (and I’m not quite sure how I managed it) I did see the pure comedy of the situation.

I’d obviously underestimated what it is to be a PA.


Day 1

On entering the imposing threshold of my new workplace, a shrill American voice called from upstairs, “Wait there, I’ll be down in a minute.”

This was my new boss Mr Marley Mathhews.

It wasn’t until half an hour later that the disembodied voice finally became a real person. Without a welcoming smile or a short introduction the man uttered in his yankee drawl, “What’s your name? … I only remember the names of the people I hate, or the people I’m about to sue.”

(Gulp…Who on earth was this man?)

Well, Mr Marley Matthews is a quick thinking, quick talking ‘businessman’ who hails from Cuba. I can’t be sure of his exact source of wealth, but to put it mildly, the man is minted. He’s rich, he’s rude and he also happens to be a raving homosexual.

Next month Marley plans to leave London and relocate to Zurich (most probably to avoid paying tax for the rest of his life). Although his move is only a matter of weeks away – the poor man was disastrously unorganised. Not only did he need to redecorate his house, sell it and find a place to live in Zurich, but he also needed to get his beloved black poodles safely cargoed to Switzerland.

And guess what? I was responsible for organising it. All.

I’m not gonna lie, based on first impressions – I was completely terrified of this self-styled entrepreneur. But  as my frantic day progressed, I began to see the real Marley Matthews. He’s no corporate monster, he’s just the most bizarre and eccentric man I’ve ever met in my life.

Obsessed by crystals, feng shui and mantra healing, Marley Matthews takes ‘organic’ to another level.

Here’s an example of my to-do list:

1. Call the ultima citi concierge and book Marley a manicure and body wrap

2. Call the homeopathic vet to arrange fresh medication for the dogs.

3. Call the Munrose Dentists and order Marley some gut bacteria.

4. Order two crates of Acai juice and four crates of Goji juice.

5. Find a Feng Shuai expert to source ‘balanced’ property in Zurich.

6. Order on Amazon the book: ‘Loose weight with Crystals.’

As day one finally drew to a close, I left Gloucester Road with a shrewd smile. This was going to be a job to remember.

It was the first Monday morning of the New Year, and I found myself back in London, applying -yet again- to a fresh round of jobs.

Before Christmas, the dismal and unsuccessful task of finding a job had really got me down, but fresh from my German adventure I was in an unprecedentedly good mood. Not five minutes into my daily search on the Guardian Jobs website, did I get a phone call from a very posh recruitment agency in South Kensington.

“KK, We’ve got a faaarntastic temp role for you. It’s for a terribly clever man. He’s an entrepreneur, from Cuba or Africa or somethang, and he’s in need of a frightfully efficient PA for a week or two.”

Image credit: Stiletto Model Sam, Flikr

If I’m being honest, I’m not the best PA material. I’ve got no secretarial skills, I’m ever so slightly clumsy and I don’t much like being ordered around. But in these hard times, I simply can’t turn down the chance to earn a bit of cash.

Naturally I accepted, and before I could say ‘Jack Robinson’ I found myself standing outside a whopping great mansion on Gloucester Road. This was going to be my office for the next week.

So now I’ve told you about SRK and the exclusive world of social networking, it’s high time to mention another, all together different aspect of my life pre-christmas.

By day, I worked chez SRK, by night, I schmoozed with the rich and famous – satisfying them with mulled wine and designer canapes.

Now most of us have probably worked in a bar or a restaurant at some point in our lives, but there is nothing quite comparable to working in events. Every job is unique, in a different venue, with different people and a fresh dollop of gossip.

I’ve worked at charity do’s, funerals, carol concerts, birthday bashes and some fairly spectacular Christmas parties. I’ve done events for snobbish bankers, Zimbabwean hunters, trendy film makers and even rampant lawyers, (yes, I did walk into a pair of barristers ‘getting it on’).

I’ve worked with the well-to-do in South Kensington and I’ve worked amongst earnest Guardian readers in Islington. I’ve served chipolatas to vintage clock enthusiasts, Parisian art dealers and even the Archbishop of Canterbury. But my most enduring memory as a waitress had to be dressing up as a Hopak dancer for a Russian Inspired extravaganza.

I discovered a number of things as I waitressed my way across London:

1. There’s always a secret shag at a Christmas party.

2. Parisian and Italian women won’t touch canapes.

3. English women are the first to tuck into a plate of sausages.

4.  People that work in catering, work bloody hard and are jolly nice

5. If you keep smiling, you can get away with any number of spillages or breakages. Just.

At the beginning of November, I found myself at a loose end. I had just completed a brilliant internship and I was in need of something to do.

At this time, The Italian shit (who I mentioned in an earlier post) had recently reappeared in my life. One day, whilst chatting about jobs on the phone, Mr. Italiano proposed a new internship for me. A friend of his: SRK, was setting up a website and was in need of some interns to help him out.

This is the moment when the alarm bells should have started ringing. But like the naive and excitable person I am, I jumped at the opportunity thinking that my career was about to be made.

What I probably should have taken into consideration, is that The Italian Shit and I are two rather different people. For one I’m English, he’s Italian; for two I’m a girl, he’s a boy, but above all – I’m fairly normal and he is the epitome of Euro Trash.

It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the aristocratic toffs that The Italian Shit calls his ‘friends’ and so with a little creative license you can imagine the likes of my new boss.

SRK is the personification of the pompous privileged. At the age of 27, he has the cool calm confidence of a man twice his age. Apart from a rather big nose, he’s a good looking chap, and he happens to live in the most beautiful Georgian house in Chelsea.

For the past few years SRK has wanted to create an exclusive social networking site, intended for people working in the creative disciplines. But  it’s not until now that he’s actually got down and done something about it. (This is the point where I come in.)

So the website is basically facebook, but it’s for pretentious arty people. Oh, and you’re only entitled to join if you receive an exclusive invitation. The whole damn thing has elitism written all over it.

I hate clubs, I hate memberships and I simply can’t stand smug groups of self-satisfied people. So why oh why did I get involved?

Well let’s just say that SRK is an excellent sales man. When we first met to discuss the internship, the man simply wooed me with prospects of world domination. His website was going to be the next Vanity Fair, his membership base would include the likes of Vivienne Westwood, and he was going to discover tomorrow’s talent- today. There was simply no hindering the man’s vision.

And I fell for the whole thing.

I’ll keep it short, but my stint working for SRK wasn’t the best. In between acting as his PA and listening to his woeful stories of rich Russian  girlfriends, I learnt more about the complications of being young, rich and spoilt than I ever learnt about online journalism.

In the two months of working for SRK and not earning a single penny, I barely got a thank you from the lugubrious lothario.  So seeing as it’s a new year and a time for fresh beginnings I don’t plan to continue working for SRK and his sacred website.

I may have walked away from the next big thing, but then again I may have saved myself a lot of time. If SRK’s site does become huge, I suppose I’ll just have to eat huimble pie.