Thursday, 9 August 2012

Publishing is one of the few industries left where being drunk at work is still tolerated.  Even if it's first thing in the morning, as in, not yet sobered up from the night before.

I mean, I knew I felt terrible when I woke up clinging to the side of the bed at 3am with only the vaguest memory of getting into it.  There was the usual trail of shame, clothes scattered from the door to the bed in which, thankfully, I was at least alone.  I did have to check though.

I got out of bed gingerly, showered, dressed, at least partially, in reverse - swaying downstairs in my smalls, or Bridget Jones' larges, picking up a clean dress from the cupboard I use as a wardrobe, retrieving my cardigan from the bannister, my handbag from the stairwell, and my flip-flops at the door, and walked to the tube, slightly listing to the right and navigated my way to the tube, as though struggling against a strong wind in a small dinghy.

I then breathed my way to Holborn where I shuddered at the thought of coffee, tentatively tried and recoiled from the notion of a bacon sandwich, and let myself in to the blessedly quiet office, where I sat  in a hunched position, at my desk, until my boss arrived an hour later and found me there, glassy eyed, unmoving, staring at my in-box. 

He brought me water and a fist full of codeine.

An hour later my colleague arrived, rolled into the office, swooned into the chair beside me, and got the same treatment.

I'm fairly sure the CEO of most businesses doesn't administer hangover drugs to his staff as part of the morning ritual...

Another hour passed and the Macho Chairman of our parent company arrived.

Now I quite like the Chairman of our parent company.  He's a fan of my book.  Read it on a long haul flight and sings my praises to all who'll listen, and he's kind of cute in that craggy, lean, walks-with-a-swagger bushman way that's appealing to we gals, romantically weaned on characters from - what I've since learned is a whole genre called 'Farm Romance' featuring strong, manly, cowboys in the Australian Outback who don't say much, but can throw you over their shoulder and carry you to the waterhole on the back of their horse when your ballet career is tragically cut short after you're kicked by a kangaroo whilst saving a child from a dingo...  or whatever.

So I would have preened, squeezed my cleavage, etc, had I been able to sit fully upright, but as it was, I just dwindled further into my chair.  He gave me his twinkly smile, corks on his hat bobbing, leather chaps slapping against each other on the muscled thighs, and strode up to my desk and, not seeming to notice that I was still, effectively (or rather ineffectively) drunk - I mean do I look this bad the rest of the time?  I do usually brush my hair most days...

'Well,'  He began.  As I said, not the greatest conversationalist these bushmen.

I'm thinking, typical, typical, this will be the day he asks me to lunch...  but no  'Have you ever been to the Olympia Beer Festival?'  He asked.

Obviously the lederhosen I usually wear on Monday's had given him a false impression.

I shook my head weakly.  In fact I didn't shake my head as it made the room spin.  I just imagined shaking my head.

'Oh it's fabulous, he went on,' and then continued to outline, in detail the many different beers he'd tried on the previous evening.  

I groaned.

Big Giant Head Editor popped out of his office and joined us at that moment, being able to hear the word 'beer' from as far as five hundred yards away.  He isn't against a few sherbets after work himself.

The two then sang jingles from Double Diamond adverts of the 1960s. 

Music!A Double Diamond works wonders,
Works wonders, works wonders,
A Double Diamond works wonders,
So drink one today!Music!
[Tune: “There’s a hole in my bucket”] 

No.  NO.  They don't do this in Farm Romance.  Definitely no singing...

'Then we went on for a curry,' Chairman said, and we drank lots of red wine...  

'A shame for the curry, and the red wine,' opined Big Giant Head Editor .

The two had a two-minutes silence for the red wine.

'Remember that wine tasting we went to in Sydney?'  He added and they began a fond reminiscence of the various grapes they'd tasted, culminating in the $1000 bottle that was uncorked as a finale...

I groaned again.

'Speaking of which,' said the Chairman, as he turned to me with another of his bushman twinkles. 'I wouldn't mind a glass of water...'


'see - that's bushmen for you,' said my partner-in-codeine colleague when I recounted this later...

it's all  -my aren’t you interesting and gosh what a wonderful writer you are - then before you know it they’re scratching their nuts in front of the telly in a string wife-beater, telling you to pass them another tinny...

too true, Sheila, too true...