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Archive for January, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Madrid with work – the first trip since the whole, sad divorce thing. I had been worried that it was going to be awful – and in some ways, it was (the reality of being away from everyone, and the fact that that will be a reality for most of my week nights soon etc.), but in others, it was good to be immersed in work and have not one moment unaccounted for. To my delight, I was also there with Old Friend at Work (who has been by my side and an incredible friend through all this), Alison Steadman Playing a P.A. P.A, Eternally Optimistic Spanish Planner, Planner With the Aura of Jesus, The Smallest Media Planner in The World, Stereotype of a Northern Planner, and others.

We worked pretty hard by day, but at night we drank like absolute maniacs – until 3 in the morning (or in the case of Old Friend at Work; Planner With the Aura of Jesus, The Smallest Media Planner in the World, and Alison Steadman Playing a P.A P.A, through the night in a couple of cases) on most nights, even though we were to start a nine hour day again, at 9 (in a defiantly non-Madrid manner). On one of these occasions, Old Friend at Work got her purse nicked from the hotel bar (only to be met with the response from Reception of “At least they didn’t get your passport, that’s what they’re REALLY after”, which isn’t exactly a masterclass in Customer Service). On another, Planner With the Aura of Jesus and Alison Steadman Playing a P.A. P.A. sat up all night drinking in the hotel bar, then moved to her room (entirely innocently, my new situation prompts me to add, unnecessarily…) and finished off the mini-bar.

But it was on the third night that things got, as the phrase goes, “messy”. I didn’t particularly embarrass myself, I can say with some relief: yes, there was the usual over-enthusiasm about stuff (most notably, Shakespeare – but also some vague shit about strategic approaches, which had me suddenly behaving like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, and celebrating by bellowing “Yes! Yes! God! That’s BRILLIANT! YOU’RE BRILLIANT!” at some poor fucker), and probably a little bit too much swaying around and smiling broadly – but that was as bad as it got. So, when it came time for me to leave (a respectable 3.30am), I said a few goodbyes and made my move, only to be “confronted” (if I can use this word of a man of his Micky Rooney like stature) by The Smallest Media Planner in the World.

“Stay and have another drink!”

“I can’t, SMPITW, I’m already pissed and I’m knackered, so I’m going.”

“Stay. Have a drink with me.”

“I can’t. Really. Tomorrow.”

“Have a drink with me. As a friend of mine.”

“No, I’m going.”

What he said next rather diminished his most recent pronouncement of our friendship, for it was:

“Then fuck off, you cunt. Fuck off.”

Well, off I fucked and went back to my simply enormous room (enormous not because of some ludicrous status, but because I had been allocated a room for someone in a wheelchair – which I’m not – and as a result, the dimensions of the room had to allow for the turning circle of same), had a shower, put on my iPod speakers and fell asleep listening to “The Gathering”, as read by Miss Shaw.

It turns out the The Smallest Media Planner In The World hadn’t turned against me, but against humanity: for he had told a round score of people to fuck off later on that night, and had christened about half of them “cunts” as well. Turns out that when he gets sauced (and again, his stature is such that one might have thought a couple of bottles of beers could be dangerous), he becomes that famed, but rare animal The Bad Drunk. He had stuck with the gang long enough to move on with them at 4am to a Piano Bar, where he doled out the bulk of his insults, before having a quick nap and getting back to the hotel at 6am. I wouldn’t be such a turd as to remind him of his bad behaviour the next morning – I dread to imagine what people put up with from me when I have got myself absolutely twisted – so I met him cordially at the beginning of the final day’s session and asked him what time he had got in. He had (or feigned to have) no memory of having parted brass rags the previous night, and his answer to me was as one amazed:

“I don’t know. Late. But I feel fucking awful this morning. I woke up surrounded by Pringles, and with the towels all soaking wet in the shower.”

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Don’t worry: I’m not going to go into Catholic overdrive on you – and I’m still pretty shell-shocked by the discovery of my wife’s affair, so it will be a short one – but it’s worth noting that one of the good things that’s come out of this devastating turn of events is the support you get from people: some expected (family, friends) and some of it from the most unlikely sources. Thank God for good people!

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New Year, New Life

Well – at least it makes some sort of sense in terms of helping me remember dates: not normally a strong point of mine…

Last night, I found out that Wife has been having an affair since Summer: an old school friend of hers. So, we’ll be getting divorced and putting an end to nearly ten years of marriage, and fifteen years of love, out of which came three of the most wonderful people you could hope to meet. For their sake, I am very sorry that it’s come to this – but I suppose that one has to be accepting (as I think I wrote earlier on here somewhere) of the difference between the things that one can and cannot change.

So: rough times ahead, no doubt – but after that, a better life, I pray.

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