Greasy pole climbing? Easy peasy.

24Feb09

I feel less prepared for the world of journalism than I was a year ago when I was working as a contributor and columnist for my local paper back home. I worked from home, had local recognition, people knew me, my editor liked me. The only problem was I never saw a penny from that paper and it was based in the anus of England. Rutland. The only county in the UK not to have a single McDonalds and the only county in the UK where your only options at an election are Conservative or UKIP. The BNP is of course, far too common. 

My political marinating of course (as with most people’s political leanings, I fancy) was thanks to my parents – outraged by this lack of choice in a town where there are countless nicknack and pot pourri boutiques but nowhere besides Tesco you could even dream of buying anything remotely to do with films or music from.

Anyway, that has much to do with why I am here in Salford – a far cry from hunting parties, Pimms and Pony Club.

Salford, as many will tell you, is a shit hole. Nevertheless, in order to see my ambition of being the next Penny Smith or Kate Adie (both of whom have called Rutland home), I had to leave the country. I’m not meant to be in the country anyway  – I like noise and bustle and lights. I like the brown city sky at night like how it was in the town of my birth, Glasgow, and in the town I grew up in, Leicester. 

Salford is all of the worst bits of Glasgow and Leicester rolled into one big urban sprawl of a borough which plays host to the Shopping Precinct and the park that is always empty save for the occasional burly hoodie accompanied by mandatory boxer dog. 

Needless to say – after dark, I rarely leave my flat unaccompanied. However Salford University has one of the best postgraduate journalism courses in the country and that is why I put up with six year olds calling me a posh slag whilst encircling me like a pre-pubescent tornado of Kappa and Le Coq Sportif. 

I do love my course, and my class. I am half-way through and am now out of money but I still love it. Well not all of it. I did fail both my Law NCTJs as I found out to my devastation on Saturday. Sobbing, I called my mother (a lawyer – she was disappointed, I could tell), and still sobbing, I called my tutor. I never fail anything and collectively 3% is taking the piss. Nevertheless I am resitting my Law NCTJs in the near future. Bollocks.

In the meanwhile I have my shorthand exam next week. Now shorthand, I am proud to say, I am quite good at. Its hard work but essential for anybody wanting to pretend they are in the business in order to impress people as I do at parties. 

My current projects include working on a magazine for prison inmates at a local women’s prison, upcoming work experience at Channel M (including 2 weeks of 5am starts for which they will not fund me my taxi fare for a 4:30am journey) and weekend work at Key103, a central radio station.

All this while juggling a flat that needs to be kept tidy, a boyfriend who is wonderful and puts up with all of this shite and a flathunt which I am convinced will be the death of me as I am desperate to live with my boyfriend and live away from Salford. 

So after meeting many high profile characters in the business, Rod McKenzie the director of Radio 1 Newsbeat, Emily Bell, the lady who manages the Guardian website, Helen Bowden, BBC news chief and Kim Fletcher, chairman of the NCTJ – all have said that blogging (including twitter) is the way forward for young journalists such as myself and although I already have a blog, I was inspired by those giants of journalism to write an account of my own struggles as a young hack trying to make it in the business – if for nothing else than to inspire and relieve those who will tread the rocky and unpleasant and occasionally hilarious path to this proud industry.

I saw a documentary about having babies and it said something about all the sperm trying to get to the ovum in a great marathon of millions. Millions die on the way or get crushed by the mechanisms designed to kill aliens to the female body, but still some get through and then they all race to the egg and loads of them are hammering on the outside of the wall but only one gets in. Thats what its like.

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One Response to “Greasy pole climbing? Easy peasy.”

  1. 1 Reena

    I haven’t read a word but I’m glad to have another blogger in the house. Iza and I are not alone! I’m adding you to my feeds and read you when I have some time 😀


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