Sunday, February 22, 2009

Flight QF93 to LA

Qantas flight 93 from Melbourne to LA. My second James Squire golden ale has arrived and the Birthday Party are screaming from my MP3 player. The plane’s entertainment system isn’t working. And it’s a 15 hour flight.


Last night I discovered that my contract with BT won’t be renewed. So my disposition is a strange mixture of angst, fear, doubt and relief. Angst seems to be winning at the moment. I’m not at all bitter with BT. It’s been a good run. In fact it was October 1995 when I walked for the first time into Spitfire House in Hove for the start of my 3 month contract. I’d never seen so many office workers cramped into an area in such high density. And since then, two stints totalling around 11 years. I did a good job. And they loved me. The one’s that counted anyway. I’m sure I shat off a few people but they never seemed to make it known to me. The “Mustn’t grumble” attitude perhaps. I have no complaints about not being renewed. I’ve had a very good run thanks to BT. And the last 5 years, working remotely, from home in Australia. It’s helped me set up a business that now actually has a chance of survival. Though in this world financial climate, maybe not, who knows…that’s where the doubt comes in. I won’t miss the late night working so that I could be in the UK timezone. That was shit. It’ll be great to finish up at 6pm or earlier and know that there need be no work at all until the next day. There’s now more time for leisure. Perhaps my guitar can get a proper run at it now. Hopefully I won’t just be staring vacantly into the extremely large and seductive tele every night to fill the time void.

I’ve been working pretty hard lately. Last week in New Zealand I’d finish a day of 9 to 5:30 comprised of teaching and implementing and then return to my hotel room to call up Tim for serious BT work until around midnight. Same as my trip to Japan a few weeks ago. Get a life, for fuck’s sake! Well, now it’s enforced. I would probably never have walked away from the job myself even though I’ll be glad to be rid of those long night work vigils.

But then, it’s been a long time. More than a quarter of my life in elapsed time. And they’ve paid me every month. I’ll miss that. Badly I expect at some times. Payment will become a lot more spasmodic from the various other sources. No more trips to England. That’s a double edged sword. Fleet – boring as all fuck. A shithole little town that embodies blandness to the extreme. If I stay in Brighton, it’s an 80 minute commute. And London, 35 minutes away, holds nothing for me now. Mostly an impersonal, dirty, crowded mess of humanity. On it’s bad days anyway. There’s fun to be had there absolutely, but essentially, I don’t miss London in the slightest. Good riddance stink town. See you some time one day in the future years I expect when I’ll view you through nostalgia tinted glasses. Brighton is another story. A very cool little town with a dirty seaside disguise. But mostly it’s the people around that neck of the world that I’ll miss. Steves Boakes and Guthrie. Sally. Jack. Martin and Kate. And a periphery of others. And of course Andy floating around Europe. Jacky up in Scotland. So it’s no longer “see you soon”. Now it’s goodbye and maybe, hopefully, I’ll see you some time in the next decade.


I have one more trip to England. It commences several days after my BT contract has ended. When I booked it I always thought there was a possibility that my contract would not be renewed. And so it has turned out and the expected work trip will turn into a holiday. That is a big upside to the situation. No more Fleet, except for a farewell lunch and to pick up my trusty UK based Ovation guitar. With the plan for Tori to come and join me in England and then a week in Paris, I guess it’s fitting and was meant to be. It will certainly be a much more enjoyable trip than if I was sitting in Guidion fucking House every day. Jaunting around Sussex with Tori sounds a heap better. So where to go before Tori joins me? Hmmm…. I arrive on the Tuesday and am scheduled to head to Brighton on the Friday. Three or four days to gallivant off somewhere, albeit in a bit of a jetlagged state. Istanbul? Edinburgh? Somewhere I haven’t been before? Maybe, but not as much fun on my own.

The whole family will be happy that I’ll be away less. My immune system will probably be happier with a couple less bouts of getting over jetlag per year. So really, as long as the other side of work can kick on, it’s all good. Just a lament for distant friends. And so long BT, thanks for all the fish.


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