Here we find ourselves once again...have you went and gotten yourselves one of those tattoos yet? You know the ones, with the sunrise tattooed above your air biscuit tin. Enjoy it now, for in about twenty years, it'll look more like an octopus chasing a starfish...so I'm told.
Clearly that massive break in transmission wasn't massive enough - that big bit I would see you in wasn't of adequate bigness. Unfortunately, my time is precious, and yours is not. Not to me, anyway. So I've got a couple of key points to type up and cover in hilarious anecdotal fluff, then I'll go on about something for far too long and that'll be it!
So let's get cracking so I can get wank--er, I mean, prancing about in my Dad's bedroom pretending I'm Batm--er, I mean, doing things. So first up comes the first half of my journey of self-discovery during my training for my new job. It's split into two weeks, both of them were spent in different areas of Manchester where I also had one man slumber parties until the weekend, when I got to go home. The first week was spent by the airport. I'll be referring to everyone by Men In Black codenames, because it would be weird to give practical strangers the elusive reggae names, but they may well make reappearances here at some point in the future, so I have to call them something.
My trainer, S, met me at Manchester train station, having just five minutes ago fallen in a car park onto her wrist. Can you think of a less convenient injury for a man? Which she isn't, the clue to which being in the gender reference. Anyway...straight into her car, straight to the place of work and straight into the office. I am first introduced to D, a smiley 30-something accountant fella with a Mr Tea mug, complete with knuckle duster handle. I liked him immediately. Next to him was G, who was clearly just that: a straight up G. She had double peroxide hair (if that's a thing) crowning a faintly forlorn expression and had a Cheryl Cole twang to her tones, an observation she'd later find hilarious.
"Where are you from?" I answered and asked the asker if he was from the area. "Not with this accent mate la go 'ed lad proper wool ale alehouse devoed nice one". I can take liberties like that with my quotations, I do anything I wanna do, you can't stop me! Yes, R here was a Scouser, and would soon prove to be one of the funniest fuckers I've ever met. He was just so quick, so fucking quick. My complimentary room was fine. I also got my meals free and I was getting paid for being there. Not bad for barely getting my foot in the door.
My evenings were spent being an ethanol challenged disabled person and lying in the bath. Oh, forgot to mention the team's manager W, who sounded exactly like Paul O'Grady when he spoke and had Don't Stop Believin' as his ringtone, so his signature gag was to run away from a conversation towards his office when his phone rang and saying "Just a second, don't stop believing!" Some people. I spent a few evenings in the bar with R too, discussing everything you could think of. Seriously, the conversations were so quickfire and went on for so long I genuinely believe we touched upon every subject under the sun at some point during that week, from art films, to Unfinished Sympathy, to hatred of clubbing, to surreal cinema, to vampire books, to that crusty shit you get in your eyes and why everyone has a different name for it (mine's 'matter') and back again. I'd be lying if I said I didn't grow attached to my cohorts pretty quickly, but I was left with a pleasant memory upon departure:
G: Can you do this for me? Can you do it now?
R: Shut the fuck up, or do you want this ball thrown off your head again?
D: You can't do that, she's just put her makeup on.
R: (Without missing a beat) Aye you're right, probably come back to me orange.
Poor G, aka Polly Fill. So that was week #1. Oh, my trainer, S, she fractured her wrist after her little fall, so I didn't see her at all after that first day, until the start of week #2...again, poor G, she had to tolerate me. This time my soon-to-be colleague, C, followed me off the train to meet S. We only live a town apart, but what a difference in accents we have. Clearly from the same area, but she enunciated far less than I do, not caring a jot whether or not these Manc scallies could understand when she called them cunts or not. We arrived at our new training area and met our new temporary teamfolks. My trainer this week was P...ok I think I can reveal his name was Painter, after his surname. There was another S there, but don't worry, you won't get confused. D, an old Irish lady with the softest voice I've ever heard, she made a mean cuppa too. I was to be introduced to E Tuesday, an experience I was promised I would never forget.
These digs were very different from the last, much more...er...Silence of the Lambs. Each corridor had speakers that played very low-key piano concertos, the halls twisted and turned, there seemed to be no method to the madness. There was even a piano you could play, if you so desired. My view was pretty pathetic, I must admit, obscured by dirt and...well, Mancs. They all walked like Shaggy from Scooby Doo and talked like the killer from Scary Movie when he was stoned. My room even had a ghost in it. No word of a lie. I was lying in bed the first night, and I heard it. The faint bangs and moans coming from the corner of my room, towards the wall. It was clearly a very unhappy girly ghost, all it did was moan and yell things like "Oh yes Daddy G-Man! Do it for me!" "Wear my love like Heaven you dirty fucking bastard!" and "Missed again. Game over". God knows what was giving that grumpy ghost the hump.
C was having a great time though, nearly getting run over by trams, getting lost on her way to the carvery to find me surrounded by what seemed like the cast of Last of the Summer Wine begging for her to bail me out, walking into gay bars after mistaking them for baguette shops. I'd wager she found the whole experience more than a bit thrilling, poor girl was terrified of travelling alone. I liked her though, very frank and open person with a warped sense of humour. What's not to like when it comes to such qualities in a colleague? Then Tuesday came, and I met E. She was the most foul mouthed, disgusting, piss-taking, relentless woman I've met in my life, and I absolutely loved her. She was just the fucking funniest person and wouldn't give a fuck about anything even if it suited her needs. Think my favourite from her that I can remember went like so:
P: If you can't laugh at yourself, you shouldn't really be having a go at other people.
Me: Agreed. Fucking hate people who can't take a joke.
P: Yeah. No point. I don't take myself seriously.
E: Good. We don't.
Or the time she was getting up from her desk and P did nothing more than turn and look at her, she looked back at him, "Fuck off!", slapped him across the back of the head, walked away and got on with her business, for absolutely no reason at all. But she did it all with such finesse that you knew she wasn't really that mean, just one of those Manchester things. Yep, it would be fair to say I'll miss that team too.
And now, here I am, working where I'm supposed to be, going through years-old applications with a relief worker called M and having a good laugh, particularly when we find a CV on which someone has scrawled in big pink letters "NEVER AGAIN!!". Still haven't drawn a conclusion as to why the mystery person did that...
And all through those two weeks, G or P were singing this to me.
In a bit.