Monday, May 22, 2006

Bugger Off Home Sharon, You Don’t Belong Here …

If we're all sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin …

There's only so much one can take and after a week of sheer hell with a vomiting child (including a virtual day-return to Morocco), you would expect that life would get a little easier: the steam-iron of life gently removing the creases of stress and your renewed form, once again, back on the hanger of normality.

Like f**k.

A friend of mine is, how can I say, a chap who works very closely with the British tabloid newspapers. A fellow lens-jockey. From time to time, he sells a few of my stock-shot images to far away magazines and newspapers. The return over 3 months is just enough to cover my pension plan for a month, so we’re not talking telephone number here. Over the weekend, he asked if I would be interested in half a day’s work, “they don’t pay very much but at least it’s something, you’ll get a credit and expenses paid”. Like any freelancer, I needed the money so leapt at the chance.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to name the paper nor the subject directly, suffice to say that it involves a relation of a certain ‘housemate’ in a popular TV show. I was not party to the whole story but the job required me to drive 200kms, meet the relation in question, photograph them, wire the pictures to the newspaper in the UK and then drive 200kms back. Job done and back home by 16:00.

Pretty straightforward.

The shoot was set up for 11:00, so I set off at 9:00 on the dot. Whilst on the motorway, I rang the phone number I had been given, asked for the person by name and introduced myself and the paper I ‘represented’. “Eh? Ooo r ya?”, said this shrill voice with the raw diction on the other end. “Oim gettin‘ con-foosed naa. I don’t ave yer name ‘ere and oim not doin nuttin for vat paper”, she continued. “Yoo speek to moy frend, she naas orl abat i”.

The ‘frend’, as I was to discover, was the one who a) put this person up to it in the first place and b) knows more ‘abat’ dealing with pounds for stories than she was letting on. Yes, a she. They both were.

“Ellah? Ooos vis ven?”, the ‘frend’ gently enquired. I went through the same rigmarole, patiently explaining who I was and that my ‘editor’ had arranged this with the subject the day before. “Eh? We not got yor name ‘ere, b‘sides, we dun unexcloosive deal wiv somwun els naa. Yoo ring your peepoo and sor it arr!”

Click.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Ahh,” I thought, “so we’re not dealing with BBC Newsnight or the Queen’s Speech here, are we?”

I rang my ‘editor’ who told me to carry on to the location and sit tight while they ‘sor-id it arr’. At 11:15 I arrived in the town centre and found a cyber café where I waited. And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I waited from 11:30 until 16:30 - a full 5 hours. Drinking coffee, eating a good lunch, drinking tea and soft drinks then taking as many trips to the little boys room as my bladder deemed necessary. I eventually arrived home 12 hours after I set out to photograph this waste of space. The little minx had been playing everyone off against each other and my ‘editor’ was furious.

If we’re going to call a spade a spade, then this bloody council house Sharon who’d been oh so pleasant to me on the phone earlier had strung us all along, knowing full well that her ‘frend’ had sold out to the highest bidder. Fine. Go to where the money is. But these money-grabbing pikeys actually LIVE here in France, and in a nice little town too. Can you imagine what impression they give of us Brits? I’ll be having nightmares for years to come.

I can only hope that ‘Sharon’s’ little darlin’ gets voted out of the programme and goes on to do something publicly embarrassing … then they’ll have to move back to Ilford.

My apologies, but I’m not in the mood to deal with such vacuous, self-promoting tabloid junkies right now.

Stu

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