Six in the evening has always been an exciting hour for me. It signals a loose schedule of activities both unexpected and anticipated (sometimes even dreaded). At six, the night is fresh, and a whole days worth of events is about to commence. So I never really understood my parents’ sluggish approach towards the nearest bottle of wine before slouching on the sofa. Forget about couch potato children, parents are the real victims. Past six their intolerable early-bird morning dynamism dissipates as they morph into zombies. The best their brains can process is the newest (well, it could also be oldest, they don’t really care) episode of Eastenders. Here’s what I don’t get: you work hard to get paid, to (in theory) pay for pleasures that will help you enjoy life, but then you can’t be bothered to delight in your earnings? If you’re compromising your hobbies in order to pay checks, why not dedicate yourself to what you love during your free time? Their lethargy was inacceptable and incomprehensible. That is, until I began working myself.
April through to June, barely a trimester and I was snug in the responsibilities of adultdom. Its an injection of instantaneous maturity. Suddenly, you allow yourself to bloat in the glory of your self-importance. Work this, work that, work chit, work chat- you become one of those insufferable newly transformed mothers: you’re imperious and you want the whole world to know that your baby just (maybe just) wiggled its pinky for the first time. Except that the object of your attention is not the baby who can wiggle its pinky but work, work, work. You speak of ‘my boss’ with the inflection of a proud parent. And your friends- well they just listen politely, then they zone off, until the finally start avoiding you. They don’t want to know about wiggly pinkies any more than what ‘the boss’ said. They just want to party with you and hear all about last night’s gossip. And that’s the other symptom you never understood. You stop going out. The student owl in you flies away. He only visits on the weekends. Barely even says hello. Because he doesn’t want to deal with your new family.
I had two families sandwiched between exams. The first was the small and intimate Medialab UK, the second was the much larger DarlowSmithson. At Medialab ‘my boss’ was my mentor: she took the time to teach the techniques and explain the procedures. At Darlow I had a lot of bosses, a lot of colleagues and very messy Friday nights. There I learnt all about the bureaucracy of the documentary industry. It all simmers down to this: whatever a documentary-maker is interested in, forget it, scrap it, because no one else cares… the superficial programs that you feel contaminate TV? Develop them! Because someone up in Lincolnshire will watch it. The big telly treasures are the new Secret Millionaire, the new Brat Camp, the new… but everything that can be done has been done, so the current trend is to find fusions : “Casualty meets The Antiques Road Show”…You get my point. The sad truth of this Big Brother era is that we cater for subjects that rarely captivate us. Oh. And the project you get allocated to is complete pot luck.
Was I disillusioned with the lack of science? Slightly. But dont get me wrong. I love the community-feel to the place. The long threads of virtual jokes that aren’t really funny but are because between 3 and 5 the boredom gets unbearable. I loved finding out new facts, learning about new subjects. Did it encourage me to continue in the business? Im not so sure. Maybe i’m losing my inspiration. Maybe a bit of direction. Or maybe I just dont want the working lifestyle full-stop.