Tuesday 19th June

Tuesday 19th June

When we arrived at work today there was a free thermos on every desk with a logo on it to celebrate the launch of Youtube Music. It was ugly and plastic and Rod kept telling me to wash it out before I used it, but I knew I never would. No one needs a new thermos in this insanely hot weather. It all felt incredibly wasteful. 

Cedric said that when Google launched something a while ago they left smoothies on everyone’s desks over the Christmas period with a note to say it would help them detox, but everyone was away for so long they came back to gone off smoothies and the bottles had exploded all over their desks. 

Youtube had set up an gourmet ice-cream stall in the canteen and hired smiley, android-like freelancers in red t-shirts waiting with tablets to sign us up for a years complimentary subscription to Youtube Music, but when you signed up it made you do a 2 minute long I Am Not A Robot captcha on the spot.

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Jack: Camden

Jack: Camden

It must be gone half-nine when we spill out of the Journey’s End, back into the viscous throb, tangling in a flush of humidity and pheromones, past the drunkards, hotheads and loons all stumbling to the waltz of the early night. The inchoate evening, liquor and brashness of this city is a heady mixer for most. On a Saturday this deep into summer, it is only to be expected.

Camden in all its verboseness dishes little respite. Often this part of town likes to fight itself. The sixth round of drinks almost had me down to a knock-out count. Jagerbombs slammed, four-for-a-tenner on offer, the debit card presented. Ceremoniously we necked them. Another needle in the voodoo doll, another dot to our brashy set of exclamations. 

We cosh forward past the street-stalls shops and tacky bazaars, past mirrored windows framing vignettes of woozy revelry.  I light another cigarette if only to pour more toxin into the creeping pressure. The arrogance of London, the racing green steel and self-aggrandised branding of Camden Lock’s railway bridge looms over, decapitating the day’s afterglow. I remember when this place first took me, the naïve romance; the blood wreck of a first heartbreak. The scum and bustle was a tuning fork for a poor teenage punk song. The same rebellion I commodified is now counterfeited on a market-stall t-shirt.

 That’s the business, I guess. 

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Jack: NYE

Jack: NYE

New Year’s Eve is overrated so I make the simple decision to drink it in from the limited options presented. Three pubs, a house party and a long wait for a cab home on triple time. 

When we finally get inside Nikki’s my lungs are cold burning and I can feel a sweat broken across my shoulders. I also feel underdressed because Frank and his mates are in unbuttoned black tie and their terrace house hallway is narrow, almost claustrophobic without the hall light and there’s tinsel across the picture frames. I can hear a disco track blaring that has aged pretty well. Nikki is in a velvet cocktail dress and looks peeved, probably because I’ve brought Billy King with me, he’s got a filthy mouth and is talking louder than everybody else already. 

Although we went to school together and knew each other first, Ruth got Nikki in the breakup which seemed fair. I’m quick to find myself stomping upstairs swinging my flimsy bag of cornershop alcohol because I’m underdressed and I know Ruth will be in there somewhere. Crossing paths will be political, we’ve developed an acute sense for plotting social diaries that don’t overlap. I found myself out of options after Billy caused some unnecessary drama in the last pub we were at (the usual stuff). 

I have a slash, compose myself in the bathroom mirror and head back down. In the corridor kitchen find a group of people fixed around Sean. He can pull a crowd since he got major label signed and his records play on Radio 1 but some of this lot (Frank’s mates) were the type to kick the shit out of him in the park after school and he’s had mental health problems long before they were some sort of badge you put in your bio. Nikki sorts me out a plastic cup and I go overboard with the bourbon a little for courage but mostly by accident. I’m watching Billy interjecting nearly everything Sean says and it’s at this point I see Ruth and she looks amazing, which is incredibly annoying. I notice that Tom guy from her work and he’s standing next to her pretty cosy. I doubt he knows any of this lot. She mouths a small hello at me without any sound, I reciprocate but neither of us approach one another. Later on she says happy new year to me in the front room. I grab some ice from the kitchen side and level a couple rocks into to a fizzy, tawny abandonment. When the patio doors swing open the kitchen gets cold and a bit too loud to stay in anyway. 

Liz corners me and says she’s already spoken to Ruth who doesn’t mind me being here. Nothing out of character, she’s usually no drama and has kept things low key for the past few weeks over Christmas. I ask about her because I’ve been hopelessly spinning stories in my head about what she gets up to. I can hear the other room singing along to a pop punk song that Ruth would probably like, but personally I think has aged badly. Liz says everyone thinks it’s me flying off the rails, a comment parked in truth. I’m really quite drunk at this point.

At midnight we  go into the front room which is also too small for this amount of people and they put on FM radio which sounds louder and more compressed than the records that were playing before. Just after midnight when everyone is dancing I see Tom put his arms around Ruth’s hips and I have to leave the room, which is easy because I’m standing  in the doorway. I go outside alone and quickly Frank and his workmates come out and they have scarves and cigars which I get involved in. When I go back inside everyone has left the front room and the London Eye fireworks are on the telly and I can get a seat on the sofa which is more comfortable than I can remember. It smells like party poppers and when I open my phone, my screen is full of copy paste whatsapps from mates and a kind one from Mum. When they’re all out in the kitchen and garden I ghost. I walk home to the dull thud of fireworks and it’s probably a bit further than it should be and inside the house it’s cold but clean and the cats are hungry and acting like nothing has happened.

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Thursday 21st of June

Thursday 21st June

It was summer solstice last night so it gets dark for about half an hour at midnight at the moment, which means a shit night’s sleep. Started the day at Lucy’s in Brixton, got up at 6:30am to try and do a lesson of python coding and we had a nice breakfast in Brixton Pret. I had to go up to Crouch Hill to Paul Epworth’s studio for a playback at Church Studio but accidentally went to Crouch End to Church Studios (notice the extra S on the end) which was 2 miles away and I walked from the station which made me sweat loads. Once I got there I messaged Cedric and then Rod contacted me and said they couldn’t find me, I just felt like it must have pissed him off that I was half hour late.

It didn’t matter much because the creative meeting with the entire creative team there morphed into the manager banging on about how he thought everything would take too long, cost too much or just be shit because we won’t get a Hollywood director, all essentially things he should keep his artist away from and sort out with our finance team so the session was completely wasted. I don’t know anyone actually from London under 45 who speaks like a character in EastEnders, a London accent doesn’t sound like that these days. 

After that I headed over to Shoreditch to meet Team Delilah (minus big dawg manager) to talk about collecting names for her CRM database and how we need to sort out her Instagram I was like: fucking archive it all and start again. I actually really like all this team, they all are smart and have a good vibe. We decided (Leanne’s idea) to get her a Polaroid camera and let her take snaps to make her feed look better.

When I came out Rod messaged me about when I had last submitted Stratford Kiddo for verification. I started to shit myself because I remembered I had doctored his passport to make him 18 years old the last time I sent it in for verification, and I remember as soon as I sent it Sunil at Instagram tweeted that ‘everyone is trying to mug me off today’ which I thought it might have flagged in the system as fraud. I then assumed Rod was being coy and trying to drag a confession out of me, seeing as he would have seen Sunil at the Instagram launch thingy last night. 

Let’s be quite clear I don’t exactly see it as governmental fraud, it’s a fucking blue tick on a website for fuck’s sake but I suddenly wasn’t sure if it was going to escalate and I started preparing a counter argument in my head a bit. I considered just trying to blame management (which is certainly what we would have done if Facebook had questioned us). It reminded me that risk taking in a corporate environment can have repercussions beyond what I expect on a personal level. They make us sit watching these really unsettling adobe flash animation videos about corporate fraud every six months that have the weirdest American narrator and multiple choice questions during it that are so painfully simple to answer, so it could get quite ugly if someone kicks off about it or he gets shadowbanned by Facebook or whatever.

Anyway it turns out Edd just wanted to know if he could submit it himself and he did so. I was definitely projecting. When I got back to the office (fucking hot on the tube, remind me never to change at Bank) Stratford Kiddo had been verified finally! And Jezza had taken it on himself to claim all of the credit in a round robin mailer to A&R and management.

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