Tuesday, January 25, 2005
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Babe Count: * * * * *
I'm here at The Missing Link for a 9 o'clock meeting. I pass through the foyer, which is done up as a men's toilet, complete with urinals, toilet, graffiti on the wall, and an empty toilet roll. On the cardboard spine of the cardboard, someone's scribbled, "Now you're FUCKED!!!"
I enter the office. It's uncharacteristically free of heavy metal music. Normally, all five of the tv screens suspended from the ceiling have music videos screaming out at visitors.
This morning, however, it's a status meeting, and I'm at the tail end of it.
"Hey!" I say, and eight or so of the staff hey me back. One of them is Helen, the most delectable office manager in the world.
Rich, the MD, one of the dudes I'm here to see this morning, says, "Grab a seat." So I do, and eavesdrop on their business process. I feel justified in doing this, cos I figure there's definitely a place for me in this completely mad organisation.
Rich is saying, "Whoever DOESN'T write down their logsheets for the London client will get a cellphone enema. That means YOU D'ave!" He holds up the cellphone. It ain't no mini Moto. Then he says something to one of the dudes about sourcing the John Cleese training videos to look at for ideas. The dude says he doesn't know where to even start looking.
I pipe up, "Try the IMM library. I did a course with them a while back, and they showed us the videos."
D'ave says, "The Institute of Marketing Management?"
That's the one. I'm making a contribution already, and I don't even work here.
Andre whispers a question to me while the meeting continues. "What beverage can I prepare for you?"
Andre is the in-house coffee-maestro and hospitality king. I reckon he's one of the major reasons this is one of THE premier places to work. I say, "A cappuccino would be it, thanks." He's beaming when he brings it to me. It's pride. And it's justified. There are hundreds of coffee-shop owners in Joburg alone who would murder this man to stop him from showing them up as useless.
The meeting dissipates, and Rich, Ant and I head for the office. Andre intercepts us, and brings a plate of Tim Tams as fuel for the meeting. Ant tells me I can have his. Ooooo, baby. The trick with the Tim Tam is that you nibble off two corners diagonally opposite each other, then use the chocolate-coated biscuit as a straw. As soon as the coffee hits your mouth, you chew the entire biscuit. And then you wipe your underpants with a serviette. Unfortunately, I don't have a serviette.
So we kick off the meeting with Rich saying, "So, why're you here? This is your meeting." And we talk a lot about my expertise and what I might be able to bring to the company. I tell them that I'm unemployable, that I don't WANT a job or a boss, that I'm a project sorta dude, and this seems to go down quite well. They tell me that one of the things they're going for this year is to up their creative output a notch or two. And I reckon this is where I'd slot in perfectly.
I see myself as someone able to motivate their teams to give those extra bits of juice to the work, and transform it into magic stuff. And I reckon I can do this on a per-project basis. Maybe it'll involve me being a creative director of sorts. But I don't like the advertising agency model, and neither do they.
"Roy," says Rich, "I think we've got to meet for coffee every now and again and chat about how we can use you. You're like this powerful tool that someone's just plonked into my hands, and I don't know how to use it. We're going to have to talk a lot and find out how to use you."
Very promising. And I'm sure we're going to do grooooovy things together. This is rock and roll. Heavy rock 'n roll. Yeah. Thrash baby, thrash.
But right now I've got to scoot to Curious Pictures to start my three-week production gig. Hoooograhhhh!
As I'm making for the door, Andre says, "There's a little something on my desk for you."
His desk is the bar in the corner near the door. On it is a little paper bag filled with sweets.