In Advertising (as a creative) you get hired in a couple. Like the movie step brothers, but less funny and ten times more stressful.
When I passed my degree in Creative Advertising and coupled up with a hilarious blonde called Jenn, we moved from the grey north of England to the equally grey (and smoggy) big ol’ London Town to try and find an internship at an Ad Agency in the hope that it would magically turn into a job… for both of us. The only twist was that we had about £1000 worth of student debts weighing us down and nowhere to live.
Off the back of a good portfolio, we scored an internship and slept on friends of friends (of friends of friends) sofas for two weeks. The promises of a job came and subsequently evaporated into thin air, and we started freaking out about the possibility of becoming homeless. Our boss at the time overheard us worrying about this while nursing our £1 cuppa soups on the last day of our internship.
“I have a friend who owns a pub and has a storeroom. I could ask if he would put you up for a couple of weeks…?”
Jenn almost jumped on him with happiness. I however, was dubious. I could imagine waking up in the middle of the night, bound by chains, in a dark basement somewhere in Bounds Green.
“Jenn?” i’d whisper into the cold damp air “….yeah…. i know.” She’d sigh, knowing she’d really fucked up this time.
After much much muuuuuuuuch persuasion. We went to check out the room. Gerry, the owner of the pub lead us into a store room with a single camp bed, missing floor boards and a huge unused bar cabinet in it.
“It’s not much, but it’s yours if you’d like it, there’s a lock on the door and everything… it does get loud from the music of the pub but it’s free…”
He had a lovely manner about him, he seemed like a genuinely sweet man.
Jenn looked at me. I looked at Jenn and we took it. It was the only option we had.
From that day on we worked our arses off to find another internship and after two weeks, we landed our next interview. Gerry was impressed, extended our stay and after months of flyering at 5am in the morning and working 12 hours days at the office, we were hired. We’d made it.
Fast forward 2 years and that single store room is a beautifully decorated two bed room. Gerry has become our adoptive father, and we all live above our favourite pub with our two cats Starsky and Hutch. Funny how life pans out isn’t it?
When I decided to move to the Ionian Islands 2 months ago, the one person I was scared of telling, was Gerry. He’d given me and Jenn a home when we didn’t have one. We only had a job because of him. He’d kept our rent at a ludicrously low price because we’d felt like family to him, and he’d taken us out for a Sunday lunch every weekend because he liked having us around. How could I say “thanks, but byeeeeee”?
Two weeks ago we were sat at a bar. Me tipsy off wine and him sober, drinking a hot chocolate.
“I’m moving to Greece.” I blurted out.
It went quiet.
He looked like i’d told him it was a Thursday.
“I know. Jenny told me. Don’t worry… The pub will always be here if you come back.”
He was fine with it. He kept saying it was all good, that I shouldn’t worry so much. I was so relived I could have melted into a pile of Gina jam on the floor.
Now all I have to do is quit my job, sell all my stuff and say goodbye to everyone I know and love. Wish me luck.