Sunday, 14 February 2016
My parents, the registry office they married in, Valentine's Day 1966 - in some strange and sinister way - I am also 'in' this picture - which is why my mother is hiding her waist with her arm.
Today would have been my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary - or the 'Gold' one. Most people would have expected to have died by this point of their generation. I don't think they had a particularly happy marriage - they were too different, my father died when I was 17 so it had it's natural end before they both decided to call it a day - which I'm quite sure they would have done. I think they were much happier when they were still single and having what seems to be quite a passionate and exciting affair - my inevitable appearance ruined that for both of them - but also a succession of very bad decisions they both made afterwards - so I stopped beating myself up about that a long time ago. My father was always convinced he would die at 49, like his own father - and that's exactly what he did. I almost managed to do the same - I still have a few months left to carry on the family tradition.
A close friend's mother died at Christmas, in very similar circumstances to my own - she had also become very difficult in her final years and quite bitter, by all reports. In a final act of pique she left him out of her will - it was the last thing she could do to hurt him, I have long since understood that people attack the people closest to them sometimes because they can't face confronting themselves. I know that he wasn't actually expecting anything from her - but it still hurt very much - I completely understand how he feels.
A client rang me several times yesterday to talk through incredibly trivial aspects of a job I've completed and am getting paid very little for - hand holding seems to be a big part of my job. When I worked in-house in Agencies in London at the start of my career - people were paid to do things like that and clients were kept away from us. I suppose that the pay-off for keeping us 'safe' was that we never met a client and so were ever treated with any respect by them - the client-facing types would get all the praise and gratitude (they were usually failed designers themselves who went to a lot of trouble to make us feel insecure and inadequate). Now - I have to deal with everything. Getting the work in the first place, dealing with clients (good and bad) all the negotiation and administration that they require and then managing the finances. None of which I get paid for. This probably explains why most people look at design work and wonder what they are paying for 'it's just a logo'. I get no security, no benefits, can never pull the occasional sick day. Don't get a nice lump sum every month and nobody deals with my tax or national insurance for me. I also have to deal with all the bad clients and the non-payers. My latest is 'Kenzie' from the ill-fated boy band '5ive' who has stiffed me on the branding for his DJ work. He's a cunt. He was also staggeringly thick. I have to deal with another non-payer this week, to make it more difficult - we have connections trough both work and my social life - that makes it far harder for me.
On the Valentine's day front - I have only ever had one Valentine card in my entire life (regardless of me being in a relationship or not) - I personally wouldn't welcome one, it would make me feel uneasy - this one arrived by hand at my house in Brighton about 12 years ago. A cheap number from hallmark with a teddy bear on the front. Inside, under the verse - in biro, it said 'Happy Valentines - it's such a shame you were no good in bed". I have no idea who sent it, it might have actually been meant for someone else - I used to get a lot of people confusing me with another house nearby. It's always stuck in my mind that someone was either trying (and failing) to be clever and funny - or just plain nasty. I'm sure there is a back story in there, somewhere - but it beats me.
Most people I know seem to resort to online dating as a first resort in all things now - as I understand it - many people I know in London now 'date' a complete stranger 2 or even 3 times a week - with no expectation of a 2nd date - that would ruin the variety of their social lives. They just do it to fill the time. Down here - it seems almost everyone I know has a 'Guardian Soulmates' sideline - with everyone in at least 2 or 3 'almost' relationships - there isn't even any need (or incentive) to actually 'meet'. I don't understand any of that at all. I'm pretty sure I'm the only single person I know.