Before I reflect on my first week in my new job, I have to mention my Freedom Party last weekend. That is, ‘party’ in the shaking your booty sense – I am not about to announce that I’ve decided to spend my six-month career break establishing a new right-wing political movement. Now I don’t want to bore you all with tales of what a good party I had, which I know is tedious, but for me this was a serious milestone. I have never been a natural party-thrower, ever since I spent most of my 13th birthday party hiding in the toilet crying. I get apoplectic with stress about organising parties and obsess about every single element that can go wrong. Scrap that: I get apoplectic with stress mainly about the single most terrifying thing that can go wrong, namely that no one will turn up. However, as it is doubtful that I will ever get married, giving up my job after 10 years and stepping into the unknown is as good a reason as I am ever going to have for an almighty knees-up, so my eagerness to mark the occasion somehow won out. And whilst not the marrying type, my boyfriend did take some of the stress out of the equation by basically sorting out most of the practicalities, including booking a venue and organising the DJs. I really only had to turn up.
These days one cannot really organise any type of social gathering without Facebook. Which immediately presents two issues: 1. people who get so many event invitations through Facebook that they ignore them altogether; and 2. people who automatically click ‘yes’ to everything they get invited to, regardless of whether they have any intention of actually going. Which means that basically you are none the wiser as to how many people are actually going to show up. Inevitably, much as I would have liked to magically make it so that all my dearest friends would be free and available that weekend, some people had legitimate reasons not to be there. For the remainder, my boyfriend and I deployed some gentle harassing tactics in the week prior to the event, which was moderately successful. In the end, I had to accept that it was going to be what it was going to be and just try to enjoy myself.
Not only did I not once hide in the toilet crying, I actually started enjoying myself pretty much straight away and didn’t stop until 7am when the last few guests had strategically arranged themselves in and across the available sleeping materials in our flat and passed out. People did turn up, the music was great, everyone seemed to have a good time. We cooked breakfast at 4pm the next day and had doughnuts on the beach in the sun as a perfect Brighton antidote to post-party blues.
If someone had told me a few years ago that I would ever even know enough people to invite to a party held somewhere other than my living room, let alone that among those people would be a bunch of good DJs to provide tunes at said party, I would most definitely have laughed in their face. Although I am still essentially as hopelessly uncool as I have ever been, I am most certainly enjoying myself more. And it was genuinely amazing to be able to ring in my 183 days in such an epic way.
Anyway, that’s enough about what a good party I had. Now for some brief impressions of my new job, which started on Monday. I realised on Monday morning how long it had been since I last started a new job and experienced that ‘first day at school’ feeling. But despite, or perhaps because of, the complete whirlwind transition of leaving one job, partying all night and starting another job, I wasn’t actually that nervous, thankfully.
Firstly, what a joy and privilege it is to work in Brighton, paid or not. The Festival office looks out over the fairy-tale onion domes of the Pavilion and you can go to the beach in your lunch break. Mainly, I can walk to work in five minutes. Five minutes! That in itself has already improved my quality of life fairly dramatically. With any luck I won’t have to see the inside of a Premier Inn for a while, either.
Generally, I am really enjoying my new job. Everyone has been extremely friendly, the work isn’t too complex and because I am a volunteer, what I do is automatically appreciated. But mostly, it’s been fantastic to take a look behind the scenes of the Festival and find out what’s involved in the organisation of a three-week multi-arts event. I have a feeling that things will get increasingly frantic as the Festival approaches, but I am ready for that. The busier I am, the less time I have to look back or over-think, which right now feels like a good thing for me. Now then, what can I use as an excuse for my next party…