Betjeman, bitchin man

I hate working on Sunday. It makes me grumpy. I want chocolate and mangoes and newspapers that don't annoy me. Instead here I am reading madly before the interviews, wondering whether the ironed clothes are and wondering what kind of crap today's PR girl is going to pull on me.

Here is John Betjeman on the subject of PR guys in 1954.

The Village Inn

The village inn, the dear old inn,
So ancient, clean and free from sin,
True centre of our rural life
Where Hodge sits down beside his wife
And talks of Marx and nuclear fission
With all a rustic’s intuition.
Ah, more than church or school or hall,
The village inn’s the heart of all”

So spake the brewer’s PRO,
A man who really ought to know,
For he is paid for saying so.
And then he kindly gave to me
A lovely coloured booklet free.

“Twas full of prose that sang the praise
Of coaching inns in Georgian days,
Showing how public-houses are
More modern than the motor-car,
More English than the weald or sold
And almost equally as old.
And run for love and not for gold

Until I felt a filthy swine
For loathing beer and liking wine,
And rotten to the vary core
For thinking village inns a bore
And village bores more sure to roam
To village inns than stay at home.

And then I thought I must be wrong,
So up I rose and went along
To that old village alehouse where
In neon light is written “Bear”.

Ah, where’s the inn that once I knew
With brick and chalky wall
Up which the knobbly pear-trees grew
For fear the place would fall?

Oh, that old pot house isn’t there,
It wasn’t worth our while.
You’ll find we have rebuilt “The Bear”
In Early Georgian style.

But winter jasmine used to cling
With golden stars a-shine
Where rain and wind would wash and swing
The crudely painted sign.

And where’s the roof of golden thatch?
The chimney-stack of stone?
The crown-glass panes that used to match
East sunset with their own?

Oh now the walls are red and smart,
The roof has emerald tiles.
The neon sign’s a work of art
And visible for miles.

The bar inside was papered green,
The settles grained like oak,
The only light was paraffin,
The woodfire used to smoke.

And photographs from far and wide
Were hung around the room;
The hunt, the church, the football side,
And Kitchener of Khartoum.

Our air-conditioned bars are lined
With washable material,
The stools are steel, the taste refined,
Hygienic and ethereal.

Hurrah, hurrah, for hearts of oak!
Away with inhibitions!
For here’s a place to sit and soak
In sanit’ry conditions.

Whatever Betjeman! I constantly wish I could meet PR people who thrust their clients or projects at me. Intead I only seem to meet the ones who will prevent me from meeting anyone. Like the crazy man who I was told used to represent John Abraham. He yelled at me when I asked him who his clients were! Or a super popular PR company who first calls me to set up interviews and then refuses to fix an appointment. For today's meeting for instance I have made a minimum of 20 calls. After the first cooing call from the company I mean. And then I have unqualified chaos to look forward to this afternoon, where I will arrive at the hotel to be told that the star has just gone to Abu Dhabi.


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