Eurodan in English

April 26, 2004

I haven't forgotten you, dear reader.

There are lots of things I'd like to tell you. Like how beautiful Brussels now looks in the sunshine. Or how the strange, asymmetrical operation of the hi-tech shutters on the newly-restored Berlaymont building makes them look like they're sending secret messages across to the Council over the road. Or how I *am* going to 'add' Swedish, after all.

But there are other things on my mind right now I'm afraid. Things which need thinking about. Mulling over.

I'm sure you understand. Back to normal service as soon as possible.

Posted by Eurodan at 9:51 PM | Comments (2)

April 16, 2004

It's exactly three years ago this month that I took the train from London to a rather uninviting large town in the north of England called Bradford to sit an aptitude test for their MA in Interpreting and Translation.

At the time I felt that I'd rather lost control of my life in London, despite superficial outward appearances to the contrary.

On the surface, things looked OK - I was managing the music channel for Lycos, I had a flat in central-ish East London, and had lots of friends to go out and have fun with.

The true picture was rather different. The job left me seething on an almost daily basis, mainly owing to truly crass management. Although I was genuinely interested in online media, and it was fun organising webchats with celebrities, the idea of Lycos as a webportal was going nowhere fast and the redundancies were starting.

It was the end of a stage of my career which had seen me move from several formative years at EMI Classics (a good grounding if ever there was one) onto a sort of leapfrog through several jobs, sometimes moving on to try to 'find myself', but more often because things just became untenable.

My stint at 365 Corporation practically single-handedly launching a major website had echoes of Janet Street-Porter's debacle at L!ve TV, or Matthew's Phase experience. The calamity of launching a dud product to a hugely expensive media fanfare was humiliating, and in no way totally my fault (to put it mildly). But leaving was really the only option.

The hops from one thing to the next were becoming more frequent as my dissatisfaction with Life in General was building, and I had the feeling that my luck was running out.

More than anything I felt green with envy when I saw all these lucky souls running around doing just what they had *always wanted* to do. They were TV cameramen, newsreaders, musicians, airline pilots, interpreters. They hadn't ended up in an office getting other people to do stuff. And they sure as hell didn't get their jobs by browsing the Media Guardian.

Something Had To Be Done.

Unfortunately, I felt rooted to the spot, as my ever-profligate ways had led to me having not saved a penny, in fact with a couple of credit cards to service.

The world seemed a cruel, heartless place.

But somehow, I managed to escape. Mustering a great deal of courage, I decided that no matter how big the risk of failure was, it was still a better prospect than spending the next 30 years doing the same thing.

And so, with the buffer of a nice year spent in Germany teaching English, designing webpages and being a bit of a slacker, it was off to Bradford.

How I managed without going bankrupt is still a bit of a mystery - but let's just say that I was very lucky with bursaries, and shameless with touting my translation skills for financial gain.

And now, three years on, I feel an extraordinary sense of relief at having managed to mend a part of my life which seemed quite broken.

It's a risky business, but I would urge anyone else in a similar position to do the same. After all, who are you living for?

Posted by Eurodan at 5:03 PM | Comments (2)

April 9, 2004

Is it just me, or has there been a silent, creeping revolution in the world of washing up? (And I'm not talking about dishwashing machines here).

Up until a couple of years ago, you did your washing up with a plastic brush. Now it seems everyone is using these little sponge pads.

Was there a questionnaire or a vote in Parliament? Don't get me wrong - I think they're an improvement as well, but it just seems to be such a well synchronised changeover.

Happy Easter, by the way. And I hope there's not too much washing up.

Posted by Eurodan at 1:41 PM | Comments (2)

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