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David's diary: June 1996

Dearest Diary

I hope you will understand that I have never been disciplined enough to keep a diary. Sure, I've had one of those nice leatherette appointment diaries with a slot for every hour of the working day -- pointless though because the most important appointments are always in the evening, which they normally only have poxy little space for. Never since school have I tried to keep any log of my activities, and I am sure this time around will be no more successful than those abortive school-day attempts...

To make any of this rubbish fit into any kind of context, perhaps I ought to explain a little about myself. For those who are easily bored, switch off now, and probably look at someone else's file. "Mono" is a good one. "Yesterday I connected to Mono". "Today I connected to Mono". "Tomorrow I will connect to Mono again". Laugh a minute stuff. A laugh more a minute than mine, I fear...

I'm 26, which makes me a bit of an oldie I guess. I'm a computer engineering graduate from Buckinghamshire College, which falls under the umbrella of Brunel University -- though they disown us, because otherwise they would lose out on grants to improve their standards. I now work for a company called Audiovirtual, near Basingstoke in Hampshire, where I am what might be called a professional programmer. I specialise in musically oriented computer software, and also help run the company's digital recording studio.

Today was a typical day. I had a real bad night's sleep, suffering from my usual irrational dreams. This one one of the worst, which ended up with me walking round the carpark outside my flat wearing only a dressing gown. Don't ask me why. Something about a fire-alarm that I hadn't been bothered to take notice of, and I thought I heard people calling for me, etc etc. Weird. Not as weird as the time a couple of years back when I had the irresistable urge to throw the duvet out of the window, and then had to extremely subtly go and fetch it back in again, when of course it was tipping it down with rain outside... Anyway, I didn't sleep well, but it was OK, as we had agreed the evening before we would start work late this morning.

The day itself passed quite quickly, with the regular event of trawling through all the myriad e-mails, usenet articles, voice-mail messages, fan-mail etc; discovering that the long-lost multitrack tapes for our next record release had actually been sitting in my desk for the last year; writing a kind of newsletter for our artists to appease them for the fact that 0.3385% of 81 sales at ukp12.99 wasn't going to add up to a very big royalty cheque, indeed that it would probably cost us more to mail the cheque than its face value...

"After work", we had a big meeting to discuss all kinds of future plans for the company, including working with some big-name artists to help promote our products. Janie Chegwin, Keith's twin brother's ex-wife, helps us out on the music promotions side and always has an opinion to share, and it's usually worth hearing. Her new husband is a good businessman and is likely to be a future MD for our software side. It was supposed to have been followed by a migration to a local hostelry for a swift pint or three, but such did not transpire, so I ended up watching the end of Tarzan and the beginning of Dinosaurs on satellite TV instead. Sad really.

Boring day really. We have had some more interesting stuff recently though. Only last week we had Wayne Dobson, the conjuror, in, doing the soundtrack for his latest stage-show -- that was the first time I myself had ever engineered for a paying customer, and it went quite well except the CD-mastering machine went wrong on me right at the end. My immediate colleague got to go to a big GMTV show last week, meeting such notables as Anthea Turner and some guy who's at number three in the charts or something.

At least the summer seems to be here now, definitely a Good Thing, with a swimming pool and tennis court on site. We're just over the fields from RAF Odiham; there was a big air-show there last week with the Red Arrows and everything, and it's also one of the main practice airfields for the Farnborough air-show, which is in September, so looking forward to that one, ear-plugs providing.

Well, first proper entry over... don't expect this to be too regular; it is me we're talking about after all!

So what's been going on here over the last few days? Well last Thursday was supposed to have seen a very important business meeting up at Covent Garden in London, but after three hours in heavy traffic, and boiling hot weather, the other guy DIDN'T TURN UP!!! By the time we got back home it was near midnight, and we almost left the road on a few occasions due to sheer exhaustion from too many late nights etc.

On the journey up to London, my boss quietly -- after promising me all kinds of sports cars if sales take off -- informed me that I'm going to be evicted in a month or so's time and am therefore advised to be looking around for another flat. Easy... Except I'm also looking around for a car (I passed my test the other week, by the way), bogged down with dull work, busy with Mono, etc etc.

So to cut a long story short, I'm not overly happy here at the moment, and am looking around for "other opportunities". Nothing obvious has popped out of the woodwork yet, but I'm fairly flexible -- within reasonable limits -- in terms of where I live and what I do. My main deciding factor will be whether my prospective employer has installed, or is prepared to install, a T1 leased line. Nothing (well almost nothing) in life is more important...

Good news today in every respect. I've applied for a job back at home (i.e. High Wycombe), as a world world web operations manager, and they want to arrange an interview for next week sometime, so that's looking very hopeful. Here at work, our boss seems to have given the go-ahead for our star engineer to do a trance remix (a la Robert Miles) of one of the tracks off his (our boss's) album, in a commercial studio. This may not sound too exciting, but if you knew the background, it's actually quite an achievement. You see we have a studio here, but it's not really cut out for doing dance music, more live recording type stuff. However our boss doesn't understand these subtleties, believing that he has a studio, and that it can be used for anything. Our engineer told us bluntly that he could not do it in our set-up, and that he would have to go external, which would of course cost lots of money, which our boss would be seriously anti. Then we reminded him that we actually have about ten grand stashed in a bank account in San Diego, which should be used for exactly this kind of thing, and now seems reasonably won over to the idea...

Well, maybe not every respect. High pollen count today... bad news indeed. Oh and I've run out of food -- again.

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