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12 February 2001
Neil wonders why librarians have to be so well qualified.

Monday 29th January

The morning shift today. Ken Davis was in, the Deputy Chief Co-ordinator of Public Services (Central Division); we haven't seen him since that business with the pornography in the Large Print section when Mrs. Willsden had the heart-attack and the Gazette made us front-page news. He was here to introduce us to Gordon, our newly installed 'Director of Initiatives,' appointed to have a 'fresh look' at the way we run.

"A manager," whispered Tracey Roberts mischievously.

I said to Caroline: "You're the Senior Librarian- what's there to manage?" But she just shrugged.

"This job's being phased out," she said and what does she care? She leaves in less than a year. Looked more tired than ever today.

Gordon turned out to be just what we expected, a management oaf who probably thinks that Dewy-decimal is a polygon. He wasn't even wearing a suit, not even a shirt, just this green sweater with a collar on it- some kind of sportswear, so far as I could tell. He can't be more than thirty.

"Gordon's worked his way up from the bottom," Ken Davis announced, beaming at us pompously, presumably impressed when anybody has bothered to put in a day's work in their life. So I've got a degree in Persian, an MA in Bibliological Studies and twenty years experience just to be bossed around by somebody who spent their formative years sorting the post, I thought to myself. But I didn't say anything.

The sky was gloomy when I got back to the flat and from my room I saw lights on in the windows opposite, on the second floor, above the wg specialists; they seem to be offices of some kind. I've never noticed that before.

We've never had a busier week than after that bit in the Gazette. Some young hooligan put it there, I suppose.

Thursday 1st February

School party in today. I didn't have to deal with them much, thank God, their teacher hurried them all through to Graham Casey in the computer suite- probably scared they might get infected if they were left too long near any actual books. She let them virtually have the run of the place when they were finished, though; I had to help Tracey Roberts tidy up the comics section after they were gone, or 'Graphic Novels' as Gordon now insists it be called. Most of it not suitable for kiddies of that age, whatever name you give it, that's for sure. Things not going well with her boyfriend again; he's more trouble than he's worth as far as I can tell, but then with her psoriasis I'm sure she'll want to hang on to what she's got.

Home at eight after the late shift. Lights still on in the office opposite, young woman in a suit staring at a computer screen. It can't be anything to do with the wig specialists, that's all shut up now, you can just about see the heads silhouetted in the darkened windows. She doesn't look the type, anyhow.

Monday 5th February

Gordon popped his head round the corner whilst I's working amongst Home & Gardens today. "Ah, I's hoping to find you here," he said, smiling with all the genuine warmth of a Baked Alaska. "I just wanted a word about the policy on unaccompanied minors; Caroline said that it was your idea." It's that steam-rollering tone of reasonableness which forms the next evolutionary stage of the playground bully. Turns out he thinks it gives the wrong impression, wants to make us more 'accessible' to the young. Caroline refers everything to him now, it seems, even Graham Casey's ever-increasing budget demands. She drifts through each day like a zombie.

The same lady there again at the office. It's her and a man who work there but she always works later than he does. If I turn the light off in my room and stand right up to the window I can see her wrinkling her brow at the screen as she types, never once glancing down.

Wednesday 14th February

Staff meeting today. The only part of her job that Caroline doesn't seem to have given over to Gordon. Graham Casey was singing his praises, though; he's given the go-ahead to some scheme to turn the Natural History room into somewhere where people can browse the Web, apparently. "How lucky we are to have someone with such concern for the written word," I commented. Caroline looked at me; well, she turned her eyes in my direction: they weren't, so far as I could tell, focusing. "Do you have an issue with Gordon?" She asked. "Issue!" I snorted, "I have generations!" But nobody laughed.

Tracey Roberts gave me a sly look when we were stacking the returned Faiths and Lifestyles afterwards. "Were you hoping to get Caroline's job when she left?" She asked me.

She looked up today. She never usually does that, she always seems so intent on that screen. She looked startled, I could see that even with the light on, and for one eternal second we just looked at each other. Our eyes locked but neither of us were moving a muscle. So I waved.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

17 June 2002. Neil writes: Cockfosters
23 May 2002. Neil writes: Siege Mentality
29 April 2002. Neil writes: Oh So Pretty
1 April 2002. Neil writes: Lost
11 March 2002. Neil writes: These Are The Days
14 February 2002. Neil writes: Bedtime Story
21 January 2002. Neil writes: Said She Was An Artist
24 December 2001. Neil writes: Here's All the People
3 December 2001. Neil writes: On Antibiotics
8 November 2001. Neil writes: Private Schooling
15 October 2001. Neil writes: Morning After
20 September 2001. Neil writes: Flightpath
27 August 2001. Neil writes: Tsarina
2 August 2001. Neil writes: Family and Friends
9 July 2001. Neil writes: My Fabulous Weekend
14 June 2001. Neil writes: The Sound of Music
21 May 2001. Neil writes: Lethal Injection
26 April 2001. Neil writes: Voter Apathy
2 April 2001. Neil writes: ET
5 March 2001. Neil writes: The Shadow Over Brunswych
12 February 2001. Neil writes: Bibliofile
18 January 2001. Neil writes: Suburban Gothic
25 December 2000. Neil writes: Many in Body, One in Mind
30 November 2000. Neil writes: Urban Regeneration
6 November 2000. Neil writes: In Extremis
12 October 2000. Neil writes: Obituary
18 September 2000. Neil writes: Your Mother Sucks Cocks In Hell!
24 August 2000. Neil writes: Parent Power
7 August 2000. Neil writes: Love Letter

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