In the bleak and desperate months that followed graduation, I applied for some weird things. Mostly because they sounded fun, the pay was good, and I didn”t think anyone else would actually apply (I was consistently proved wrong on all counts).
I moved back in with my parents and became a sort of live-in painter decorator while job after job told me that “due to the volume of applicants we are unable to provide feedback.” My dad looked astonished to see that I was still there every morning, my mother, with fierce maternal pride, kept saying “I”d hire you love” as I lay face down on the kitchen floor, and suggested I “just get on a graduate scheme” (“yes, but why don”t you just say that you”re an engineer”). This increasingly hopeless situation led to me developing the dual conviction that 1) I was a professional dancer and 2) what people are really looking for on application forms is to see that you understand puns. Neither of these are correct, but you should bear them in mind when reading the following the selection of jobs I have applied for and not got…
I semi-accidentally applied for a job with Bauer Media that turned out to be a reality show for ITV4 2 in which overqualified arts graduates were made to live in a house for two months and battle to the death for an unpaid internship. It aired last summer and Wikipedia can help us imagine what it was like:
Episode 4 (7 June) – At FHM magazine, they interview celebrities Stooshe, Adam Deacon, Adam Turner and some pigs.
It wasn”t until I was making friends in the interview queue that I discovered who Bauer Media represent (Closer, Grazia, More, Zoo, Heat, Practical Fishkeeping). “Ha!” I said, “Who”d want to write for them?” The queue went silent. “Only joking!” I cried. Then I told the boy next to me that I was actually the first part of interview, sent to weed out those who weren”t fully committed to the Grazia cause. “You”ve passed” I confided in a whisper.
In the absence of any feedback, I gave myself some pointers. Try not to say things like “I think celebrity culture is stupid” in your interview and don”t write things like this on your application form (these are all completely true):
Have you ever been on television before? I”ve been interviewed on three different occasions for the local news and was in the audience for a seminal episode of Deal or No Deal in 2007.
How would your family describe you? An emotional and financial burden
Do you have any hobbies or anything you like to do in your spare time? …I”ve signed up to do the Virgin Olympic
Triathlon where you have to swim in the Thames in a wetsuit so I should say I train for that in my spare time. In reality though, even thinking about it makes me feel nauseous and last week I ran half a mile in 13 minutes and was sick in a hedge. Apparently I have to join a local group where we all swim in the river together at 5am to become “accustomed to the splashing and the taste of river sewage”.
…I love the cinema, the theatre, performing, reading, writing, travelling and ironic arts and crafts. At Christmas I made a two foot tower of Ferrero Rocher.
Who were your top five stars of 2011? Kate Middleton, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Steve Jobs and CFBDSIR 1458 10b
If you were a fly on the wall where would you be? On the wall
How good are you with criticism, constructive or otherwise? Average to poor
What celebrity would you most like to interview and what one question would you ask? Jesus Christ. How do you feel about men who love other men?
(This one I repeated in my screen Players accumulate reward points every time they play real money casino games at Winnings. test and tried to explain to the bored researcher, at length, that religious homophobia is a fallacy and it would be good to know for certain whether or not Jesus Hates Gays is a misquote. He said “well, I think that”s the only time I”m going to hear that answer today” and put a visible cross on his paper)
I have long suspected that I look exactly like Cinderella, and while I don”t really care about Disney in the way that some people Care About Disney, I thought a season in Paris dressed as princess sounded like a right “laff. Every six months Disney hold open auditions up and down the country over a weekend. On the Saturday in London, 807 people showed up and the man at the desk told me that was well below average. I stood in the queue in my “appropriate movement wear” and surveyed the writhing mass of virulent youth as they warmed their toned and limber limbs. A girl holding her leg above her head turned to face me, beaming. “Is this your first time?”
I laughed. “Yes, of course, isn”t it yours?”
“Oh no. It”s my fifth. I”ve made waiting list twice”. “Waiting list?” She looked at me. “So you make waiting list and you”ve absolutely made the Disney team but there isn”t a spot for you just yet so you just have to be ready incase anybody gets sick or injured and then you”ve got 24 hours to get to Paris.” I asked if that was stressful. “Well, yes, it lasts for six months so you never really go on holiday or take another job just incase they want you and you need to get there right away.” She”d been on waiting list twice (that”s a year of her life, hello GCSE Maths) and she was back in the hopes of making it again.
Behind us a girl announced that all she wanted was to be in the Villain”s Parade where you drive in the car with all the villains. “I just want to be Cruella Deville.” she said. And then said it again, louder and in the style of Cruella Deville in case anyone was watching. “Cool” I said, “best of luck.”
A man with a ponytail came out to greet us and the assembled throng of physical movement youth went mad. “That”s the director general” a boy in a leotard cut to the navel cried with his hands to his face in excitement. The director general gave us a talk that basically explained it would cost us money to work there for the season and hinted at the kind of working conditions that I”d read led staff to call Disneyland Mauschwitz (when an email came round telling them this name with fascist connotations would absolutely not be tolerated and was not to be mentioned again, they started calling it Duckow). The youth laughed psychotically at everything he said as though laughing the loudest would up their chances of wearing a sweltering suit as Chip and/or Dale and dancing for children.
As an aside, I actually know a girl who managed to laugh loud enough to be allowed to portray Chip and/or Dale for the Disney season. One afternoon, while she was deep in a jovial skirmish with Pluto (that prankster) her ponytail fell out of the black balaclava you wear in the suit. She didn”t notice until one of her Minders (who dress as guests and blend in with the crowd) led her away saying “Come on, Chip. Why don”t we go and have tea with Mickey” which is how she knew she was in trouble. If you say it in the right voice, I think that”s one of the most macabre sentences I”ve ever heard.
We went through round after round of physical movement, “8 counts to the left as a pirate, round in a circle as a dragon” and then they pulled us up in groups of ten, called out “518, 519, 523, 524…” and then, to really put the edge on things, either “stay in the room” or “that”s all for today”. You got the impression that dramatic pause, while children”s dreams hung in the balance, was the director general”s favourite part of the job. I made it through to the penultimate round, before the lucky few would be ushered into the next room for “Wigs and Make Up”, where the costume team take all your clothes off you and talk about your face in French. The choreographer announced we would be “stepping things up” and the kids in lycra leapt about and cried “Woo!” while slapping themselves.
The dance began with jazz hands and beaming for 8 counts and just as I was thinking “Oh I”m going to nail this”, the choreographer suddenly had her leg over her head and was shouting “Shasay -Shasay – Lunge – Step Kick Step Kick – Stag Leap” The dance finished in the splits which was the only bit I knew, but since I can only do the splits on one leg I had to end up facing the wrong direction. I should have left but I went up in my ten just incase they said “the kid can”t move properly but by Jove does she look like Cinderella.” They didn”t, I had reached my peak. I let them say “that”s all for today” and watched my friend from the waiting list shrieking as she was ushered into Wigs and Make Up.
Posted by Tessa