Friday, April 06, 2007

I almost became an HGV driver

After I left Art College I went to work in a printers in Lewes, Sussex that specialised in veterinary products- tablet envelopes, veterinary charts and that sort of thing. It was old-fashioned set-type, putting tiny spacing leads and letters into a frame and printing sometimes by hand and sometimes on an old letterpress machine. The guy I worked for was revolting, always snuggling up too close to me and calling me 'Honey'. at the same time as being proud of the fact that he had a drawerful of National Front logos.
He's done his back in romancing his mistress in the back of a Mini, and so i had to do most of the heavy lifting. I had to get up at 6 to get there but could only stand the job by staying up all night with Gary (Smeg from the Cheesey bits and later, King Kurt), and his then girlfriend Mel, playing Monopoly, and then I used to count the trains one by one from 5 a.m. when they started, because I lived next to the station.
One day, I printed a thousand tablet envelopes with the wrong postcode. It was easy to make mistakes like that. Once the bloke offered me fifty quid to draw a digger for his friend's leaflet, which I did, but I never got paid. I got really cross, because the job was badly-paid and I could have done with the money. I started seething, and resenting the fact that it was always me who had to make the tea, and then he would creep up beside me with his nasty teeth and murmer in my ears. Then a bottle of stuff called Euthanol turned up by the tea things and I became convinced that it was something to do with putting animals down (you know, euthanasia), which it probably wasn't, but I became completely paranoid that he was going to try to poison my tea, and therefore glad that I was the one who always made it! Oh how I hated that job! The punks in the pub, my friends, offered to come and beat him up, but I turned down their offer.
Sorry- got off the point a bit there! Anyway, one lunchtime I was walking to the shop and I saw a huge French lorry draw up by the public toilets. A tiny woman got out, dressed in a vest and jeans, went to the loo and drove off again. I remembered when I used to hitch-hike with a friend from Yorkshire that those huge lorries have 18 gears, and you need not be physically strong to drive one, as all the stuff to do with containers is handled by various depots.
Anyway, a couple of years later when I'd ditched the job and moved to London, I actually got offered training in HGV driving, with a job as a driver when I'd finished, for a wholefood company based in the Midlands. It was a close call- Helen and the Horns hadn't started up yet, The Chefs were over, and I was trying to decide what to be (I even did an audition to present The Tube). For some reason I decided not to do it. But on the cover of Leavin' You Baby, the EP I did with Dubulah, there's a drawing of me and him in the cab of a lorry. I had to draw it because the guy at the depot wouldn't turn the lorry round so Kim could do a good photograph (he was sulking that day), but that was where I would have worked, if I'd decided to do it.
But I didn't.
The end.


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