Saturday, 19 May 2007

My FA Cup Final hell

Just got back from the 'New Wembley' which was a bit wasted on me having never been to the 'Old Wembley'. (I don't even like football).

Yesterday I had foolishly accepted an invite to attend the FA Cup final thinking it would be a great opportunity to get close to the likes of Thompson and the rest of the top brass for quality out-of-hours chit-chat. I fondly remember the great corporate awaydays at Cheltenham Races when I could work the marquee, and have quiet one-to-ones with Kevin, Janey and Peter Dale over a glass of champagne (I'm sure it was one of these shindigs that helped land me Head of Docs).

So what better way (I thought to myself) than to spend a whole afternoon with 'Thomo', the most powerful man in broadcasting. I'm sure he'd be keen to hear my first impressions of the Corporation.

On arrival at the stadium I was escorted into a huge Executive suite which to my horror-of-horrors was filled with children with faces painted red & blue. I instantly recognised the woman from the 2nd floor Costa Coffee at TVC. I tried to avert eye contact but it was too late. She shuffled over (with kids and husband in tow) and said without any trace of irony: "Isn't it great to get perks like this at the Corporation? Are you here alone or were you able to bring your family?"

Holy crap what have I let myself in for? I scanned the room. Where's Fifi? Where's Thomo? Surely I can't be in the right place?

Unwittingly, I discovered, I had accepted an invitation to join the 'One Corporation One Family One For All' annual FA Cup treat for the lackies. Over one hundred lucky employees - secretaries, IT, admin, cleaners - had won a day out for themselves and their nearest and dearest. There was NO top brass. NO Mark Thompson. Not even Alan Yentob.

What the fuck am I doing here? Why hadn't Anthony fucking flagged this up when the email came round yesterday??? What kind of PA is he?? He should be shielding me from this kind of shit.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and it was Jay Hunt, the Controller of Daytime. She whispered: "Great to see you here supporting this, well done. It won't go unnoticed. Oh, and make sure Katie the photographer from 'Ariel' sees that you're here...." (She then gave me a nice squeeze on the arm. Love her.)

An hour later I found myself sandwiched between Bob, a 58 year old VT technician from Borehamwood and Sandy from 'Studio Dispatch' (whatever that means), for 90 excruciating minutes, plus something called 'extra time'.

Holy crap, as if it couldn't get any worse I spotted Thomo on the big screen during a replay. No, he wasn't in the 'One Corporation One Family One For All' suite, he was sitting one row behind Prince William in the VIP area.

So, there we have it. Six and a half precious fucking hours of my life completely wasted for one picture in 'Ariel' of me surrounded by kids holding balloons....

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