Wednesday, 5 October 2011

In which we talk shop

I was in the pub last night (quelle surprise) with TW (quelle even bigger surprise) and one of his journo friends.

Converstion rapidly quickly found its centre in work and work-related issues, as conversation is wont to do between two or more people who work in the same industry.

I’ve always found this to be the case. Whilst at university, being invited to medics’ dinner parties was always a double-edged sword: yes, the food was likely to be extravagant, and the alcohol – in all its forms – plentiful and potent. But there was the danger you’d been invited as the token non-medic, and the person they were relying upon for conversation about the outside world, and anecdotes about dating people who weren’t medics, because those were the only people any of them ever had time to meet and sleep with. (It didn’t work, incidentally: as a civilian, you might get in a sentence or two about Real Life, only for conversation to swing quickly back to horrible sounding procedures; technical jargon; and rude jokes about nurses.)

Lawyers, as Best Mate will attest, are also appalling for it, and generally pepper conversation with terrible legalese-based puns, and army types are even worse – given that their vocabulary mainly consists of acronyms, it’s exceedingly difficult even to follow the gist of the conversation.

But, being overexposed, as I have been of late, to large groups of journos in confined spaces, I think we might have a winning group, such as that winning is.

Because journalists’ capacity for talking shop seems, as far as I can tell, to be utterly inexhaustible. I’d packed away four double Tanquerays and we’d moved on to a Lebanese restaurant round the corner for a late dinner before there was a lull in the discussion about the New York Times documentary, Page One; the best-dressed men in journalism (sub-section: press freebies and the new Bribery Act); how journos at the FT are the nicest of all newspaper journos; Hugh Jackman and press junkets; why Gawker is evil; and the Best Ever Issue of the New Yorker Ever TM*.

Thankfully, working in the loosely-termed industry that is ‘meeja’, I find the whole thing fascinating – I love a decent debate on the whys and wherefores, and I firmly believe a PR can never know too much about The Other Side and their machinations (I could do with a little less discussion on page layouts and merits of certain styles of graphs, though, if I’m brutally honest).

Which is probably a good thing. Who knows how much gin I’d have got through otherwise.



And when/if you have children, remember to be the one who extends the conversation beyond insomnia, routines and weaning.
You'll be the popular one then.

Redbookish said...

Ahem, have you ever been in the company of academics. We tell the funniest stories about our undergradulets (no, really).

Gosh, I thought my profession was the worst for shop talk. After all, we live in ivory towers and have no common sense, so cannot talk about anything but shop!

Vulpine said...

It sounds wonderful to be exposed to stimulating conversation! All my colleagues discuss is spreadsheets, payment schedules and trust accounts. Bah!

Clare Alicia said...

Sounds like an entertaining evening. I recently attended one of the worst dinner parties of my life - was shocked by the discussion of my peers - but it a weird way left me feeling better about my own life. Maybe it should be blogged too.

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