Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

I am on my way to a meeting. For once I am driving as the studio I am visiting is some way from public transport. They know that I am driving and should have booked me a space.

It's for a show I've worked on before, but for this series there have been budget cuts which means a slight reduction in my pay. Not great, but it's fun work and at least they're going to pay me and not go into administration owing me money. I hope.

When I get there I go straight to the main car park. Unfortunately the man at the barrier knows nothing about my visit and suggests I try the main reception. At the front of the studio are a few spaces, but they are all reserved for bigwigs and head honchos so I just park at an awkward angle in a place that is obviously not meant to be parked in and nip into reception.

There I tell them that I should have a car parking space booked and the lovely lady confirms that that's correct and it should be right out the front with my name on it, ie one of the spaces I had driven past, assuming they were for the important people whilst us plebs had to go round the back and take our chances in a numbered spot.

I drive back round and there it is - a car parking space with my name on it. I am a head honcho! I am a bigwig! I have arrived! (albeit in a second-hand Ford Focus that smells a bit of sick). I park and go into my meeting where the first thing I am asked is whether I got my car parking space OK. I say yes, and relate the whole "driving past it thinking I wasn't important enough to get a car parking space with my name on it" story and we all have a laugh.

As the meeting progresses I realise what they are up to though: they think that they can get away with paying me less by giving me something that doesn't actually cost them anything - a car parking space with my name on it. And if they think they can get away with paying me less by giving me a car parking space with my name on it they are dead right. It is brilliant! A car parking space with my name on it!

I imagine it is like the first time you fly first class - once you have seen how the other half park you can never go back. I won't be able to drive to Tesco ever again unless next to the disabled and parent and baby spaces there is a special space just for me. With my name on it. I will settle for nothing less now.

And I will be telling my agent that the requirement of a car parking space with my name on it must be written into all my contracts from now on. Even the ones where I arrive by tube. In fact, especially the ones where I arrive by tube.