All 2 entries tagged Quintus

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September 01, 2007


Follow-up to Spotted: Health Secretary in South London supermarket from Esprit de l'escalier

Alan Johnson was in Sainsbury’s again! And once again, I failed to ask him for an internship. This time he was entertaining a small child – presumably his grandson – so I felt it would be inappropriate.

Plus, I’ve just started a new internship anyway, at DeHavilland, the political monitoring firm. I’m based in the Emap offices just over the road from Mornington Crescent tube station, where I was delighted to discover there’s a blue plaque for the late great Willie Rushton.

It’s been a slightly surreal first week for me, possibly because I started a day after I got back from Reading; possibly because the work is pretty similar to what I did at Quintus Public Affairs, so I’ve just hit the ground running; or possibly because I’m used to the 20-strong Quintus whereas Emap’s a massive organisation but I’m in a tiny team.

I was subject to some rather Kafkaesque bureaucracy yesterday morning. On Tuesday and Thursday front desk gave me a temporary pass to the building and on Wednesday they just waved me in. Yesterday, they decided to implement some draconian changes: without a staff pass I couldn’t enter Emap unless someone with a staff pass could vouch for me. The same guy who’d let me in the previous three days couldn’t make an exception. He had no contact numbers with which to ask someone to come down so if I hadn’t happened to have my supervisor’s number as a recently called number, I’d have been waiting in the lobby all day. I’ve got my photo ID now – unfortunate cowlick and all – so it’s all good.

Apparently, the brothers Miliband have inspired a new game. The Guardian’s “What We’ve Learned This Week” segment mentioned Musical Miliband Three-Way. There’s little on Google. Can anyone explain what it is? It sounds rude.

Cabinet Secretary Glenn Miliband

Foreign Secretary Steve Miliband

April 30, 2007

Capital account

Wow, I’ve been in London nearly three weeks now! I’ve not really thought about it because I started the internship a week ago and have therefore had other things on my mind but I suppose I’m getting used to living here.

The internship’s been great so far. Quintus is a public affairs company, which is a somewhat PC way of saying they’re lobbyists. So I have a feeling I’ve sold out, though I’ve not witnessed any evil yet. I wouldn’t be able to say if I had anyway, cos I’ve signed one of those confidentiality forms.

It’s located in St James Square, which is nestled between those Monopoly favourites Pall Mall and Piccadilly. The area is full of elegant architecture housing businesses evocative of an aristocratic London that existed between Victoria’s reign and the start of WWII: The Ritz, Fortnum & Mason, less well-known but presumably just as swanky luxury food and drink boutiques, and tailors selling those hideous shirts with different colour collars. It seems every other building around there has a blue plaque boasting one-time occupancy of a historical figure. Nancy Astor used to live next door to us.

As an outsider, these are some things I’ve noticed about the capital:
- It seems to take an hour to get anywhere. Streatham to Fulham, Streatham to work, Streatham to Holloway Road. All take pretty much an hour.
- Despite a travelcard costing me £27.50 per week (Newcastle equivalent £10), the public transport’s pretty good. What with the buses, one doesn’t have to get a taxi back at night and everything! I did boil my arse off on the Northern line the other day though
- For all this talk of Tesco taking over Britain, the ubiquitousness of Sainsburys is astonishing. You can’t move for them. I prefer Sainsy Bs to Tescos anyway.
- Newcastle’s been getting more and more expensive nightlife-wise, and to start with, I didn’t think London was that much worse. However, last Friday I was taken to a place called Infernos in Clapham. For a pretty average club playing chart toss, it had a cheek to charge £10 for the pleasure. That’s a day’s budget in Asia, and although I’ve spent a lot since being back, I’ve never dropped a tenner in one go like that. Surely cheap drinks would make up for that though I reckoned. No such luck. A bottle of 1664 was £3.70; the special offer seemed to be Bulmers cider – a snip for one of your Queen’s fivers.
- I thought smog was something London had, and got over, back in the fifties or whatever, but judging by the way the sun glows a watchable red as it hangs over the western horizon a good hour before sunset, it’s still here. Probably not Bangkok levels, but LA certainly.

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