The Story of A,B & C-Episode One

7.30 a.m. A scruffy flat somewhere in North London:

New day… new job… and… oh, crap… I’m going to be laaate! Why the hell didn’t I get up earlier? An hour and a half should have been enough to get gorgeous but I must have changed my outfit at least five times, and I still feel like a dingo’s dump!

Why am I anxting so much? Well, this is my big chance. I’ve managed to land – subject to three month’s probationary period – a job at the famous Bentley and Bingham’s department store! And – get this – as a personal stylist, no less! I’m so excited! OK, it’s only four days a week and the pay is pants. But… this is the first real fashion job I’ve had in four-plus years and I can’t afford to mess up. No job means no money means no rent means no food means NO LIFE! Oh, bugger it, I HATE all this! And what does a personal stylist wear to work? Am I supposed to look edgy and creative, like some Japanese fashion student – all 70s, layers and eye liner? Or maybe smart and classical like a 1950′s movie star? Oh fuck! I don’t know! And look at my eyes. I look like a pink panda! SO too much slap, girl!

Now, Jess – that’s me, by the way – get a grip, girl! When you step out of that door you are going to look SO fine and SO fit that the pommie guys are going to be rolling their tongues up off the pavement and stuffing them back into their salivating mouths! Yep, today is the first day of the rest of my so-far-pretty-rubbish working life. OK, two and a half years doing fashion at Raffles in Sydney, then I go and drop out. More of that another time, and at least a bottle and a half of white before I come clean on that one! Then… two years of oh-so-fabulous gapping (thanks to my lovely, indulgent Dad) and then six months in London, serving in bars, waitressing, and searching for a meaningful existence. Finally, just as I was feeling a hapless, hopeless, antipodean non-entity, my best mate Sian came to my rescue. So… right now is my best chance, and if I don’t get my act together, I’m toast! Where’s that DAMN MASCARA?!

8.25 a.m. on a traffic-jammed bus:

If this bus gets past the road-works in the next three minutes, I’ll make it just in time, but I SO wanted to get there early and impress them. ‘Them’, according to Sian, are Amanda, Beatrice and Claudia, collectively known – get this – as the ‘ABC team’! Oh, PLEASE! Sian works in the store HR so she must know what she’s talking about. These girls – and I use the word ‘girls’ loosely as their ages range from thirty-something to at least sixty-whatever – have apparently been in the fashion game for years and are legends in their own loo breaks!. It seems they all know the fashion business back to front, but for reasons Sian has absolutely refused to divulge, they have each slipped down the greasy ladder of the fashion world, ending up at the Bentley and Bingham’s Department Store as personal stylists. As they are to be my new work mates, I am on a mission to discover why!

So here I am, about to rub shoulders with this hierarchy of ‘Planet Style’, and all because Sian’s dad – he’s a management someone – is shagging the “Divine Beatrice”. Unless they take on the ‘idiot child’ (my mother uncharitably called me that quite recently, the witch) and give me a 6 month trial run, Sian has threatened to shop him to her mum. Oh, and I’m also well informed by Sian, though God knows how she found out, that this Beatrice does some rather exotic stuff in bed! Another weapon in my armoury? And so the ‘Not-Such-An-Idiot Child’ finds herself amazingly, frighteningly and unbelievably HERE!

Stay tuned for the next episode…

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