Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Regions

London based media Executives refer snootily to the rest of the country as 'the regions'.
It's a bit like how a 19th Century Aristocrat would refer to 'the colonies'.

"London is where all the jobs are"
"London is where the real money is"
"All of the best media developments come out of London"
"London is the creative hub"
"The further outside of London you are, the further in the past you are living"
"London doesn't have a present darling, only a future"

This executive will now go on and attempt to shed light on a recent ‘regional experience’ enjoyed earlier this week.

Business travel is expensive these days, Virgin trains were happy to relieve the company of several hundred pounds for the joy of travelling a few hours outside of London. THUD! – the sound of another epic credit card bill. Spending 5 hours of a working day on a train is also an incredibly productive use of executives’ time.

Food :
The thought of expensing heart-attack inducing pastries, croissants and other station-based breakfast fayre is normally unbearably exciting, keeping this executive awake all night before a big trip to the regions. Yet by 11 a.m. your stomach is gurgling, wanting it’s next greasy fix and you feel like you are walking through treacle.

Industrial estate. It’s always an industrial estate. Taxi drivers don’t know where it is, and if they did, they would refuse to drive you there as they wouldn’t want to been seen in the red light district non-trendy part of town. Regional offices serve one purpose, to remind executives not to go further down the marketing chain towards client side. You will end up in a suicide hotspot estate in Bracknell, Nottingham or Chertsey. At best you will end up in Hammersmith.

Coming from London makes you feel a bit like rock star visiting the regions. Younger regional reps and workers cling to you as the fountain of knowledge on cool, and hang on your every word. They will be sure to mention that they shop at the uber cool ‘Diesel Jeans’ and just bought the new Kings of Leon album, that's cool right? I could live in London too yeah?

Normally a sandwich platter provided by Greggs or the Town Crier café. This executive once bit down into a brie sandwich to find that it had soggy prawns stuffed into the middle of its puffy yet stale white bread. It’s always white bread in the north. On this particular trip, we convened in a chain eatery. Pizza express, my favourite.

Topics of conversation include – New cars, completing your mileage form for expenses, areas of small regional towns where employees live, the best road to take to any given location, rush hour, the tubes being confusing / busy, MOT costs, MPG, children and things not being as good as they used to be.

This executive has never prayed for a Tuesday so badly.

P.S. Executive Summary often flirts between truth, irony and bullshit. ES feels the need to point out that regional representatives are always welcoming, appreciative and entertaining.