Saturday, 6 June 2009

Job Centre Honey-Plus

OUT OF ORDER announced the job-hunting machine, folding its arms and refusing to budge. OUT OF ORDER added the photocopier, idly staring out of the window. Wood Green Job Centre Plus commands a magnificent view across one of Haringey’s many fine public gardens. This garden boasts a 25 metre pergola draped in abundant pink roses and twirling with Wysteria, glistening lawns and perfectly cropped hedges. The centre was milling with the recently unemployed - all trying their best to look positive - in sharp contrast to the uncooperative equipment that had decided to take Friday off.

I eventually found reception and was told go upstairs to another reception where a nice lady told me I’d come to the wrong place entirely – I should have been at White Heart Lane apparently – but she’d try and persuade ‘an advisor’ to see me. ‘Hmm,’ she muttered, ‘you’re the second doctor I’ve seen this week.’

I waited and filled out a form and waited some more and looked out of the window and did some reading and had a stretch and then another nice lady passed by and offered me strawberries which I refused but felt inspired to do a few shimmies instead. Various rather smart people were congregating on the sofas by now, all eagerly filling out forms and waiting and chatting bravely to each other like one of those mad self-improvement seminars convened by some organisation desperately trying to justify its funding. I was then assigned an advisor.

The divinely pretty woman with glistening white teeth looked out from under her dark fringe, smiled beatifically, puckered her darling, perfectly sculpted, little eyebrows and cooed, very softly, ‘what are you dooo-ing here???’

I warbled on about this and that and being in the studio and so on and so forth and she glazed over with the sheer tedium of it all and then asked if I liked going to ‘foreign places.’ Yes I said, about to launch into a blow by blow account of my adventures in and not in Iran but, before I’d completed the first sentence, she smiled again, ‘that’s good. You could go somewhere else and do your arty-farty stuff.’

Time passed pleasantly enough, we signed this and that and I wrote down a few things and our lady of the strawberries passed by again, this time followed by an angel of biscuits, and then my own advisor-princess, by way of closure, gazes at me closely, then, tilting her head to one side - oh so prettily - and smiling even more, she asks: ‘why are you single?’

Wood Green marriage bureau can be found at 1 Western Rd, London, N22. It has curved walls like a ship and beautiful views. I doubt that Tottenham High Rd, where I now have to sign-on, can compete – but who knows?