Day 1 Bucharest

Bucharest is cold and autumnal completely different to my summer visit. It rained relentllessly all afternoon and evening. On the way in from the airport I noticed that the metro and carrefour stores had been completed since last I was here. The cranes march on. There is construction everywhere.

Once installed in the brand new Novotel in the centre of town on the site of the old National Theatre (it only opened at the end of August)  I was rash enough to go walkabout to find my way to Burnetts to get some files. I still don’t understand how Bucharest fits together – at some point the fog will clear but for now its an interesting novelty walking around – sometimes getting somewhere but having no model in my head of how the city is organised. I have tried studying the tourist maps but can’t make head or tail of them. Following the instructions of Romanian policement (in Romanian) more by luck than by good judgement I find the end of the street that leads to the new Burnetts office. No one is expecting me – so had the advantage of surprise (pleasant I hope).

They’re in full swing with their Advertising academy which is in effect their graduate recruitment programme. I was promptly wheeled in to answer questions. They did strategy yesterday and Creative today – so that was a good pretext to ask for a show of hands on who favoured which. We talked about originality and relevance and which was most interesting for them. I was originally diverted from trying to get a job as a copywriter because creatives interviewing me thought I was a planner. Even when I hung in there and tried to write ads with them Perhaps we should rename creative and planning the originality and relevance departments.  I always get a buzz from talking to advertising wannabes – they want to get in so badly it’s like a taste in the mouth – its absurd can all that angst be worth it? but it reminds me what the feeling was like and its a nice reminder. Given that they are busy being indoctrinated about being the best of the best and how hard they have to try I throw in a left of field about how its really about socialisation and how if they hang around long enough they will pick up the scent of the hive and someone will be surprised they’re not already employed and will give them a job. Seemed a wasted opportunity not to stir.

Then Costin and Laurentiu take me off to eat. Bizarrely we wind up at a restaurant where the 2 jazz musicians have floated up who I sat in with briefly when I was last in Romania. I braved airport security to bring a travel guitar with me which is either very cool or sadder than David Brent on training day in the Office – I’m far too sensitive to decide which. But in any case I don’t have said axe with me.  So we down several bottles of wine before I can tear myself away to try to get some sleep – I only had 2.5 hours last night – so a little wasted, Talking to the guitarist I’m amazed at his persistence. Living off the proceeds of gigging in bars is very hand to mouth and at present he’s only got 2 evenings work a week which isn’t enough. We finish the evening in a welter of political jokes which of course in this part of the world are an art form Memo to self – get Costin to give me his best Ceaucescu jokes – though I notice that quite a lot of the one I heard are language dependent.  Get to bed for 11  – which is not bad. I need to be up early to assemble the course for the next day. You have to bake fresh every day how ever many times you’ve presented the material

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