Business Genius

I moved to Denmark from the UK, this is my blog.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Last post

But fear not, I am not giving up. I am merely moving.

Given that I am clearly not a Business Genius but I don't know how to change the URL of this place, I've decided to set up camp somewhere else.

Come and visit me at Something rotten.

Go on, you know you want to.

Small success

I have had an article published in the Copenhagen Post. I've been badgering them for the past five months but they wouldn't give me a job because I don't know Danish. Eventually though my perseverence paid off and they asked me to do a street guide for them. They liked it a lot and said they'd definitely be using me again. Which is nice. The paper is a well-designed weekly aimed at Copenhagen's expat community. I check it every week for the job ads but their arts guide is excellent too. Anyway, that's that. Oh, I got paid for it too. Only a measly £25 but it's a start.

I'm off to Silkeborg tomorrow (it's Friday tomorrow right?!) for the weekend. It's Anne's nephew's 1st birthday. Silkeborg is an ace place. It's a small town (Harpenden sized) but it has an amazing cinema, a huge theatre, lots of nice shops and a beautiful lake where the rich burghers go sailing. One of the most notable things about Denmark is the space. Jutland (the main island) can feel eerily deserted at times. Here in Copenhagen, everyone lives in seven-story Parisian style apartment blocks but out in Jutland there is no such thing as semi-detached. The motorways are largely empty. Children play out in the wilderness. It's odd coming from the UK and seeing things like that. We really are a crowded island and it's not sustainable.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Casual labour

I'll spare you the details of my shitty day at work. Just one more to go and then I'm heading back to Denmark on Wednesday. Not sure what the next few weeks hold really. Every time one stint ends at the Mail I get scared that they won't ask me back. I imagine the conversation - Me: 'So, I'm available again next week.' Them: 'I think we'll leave it now. Thanks for all you've done.' It's strange how much that job affects my self-esteem. There is literally no feedback. The only way you have of assessing your effectiveness and skill is to look in the paper the next day and see how much the chief subs have altered your work. If one of my headlines makes it into print, it's like all my Christmases have come at once. The worst days are (like today) when I sit there for hours on end while all around me are given stories to work on and I am just bypassed. I had one story today. One poxy story in six hours. I'm not complaining, I'm still getting paid. But I'd rather be busy. I'm not going to improve my editing by working on one story a day. Fuck it. I hate that I get so sucked in by it all. I want to remain aloof and impervious to these imagined slights but it's difficult. Work is how us most of us humans gauge our worth. Currently, my only output is an average of eight or nine days a month and even those are only six hour days. As a casual, I am little higher up the food chain than dog shit. I am barely tolerated. An occasionally useful resource. My girlfriend is always trying to pin me down on what I see as my dream job. We have lots of chats about what I can do in Denmark and quite often she tells me about utterly dismal-sounding jobs. The most recent one was a PR officer for a company which specialises in freeze-drying things. 'But I will kill myself doing that,' I say. 'So what do you want to do?' she responds. 'Something with words!' I shout. 'Yes, this is working with words. You have to think about what it is you want Aaron, and maybe not be so snobby about what you do!' Of course, she's right. They always are. So, maybe it's time to bite the bullet. Take something I can do but which might not be the most intellectually stimulating employment. Start learning the language, give it all I've got. I dunno, all of this will fall into place one of these days. I guess.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Just quickly . . .

I've not got long to post as I'm heading into work very shortly. I realise this blog has lacked direction in recent weeks. And in that sense it mirrors my own confusion. No doubt most of you are bored of the ins and outs of my ongoing personal crises but it really is all I have to offer! I've decided to lower my sights when I get back to Denmark and just try and get work of any kind. I feel completely disconnected back here in the UK. Just lost. The net effect is that I am not making any progress in any aspect of my life. Yes, the experience I am building up at the Daily Mail is valuable but what I really want is a regular life in Denmark. To make some friends and put down roots. All this to and froing was kind of exciting but it was just another way of avoiding any kind of commitment I guess. I'm fed up. I miss my girlfriend a stupid amount. God, I'm a miserable git!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mentalist part two

Here's another example of my recent compulsive thinking. Because I get the train into work I've developed a habit of imagining fairly horrifc train crashes as I stand at the platform. When the high-speed Midland Mainline train zooms through St Albans station, in my mind's eye I can see it jumping the tracks and ploughing towards me on its side at unimaginable speeds. To entertain myself I try and think how exactly I could avoid such an unpleasant death. My first thought is to take shelter behind the bridge supports but I'm not sure they'd be strong enough. Next I think it might be best to actually leap down onto the tracks in front of me in the hope that the train would pass over me and career on down into the station building. This has its own risk though, namely avoiding the London train coming from the other direction. Phew. What a minefield! I'm not sure there's a foolproof method of avoiding death here. I think the best thing is just to pray you're not in the way!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I am getting more and more worried that I have some kind of compulsive disorder. I have taken to imagining increasingly unrealistic scenarios which might save me from penury. This morning as I took my friend's dog out for a walk, my mind started wandering. I thought how it would be rather cool if I happened upon a gang of muggers in the process of relieving Richard Branson of a few bob. I launch in - accompanied by the dog - and smash the muggers' faces in before solemnly returning Branson's valuables to him. Obviously grateful, the entrepreneur asks how he can repay the favour. A million quid should do it, I tell him. Is this normal behaviour? I'm not sure.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A moan

Self-doubt. It can be crippling. Unfortunately I am perennially wracked with it. I am happier than I have been for a long time but this irregular life has it's own problems. Lack of financial security being numero uno. I'm on pretty good money at the Mail but it's on a casual basis - maybe 10 or 12 shifts a month. Not quite enough to make ends meet. Plus there's that vague, Protestant guilt at not working all the hours under the sun. I should have a regular job, I tell myself, and not fart-arse around swanning from Denmark to here hoping that something I'm actually interested in doing will turn up. Media jobs for non-Danish speakers in Copenhagen come around as often as Halley's Comet. But something will turn up, or so I tell myself anyway. And then there's the ambiguous feeling I get from being home. Both reassuring and anxiety-inducing. I am trying to shape my room, reclaim it fom its previous incarnations as, variously, my sister's room, my old room, parents' dressing room and then store room. But I don't want to feel too at home there. I left the UK to grow and develop as a person. Coming home sometimes reminds me that I have a long way to go.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New media ramblings

Wow, a whole week and no posts. Maybe I'm disheartened by the fact that I don't appear to HAVE ANY READERS?!? HELLO?! I know, I can hear you, 'write something worthwhile and we'll comment!' Fair enough. I'll try. I read the other day on Media Guardian that the Daily Mail has incorporated its online team within the general newsroom. I laughed because when I was last there I asked some colleagues on the subs' desk who all the new people squeezed in inbetween the foreign and specialists' desks were and no-one had the foggiest idea. The article mentioned that Paul Dacre (Daily Mail editor) was now taking a special interest in new media and was looking at ways of creating more of a synergy between the online and regular news operations. I've thought about this a lot and have yet to come up with any ways in which a daily paper can offer any kind of worthwhile online service without damaging its primary product, the paper. News is instant now. Or so we hear. Since the advent of rolling news channels, people now expect information on demand. But a paper will not put tomorrow's splash on the web the night before because that would wreck sales. The Guardian is different though and is streets ahead of the competition. Its comment is free section has re-invigorated its online service giving people a platform for their own views and opinions. It has dedicted bloggers and opinion formers working solely on the net. In short, it has unique content. When I worked on The Sun Online as a staff writer we were always told what stories to upload. We'd all be scanning the wire services for juicy stories and waiting for the word to do a re-write and then post it. I remember on one occasion there was a heart-rending story about how a bomb had killed a family in Iraq or something equally horrific but just below it was a story about how Brian from Westlife had lost his wedding ring while surfing in Australia. No prizes for guessing whcih one we used. The stories that were chosen usually came out of the morning conference between senior staff. Some stories that came off the wires were used ahead of publication but nothing major. All of which made me question what a paper's online service was for. This is a grey area. The online service could, theoretically, make its master redundant within the space of a generation. Pretty soon everyone will have broadband, soon after that everyone will have wireless, then everyone will probably have remote access instantly (pdas). Will people still buy papers then? But until then a paper's website needs to think of something original to offer. Even if a few columnists were only available online it would give readers a reason to log on. There has to be uniqueness, not just repetition between online and paper. An old colleague at The Sun told me that Rupert Mudoch has hiked up the online budget. He knows what's coming and is trying to stay ahead of the game. The Sun Online is a technical marvel now compared to when I was there but ultimately it's still The Sun, online. In my opinion, online teams need greater resourcing and a clearer vision. For most papers it's just a case of staffing it with a few tech-heads and trainee writers and then best forgotten about. But if papers want to shape the new media revolution as opposed to being shaped by it, they need to start paying more attention to their own sites. Sayeth the Lord.