ALAN FRAME remembers his successful interview for a job on the Daily Express in Manchester
Reading our great chum's account of his job interview with dear old Sammy Prince brought back similar, if slightly more alarming memories.
I had been alerted to a possible vacancy at the Express in Manchester by my chums Rory Crilly and Cy Jameson. We had worked together on the News Letter, the morning newspaper in Belfast where we had enjoyed a great time (including, by the way, being served our daily pints in the Duke of York pub next door by a very young Gerry Adams – pre-beard, beret and Armalite), and my friends had urged me to apply for a job.
Come the appointed day, I flew on the first plane from Aldergrove to Manchester and arrived at Ancoats, as instructed, at 10am to be interviewed by the Northern Editor John McDonald. I seem to remember I had bought a new suit for the purpose.
At 10.15 the Deputy Editor, the splendid Sammy Prince, told me that the Editor was running late and would need to hold conference before seeing me. Not a problem I said (well, I would wouldn’t I?), so I got stuck in to the rest of the morning papers and more coffee.
At noon Sammy apologised again to say that John McDonald was very sorry but that he was tied up with management meetings and would have to interview me later in the day. Would I care to go to lunch, asked Sammy, thrusting a few bob in my hand. Be back at 2.30.
Replete with Lancashire Hotpot and probably not a lot to drink (well, I had an editor to impress – little did I know), I arrived back on the dot.
The clock crept slowly round to 3, 3.30, 4, 4.30 by which time I was wondering if I’d make the last flight out and poor Sammy was running out of excuses, when suddenly the ever loyal deputy appeared to tell me that John would see me now but that I would have to make allowances because he had been having a difficult day, very busy, you know how it is son, blah, blah, blah...
Ushered in to an empty Editor’s office I took the seat I was shown by the secretary when another door opened and in burst John McDonald who fell (literally) into the chair beside me which, as luck would have it, was of the revolving variety. The force was clearly with him because round and round he went, his face flashing past me every second or so until momentum faded.
Then came the killer question: What makes you tick, son? From memory, I think I failed to reply (well, what would you have said?). Suffice it to say that this was the entirety of our meeting, except that such was the extent of John’s refreshments that day (actually a continuation of the previous evening), he offered me a salary of at least 50 per cent more that I had been told to expect.
Sammy apologised once more, I was thrilled (and a little bemused) and I caught the plane home. Happy days...or as far as John Mac was concerned, Happy Daze…