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Correspondent’s week – James Coney

Monday dawns. My last day of freedom. Tomorrow I start at Money Mail. I have packed my backpack and have an apple ready for new boss Tony Hazell.

I hear he is a Southampton fan so I will be wearing my red and white tie and have learned all the names of the first team.

I go to bed early to make sure I get in on time. Remember to pack my gym kit. I have been war-ned by Money Mail secretary Emma to expect a rigorous medical, including fitness training.

On Tuesday night, I arrive at the office in Kennington in plenty of time, only to find out the office block is the headquarters of the South London home for the Terminally Bemused. Whoops. Head off north of the river to Kensington.

The Money Mail office is not at all like my old pad at Money Marketing. First, the office is decorated in green and yellow. I unpack my pencil case and put my John Tiner gonk on the desk. The office television is on a loop showing Delia Smith’s bravura performance at Norwich. She is behaving like a Lansons PR girl at a leaving party.

I polish my apple a bit more. Only strange thing is this odd little woman sitting opposite me. She keeps talking about long johns and tennis and her hot rod. Maybe she should be in that place back in Kennington.

After lunch, it is all falling in to place. I thought Tony Hazell was not interested in my discussions about the Southampton defence because he was busy – it was press day. But then I work it out when I notice him sobbing over his signed copy of Delia Smith’s seminal text, One is Fun. Of course, he is a Norwich fan.

The chatty bird is Liz Phillips who is married to a bloke called Rod and is going skiing next week – hence the dodgy underwear. There is also James Hopegood, who is into slapstick comedy and keeps the office in stitches when he pretends to fall over bins and walk into desks. What a fun place to work.

Despite no medical, I am so tired after my first day that I fall asleep during Location, Location, Location.

Wednesday night is the Nationwide quiz night which I have decided to go to rather than attending the Money Marketing awards. I wonder if Graham Norton had a similarly good excuse for his late withdrawal from said awards?

Anyway, team Money Mail has a mascot (a David Severn doll which has lost most of its stuffing) and a Money Mail song which is rather like the Millwall anthem (why does no one like us? We don’t care).

We are out to whup the opposition. We know about bonus rates. We can tell you what the best savings account is. But, unfortunately, we do not know what BMX stands for or which paper Spiderman worked for. We limp in second.

On thursday, the team spirit is low given our failure to snatch the quiz team crown. However, it would have been far lower had I been to the MM awards ceremony. After all, who else would have known the answer to who was the leader of the autobots in Transformers?

Start to wonder if I have been employed to inject some yoof culture into Money Mail rather than for my exhaustive knowledge of multi-tie arrangements.

On Friday, the only topic that matters is tomorrow’s crunch match at Carrow Road. Will the Canaries fly against the might of Chelsea? But I have other reasons to be excited. I have learned to use a computer, have my own desk and my business cards arrived today. HmmJames Cone – oh, well, I can always add my own y in pencil.

James Coney is a reporter at Money Mail, the Daily Mail’s personal finance section”I believe that for each one of these things I go to, I lose a bit more of my humanity.” – Bright Grey’s Mark Locke on an already busy year.


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