„Anton?“ I push my trolley through the big gull-wing door. The floorboards won’t stop creaking.
There’s an energizing bustle in the studio already. Anton Corbijn is engrossed in conversation with my two competitors. I know their faces from last weeks audition.
A black and white spotty cat is curiously heading towards me. It’s slinking around my legs and finally rubs it’s head against my left shoe. Ah, well – ‚registered’. I can’t hold back a chuckle.
Finally Anton recognizes me. „Hello, Siv! Now that’s great timing! We’re complete then. Did you have a comfy flight?“
He crosses the room towards me and hugs me kisses left and right.
„You can leave your stuff in my office.“
I follow him and then bid my welcome to the other guys. Extremely arrogant the blonde beau comes along – Steven, if I recall that right. He’s a local London lad with a stylish studio. Way too distinguished for my liking, ugh! The other one is a Canadian called Pierre – not less posh – a Quebequois – oh la la! Pro aswell, with heaps of awards.
And now comes Siv – just freelancer – with less experiences. Hey, me and shrinking to size ‚s’?! You must be kidding!
If I’d only know what project exactly is on the menu! Anton didn’t show his cards so far. Just the info it was ‚important’ and urgent. Remember his canny smirk when I asked why he wouldn’t do it himself in that case.
Anton’s mobile buzzes. His expression is extremely satisfied.
„Excellent, in five minutes? Yeah, all on deck. Yes...sure! You know me, hahaha! Cheers!“
Stephen and Pierre already conquered the layout-table with their portfolios and exposées. I have to squeeze my stuff literally next to theirs. Very ‚nice’ attitude, gentlemen!
As the gull-wing door swings open again, I’m thunderstruck for a second or two! No, I don’t believe my eyes – David! And he looks drop down gorgeous in his black suit!
My mouth immediately turns dry. He looks a bit tired and stressed. I could dive into these eyes!
He didn’t recognize me his eyes fixing Anton’s. They hug in a familiarly way.
„Long distance, Dave?“ „Don’t you mention it! Gosh, this superblonde cabin cow getting on my nerves all the time and then that little bitch grabbing my balls in the restroom! Any more questions?“
With a boyish smirk he lights a cigarillo.
We gather around the table, some on the leather couches, some taking the chairs. Dave takes a seat next to Anton, obliquely opposite to me. The latter coughs slightly and then fills us in.
„Well, hello again! I don’t think Dave Gahan needs an intro.“ He keeps on introducing us to him. When it’s my turn Ant gives me a tiny wink. David’s view is alert yet sort of bored at the same time.
„Jack, Dave’s son, will release his first CD soon. We’re looking for a smashy cover and layout - merely the photography and cover artwork though. There are already test shots – errr, contentment looks different.“
The greedy gleaming in Steven’s eyes is way too obvious.
Pierre whistles slightly through his teeth. And me? I see the deep red sun rising. Wow!
You would imagine „Ladies first!“ – but no way! Steven jumps in and is swirling his portfolio. Can’t help it, but I have the impression that Anton wanted to ask me. His puzzled expression fits in. Dave raises his right eyebrow for a split second and then starts to look at the pics.
Steven keeps on babbling – stresses his experience and success so far – and is bragging as if there was no tomorrow! OK, from the technical aspect his images are A1! Extremely well lit, etc., but everything appears to be clean and sterile. Smoothed down with Photoshop and NeatImage.
Pierre tries to get his foot in the door commenting on a photo – to compare it to one of his works. Geeez, this is more and more reminding me of a rooster fight! Pierre’s imagery is merely dark and surreal. Pleases the eye – yet this sujet all the time with no alterations is a bit lifeless in the end. He’s kinda his own copycat. Have you seen 5 images – you got his complete bandwidth.
I lean back and let them quarrel. Men! It’s useless to intervene now. Moreover – I don’t need Dave to see me off the rails again, left alone Anton.
When I return from my thoughts I look into Ant’s grinning face. While Pierre is still excited about a certain technique Dave’s eyes finally meet mine. He avoided me so far – for what reason ever. Must have noticed my annoyed expression for a while, cause he slighty nods. The cracking sound of my fingerbones is kind of signal.
„Guys, I don’t want to be the spoiler here, but I’d like to present my stuff aswell today!“ From the long faces of my competitors I can read that they consider me as undesirable. I flip my portfolio slowly open – exactly over Steven’s. My ‚passive aggression’ grants me the affordable power and I straighten up.
„Well, looks I’m the underdog here. No studio, no endless lines of awards – but I take pictures from conviction.“
I scatter my images over the table. ‚Fallen From Grace’ lies on top of them. A few portraits, street shots,etc..
It’s absolutely quiet in the studio all of a sudden. Only the constant whirring of the ceiling fan is audible. Steven shows a pitiful smirk.
Pierre is coughing. I don’t give a damn, cause I see the colour fading from Dave’s face. He watches the images one by one, slowly and intensely – without a word. No clue what’s going on inside his head. That there must be something going on – no doubt about it! When his view meets mine again it’s like a punch into my stomach. God, how deep are those eyes?! How much pain – yet how much incredible vital energy zooms back at me!
David is cleaning his throat. „Mhm, I think I’ve seen enough, Anton. Lets go and discuss it.“ The two rise and close the office door behind them.
I get up as well and get myself a Capuccino from the bar. Stephen musters me. „Darling, say bye, bye!“ Pierre seems to have decided to simply ignore me. Bloody wankers! Siv, keep cool!!
Aproxiamtely 40 minutes later still nothing. I hate it! Trapped in a situation I have no control over!
Both guys sprawl on the couch – so bleeding sure of themselves!
I take a view out of that huge arched window into a joyless backyard. Must have been sort of manufacture or loft before. I see that black & white cat at once – balancing over chimneys and and eaves gutters. It’s for sure my wild imagination again but when facing me it seems to twinkle with it’s green eyes, a smirk in the face.
Then I hear Anton’s and David’s voices wavering nearer. Anton gets seated, Dave makes his way to the window.
„Since when there’s anything of interest to see?“ Then he recognizes the cat and a broad smile flashes over his face.
„Alrighty – one gear back. Cyril deserves any views he can get! I know him since Anton owns this studio.“ Then he whispers nearly inaudibly: „I missed you, Siv!“
Back at the couch Anton hands over two portfolios – one to Steven, the other to
„Thanx, guys for taking the time and accepting the challenge! Exquisite stuff – unfortunately not what we’re looking for.“
I see some jaws dropping to the wooden floor. Anton still has my folder. I reach out for it – why taking part longer than necessary in this travesty? Why’s Dave smirking that excessively? Anton hides my portfolio behind his back. „Uh, oh! Not that fast, Miss Ivy! We need to talk.“ My knees go weak.
„But...!“ „No buts – these two gentlemen for sure want to be back to their fabulous studios in time – you recall the way out, I suppose.“
My head keeps buzzing. Kinda numb I let myself sink back into the leather seat.
„I think I’m going to be sick!“ Sweat pours off my forehead and temples. David rushes for a glass of water. He’s back like the wind.
„Impressed by your own courage? No need to be afraid!“
I just manage a tiny smile, while tears keep rolling over my cheeks. Shit! Can’t help it! Anton hands me a box of Kleenex. After I cleaned my nose I slowly gain back my contenance. My lips are still quivering.
„You two must be thumping mad! I haven’t done this before – a professional CD-cover and booklet!“
Dave gently strokes my chin to get rid of another tear.
„Exactly! It’s time for you to start. Fresh ideas – no million times chewed, polished pseudo BS! Your images breathe, vivid with emotions! God, you really got me flat-footed!“
Anton nods. „I told you – check her website BEFORE – yet you were so damn lazy!“
Turning to me he explains: „Why do you think it took us that long in that cosy little office of mine? Dave needed to check your website first! No way – he was glued to the screen once started!“
„Damn right! After five minutes we knew we wanted you – the rest of the time I scrolled images.“
„So what pics were John referring to? I thought you’d know my homepage?“
„Your boss showed us a folio of your work and a link to the agency website’s feature of yours. No syllable of this page! I’d never recognized it anyway concerning the name.“
I try to explain the irish name thing of mine. Anton smirks.
„What you both don’t know – John investigated a bit of something and mailed me the links.“
„Duh, this little, sly bugger!“ Dave pretends to be aghast.
„What’s you’re complaining about, David? You had the choice to look.“ Dave looks bewildered.
„Fucking Karma again!“ He seems to feel sort of awful about it and fetches his cigarillos.
„Woah, I’m glad those fuckwits are gone!“ Change of topic, well, well! He smiles at me this incredible smile again.
„Siv, you need to show your tough attitude next time. I wouldn’t allow short asses like them to take over the wheel.“
An electronic signal interrupts our conversation. He gets his mobile out off his jacket.
„Hey, it’s you! Yes, everything smooth, Mart. Is Fletch around? Mind to get him on?“ He must be definitely close cause it does not take long to continue. „Hello, Andy! Any chance we could invade your place? I’m hungry like a wolf. I bet Siv and Ant won’t complain aswell. Hehe, that’s a fact! I’m not surprised at all! I will call Jack. He should move his little bum over, too. See you!“
After managing the calls he glances into the round. „Limo service is on it’s way – get your stuff and then it’s closing time!“