First impressions can be misleading. But sometimes they ring true.
So when I arrived at the Holiday Inn about 1pm on Wednesday to be told I couldn’t check in because it was “more convenient” for the hotel staff to check all the NUJ staff and members in together in the main hall at 3pm, I bit my tongue. More convenient for whom? Not me for sure, I was in my motorbike gear and could not change until I had a room and could unpack. I also need a shower.
This attitude continued through to dinner where the chef refused to serve, saying it was “more convenient” if everyone helped themselves. “More convenient for whom?” asked a colleague. “Well certainly more convenient for me,” he answered.
I found a dead, promiscuous cat in my room. It had discovered to its cost that there was not enough room for swinging.
Birmingham City Council had signed up local train company Chiltern to ferry NUJ members from the capital to the country’s second city for free. There is a band and a welcoming party organised at Moor Street station to greet them. Trouble is, the trains have all been cancelled and everyone now has to transfer to Virgin and arrive at New Street. The President is still being asked to go to Moor Street to have his photo taken with the band and lcoal dignitaries. Extras – to make up the numbers – are being recruited to fill out the photo. Never let a fact get in the way of a good story.
The net result is we have less than half the students expected so the student conference has been delayed.
And one student has been told not to bother coming. Called on his mobile to find out about the delay, NUJ staff discovered he had only just woken up and not even left his East London home. Even with a fair wind, he was never going to make Birmingham before the end of the student conference. He still wanted to come for the freebie weekend. I hear most students are not like that these days, but he sounds like a typical journalist.