When I was 13, I wanted to be a secretary.

Duration: 10 minutes approx.


Extract: “When I was 13, I wanted to be a secretary. I had a really tiny handbag and wanted to wear pencil skirts. My mum and dad said that it was really embarrassing because they were both artists and how could they possibly have brought up a child who wanted to sit, answering phones, typing appointments into computer systems and drinking coffee at a desk. I think that’s probably why I wanted to be a secretary because it was almost the complete opposite of anything my mum and dad had ever dreamed I would be. It was so ordinary. I just wanted to be ordinary. Boring. Normal. The same as everyone else. Please mum and dad, I don’t want to look at art anymore, I don’t want another pair of Dr Martens; I just want to wear the patent leather Clarks school shoes, with the chunky heel. I don’t want a nice duffle coat, I just want a pink puffa jacket.

I’d thought a lot about the sort of secretary I wanted to be but to be honest it didn’t really matter all that much. The ones in the doctors surgery were a bit too snooty and I didn’t think they had much fun, not to mention they had quite a lot of important filing to do which I wasn’t so fussed about. The ones in the dentist were better, they always had really white teeth and wore really bright lipstick; so I was quite interested in working in a dental surgery for a while.

I did work experience for a TV company when I was 14 where I got to answer the phones but they didn’t ring that often, and I spent most of the week doing a health and safety test on the computer in the corner.

I forgot about it for a while, and then I decided I wanted to be an artist anyway, so I guess that was when I really let the dream go, I started working in cafes and restaurants and bars and I realised you got to answer the phones there too, so if you got to work on reservations it was kind of like being a secretary and you didn’t have to wear your uniform because you sat in the office, so I used to do that every now and again. But the other ‘events girls’ in the office weren’t all that nice and I found it quite stressful to have to spend time with them, so in the end I stopped doing that job too.”