Clap me in irons Sheriff, I’ve gone and broken the law.
Nothing heinous, you understand – there’s no GBH or breaking and entering going on in the Word Up world. Not this week, anyway. But it turns out that I might be guilty of illegal business behaviour.
Imagine the frisson of excitement I felt when I was told by a fellow comrade in commerce that I might be a member of an illegal cabal. A cabal? An illegal one? Blimey, this could be the single most exciting thing that’s ever happened in this wee wordsmith’s entire mortal coil. And all because I mentioned in passing that I was getting together with a couple of other copywriters to discuss the delicate matter of daily rates.
M’lud, forgive me. I plead ignorance. It would seem that an innocent conversation between friends and colleagues in small business could, in the eyes of the law, be construed as the creation of a commercial cabal. A cabal which plots to artificially fix rates for mutual advantage. And there was me thinking that those Shylockian shenanigans were restricted to bankers, City slickers and the pages of John Grisham novels.
But me? Break the law? Brilliant.
Honestly, I couldn’t be more thrilled at the prospect of joining a Sopranos-style cast of middle aged female copywriters, wheeling and dealing in some murky underworld, defying the forces of law and order in the name of justice and a half-decent day rate. And d’you know what? I think I might already have the makings of a cracking comedy pilot. Whaddya say, lady wordsmiths? Ready for the big time?
Look, I understand that legislation exists to keep us all safe from the forces of evil. But it’s all a matter of interpretation, intit? And aye, sometimes the law really is an ass. I mean, really? At what point could a chat about cash with other copywriters over caffe latte and cake be construed as a cabal? I wish. Those conversations require courage to break social convention, and are nothing to do with breaking the law. Seriously, it’s tricky enough to bring up the subject of money without worrying you might get banged up in the BarL into the bargain.
So I’m giving up thanks to my so-called competitors, my fellow wranglesses of words, for their good grace and honesty when I barged through the taboo of talking money. It was a relief, for all of us, to know that we’re more or less equal when it comes to agreeing a rate for good work. Our method of working is not cloak and dagger, and it’s certainly not criminal. Maybe we’re not very savvy when it comes to the hard-nosed practices of real business people, but for sharing and support, and passing on work, I now know who’s in my gang, and who’s on the run.
But in the event there’s a knock on the door from the boys in blue, I’ll be sure to smuggle out the next instalment of the Weekly Word from my cell at Cornton Vale.