Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Road to S & G.

When I first knew Caroline she was naturally striking. She only had to throw on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt to look as sexy as hell. We didn't bother with an expensive wedding; she probably spent less than an hour getting ready for our big day, or big half-hour, at Totnes registry office near her mother's house in Devon.

But that week with Melody Bigger in Spain changed her in many ways. She had always been in awe of Melody, but from a distance. Then, when Melody suddenly stepped down from CEO and offered to train up promising new executives, Caroline had the chance to absorb the Bigger management philosophy from close up. It was like an infatuation. Caroline wanted to be near Melody all the time, wanted Melody to notice her. She had to force herself not to keep putting her hand up in the group sessions.

One of the many stupid yet kind-of-true things Melody preached was that if you wanted to have the part, you had to be the part. You had to already have the polish and gravitas, the expensive clothes and shoes. Melody's theory was that inner confidence came from control underwear and steel capped high heels. You had to dress, she said, from the bottom up and from the inside out.

The part they were all going for was Monsaint's new head of European operations. It was going to be a board level post, an express route to the top of the greasy pole. The men in the group interpreted Melody's advice as: change your underwear, especially if you might get lucky; rip the packaging on a new shirt at least once a week; comb your hair, if you have any; and wear shoes that don't need cleaning. Melody also instructed the men in the correct expression to carry on their faces. She made them change from 'what the hell is going on in this stupid company' to 'I can see the future, and it's fabulous.'

Antonia, a PR expert, had long ago incorporated Melody's techniques into her wardrobe. But Caroline had always maintained that the finance department was only interested in numbers and it didn't matter what you looked like as long as the accounts told a good story. Then she fell in love, sort of, with Melody and swallowed the whole package. For Caroline, it was a revelation - now she knew how to cultivate and exercise power. She started making more effort with her sub-structure, her shoes, hair, and make-up. Some people, me included, suddenly found her quite intimidating. It was like she had changed into a different person. Perhaps she had.

Unfortunately, the revelation occurred not on the road to Damascus, but on the road to Sodom and Gomorrah.

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Who are these people?

The world is divided into voyeurs and exhibitionists... It takes one of each to make a good marriage.

Robert and Caroline Fanshaw are an ambitious young couple trying to make their way in a complex world.

What happens when their private affairs collide with world events and the big issues of our times? Drama, comedy and x-rated scenes.