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Authors: Portia MacIntosh

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BOOK: Starstruck
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give you my card, give me a call if you want to go for a drink sometime.’

thanking him again, I take the card and say goodbye. Once I’m inside the building
I drop it into my handbag but I doubt I’ll ever call him. Yes, he’s good looking,
charming, funny, and has a really good job but that’s just not my type. He may
be any normal/sane girl’s type, but I’ve never been that normal. Or sane.

I’m late for work. Better get a move on.

Chapter Two: The Rebel


name is Nicole Wilde, and I don’t live in the “real world”. Well, that’s what
my great-aunt Dorothy is always telling me. Maybe she’s right. I guess I am
kind of lucky with the way things have worked out.

tacky as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to be a celebrity. When I was a little
girl, as shy as I was, I wanted to be an actress or a singer or a dancer or a
musician, and I tried my hand at each one – it turns out I was crap at all of
them. My singing voice wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t amazing either, acting
gave me the giggles (I am still one of those girls who, if you tell not to
laugh, will absolutely piss herself at the slightest thing), trying to make my
hands do different things at different times just wouldn’t happen no matter
which instrument I tried to learn and as for dancing, well that’s pretty much
just exercise, and who wants to do that for a living?

forward a few years to my mid-teens. I rebelled. Black nails and make-up, rainbow
coloured hair, fishnet tights and “fuck my life” t-shirts – that was me.
However, like any scary on the outside, good girl on the inside teenage faux
rebel, music was my life. I might not be able to make it, but I could certainly
surround myself with it. No more of the cheesy 90’s pop that I loved growing
up, instead I started listening to proper bands that played proper instruments.

would go to the local venue a few times a week and check out unsigned bands
from all over the country, stopping by the quiet little Yorkshire town where I
grew up just to have another leg of their little self-funded tours.

would watch the bands and then hang out chatting afterwards. Hitting it off
with the musicians was something that came easily to me. Maybe this was down to
the fact that - as my great-aunt Dot put it - my grungy, punky outfits were “suggestive”
and gave off “the wrong impression”, but I think it probably had more to do
with the fact that we shared a love of music and made a genuine connection.

around with these unknown musicians gave me a taste for the music industry (and
a passion for band boys) so I started following big name bands around, doing
anything and everything to meet them, have my photo taken with them and ask
them to sign my CD/T-shirt/body part. This only increased my desire to be
famous and to surround myself with famous people – it was a case of befriending
the unsigned bands, sitting back and waiting to see if any of them “made it”.
Of all the friends I made back in those days, some quit their bands, cut their
hair and got real jobs but others stuck with it – one of the bands I know is
actually getting pretty big at the moment which is exciting for us all.

the time I was eighteen I was tagging along on tours, low budget of course,
sleeping in the back of vans and converted old buses. I’m not even embarrassed
to say it, but by the time I’d finished school, unlike most of my other
friends, I didn’t want to get a job or a house or a husband – I just wanted to
have fun. So, after my A Levels I took a gap year and became a professional
hanger-on and I just loved it.

everyone has to go home sometime, and one day I arrived at my parents’ house to
find my mum and dad waiting for me, armed with a question: what are you going
to do with your life? The truth was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so
I decided to go to university - because that would buy me three more years of
messing around. I wasn’t some ambitious teen, packing my bags for uni with big
dreams of becoming an architect or an artist or an astronaut, so the selection
process was a little random. I decided to do journalism, because it sounded
glamorous and could potentially involve celebrities. It turned out to be the
best decision I’ve ever made because during my third year they packed me off to
ByteBanter for my work experience. To this day I don’t fully understand what
the heck they do - they’re some kind of techy news website - but I really
enjoyed my time there and I really clicked with the editor, Eric Tucker, or ET
as he’s known around the office. When I turned up on my first day it was like
being transported to the future – or teleported to the future, as ET corrected
me when I said this out loud. Everything was chrome and black leather, there
were all kinds of machines making lots of noise, lights flickering like crazy
and the desks were just a mass of gadgets – I had entered geek world, and it
was everything I thought it would be. The first thing I noticed was that there
weren’t any female employees. I remember asking ET if any women worked there
and he replied, “most of these guys have never even spoken to a girl, let alone
worked with one.”

might not have realised it, but a lot of the guys working there were accidentally
cool. They were rocking the geek chic look - you know the one, braces, thick-framed
glasses, bow ties – I’m fairly certain that if they walked into a branch of Top
Man they would blend right in, not that any of them would ever go near Top Man.

of them wouldn’t talk to me at first but some were friendly. They didn’t make
me feel stupid for not understanding HTML or JavaScript (which, sadly, has
nothing to do with coffee) and they could have easily put me in a corner
sharpening pencils (I made a joke about this at the time, they don’t have pencils)
but they didn’t. Instead they gave me things to write about like iPods and
music download services, and unsurprisingly I managed to write about my
favourite thing – bands. To make a very long story very short, at the end of my
time there ET was so impressed, and so happy that almost all of the office had
at least spoken to a member of the opposite sex, that he offered me a job,
starting as soon as I’d finished my degree. I didn’t think he meant it, but as
soon as I graduated I gave him a call on the off chance and just like he said
he would, he set me up with my own little department. Two rooms of their huge
office were assigned to my project - a main office for my team and a little
private office for me. The ByteBanter guys would build and maintain an online
magazine for me, but I was in charge of everything else.

the ByteBanter office was futuristic, the rooms they gave me to use were
practically prehistoric. The decor reminded me of a film noir detective office
- old wooden desks, proper filing cabinets, frosted glass on the doors and even
a coat stand. Anything that wasn’t actually made of wood was a similar colour.

managed to poach Jake - my favourite member of the ByteBanter team - to come
and do the day-to-day techy stuff for me and recruited my best friend from uni,
Emily, to help me with the writing and there you have it, that’s how I became
editor of Starstruck online magazine.

Chapter Three: The Devil, The Succubus & The Rockstar


my way through the ByteBanter double doors, arse first, I dodge my way through
the desks to where my office is, saying my good mornings to the nerdy guys as I
pass through – although I think that ship has sailed now.

have a go at opening the Starstruck door with my forehead, with no luck, but
thankfully one of the boys walking past opens it for me.

here, I’m here,’ I chant victoriously as I arrive with the new coffees intact.

look what the cat dragged in!’ Emily teases.

late, I know, but you wouldn’t believe what happened on the way over here,’ I begin
to explain, handing out the drinks.

could have possibly happened that would make the ten minute walk from your flat
to here take
hours? And is this a skinny latte?’ Vicky asks rather
rudely, and yes, I am technically her boss.

ignore her question about my lateness, but as for the latte - what is the right
answer? I’m so not in the mood today. It took me two attempts to get her that damn
coffee and if she doesn’t drink it she
end up wearing it.

I reply, although it sounds more like a question that an answer.

She snatches it from me without the same thank you that I received from Emily
and Jake.

know what they say, Nicole,’ Vicky persists. ‘The early bird catches the worm.’

but the second mouse gets the cheese,’ I reply.

but it’s covered in dead mouse,’ she says, looking and sounding thoroughly
disgusted that I’d suggest such a thing.

Mason is the newest member of the Starstruck team. She is an aspiring photographer,
desperate to break into the world of music journalism. Emily met her at a gig
she was reviewing and I guess Vicky just latched on to her. She didn’t have a
job, and we didn’t have a proper photographer, so after a lot persuasion from
Em I agreed to take Vicky on. Oh, how I have come to regret that decision now,
the girl is impossible to get along with. She’s bossy, she’s rude and my God is
she argumentative! That girl would argue that black was white and night was
day. Emily gets on with her and Jake, well he gets on with anyone, but me and
Vicky just clash in every way imaginable.

an averagely talented photographer - much better now that I’m constantly
splashing out on new kit for her to use. Personally, I think she would be much
more at home trying to trick drunk celebrities into flashing their underwear outside
nightclubs so that she could snap some photos and sell them to the tabloids for
a big chunk of cash.

have lovingly dubbed her succubus (a name I only use behind her back,
obviously) because the first time she went to a gig with me and Emily we ended
up back at the hotel with the band and she got in bed with the bassists while
he was sleeping.

tell them the story about my encounter with Tom hoping they might think my fall
had more to do with me being late than my hangover.

gave you his business card?’ Jake chuckles. ‘Did you say his name was Patrick
Bateman? You know he liked blondes.’

funny,’ I say sarcastically. ‘Now hadn’t you better get back to playing The
Sims or updating your MySpace profile or whatever it is you do on there when
you’re pretending to work.’

have a great friendship with Jake. He teases me about being a groupie, I tease
him about a nerd. We are about as opposite as two people can be but we get on
like a house on fire.

can I see you in your office please?’ Emily asks. She sounds serious but her
face isn’t giving anything away.

first reaction is to panic – on the inside though, I’m not going to let Vicky
enjoy my potential misery. I grab my caramel macchiato - I can’t hear bad news
without caffeine in me - and make my way into my little office. I close the
door behind us, just as Jake starts singing the chorus of Carly Rae Jepsen’s
Call Me Maybe at me. He’s spending way too much time around me if he’s learning
the words to songs like that, I almost feel sorry for him.

hit me with it, get it over with,’ I babble. I’ve never been great at receiving
bad news.

smile spreads across my friends face.

good news, love. I was going through the emails...’ Emily pauses for dramatic

it out woman!’ I demand, unable to wait a second longer.

had an email from Plastic Rap’s manager, you’re interviewing them tonight!’ she
tells me with an extra loud squeal.

up! We managed to blag an interview? How? I thought they were all booked up.’

had some journo drop out at the last minute, there’s a slot going free. It’s
after the show though, so late. Do I confirm?’

yeah! You’re coming with me, right?’

It’s my mum’s birthday party tonight,’ she reminds me and I can see how
disappointed she is. ‘He said in the email that he could supply us with photos,
so you don’t even have to take Vicky if you don’t want to.’

don’t want to,’ I whisper with a cheeky smile on my face.

am so jealous. You never know, one of the Plastic Rap boys might fall madly in
love with you. You could get married and your groupie days would be over. Then
you wouldn’t have to worry about getting up for work on a morning - I told you
that you’d be late today,’ she teases.

who are you calling a groupie? And when did you tell me that I’d be late today?’

night...’ she prompts, and I cast my mind back. Em and I went to a gig last
night and then partied with the bands until the early hours - let’s just say
things got messy. She’s right though, I remember the taxi dropping me off,
drunkenly fidgeting with my door key, thinking it was the funniest thing ever,
and Emily yelling something out of the taxi window about how I’d be late for
work as she drove off. A guilty smile spreads across my face.

BOOK: Starstruck
11.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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