Penny For Your Thoughts // Chris Slade

The year is 1986. Whitney is in her sixth chart week with undeniable banger ‘How Will I Know’, Madonna just dropped ‘Borderline’ and Diana Ross is #1 with ‘Chain Reaction’, which then meant that you’d sold a fuck load of actual records, which people paid some money for at the shops. The PR guy runs the party in 1986. After a 3-hour lunch with Sounds Magazine, you can head back to the office to delete any answerphone messages before faxing out a press release which is embargoed for the next six weeks. If you wanted to be mean, you could withhold access to the artist or call the lawyer and fuck the editor over. He deserves it. To be nice again, you could fly the guy around the world and pay for all his lobster and drugs, which sort of evens out at them not entirely hating your guts. Fun for everyone involved and there’s more money, don’t worry, the party will never end. It’s so good. It’s like a dream, kind of…

Wait, hold on… This is a dream! The year is not 1986! It’s 2016, and in this dystopian future I have just unfollowed a blogger on Twitter for making yet another joke about a shitty press release they received about a new urinal cake that you can eat like a real cake after you’ve peed on it. God, I hate that guy. If I’m feeling mean, I can withhold access to my artist, who the journalist then adds on Skype and flat-out asks them if they’re really a Holocaust denier. Fuck. Uh-oh. The piece runs two hours later, headline: “‘All I’m Saying Is [The Holocaust] Might [Not] Have Happened’ – Shocking Revelations From The Singer/Songwriter”. Nothing I can do, really. I ask them to change the piece but nobody replies.

Now, If I want to sweeten this guy up, I can always arrange to meet and have a Red Stripe and go twos on a Marlboro Light in Hoxton Square before a gig I need him to review. He’s reviewing the show that night for a new Snapchat channel. Later that night, his Snapstory reads: “at the worst gig of my life omg help” with three coffin emojis. I screenshot the snap and send it to the manager as proof that he came to the show. He needs a beer, so I get him one. There are five other PR people at this show. One has no shoes on. We don’t know what to do but we can’t go home because the rest of the label came too. I look over at the guy from Columbia promoting his new shoegaze four-piece. While my card gets declined at the bar, we exchange a collective sigh. One PR wearing a burlap sack with a greasy mod haircut asks if I have any change, but I don’t. He gets out Citymapper to look at the night bus timetable. I book my contact an Uber. I see him tweet “lol you guys won’t believe this PR email I got today.” I favourite the tweet but I’m pretty sure the email he’s talking about was from me.

I morosely read the chart update email while I wait for the bus. Justin Bieber is at #1 again. He’s sold three million streams.