Billings are the 30-word blurbs about TV shows that show up in listings – newspapers, magazines, even the Radio Times. Technically, the page editor writes the billings, but they have to have something to go on. So along with delivering the final final please-make-this-final programme tape, paperwork so the musicians get paid, paperwork so transmission control know how long the show is, more paperwork to verify that the paperwork has been completed, and yet more paperwork to attest that the electronic copies of the paperwork have been completed and filed… one also has to deliver little blurbs about each show.

Which means that somebody has to write the blurbs.

Which means I’ve been sitting in the back of the edit suite all day trying to write 13×30 words. You’d think it’d be easy, but noooo. Editors want vim, they want style, they want teasing. They want alliteration and puns. And they also want repetition, since it’s basically the same thing that runs for each show – only, I know, since I’ve been doing this for years, that only about six words of what I write will ever be printed anywhere.

The whole exercise is as close-to-pointless-whilst-actually-being-demonstrably-necessary as I can conceive, and for that reason and the repetitiveness I find it astonishingly boring. I’d rather wash up. I’d rather clean the bath. I’d rather sit and feed tapes into an online suite. I’d rather do practically anything besides writing billings. But today I hit a new nadir of displacement.

Today, I caught myself avoiding writing billings by – and I’m wincing as I confess this – checking my junk email folder for messages that shouldn’t have been filtered there. That is, I preferred to read junk mail.


(incidentally: sorting by subject works surprisingly well for sifting through very large volumes of mail. Delete all the multiple duplicates and you have far less to skim through)

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