Alan Tristram writes that groping, harassment and bullying were rife at times in the places he worked. But sometimes the perpetrators were women.
‘However, the real problem — after the sexual urges common among males — was the free flow, and overflow, of alcohol.
And the booze encouraged some men to forget the constraints imposed by societty.
The pack mentality of all-male groups like rugby or league clubs also played a big part.
Arriving in the UK
I thought Kiwis were champions at this sort of thing until I arrived in the UK.
I got a job as a news scriptwriter at Independent Televsion News in London.
The stage was set when I arrived half an hour early for work on the afternnon shift, but found the newsroom eerily silent.
I asked one of PA’s: ‘Where are the journos?’
‘Oh,’ she said,’Go to The Green Man pub next door. Most of them will be there.’ How true.
I was to find that half of the journalists were half drunk most of the time. Most were adept ot concealing this steady lubrication.
Of course, this situation was aided by the ITN bar, situated on the top floor, and open every minute the licensing laws allowed.
The bosses had their own bar
This meant that during dull period one could nip upstairs for a quick pint, or two. We were unlikely to meet the bosses, as they had their own exclusive bar.
Anyway, by 11pm, after the main ‘News at Ten’ had gone out, the liquor had mostly gone in.
Newsreader Reggie Bosenquet exemplified the British stiff upper lip by taking his stiff drink into the news studio with him. (the glass fitted neatly below the rim of the newsreaders’ desk — and provided the perfect cover for a quick nip between item
So, at 1030pm sharp, many of us repaired to the bar for a nightcap or three before stumbling into minicabs for a ride home.
Often we were joined by overseas journalists and other staff, who shared the ITN premises.
I recall vividly the Swedes, who revelled in the lax British attitudes to drinking — and the ready availability of low-priced drinks ( Sweden had high tax rates on all alcoholic drinks and strict rules).
Anyway, the normally cool Swedes proved to be a warm, jolly, presence at the bar. Some of the women were strkingly attractive in that tall, blonde Nordic fashion, particularly Ola.
It so happened I was quietly sipping my lonely pint of bitter after work, amid the hubbub, when I was made aware of a group of Swedes arriving. The drinkers moved along the bar to make room.
Some time later, I was amazed to feel the lovely Ola draping herself along my body.
She nestled into my right shoulder and slurred:”I lurve you, Alan….’
‘Oh,’ I said, gently untangling myself and propping her onto the bar, ‘And I quite like you too, Ola.’
‘Ahem,’Can I buy you a drink?’
‘Yesh my dahling,’ she whispered. So I did.
Dear reader, you may wonder how all this ended. It was a phone call to the barman, saying: ‘Mr Tristram’s car was waiting.’
I made my excuses and left. One of the ITN journos told me later it took four of the Swedes, one to each limb, to carry Ola to her taxi; and so to bed.
And, I hope, to sweet dreams of our tryst.
( to be continued)