The Trader: Another interview ends in vino veritas

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FOR THE first five minutes of the interview, Jaap and Kirsty just looked at each other and laughed. "To think, they were trying to get you to poach me," Jaap gasped between one chuckle and the next, "and now I'm interviewing you!" Then they both dissolved into fits of laughter again, leaving me to be the sensible one who actually wants to find out more about the person in front of me.

No need to bore you with the details here. Other people's interviews are marginally less interesting than other people's dreams, and we all know how dull those can be. Suffice to say that by the end of 45 minutes, Jaap and I were both convinced that Kirsty was just the ticket: bright, thoughtful and with a fine sense of humour in perfect working order.

Even over drinks she retained her sanity. You can tell a lot about someone by the way they drink, and I'm not talking about the way their hand shakes until they get the third drink down. Kirsty went for a glass of good wine - large, because it's better value - which she said was absolutely delicious and she might even have another one if it wasn't rash to indulge oneself on an empty stomach.

"I know it sounds like another interview question," I said to her, "but why did you choose the City in the first place?"

Actually, it's not exactly an interview question. Kirsty is high enough up the City career ladder not to have to talk about the dim-and-distant past of four or five years ago to get a job.

It's a bit like asking someone applying for a directorship why they did history A-level.

Anyway, Kirsty just smiled and said, "Well, you know, it's not actually compulsory for someone with my name and accent to go into news and current affairs broadcasting: it just seems like it." Then she talked about growing up in Edinburgh, and how her parents doted over her two younger brothers and expected her to do the same.

"I wanted to do something to make them proud of me as well," she went on. "So I thought banking would be perfect. But being a good long way away from them seemed a good plan, too." She smiled ruefully, and raised an eyebrow.

Oh no, I thought, not another Roger Moore fan. I'll have to introduce her to Jane.

Kirsty continued: "Then I started in the City and loved it for all the right reasons. I can't imagine doing anything else. It doesn't matter what my parents think now." No, my inner voice commented drily , I bet it doesn't. And then my outer voice asked the others if they wanted another drink, and I toddled off to the bar to get them.

The rest of the evening sidled away while we weren't looking, and suddenly it was drinking-up time. Outside we made a fast escape from the drunken pin-stripes trying to look sober to fool passing taxi drivers ("Me, pissed? No, I've just come off a long sea journey.") and headed south. "Bound to get cabs here," we said as we parked ourselves on a deserted corner.

Half an hour later we saw our first empty cab - its sign depressingly unlit. Still, Jaap waved his arm desperately at it and it stopped. Sadly for Jaap's gentlemanly instincts, though, it was only going in his direction. We waved Jaap goodbye and resigned ourselves to another long wait.

Suddenly we saw it: a little orange light shining through the darkness. Life was wonderful after all, and soon we were trundling homewards. Kirsty sighed happily as she snuggled into the seat and said: "Are all the men at your place that good looking?"

Oh no, I thought to myself, here we go again ...