Thursday, 23 July 2009

Day 4

Day 4:

I can’t believe tomorrow will be my last day. This week has gone so quickly, but at the same time I am tired and looking forward to my own bed. It may be smaller than the lovely Queen-size that I have been sleeping in this week, but it is home, and rest after a crazy (but amazing) week.

Today was a fairly quiet day. The constant noise of tapping keyboards around me told me that everyone was busy and had better things to do than think up tasks for me or answer my questions. I kept out of the way with a copy of Vogue.

One of the journalists gave me the task of researching books that are coming out this autumn. They like to review interesting ones, mainly by politicians. (Yesterday I was handed a cookbook written by a former politician to read through and look for possible stories. You would be surprised how much you can find in a book full of game recipes.) I trawled through publishers’ websites, and although I found a couple of interesting new releases, the main thing I found was how many books there are being published. The sheer quantity was phenomenal. I did some research on wikipedia and found that the UK publishes the most books in the world per year, and that in 2005 there were apparently 206,000 new titles published in the UK. I imagined ‘Love Pink’ floating around on this ocean of books and couldn’t help feeling a little disheartened. But I decided to look on the bright side. There were lots of books, but there were also lots of bad books. Katie Price’s latest novel ‘Sapphire’ - need I say any more? And I also got a “brilliant research” from one of the journalists which cheered me up considerably.

Later on in the day when I noticed the journalists around me sinking back into their chairs a little more, and when the sound of typing had died down, I asked if there was anything else I could do to help. I was told that actually there wasn’t that much that needed doing at the moment, apart from boring things that I probably wouldn’t want to do. Like tidying.

I practically leapt out of my seat. Before they knew what had hit them I was sorting through the mountains of old newspapers and carrying piles to a recycling bin at the other end of the office. There is a huge wheelie bin for waste paper at this end of the office, but it was already full to the brim. Thank goodness they recycle here, as I think they must get through a few forests worth of paper every year. The newspaper is given early editions of magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Tatler everly month. On top of this everyone in the office is given a copy of the Evening Standard twice a day, and each morning the editions of several other newspapers float around from desk to desk.

Perhaps I am mad, but I couldn’t believe my luck to have been given the chance to get my hands on the office. I am not a particularly tidy person, but I take pride in, and enjoy, organisation. The editor of the Londoner’s Diary is also book editor for Tatler, so gets sent boxes and boxes of books, which then end up piled on the shelves. As I sorted through the dusty mountains I nearly got knocked out by a pile teetering haphazardly on the edge. I separated all the hardbacks from the paperbacks, and was ready to start alphabetising the whole lot but didn’t have the time (or the height to reach the books on the top shelf!).

Although I am looking forward to being home and seeing my friends and family, I also think it is a shame I am leaving tomorrow. I have just mastered my journey on the underground, how to squeeze my way persistently into the overcrowded train and how it is essential to be either listening to music or reading a) the Metro or b) a good paperback. I know which are the best meals in the canteen, and my desk has started to really feel like my desk. But at the same time I feel that a week is really only a second here. I have been struck by how efficient and (sometimes frighteningly) competent everyone is. They know exactly what they are doing, what is going on and who they need to call to get that scoop. To get to that stage I think you really need to have been working here for a long time. So although I have been given incredible experiences and have learnt an invaluable amount, I have still been on the outside. Which is why leaving tomorrow will be hard, as I feel there is so much more I would like to learn.

On the other hand I think I have learnt that magazine journalism is what I want to do; I don’t think I want to work on a newspaper. Particularly at the Londoner’s Diary where the articles are so short, it is much more about what you write about and getting a scoop and an angle, rather than how you write and the depth with which you go into a story. Perhaps writing for the fashion section of the newspaper would be different, but that is another thing I have established. I am not interested in politics, I am not even particularly interested in celebs (however fantastic meeting Rupert Everett was). I am interested in fashion. I love fashion, and that is what I want to write about more than anything else.

After work my godmother took me out for a meal. I am tired tonight so was feeling homesick, but seeing her and her children was like being among family. It was also so nice to share what I have been up to. To see her get all enthusiastic and say how proud she is of me also perked me up. I think it easy to feel despondent being surrounded by such intimidatingly professional people, and realising I have so much to learn, but then I also realised tonight that I have already learnt so much, and hope that I have made the most of the experience. It has also given me confidence; I know I was extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to go to the Rupert Everett preview, but they wouldn’t have used what I had written if they thought it was dreadful.

For me my highest compliment and sense of achievement will be if on Monday morning they look at the empty desk where I sat for a week and say ‘she was nice’, and if they remember me. Unfortunately I will never know.

The editor of the Londoner’s Diary told me that my photo and an article on my book should be in the paper tomorrow, so I am going to sleep looking forward to my last day, of what has been a brilliant and eye-opening week.



  1. I think you'll be remembered Libby - congratulations on the book.
    I've mentioned it on my blog.
    Wishing you the best of luck with all your future projects.

  2. Thank you very much! And thank you for the lovely mention on your blog!