Monday, March 5, 2012

1996: What did you learn?

I'm eight or nine weeks into my new job, and so far, so good. But what a different world from the one I'd come from.

Having done my journalism course and devoted myself to it I'd passed with flying colours. Not that it mattered. After a period of work experience at a TV magazine they'd called me back in 'for a chat'. I thought they might be putting some freelance work my way, but in actual fact they offered me a job. At last, something good came out of my obsession with all things TV.

I went into the course the next day and instantly became the poster boy for the course. A true success story everyone was expected to emulate. This was a revelation. It had never happened to me before. I even surprised myself. I'd spent years pissing about at school, uni and work, but the very first day I started this course, aged 30, I knew I had to make it work for me. Not for me being the class clown, and how tiresome I found the person who took on that role. Once, that was me. So look what could happen if you simply applied yourself.

I only had a few weeks left on the course following the job offer, and was due to start the Monday after the course finished on Friday, literally a week before Christmas. It was a shock. This was a different kind of work in a different kind of workplace. Previously, I'd done six years editing and proofreading legal texts. Dry as dust, but the people could be fun. That said, it was quite a formal place to work.

Magazines on the other hand, were as informal as it got. It was like a fashion show catwalk for a start. Gosh! You were allowed to wear jeans. The radio was on all day long and if not people put tapes on, leading to musical standoffs more often than not. It was noisy and bright and busy and though it took a while to learn to work and listen to the radio, I got the hang of it eventually. (I couldn't have that in the office now though, far too distracting. I understand the editor's pain when she used to get up and turn it the music down).

So by this time in '96 I was really getting into the swing of things. I was doing interview after interview, meeting people I'd only previously seen on the telly, visiting sets and going to programme launches and chuckling to myself at how amazing it was to be there. It's the kind of job I'd always wanted. I was doing things like radio interviews on Newsbeat or GLR or BBC Lincolnshire and having friends and all my old colleagues phone me up to tell me they'd heard me. I even had my own picture byline in the magazine.

It couldn't have been more removed from the job I'd done before. What a good idea that course had been. My life had changed again and it was shaping up to be an awful lot of fun. I'd stay until early '99. And I was right in the middle of Cool Brittania. No, really.

Anyway, this song really reminds me those very early weeks, getting my head down and immersing myself in my work. What a joy. I felt revitalised in every way.

So why had it taken me so long to get here?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds to me like you got there at exactly the right time. It's not always necessary to be a hip young gunslinger - that can mean that your best work is behind you by the time you're 25, forcing you to spend the rest of your life finding increasingly desperate (and futile) ways of upping the ante (Julie Burchill).
    Arriving when you've gained a bit of maturity has a lot to be said for it, provided you're not a stiff, which you weren't.