Diary of a long day, Tuesday 24 April 2002
6am: The alarm goes off, two hours earlier than normal. "Wha-? Huh? Oh yeah. Damn. Better get up."
7am: Arrive at work, three hours earlier than normal. I'm the first one in. The cleaners are still here.
8am: Finish laying out the newsletter, remaking the corrections I'd lost in the previous afternoon's area-wide power failure. A high-pitched beep-beep-beeping noise emerges from my jeans pocket. It's the alarm clock on my mobile phone. I hurriedly switch it off, embarrassed.
8:01am: Alarm rings again. I switch it off on the second beep.
8:08am: Alarm rings again. Those colleagues who have now arrived stare at me, clearly thinking "is this what time you normally get up?" My silent reply: "No, not yet. There's still one more alarm to go off."
8:20am: The last alarm, and the one I normally obey, reluctantly getting up. Instead, I am now working on our other publication, the magazine, doing last minute corrections.
9am: The editor comes in and approves all the pages. I start creating the PDFs.
10am: I send off the first batch of PDFs to the printers via our ISDN line. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. I consider blogging, but decide to press on, feeling noble.
11am: I really should be leaving the office any moment to attend the 12 o'clock magazine relaunch party at Dali Universe on the South Bank, but I need to PDF the final batch of pages.
11:30am: Wa-hey! I send off the pages. I run down to the tube station. Damn! Eight minutes to the next train.
11:55am: I am sprinting across Westminster Bridge, pushing aside the tourists photographing each other and Big Ben and the London Eye. [I mean, I push aside the tourists, not the landmarks.] A rushed mobile phone call to Marcus. I gabble wildly. He wonders if I am on speed.
12:00pm: I arrive at Dali Universe with seconds to spare.
12:02pm: We wait.
12:05pm: And wait.
12:08pm: The first guests begin to arrive.
12:30pm: After reluctantly taking a few random boring crowd photos and listening to the editor's speech and watching industry managers lose their sober appearance at the free bar, I lose interest and wander off to look at the exhibits. No major Dali works, just a series of lithographs and sculptures.
1:30pm: Oh, come on. I wander off and take pictures off Big Ben and the London Eye.
2pm: Haven't you people got homes to go to? Jobs to do?
2:20pm: The last stragglers finally pull themselves away from the bar.
2:30pm: Our team heads off to All Bar One. The first round of expense account drinks is ordered.
3pm The fifth round of expense account drinks is ordered.
4pm: The ad manager is dancing on the table, despite the total absence of any music.
5pm: I have a really girly chat with the ad girls, discussing fake tan, sunbeds, holidays and shopping.
6pm: One of the ad girls says she really fancies this bloke at work. I reply that I don't really see it myself, he's OK but nothing special. "Yeah," she replies, "but what would you know? You're a straight bloke!" I politely tell her I'm not. She is mortified: "Oh my god! I'm so embarrassed!" And so blind.
7pm: We leave All Bar One. The London Eye glitters temptingly in the evening sun. There are no crowds. We find ourselves aboard a capsule. We can see for miles and miles and miles. I call Marcus, "I'm on the London Eye. I can see your work. Wave at me." He tells me he left work hours ago and is at home, stupid. "God. Is it that time already? OK. I'm walking to the other side now... I can see your house. Or at least I assume I can, somewhere in the ugly shapeless mass that is south London."
7:30pm: The capsule comes to a dead stop for at least ten minutes. The ad manager panics and has to lie on the floor.
7:45pm :There is talk of going to Gourmet Pizza. I go home. And sleep.