It seems like no time since I was frantically putting the final touches to my last issue of M&S Magazine, while pulling together the team I needed to get Heyday on its way. Now, after a ridiculously frenzied 10 weeks, our launch issue has rolled off the presses.
It's exciting to see my "baby" in people's hands and even more satisfying to know how much people are enjoying it.
Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. I hope they aren't just being polite.
I spend the morning working with my brilliant art director, Geraldine, pulling together the people we need for a big food shoot we're doing for issue two (co-ordinating the schedules of six readers, a food economist and a photographer is a challenge to say the least). The shoot is in my kitchen — I often lend my home as a location for shoots.
In the end, it turns out the only day they can all make is one when I'm supposed to be giving a talk to the Periodical Training Council's Academics and Industry Conference (I'm the chair of the Editorial Training Consultants Committee).
The saintly Sara Cremer, editor of Eve and a co-committee member, agrees to help me out by taking my place.
The afternoon is taken up with a big cross-agency meeting debrief on the launch of Heyday (the organisation and all the elements associated with it, like the magazine). Along with representatives from Heyday itself, there are colleagues from the ad, PR and media-buying agencies, as well as the magazine account team from Redwood. The general consensus is that things have gone well, but in every area there's work to be done to make sure the Heyday message is getting out to the public and people are signing up to become members. The magazine is a vital recruitment tool for them, so its distribution is key.
Not in the office all day today. I'm a magistrate and Redwood very generously give me time off (one day every two weeks)
to sit in court. It's a fascinating and challenging change to my magazine work, even on days like today when the work is frustratingly bitty (lots of sitting in the retiring room, waiting for cases to be ready), and our options for sentencing are restricted and clumsy.
Retail Week publishes a major feature on marketing to the grey pound, expounding the need for retailers to tap into the largest and most rapidly growing sector of society. It's one of any number of recent stories in the press and on television on how important and influential the over-50s are, and will continue to be. Heyday is unquestionably hitting a national zeitgeist.
The timing of the magazine, and its over-riding message that this is a positive, energetic and forward-looking generation of people who have no intention of sliding quietly into their collective retirements, couldn't be more pertinent.
01.07.06 and 02.07.06
Take several features home with me to read over the weekend. Get through… most of them.
One of my Redwood colleagues has just been to Toronto.
He's bought a newspaper supplement entirely devoted to the baby-boom generation. Lots of great ideas to steal — sorry, be inspired by — but also yet more confirmation that we're definitely onto something big. Our postbag is starting to fill up, as the magazine reaches more readers. Nice comments from most, though some don't like it and aren't afraid to say so.
One has ripped out the "Sex with Someone New" feature, scored it through (we notice each paragraph is scribbled out individually, so presumably they read the whole thing to make sure it was consistently offensive) and written a long, scrawled message over the picture insisting we are encouraging appalling behaviour.
Another cross-agency get-together this morning, this time to discuss how we're all going to approach a breaking story about Heyday and the Government's new age discrimination legislation, which is due to come into force in October. It's very useful for us to discuss issues like this, so that — particularly in these early days when Heyday is being established in the public's consciousness — we can work in the most joinedup way possible.
A subject that definitely unites us all is the never-ending challenge of finding celebrities — a task which exercises much of my time and attention during the afternoon. Selina Scott was an absolute find for the first issue (and fantastically co-operative and charming), but time is ticking away and we haven't secured anyone for issue two yet (lots of positive conversations, but nothing firmed up). It helps to have an issue to show people, so they can see what a high quality environment we've created and how fab we've made Selina look (not that it took much of an effort. At 55, she's as elegant and good-looking as ever).
A day at my desk, (almost) uninterrupted by meetings — a session with BBC Books to discuss future tie-ups doesn't hinder the workflow too much. A package arrives with the entries to the Magazine Academy awards, which I'm judging later this month. Magazine journalism students enter in two categories — new magazine concept and new student magazine.
An initial look through shows the usual mix of marvellous and mad ideas, but it's especially interesting to spot two entries aimed at exactly our readership. Clearly, others have spotted the gap in the market.
Tempting as it is to wade in straight away, I set them to one side in order to make sure I get as much copy as I can to our fantastically hard-working team of subs. Getting issue one out was a triumph of teamwork, and we're just as enthusiastic and excited about issue two — no one's commitment and enthusiasm has wavered for a moment. Working for a client that gives us as much editorial freedom as Heyday is a real bonus, and, as a result, we have been able to produce a magazine that we're all very proud of.