A working week in the life of GQ editor Dylan Jones
Monday. I arrive at the office, as usual, at 9am. My PA, Heather, is already there, sifting through the papers and the post. I spend 20 minutes with the papers, tearing things out to read later. I drink a large cappuccino and some exotic fruit-type drink from Tony’s Hatch, the CondÅ½ Nast snack bar on the third floor, as I do the e-mails.
These days people show off about how many e-mails they get as though it proves how important they are. This being a Monday, I expect a monumentally huge amount; rather annoyingly I’ve only got 24. The rest of the staff come in. My deputy, Bill Prince is next, immaculately dressed as usual, followed by everyone else. I’m a stickler for timekeeping.
Much as I appreciate people working till midnight to get the magazine out (I rarely leave later than 7.30pm, and usually it’s 6.30pm), I expect them to arrive when they’ re meant to, at 9.30am). I spend another 20 minutes returning calls and will then wander into features for a gossip.
Today this largely consists of some rather petty bitching about one of our rivals, why no one watches BBC Three (and I mean, literally, no one), George Galloway, why Madonna’s new LP is largely useless, the latest grand prix, the next grand prix, at least seven things we read in the Sunday papers, a rumour about the demise of a recent start-up and, seemingly for ages, the war.
The rest of the day goes like this: I have a meeting with some extremely important people from Calvin Klein, give three people salary reviews, go to the gym for an hour and have a huge features meeting in the afternoon. In the evening I go to the Design Museum to interview Rankin on behalf of the Brand Council and then go out to dinner with clients.
We have just hired a new art director (Steven Baillie, formerly of Arena Homme Plus, Surface and the New York Times Magazine) so have been redesigning the magazine from soup to nuts. This has been done “live”, so to speak, with all the changes happening in one month.
This has meant even more discussions than usual with subs and designers over the new template; every piece of furniture has been tweaked: type faces, captions, pull-quotes, blurbs, straps, headline styles, bylines, byline photos, byline illustrations, mini-heads, boxes, colour ranges, the lot. Every section has been revamped and mucked about with.
It’s been great fun, and the team have worked fantastically hard on it, but every five minutes there is another problem of some sort. Copy suddenly doesn’t fit, there’s no room for a particular strap, one particular staff member’s caricature makes them look like one of The Addams Family – that sort of thing.
After work, some of us go the opening of the Saatchi Gallery. We all feel it’s an unqualified success.
Much of today is spent planning our annual Men Of The Year awards party in September. It’s at the Royal Opera House and we’re in the process of booking presenters, hiring the production team and producing a short list of winners. Some of them are chosen by the readers, while others are chosen by the magazine.
One of the most important awards is the Outstanding Achievement Award, and negotiations have been going on for months.
I start writing a speech I’m preparing to give at the Periodical Publishers’ Association conference, and then go home to pack for an Easter trip to France.
My first appointment is at 8.30am, a breakfast meeting with a contributor. Once, many years ago, this same contributor (let’s call him Robert, because that’s his name) wrote a particularly withering profile of snooker player Alex Higgins for a Sunday newspaper. Robert knew that Higgins had hated the piece, and was slightly worried about recriminations.
I then worked for another Sunday newspaper, Robert’s rival, and so decided, one morning, to call him up pretending to be Higgins, threatening violence and what-have-you.
I thought that this was tremendously funny, but it backfired big-time: Robert was away, his wife heard the message and thought the worst. When Robert returned, and I owned up, he vowed to get me back. However, he said it might take him a decade, might take him more. He hasn’t done it yet, but I know categorically that one day he will.
Like every other man in the office, that night I go to the pub to watch Real Madrid play Man Utd.
The redesigned issue comes back from the printers and we crowd round it for 20 minutes, patting each other on the back.
We like it a lot, and can’t quite believe we (well, Steven, actually) have done it so quickly, although, inevitably, there are little things here and there which will have to be sorted.
Like every other glossy in the country, we spend most of our time worrying about who we’re going to put on our cover, and towards the end of the day we hear a staggeringly good piece of news regarding one of the cover stars scheduled for later in the year.
Bill and I allow ourselves small, sly grins in my office before wiping them off again. We know from experience how differently things could look this time tomorrow.