Monday 6 August
I arrive in the office at 8.30am to eagerly await the first printed copies of the new-look Esquire. Sadly, they’re not as punctual as I am.
I’ve also given an interview to today’s Media Guardian section and skip anxiously through the paper to see what they’ve said. The piece concentrates on the new size and format more than the content itself but seems quite positive. I’m always alarmed to see pictures of myself since I have yet to discover my ‘photo face’and therefore always end up looking as if I’m Michael Winner’s undiscovered illegitimate child.
The issues finally arrive at lunchtime. I get a copy before everyone else and read it alone in the loo. There doesn’t seem to be any glaring errors and it looks a lot more polished and sophisticated than before. Phew. I return to the office floor and we all gather round and look through the copies together. There’s an infectious frisson of excitement and pride. Someone pops out to get some champagne.
Just as we’re about to celebrate, the Guardian features desk calls and asks if I can file a short piece on this hip clothing label that Liz Taylor has incongruously been spotted wearing in LA. They need the copy in 90 minutes. No champagne for me, then. Not a great loss since, alas – almost a crime in my industry – I don’t actually like it.
Tuesday 7 August
A little bleary-eyed this morning. I spent most of the night dissecting Esquire to see what works and what I want to change for the next issue. I discover some very complimentary emails from my bosses who have also been through the magazine and are thrilled with it. Let’s hope the readers and advertisers feel the same way.
The Natmags press officer wants a copy of my CV. Writing down the dates and discovering how long I’ve been in this business is quite alarming. My new rule is that nothing ever happened more than five years ago – whether it’s leaving college, my first child being born, or joining The Sunday Times, whatever.
We’re late with the October issue and, despite only just receiving September, we’ve no more time to sit and stare at it. It’s going to be another week of late nights and working weekends.
I manage to leave at 8.30pm and have a quick dinner with our political correspondent. I was going to suggest my local pub in Primrose Hill but, as usual, he has grander ideas and books Sardo Canale. Naturally, it’s my shout.
Wednesday 8 August
The issue has arrived in people’s hands and the feedback so far is amazing. I get my PA to put all the complimentary emails on to the wall. She makes a sign in big black writing saying: ‘The Wall of Praise”. It reminds me of those old photographs of Muscovites reading the pages of Pravda on the noticeboard in Red Square – except our news isn’t quite so bleak.
Driving home after the gym, I’m turning into Primrose Hill when my mobile rings. I’ve forgotten to put the hands-free on and stupidly take the call anyway. As luck would have it, I suddenly spot three police officers waving at me to pull over. I drop the phone on to the floor of the car and just as I roll the window down to talk to one of the policemen it starts ringing loudly from between my feet. Thanks for that.
I’m asked to step out of the car. Passers-by stop and stare as the police spend 20 minutes cautioning me, taking my details, checking the car isn’t stolen and filling in numerous forms. I get three points on my licence and a £60 fine.
I politely point out that this time last year I was mugged by a gang of four men brandishing knives who stole my briefcase, wallet and phone. The police caught the criminals and only cautioned them. My punishment is more severe for answering a phone that actually belongs to me. Hmm.
Thursday 9 August
The Evening Standard runs a full–page feature on one of our stories: a list of the best-dressed businessmen in the UK. Meanwhile, our interview with the press-shy Les Hinton, executive chairman of News International, has also been picked up by several newspapers. Even though none of it is damaging or derogatory, I hear that Hinton has told a colleague that ‘these things always have a habit of biting you on the bum”. Oops.
Friday 10 August
Some readers’ letters have arrived already and the magazine only officially went on sale yesterday. So far, all are raves. The funniest is one that is addressed to our new sex advice columnist. He wants to know how grown-ups should refer to their sexual organs so that their young children are unaware of what they are talking about. He confides that he and his wife refer to her breasts as ‘blobby wobbles’and his penis as a ‘wibbly wobbly”.
I’m off to a friend’s party in Shoreditch tonight and intend to drink far too much vodka. Who knows, if I’m lucky, I might get some wibbly wobbly action.