Nik Rawlinson

13.09.04

Monday morning, and the office is aflutter with the gossip from Friday night. After 13 years on the magazine, Karen, our publisher, threw a leaving party.

She wasn’t unique in staying that long, either – in fact, she wasn’t even MacUser’s longest-serving employee.

Something about the magazine seems to keep us all here longer than any other magazine manages.

It must be something to do with the way people feel about the personality of the Mac.

It’s quite unlike that of a PC, and it encourages a lot of interaction with our readers.

The art boys have been evicted from their desks by a lump of rock, lobbed through the window last night.

It’s sitting proudly in the middle of Aston’s chair like a naughty puppy, surrounded by shards of broken glass.

The G5s have gone: fortunately the issue is stored on the server, so it can be retrieved from the basement.

But it means Aston has been exiled to the freelance desks by the kitchen, and Jason is in Karen’s empty office.

The cover is signed off and sent, after a fair amount of tweaking and debate.

It looks good.

It’s the first iMac G5 to adorn any UK magazine’s front page and should be a big hit with our style and design audience.

Chris is finishing off his report on Apple Expo Paris ready for the big push tomorrow: final press day for issue 19.

14.09.04

So with Karen gone, we have a new publisher. This morning was to be our first meeting and I managed to arrive late, after waiting for the printer to churn out a dozen copies of my spreadsheets and cash flows. Not the best way to make a good impression.

Back down in the office, the rest of the team was putting the finishing touches to the news section, which is key to our unique fortnightly cycle and, of course, to beating our competition to the hottest stories.

The meeting over, I had an editorial to write, on the iMac and the initiallymuted public reaction.

Everyone at the Expo went bonkers when it came floating up from beneath the stage, but those of us beyond the Peripherique have been somewhat sanguine.

Fortunately, there’s a good reason for Apple doing what it did, so the editorial – an explanation – has more or less written itself.

The hole in the art boys’ window has been plugged by a plank of wood advertising a 24-hour glazier.

15.09.04

Wednesdays are the best day of the week. The issue is out of the way, and it’s a fortnight until the next edition is due.

So it’s a day of meetings with other members of the team, catching up with non-Mac news and being people-ish, rather than wordy.

And it is also a good time to follow up on my emails.

Since mentioning our forthcoming move to the third floor in my biog in the last issue, I have received 11 emails from readers, wishing us well. Then, this morning, a very strange call.

“Hello, I’m Mr James Johnson,” he said. (I think that was his name).

“I just wanted to ask you how large the third floor was.”

“Oh, well, quite large,” I said, wondering why he wanted to know.

Someone later suggested he may have been trying to work out how many people would be there, and how much gas he’d need to knock us all out, Pussy Galore style. I told him it was bigger than the last floor we were on.

“Hmmm…” he said. “And have they put you near any PC magazines?” “Yes, we’re sharing the floor with them.”

“Well I hope they’re close enough for you to throw paper balls at them.” And with that, he hung up.

16.09.04

Box packing in earnest, from the time we got in until we headed off home. It’s two months since we last moved office, so I suppose it’s only fair that we should move again.

It means we lose our view through the big windows, but I’ll be glad to get away from the air-con vent.

Boxes filled, we headed off to a PR do at the Sea Gallery in Clerkenwell (no toilets, but they lie that you can use the ones in the bar across the road) and ate a very unwise canape´ combination.

Prawns, tuna, chicken (by mistake), ham (skilfully avoided), quail’s eggs, blue cheese that was red (“because it is cold”), more red stuff, and something made of olives and onions.

Of course, as soon as they started presenting, the mobiles all started to ring, although I’m not sure that was entirely coincidental…

17.09.04

I’d been warned that today would be fairly horrible, on account of the fact we were to be locked in a room – staff and freelances alike – and not allowed out until we’d come up with a list of nominees for this year’s MacUser Awards.

So, after a lot of reshuffling, we bagged the boardroom, filled it with coffee and sugary sweets, and pulled down the blinds to block out the view and keep us focused.

The Awards are perhaps the most important event in our calendar each year. Beyond the reviews in each issue, it’s our one chance to recognise the best companies and products serving the Mac.

And for the reader it forms the definitive guide to the essential releases of the last 12 months – kind of like a MacUser “best of”.

In the end though, it was actually rather good. We started bang on time and worked through until a very long and protracted lunch at the Turkish restaurant down the road.

It took forever for them to serve us, partly on account of the fact that the chef spent his whole time spinning kebabs, while twirling himself around on a swivel chair.

So, we resumed later than we’d planned, but were still out of there by half past six which, according to those who have done it before, is something of a record.

We headed off to the pub to celebrate – it was Friday, after all – after safely locking away the results in an encrypted folder on the server.

We don’t want it leaking out before the November presentations, after all. I make a mental note: my tux will need dry cleaning.

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