Anyone of a certain age will remember the episode of Are You Being Served? where the entire staff of Grace Brothers went camping somewhere in Spain. There was much confusion over who slept in which tent, jokes like: ‘Oh, Captain Peacock, I think you’ve found my pussy”, and Mr Rumbold trying to keep some sense of order over the proceedings.
Several weeks ago, as I sat in a rented people-carrier with my features editor, while our senior writer tried to parallel-park the wrong way up a one-way street and a crowd of locals gathered, I began to feel I was in my very own episode of Carry On Company.
The idea came about after a night in one of Soho’s finest drinking establishments. ‘Let’s take everyone on the mag to Ibiza to produce the entire issue from there,’suggested deputy editor Claire Askew optimistically. ‘Why not?’I replied, clearly feeling the effects of the rosÃ©. The next day, the planning began before I had a chance to change my mind.
And it was a great idea on many levels. Not only would we be living the life of our readers, we’d also be creating an industry first and motivating the team all at the same time. Genius. The magazine looks great, every page oozing sunshine and positivity – which, for a September issue, is never easy. And, yes, the team did enjoy some of the aspects of their week away. But what none of us had considered was just how much hard work was involved.
Company budgets sadly don’t extend to paid-for weeks in the sun, and in the weeks leading up to our planned departure we still didn’t have a villa. When we finally did get the various parties to agree to seriously reduced rates, we had to organise the logistics of us all going there for as long as possible, while still keeping the office running back here.
We had just two cars between us. Senior features writer Katie Mulloy and I had to visit a plastic surgeon who administers Botox on clubbers. All this while our features ed grilled the local Hummer driver for info on celebs – which meant a half-hour drive and then half an hour to parallel-park at each venue.
Other moments of note were certain members of the features team missing their taxis and CafÃ© Del Mar refusing to let us use the club as a venue for a photo shoot of female DJs. Plus, one of our models pulled out at the last moment, and it rained for the first half of the week, which meant the fashion and beauty shoots had to be done in snatched moments of sunshine.
But, as we sat on the terrace at Pacha on the last night, toasting our fabulous week, all the stress and trauma was forgotten. Or, at least, it was, until I had to get on a 6.30am flight with no sleep and bumped into Esquire’s Jeremy Langmead in departures – he resplendent in lilac cashmere, me in big dark shades and last night’s clothes. ‘Ah, living the life of the reader,Vic?’he noted. ‘Crucially important.’And he’s right. But I wouldn’t want to do it every week. I’d be exhausted.