Monday, December 08, 2003

What a weekend. I am fast learning that the world of publishing is not a very nice one, and underhand tactics haven’t been put to rest. In the bad old days, it was customary for editors to steal each others’ ideas and pass them off, and short of cursing and plotting revenge, there was nothing that could be done about it. On Friday night I was out drinking with the lovely Mr Saha, he of Finlay fame, when he happened to mention that a web diary we’re both hooked on is to be published as a book. When I heard this, my blood ran cold, as I’d proposed this idea to four editors at my company in January. None of them expressed an interest. Shortly after, one of the editors, head of the media list and 2002 Editor of the Year, left to take up a post with one of our Big Rivals. Now the book is being published by them in the new year. After speaking to several people at work, I’ve pieced together what happened. A woman who works here, who used to work at The Big Rival, remembers the (my?) book being brought up in acquisition meetings. Her friend is editing it, and she believes that the man I showed it to immediately passed it to The Big Rival. I didn’t think there was any legal recourse, but apparently a ‘no competition’ agreement was signed, and has now been broken. So that’s my news. I’m alternating between happy, sad and furious. Happy cos the author of the web diary is a wonderful, hilarious writer who ought to be read, and happy because my idea clearly wasn’t a bad one. Furious at Trevor Dolby (oops. slipped out) for stealing my idea and passing it off as his own. And sad because it would have been my dream book to work on, and I really believed it could be a success.

Ok, other than that, I drank a lot. Friday with the Open Democracy crew, Saturday with my sister and her boyfriend at his 30th birthday, then with Tim and Kyle, who is just ridiculously gorgeous and I don’t even want to be in the same room as her. This was at Mentasm, an irregular club help in someone’s flat in Stoke Newington. Going to Mentasm feels like entering an Austin Powers film, or, I imagine, Andy Warhol’s Factory. The kitchen is a bar (drinks tokens are bought from the coat check girl), the bathrooms are, um, the bathrooms, and the sleeping areas are cordoned off. Just a big, sparsely furnished space, then, with lots of drunk dancing folks. I had a beer, leered at Gruff from the Super Furry Animals (Jodie will be jealous… but he was there with his girlfriend), and laughed at skater boys wetting themselves cos Tony Alva was there… I wouldn’t know him if he bit me: I just saw a guy who looked like Craig Charles, and had an entourage.

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