Thursday, March 29, 2007

So not much has been going on these past few weeks - although I pretend to work really hard I actually do a lot of sitting around, drinking tea, and reading trashy magazines (Grazia has been replaced with high-street-fashion bible Look - Steve is disgusted, although he sneakily reads it... sometimes they have a piece on Beyonce, Scarlett or Zooey). During March and April I'm working in-house at a big company for 2-3 days a week. I sit at a desk, sometimes with amazing views to Hampstead Heath or St Paul's (the office is on the 14th floor), and check proofs for picture books, or input corrections, or sign off covers. It's fun, I get to work with my friend Christine, and I'm never sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Plus, I get a taste of why I left full-time publishing in the first place. A lot of the women working there (it's children's publishing - therefore 99.9% women) seem dissatisfied with how their careers are going, the amount of work they have (too much), the shitty 'no paid overtime' policy all publishing houses somehow combine with a deeply ingrained and well-observed long-hours culture. I figure 3 days a week is the maximum I can stand to be in an office. Spoiled, moi?

Friday, March 02, 2007

What a surreal night. To celebrate the Oscars Soho House has a party for its members. A friend of mine has membership and asked me along, as everyone else has day-jobs and can’t stay out drinking till 6am on a Monday morning. So we met in Bar Italia at midnight (I felt incredibly conspicuous on the train, in my evening coat and black patent heels, until I got to Soho that is, which was like 10pm on a Friday) for double espressos (£3.80?! Yeah, that perked me up pretty quick. I know it’s an institution and all, but bloody hell. I can’t even calculate the mark up on that). Bagging a good table in Soho House, we were brought bellinis. And then more bellinis. When the free champagne ran out we were bought a bottle by a man who seemed to know everyone, and asked the waiters to take care of us. He took turns flirting with me and Anna, and his conversation ran a very fine line between being obnoxious, offensive and laughably charming. He left at about 2am, after showing us a photo of his hot son, who is studying in Paris, and was replaced by another guy, one of the founders of Soho House. The conversation with him was even more surreal – at one point he asked me if I’d ever been to the New York branch of Soho House and if I went to Cannes and I wanted to have a quiet word and tell him that he had me confused with someone else. We’d both be pretty embarrassed when he realised I was a freelance editor, lived in an unhip part of south-east London and wasn’t a member of any exclusive clubs. At 4am giant trays of food were brought out – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, hash browns, mushrooms, fried bread, tomatoes, smoked salmon – and there was a scrum for the buffet. Anna and I stayed till the bitter end (about 5.30), staggered out into the freezing darkness, and went to wait for the 176 bus which rather conveniently runs all night.

Update: it took me about 3 days to recover from this all-night shindig. I'm not as young as I used to be...