A Day In The Life…

I really thought when I started this blog that I’d use it as a diary, but I haven’t. Instead I’ve just been writing up the high (or low) points of my week and forgetting about everything else. Thinking back over the last eight months, I can see I’ve left a lot of things out; stuff like a few Mighty Boosh concerts, another Bic Runga gig, all the times I have friends staying or I visit them… the list goes on. I also don’t write about every film I go to see. I never mentioned Brick or X-Men 3, for example, and I have no intention of discussing The Lake House, the film I saw last night. (Although I will point out that if you ever get the chance to go to the cinema and watch a movie in a red leather armchair after having free drinks beforehand, please do. Sometimes being a film reviewer is rather classy.)

Anyway, in an attempt to add a bit more detail to this blog, I chose a random day in May and kept copious notes of everything I did at work. Lord knows if anyone cares, but I thought it would be a good example of what I do for a living. Please note that we don’t usually have so many computer problems on an average day at Total Film; and I’ve also kept out both the names of my co-workers and anything I really shouldn’t write about for security reasons. Which makes my office sound rather more important than it probably is…

Okay, here goes:

8.45am Get train to work. Sit next to a woman who talks loudly and indiscretely on her mobile phone about a complicated court case; the folder on her lap says she works for English Heritage. Hate her for some inexplicable reason. But then, I hate everybody in the morning.

9.40am Get into work. Make coffee. Find someone’s been drinking my milk. Write them a nasty note and leave it inside the fridge. Great start to the day. Am already aggravated by a note on the fridge from another theft victim stating, “I can’t believe someone would literally steal food from their co-worker’s mouth!” Which makes no sense, because to “literally” steal food from their co-worker’s mouth they’d have to reach in and grab it as they were chewing. I hate people who use “literally” all the bloody time. I’d like to get literal with them.

9.54am Check emails. Tell next week’s work experience candidate how to get here and that our dress code isn’t fancy, it’s “come as you are”. Point out that doesn’t mean they should turn up naked.

10.05am My Editor was up until 2am last night reading proof pages for the issue we’re working on. Start doing his amends on the InDesign documents. He spotted a few new style hiccups (too complex to explain here), so I tell him I’ve been trying to keep all the pages uniform but it’s a huge job: a bit like battling the Kraken from Clash Of The Titans, except without a flying horse and a clockwork owl.

10.10am Wonder why I’m thinking about Clash Of The Titans at ten past ten in the morning and whether my boss now thinks I’m a bit bonkers.

10.21am Ask a colleague for the outstanding copy he owes me. “Can I do it this afternoon?” he asks, plaintively. “I have to work out the charts and I can’t do maths at this time of the morning.” I give him one hour.

10.25am Email goes down. There is much swearing.

10.31am Somebody asks me where the toner is for the printer. I get asked this question every single bloody day, even though I made Computer Services move the printer away from my desk. One day I will shove the toner up somebody’s bottom. Oh, and it’s right next to the printer, okay?

10.35am Proof-read our latest cover. It looks great! Cheer up (and wake up) at last.

10.57am Have a discussion by the coffee machine about new Disney movie The Wild. Realise I want to see The Lion King again. I love Timone.

11.45am Have a phone conversation with somebody in Ads about their terrible toothache.

12.15pm Editor wants to change the picture caption on our review of The Da Vinci Code; it references TV show Murder, She Wrote. I think it’s really funny and try to talk him out of it.

Conversation ends with him declaring loudly, “I would never object to Jessica Fletcher!” Our neighbours, Metal Hammer magazine, stare at him in a strange way.

12.27pm Realise I’ve been gazing at my desktop wallpaper picture of Jensen Ackles for at least a minute, completely hypnotised by his eyes. Then I notice he looks a bit like my mate Keir and it freaks me out.

1.00pm Go to lunch with my friend David. Opt for a walk around Regents Park; sky opts to rain on us. Return to work thoroughly soaked, but at least we saw some ducks.

2.15pm Hear much excited discussion behind me. A colleague calls out, “Jayne, do you want to join our World Cup sweepstake?”

“Only if I can have Brazil,” I reply.

“Oh, um, it doesn’t work like that. You have to pick two teams out of a hat and if either of them win you get £30.”

“There’s money involved? I’m in!”

2.18pm Last few minutes spent writing the names of footie teams on bits of paper, screwing them up and dropping them in a box. The draw begins. I get France and the Ukraine. Office filled with people yelling, “What did you get?” We all bet that the one member of the team still on lunch will come back and whinge that he wasn’t around for the draw.

2.27pm Missing teammember returns and whinges that he wasn’t around for the draw.

2.33pm Someone randomly yells, “Come on Italy!”

2.34pm My colleague emails me a picture of Shevchenko from the Ukraine team so I know my teams have at least one good player. Am peculiarly touched by his thoughtfulness.

2.35pm Hear someone muttering, “I can’t believe a fucking woman got Brazil.” Our Picture Editor grins to herself.

2.42pm Possibly in protest at all the footie talk, the music played by neighbouring Metal Hammer gets louder.

2.50pm Colleague from Ads turns up and shows me her toothachey tooth. It’s not pretty.

3.02pm Someone begs, “No more Cannes stories, please!” The teammember just returned from the French film festival looks a bit sulky.

3.05pm Editor calls me to say he’s in the pub with “some guy” but will be back soon. We have a conversation about who “some guy” is. We never do find out. I reckon he was selling our souls to the Devil so we could hit our next deadline.

3.15pm Computer fileserver keeps crashing, but at least our emails are back after being on and off all day.

3.16pm Email goes down.

3.17pm Notice our freelance sub has had his earphones on for hours. Suspect he doesn’t like Metal Hammer’s music very much.

3.25pm Print out PDFs for ages. Which means nothing to you, I know, but I do a lot of it. Suspect I’m the one who uses up all the toner.

3.52pm Metal Hammer’s music is now so loud I need to go to the toilet.

4.05pm Someone randomly yells, “Come on Togo!” Then, after a moment, adds: “Where the fuck IS Togo? Does anybody want to swap with me?” Nobody does.

4.10pm Visit our stationery section and grab some coloured highlighter pens. Get a hot chocolate from the coffee machine on the fourth floor while I’m up and around. Any bloody excuse…

4.20pm Sort out schedules for upcoming issues. I hate doing this. I’m a little bit number dyslexic and I’m terrified I’ll write down the wrong number and we’ll all think our deadline is two weeks later than it actually is. Break out in a cold sweat.

4.40pm A regular occurrence: someone’s written a three-star film review but it reads like a four-star review. Discussion ensues, hindered by the fact nobody else has seen the film.

4.47pm A moment of power: I get to final-approve the next Total Film cover! Which just involves pressing a button, but hey, it’s still cool.

4.50pm Quick meeting with News Editor.

4.58pm Talk to Editor about the flatplan. Change things round; quite enjoy it. Until two pages mysteriously disappear. Have to start again. Poohsticks.

5.10pm Our freelance sub still has headphones on. I decide I quite like Metal Hammer’s music and prefer it to Total Film’s. Can also hear the music from nearby DJ magazine, which means I can hear three lots at the same time. Unsurprisingly, I often get headaches.

5.20pm In the course of checking facts on one of our pages I have to look up the spelling for the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. If somebody had told me I’d be doing this for a living when I was at school, I’d have died of joy. And then wondered why my 34-year-old self has forgotten how to spell ‘Stay-Puft’.

5.58pm Someone on Metal Hammer picks up a guitar and starts singing. Time to go home.

6.00pm Leave. It’s still raining. Take my colleague’s Masters thesis with me to proof over the weekend. (The next week she gives me flowers to say thank you. Aww!)

7.05pm Arrive home. Collapse in front of the TV. Watch my ninth episode of Top Gear that week and can’t believe how much I love it. “This car is shaped like a dog doing a poo!” says Jeremy Clarkson, who is now my hero. Still can’t remember the names of any of the cars, though.

11.37pm Go to bed. Realise, much too late, that I’ve been duped into actually caring about the World Cup thanks to our sweepstake.

12.30am (ish) Sleep. Dream of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man playing football.



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4 responses to “A Day In The Life…

  1. Stuart Ian Burns

    Good lord, for two years I thought I was the only person in the country who’d even heard of Bic Runga and then there’s an interview in The Guardian and now you’ve mentioned her. Amazing.

    Oh well, at least I’ve still got Patricia Kaas to myself.

  2. Biddy Brumpton

    10.57am entry, I thought you’d written that you had a conversation about The Wild with the coffee machine.

    I really have been watching too much Supernatural – it’s turned my brain to mush.

    (and I cancelled my last comment as I have also lost the ability to type properly too, apparently)

  3. Lisa

    Bic Runga is great – “Sway” was my song way, way back when.

    And hehe, Top Gear… I used to watch that cos I thought Richard Hammon was so cute 😛 Dunno if he’s still on it, though, now that he’s got his own show and everything…

  4. WhiteCrowUK

    Sit next to a woman who talks loudly and indiscretely on her mobile phone about a complicated court case

    You know they really shouldn’t do that!

    Very interesting to read an average day of a London journalist/film reviewer. Does all this reviewing put you off watching films when you get home?

    Not surprised by the Top Gear – my wife has a thing for Richard Hammond – I guess I really ought to save up to get my teeth whitened too!!!

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