Friday, November 23, 2007


A dozen years ago I edited a student newspaper. I've still got fond memories, good friends, and a box of back issues. Very sweetly, I was invited to a reunion, organised by a recent editor.

The Oxford Student is a journalism powerhouse these days. We didn't do too badly for ourselves, but now it's Student Newspaper of the Year every year, its staff are marked for success like members of a satanic frat house.

It was a surprisingly lovely evening. I discovered why I kept seeing pictures of Lydia wearing daring hats (she's the racing correspondent of The Times), that a vicious politcal opponent is now a single mum in Jerusalem, and that a beloved ex-editor is now *something not at all sinister* behind the scenes in government.

I was in avuncular mode, which was a mistake. A typical exchange with a sharply-haired youth of about 12 went:

ME: So... I hear you work at the Beeb?

CHILD: Yeah. It's all right.

ME: I did a bit of that myself, once. Ha ha. So, what do you do for them, then? Bet it's a jolly good way of learning the ropes.

CHILD: Actually, I'm the business producer of the Today Programme.

ME: ...

At the end of the evening, these brilliant child geniuses piled into taxis and went laughing off to a club. We ancients stood behind, dejectedly sharing cigarettes on the pavement.

After a while, one of us said, "For the first time, I feel my age."

We all nodded, quietly.


Lippy said...

Satanic Frat House ! Excellent - although they may not be all they appear , I'm still reeling from my poor friends report that the Radio 4 producer for the series he wrote "didn't do mornings!" - how grown up................

Perry Neeham said...

Ooo-er, strange sense of deja-vu(sorry, did I just say that?). Similar feeling struck me at a recent gaudy.

We don't call it the City of Perspiring Dreams for nothing.

Skip said...

There was a nice moment when Government Man said "But James still looks as though he's in his twenties! How does he do it?"

To which best friend Rick snapped "Self loathing and booze."

This is why he is my best friend. This is why he must die.

Perry Neeham said...

No doubt about it - he knows too much.

Skip said...

soon... soon... his time will come...