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.
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.