What. A. Lovely. Evening.
Last night I went to a leaving do for one of the editors at my previous job, and had the absolute pleasure of spending time with sooooo many people I haven't seen in ages, or had simply lost contact with. It was at a pub in Victoria - well, I say 'in'; we actually spent the entire evening lurking outside on the pavement in the chilly autumnal air. By the end of the evening my legs had seized up and I couldn't feel my extremities, but I had a great time.
It's funny, the guy that was leaving, who I always called Mavis because he insisted on calling me Tom, is one of those people who I thought would stay at my old company forever, and it made me realise that we all move on at some point in our lives, be it sooner or later. What was funnier, though, was that everyone attending kind of fractured into two groups - old skool and new skool - with only a few crossing over. I, of course, was part of the old skool group. I left that company in the summer of '99, and pretty much everyone else that I worked with there moved on in the years that followed, either becoming filthy freelancers or moving on to exciting high-powered new positions. Spending just a few hours in the company of these people made me realise a) how much I enjoyed their company, and b) how much I enjoyed those good times years ago.
That company was my first real job out of school. I wrote to them because I loved their magazines, they called me in, loved my A-Level graphics project (which I'd based, surprise surprise, around Star Trek), and they offered me a job. I started a few days after my 19th birthday in November 1996.
It was very exciting; I had my own desk, a phone, a computer I barely knew how to turn on, a job I didn't know how to do, and they even put my name in my favourite magazines. I was surrounded by some of the best people ever, including Grum, Chunty, and Glittering Lee, and while we all moaned about the pay (or lack thereof), I think we all genuinely loved what we did. I certainly learned a number of skills that continue to serve me well to this day. But you can't live on fun and good times forever, and just over two and a half years later I broke up the party by getting a proper job - well, as proper as a job can be that involves you reading, writing, and watching Star Trek on a daily basis.
I suppose that job was like a first love, or even your first car; you know it's not going to last - couldn't possibly last, in fact - but deep down it will always be special. I still have fond memories of those good times - our strictly-adhered to one-hour lunchtimes where we'd head off to the pub for a swift pint, Chunty and I going for coffee in the bookshop in the shopping centre (where my obsession developed), sitting in the graphics department playing a game where we could only talk in song titles, being made to wear a Borg headpiece while working, the production manager proclaiming that he was Doctor Who and assigning us all companion names (I was Romana), and that afternoon where Grum and I were the only two people in graphics so we kicked back and spent the entire time chatting.
And so it was, surrounded by all these faces from the past last night, that I just piped up and said "wouldn't it be great if we could all get together and do one last issue? Y'know, just storm into the office, take over the computers, and put one together old skool-stylee?"
The answer was a unanimous 'yes.' Seems I'm not the only one who was feeling a bit nostalgic.