E is for: Eccentrics and Egos. Plenty of both on magazines. The most eccentric person I can recall was a middle-aged woman who dressed as though in a fifties time-warp and marched through the magazine’s corridors, whistling a cheery but unrecognisable tune, her Margaret Thatcher-style handbag carried firmly over one arm. She was unmarried and I think that had a lot to do with it. You can’t get away with being eccentric when your husband and family expect you to have dinner ready and the washing machine going through the rinse cycle before you’ve even taken your coat off. (A married colleague claimed she didn’t take her coat off for at least an hour when she got in from work; neither did she sit down all evening except to eat. As a singleton, I found this baffling and appalling.)
The one ego-related incident that stands out for me (though sadly I wasn’t at my desk at the time) is the one a colleague told me, about the time that a well-known TV presenter, who was in the building to be interviewed by another magazine nearby, came and stood in our office space for several minutes, obviously hoping that someone – anyone – would spot him and possibly ask for his autograph, only for him to be studiously ignored (probably not intentionally – everyone was just too busy, I’m sure), forcing him to shuffle back round the corner where, presumably, he was treated with a great deal more deference.