U is for: Uniform. Although we editorial staff could wear just about what we liked (advertising staff had to look more formal and ultra-smart to meet potential clients), it was easy to spot who came from which magazine by what they wore. Punks heading for the music papers and horsey types heading for the country glossies stood side by side in the lifts. Ripped tights, safety pins and plastic bondage gear next to tweedy jackets and brightly coloured trousers. I remember a woman who just wore black, top to toe, every single day of the week. It did suit her, though. At least everything went together and it must have saved her hours of shopping and clothes-washing time. So handy when it can all go in together, isn’t it? Another wore dark glasses in the office every day, summer and winter. I never found out what she looked like behind them. An ex-boyfriend who worked for a different magazine company many years ago was aghast that, on one publication, the staff wore hats indoors all the time. Fancy!
U is also for: Unions. Bit of a sore point. Many a strike was carried out back in the day for more money and improved rights and some members of staff lost months’- worth of salary, while others carried on working, making themselves very unpopular in the process. Someone from one of the major newspapers came to give us all a talk about the erosion of our rights if we didn’t stay in the union and fight back. It was all rather chilling and, sadly, didn’t halt the eventual march of – er – “progress.”