Shazz had the luck to see life behind the scenes.
It was a very cold day... and the train service, as usual, left much to be desired! Armed with instructions from Peta, I braved the streets of London in search of that elusive place called,
affectionately, 'The Towers'.
I passed the Kebab House, which Mark tries so hard to avoid frequenting, and found myself confronted by the front of a tall building, which I recognised, just, from my Christmas pose! I had the luck to see someone lurking inside, only for him to tell me that he was new and had no idea who Peta was. Unbelievable! I eventually found her comfortably ensconced in an office... with a few other familiar faces. It was quite a revelation to see that they all
worked with laptop computers as I had always imagined them sweating behind huge monitors.
Peta showed me what her work entailed and some of the tools which are used to check entries for the site. Music played almost continuously, a pretty good selection reflecting a fairly eclectic taste.
The office was fairly cramped, hosting Peta, Anna, Mark, Sam (the new editor), and Dave the student. The mood was something approaching that of a party... the early stage when everyone is preparing and looking forwards to the upcoming event. They all seemed to get on really well; Peta complimented Anna on her choice of graphic for the front page, and Mark made snide remarks which were greeted by snorts of derision.
I was then given a tour of the Towers, and saw not only the graphic artists, but Jim Lynn, slightly isolated and working hard, and the attic room of the great D.N.A. himself! It was being used for storage, so the poor chap looked as though he needed to be only about 3 foot tall and very thin in order to access his workspace.
By now, it was most certainly lunchtime so, contrary to popular belief (and Wowbagger's cartoon!), Peta offered to take me to a local
hostelry. Off we went: Peta, Anna, Dave, Sam and myself. Poor Mark had suffered from some obscure bug the day before and was feeling delicate. We chatted about the world of h2g2, the fun it was, the great people who 'lived' there, and the hopes we all had for its future. I think that I probably talked far too much, but they were polite enough not to interrupt me, and the time fairly flew by.
The time came for goodbyes. I went back to the Towers to say goodbye, and we all agreed that it was a good thing for members to visit and be welcomed into the fold in person. I look forward (if not to another visit) to the next gathering, when I can meet not only the
wonderful h2g2 editorial team, but also all the researchers who make this place such a special one!
On a side note, researchers who just turn up out of the blue under the illusion that the h2g2 staff don't actually do any work may well find themselves left on the doorstep as the team get on with making the Guide what it is. Pastey