So, two days ago I said I was going to write something new. In web time that’s an age – but I’m a book person now and, as such, two days between concept and delivery is virtually supersonic. Vrooooooom.
Anyhow – lots has happened in the last month – we’ve signed some great new books, I’ve been profiled in the Bookseller (complete with a photo that made me look like I want to suck myself off), we launched I Have America Surrounded and Friday Audio and the other morning I woke up in a hotel room in Tunbridge Wells wearing a tuxedo and dress shoes. Same old, same old.
But this month was a momentous month too, being as it was the first anniversary of the launch of The Friday Project.
Yes, it’s been a whole year. A year in which we’ve published almost ten books, we’ve raised over half a million pounds in funding, we’ve gone public, we’ve tempted Scott Pack to Victoria Street, we’ve signed a deal with Sarah Jessica Parker’s production company, we’ve moved offices twice, we’ve gone from two full-time members of staff to six and we’ve had a stunningly good time in the process.
Miserable cynic notwithstanding, there was something strange about standing in the big office with Clare on our birthday, after everyone else had gone home, just looking around.
When we started the Project last year, we were working out of my bedroom in Crouch End and Clare’s shed – sorry, garden office – in Haywards Heath. And now here we are with half a dozen desks, a Dixons of flatscreen monitors and computers, stacks of books, and promotional things (you can never have enough ‘A Boy Called Robbie’ T-shirts) – and all the other stuff that makes an office an office. We even have a whiteboard. A whiteboard!
But the things that were really striking were the personal stuff – Heather’s photos and bananas on her desk; Clare Weber’s swimsuit on her shredder (don’t ask – we haven’t); Graham’s Carnaby Wilf/Sean on his stack of LbL books; Mary’s stacks of catalogues in the top drawer of the filing cabinet…
“Jesus,” pointed out Clare. “this is people’s place of work.”
“Shit,” I concurred.
And that’s what’s amazing. That a group of very brilliant people have chosen to make The Friday Project their place of work. More than that, they’ve believed in our crazy plans and made them their own; they’ve bought into our vendettas and biases; they’ve flown across the Atlantic; they’ve adapted to our – mainly my – strange quirks and skittishness and in doing so they’ve done an absolutely brilliant job, turning the best of the web into the finest of books. It’s a cliché but, in this case, a damned accurate one: we couldn’t have done it without them.
So then, in alphabetical order, thank you to Clare, Graham, Heather and Mary. If anyone tries to poach you, we’ll have them killed.