Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And another anniversary

It's the fifteenth birthday of The Big Issue this week.

I was there for the tenth (it was in the three year period when I left the Eye before returning, in the immortal words of my late colleage Paul Foot 'like a dog to its own vomit'), and we'd prepared not one but three special commemorative editions, focusing on the hundreds of vendors the magazine had helped to move on out of homelessness, the part we had played in putting the issue on the political agenda, the surprising number of news stories we'd broken and the most embarrassing things celebrities had told us in interviews - that sort of thing.

We had a full schedule of events and activities lined up for the birthday week, founder John Bird (that charming man) had done plenty of interviews and publicity work which was scheduled to appear on the anniversary itself, and then a rumour went round the office that the Queen Mother was at death's door. We panicked. There goes our publicity. A series of phonecalls established that this was probably a mixture of chinese whispers and wishful thinking on our anarchist news editor's part, and after removing any even vaguely contentious references to the royal family from the magazine, we went ahead, slapping ourselves on the back for our care and foresight.

And lo, it came to pass, that the 10th birthday of the Big Issue arrived with the Queen Mum alive and well - on 12th September 2001.

I hope they get more coverage this time around. Happy birthday to them.

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