WHAT A JOURNEY
If you want to know where I was when Friday launched 20 years ago this week, see the column on the right (no picture to hand, I am afraid – I was an ante-Facebook teen). always hoped to work in the media and began by photocopying animal-print wrapping paper to use as a layout background for my homemade magazine. (I have promised Mark Setchfield, who creates the pages you read every weekend, that I will never ask him to do such a layout.)
It’s been an enjoyably nostalgic few weeks as we compiled this issue to celebrate two decades of the UAE’s most-read magazine – a brilliant feat that has involved so many people over the years – both on the staff, and in the pages.
We’ve been looking back over many layouts from 1997, leafing delicately though the carefully preserved magazines in our archive – honestly, one of the best things to do on one of our calmer afternoons. It’s been amazing for me, and some of the newer members of the team, as we think about how the magazine’s first staff managed to get their work done without Google, email, or professional models. We looked to the original members of the team in wonder, and gathered round to hear tales from the early days, especially of the down-to-the-wire compiling of a special photo edition covering the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, which happened just a few months into the magazine’s launch. Luckily we have Friday veterans on hand – Anand Raj OK, who was on board from the second week, and Malavika Kamaraju, the original editor, now on Gulf News’s features desk. They take us down memory lane on page 26.
Many of you know Mrinal Shekar’s byline – a comparative rookie, having been with Friday for only 15 years. She spent a couple of months speaking to some of those who told Friday their stories over the years – and whose lives have, in some way, benefited from the ‘Friday effect’. Catch up on page 18.
I’ve been with Friday for only a few months, but I’ve already lost count of how many people have told me about the piles of back issues they have in their home, or how they always clip out the recipe cards. One of the best things about this job, for me, is hearing from readers – the only thing that’s changed is how we do it – my email address is below.