How should you treat a dress rehearsal?
Last month, the Independent ran its last print edition.
Because of this, I decided to pick up a copy of Paper Dreams, a book by Stephen Glover, one of the three founders, on how the paper came to be.
When going through the period of producing dummies in the run up to launch, the team experienced a power-cut in their offices. Glover wrote of the editor, Andreas Whittam Smith:
The day wore on with no sign that electricity was going to be restored, and a few journalists began to grumble that it was a waste of time for us to hang around, since even if the electricity came on there would be no time to complete the day’s dummy. It was getting dark now, and a spectral figure that could just be made out as Andreas glided into the newsroom, asked the journalists to gather around. Some of them thought, and not a few of them hoped, that he was going to say that everyone could now go home, see you tomorrow, take advantage of an early night.
‘We have been in touch with the London Electricity Board,’ he said, ‘and they have told us that supplies may be restored in an hour or two . . . I have heard that one or two people are suggesting that we should pack up for the night, but I insist, I absolutely insist, that we remain here, until midnight in necessary. In less than three weeks we shall be producing a real paper, and we might find ourselves in a similar predicament, so we must, absolutely must, stay here, so that if the electricity does come on we may be able to produce something.’
Patrick Marnham, just about to leave for Paris, was standing next to me in the shadows. ‘He’s completely right,’ he murmured. ‘Completely right.’
I said nothing in reply. But I thought to myself, this man is a leader.
Over the weekend I had food poisoning and didn’t get much of a chance to write my usual weekly piece.
I was considering not posting anything, but, inspired by this story to produce something, I wanted to put it down to share with you as my last-ditch attempt before my week got underway.
Are you in the habit of making the tough call with practice runs? Do you treat it just as you would the big show?