We did it.
I’m not entirely sure how. I thought that February, March, April and May all went by in a blur but that’s been nothing compared to the last couple of days. We’ve basically lived in the hub since the beginning of the week. The quietest day was, ironically, Thursday. There isn’t a lot to report on while people keep counting the votes after all.
Thursday was an annoying day purely because on the morning I predictably experienced an episode of chronic pain. I’m not a big believer in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. It was a stroke of luck that I was well enough to go to the count last night but the pain brought with it a thousand anxieties that I was letting the team down, that I wasn’t a good journalist and that I was jeopardising the magazine. Never have I felt so up against it but as soon as I got to the count, as drained as I was, I felt proud. Stand Up had its own spot on the media balcony in a venue where German broadcasters had travelled to be able to report on the vote. I got to see democracy in action, albeit quite a bit slower than Newcastle.
The count was really just the start. While Alice and I were out getting interviews for the night, Hannah, Siarlot and Lee were in the hub working on designing and editing. They definitely pulled the short straws. Siarlot was pretty much badgered into leaving at 2am as we needed her at least semi-conscious for the bulk of design work today but Hannah and Lee soldiered on until 8am this morning. It was amazing the workload they put in. Although I think they need at least the weekend to recover.
I’d been messaging the team for most of the night and writing up my own articles after the count. I grabbed two hours sleep but it was disturbed. At the count I’d felt exhausted, but waiting for the BBC’s results to start coming through from around the country always wakes me up. I gave up at around 5.30am, got some more work done, had a shower and got down to the hub for 8.30am.
Proofing is the hardest job in the world when you’re exhausted. Working out where to put one comma can take ten minutes, particularly when you keep being interrupted with breaking news about May and whether she was going to resign and what deals she’d make. I couldn’t help but feel awful for Alice and Siarlot when they got in. We knew we were going to be in most of the day but it’s never fun on so little sleep.
Writing up articles when you’re so tired is torturous. Alice however, checked my articles to make sure they did make sense. There was a last minute panic to get everything in. It was after 5pm by the time everything was sent off. Normally I’d probably offer to take people to the pub to celebrate but I’ve never wanted quiet more. No breaking news, no phone messages, nothing technological going wrong. Just a bit of quiet and I think everyone was feeling that way.
The magazine served as a personal distraction too from focusing too much on the DUP and Tory deal. I voted in this election – entirely reluctantly. I don’t believe the system serves anyone and in a time where more people voted for Labour when they’re at their most left wing in decades, we get an extremely right wing government I’m not sure anyone can feel “the will of the people” was achieved. I don’t believe in the political mechanisations nor do I have any faith in most politicians. The magazine however, has at least kept my faith in journalism – when its utilised the way it is supposed to be. I’ve worked with some of the best and most creative people who just want to see social justice happen. We’ve gone out of way to give a platform to diverse people. We’ve got people from around the globe, trans people, bi people, disabled people, people of colour, lords, celebs and people who’ve never. been given the opportunity to tell their story before but are all united in wanting to see progress.
Stand Up helped capture a moment around the UK. Young people want their voices to be heard. They won’t stand for being ignored anymore. The turnout shows that. Politicians should order a copy of our magazine; they might learn something new.
You can order your copy of Stand Up here.