Music for a late night

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Music for a late night

I was tidying a drawer full of old CDs when I came across one labeled “Music for a late night”. Finding that CD took me back several years to when my then business partner Tom and I had a small office in the beachside Sydney suburb of Coogee, where we put together our magazine FREE ACCESS.

I created the CD to have something to listen to when we were working late into the night to meet a deadline. It was eclectic collection of music, everything from Pink Floyd to Nirvana to Lou Reed.

Somehow, without fail, Tom and I always found ourselves working on the two weekends before the magazine went to the printers. Often on the second weekend we’d work right through the nights in order to meet our deadline. It would take us at least a week to recover from the stress and the sleep deprivation.

Our little office was above a chemist shop. It had just enough space for a large desk for Tom and myself, and a separate desk for our assistant Julieanne , who by the way, rightly, worked nine to five, weekdays.

Our office had no windows, so that while we were located in one of the most scenic areas of Sydney, most of our days were spent within the confines of our small office under an electric light.

On those late nights when Tom and I toiled behind our computer screens, it was almost like being in a cocoon that separated us, or maybe protected us, from the drunken revelers partying in the nearby pubs and clubs. That’s probably a good metaphor for the world that Tom and I created, where the magazine was our own madly compelling, but somewhat limited cocoon, that all at once broadened our horizons, and also narrowed them.

In time we came to see that our vision was flawed, and no matter how hard we worked, we would never get to where were we really wanted to go.

Having said all of that, and notwithsanding how demanding those times were both physically and mentally, there’s something about those late night marathons I still miss. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what that is exactly; perhaps it was the camaraderie, a shared sense of destiny, or maybe it was just the comfort of being in a cocoon.

Now that I reflect on that time of my life, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand going into business with Tom was one of the greatest adventures of my life. On the other hand, I can’t help wondering whether those crazy years could have been better spent.

I suspect that as even more years go past, I’ll be able to see more clearly just how formative those years actually were. Not just from the point of view that I obviously needed to live through those years, and to have those experiences, to get where I am now – a place I’m very happy to be – but also because I learnt so many important lessons, which I’m grateful to have learnt while still relatively young, and able to make changes.

There are so many darker paths I could found myself on.