FT Life and Arts by Leke Sanusi

Thursday 9 February 2012

As my parents’ sole son, the only boy (my father is very much a Man. In fact, the Man) in a family pleasantly populated by women, there is, admittedly, a slight tendency exhibited by the ladies of my life to worry far too much about me. This is nice but puzzling, as I am not especially outgoing or outspoken, insulating me from the dangers lurking when one speaks or goes out too much. As it turns out, being a quiet recluse comes with the stigma of fear, or rather, being fearful.

And so, as I started for my front door, ready to seize my first day as a Life & Arts intern, it came as no surprise that fear, and the very idea of it, seemed to fill the air. I wasn’t nervy as I grabbed for my coat, but judging by mother mother’s face and grandmother’s voice, I feared for my life. I wasn’t anxious when my train from Farnborough Main was delayed, and yet, my fellow passengers seemed to intuit an air of impatience on my part.

When I finally got to Number One Southwark Bridge, something altogether curious happened: my distrust of large buildings fell by the wayside, and I casually strolled in to meet the affable editorial assistant, Farhana Yunis, who was scheduled to give me a tour of the Pink Paper’s offices. The presentation of the impressive departments did have me quaking for some brief moments, but, on the whole, I managed to maintain composure. I even gave myself a pat on the back for stunning bravery.

After being introduced to the excellent journalists of the Life & Arts desk, I was allowed a few minutes to settle in, with the towering editor, Lucy Tuck, kindly permitting a few minutes to gather myself before being subjected to a series of tasking tests such as sending emails. She warned me: ‘Figure out how to type in your password or else.’ Clearly joking, her sense of humour relaxed me, even though I probably should have been intimidated. When the friendly and informative Isabel Berwick caught me struggling with my unruly rucksack and asked if I found the whole experience daunting, I actually managed to laugh, and said, rather impertinently, ‘No.’

My first day was filled with a number of interesting assignments, ranging from engrossing research, to instructive fact checking, and humorous tweeting. I found it all very exciting, and was thoroughly enamoured with the experience and the environment. In all honesty, I was probably too enthusiastic, pestering anyone and everyone in sight. I asked lots of questions, made many enquiries, and just stared bug-eyed at the whole Financial Times-ness of it all. In the end, the Life & Arts staff were probably too friendly and helpful for their own good, encouraging me to ask more and more questions. Mr. Neil O’Sullivan, a fellow Arsenal fan, even took the time out to give me another mini tour.

Thinking about it now, it all hits me as incredibly daunting. I simply haven’t been this excited in a long, long time. My first day ended with a headache, no doubt brought on by all the fun; which I found worrying. It begged the question: if my first day was so enjoyable that I hurt my own head, what does the rest of the month hold?

It’s a scary, scary thought.


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