Friday, June 13, 2008


It's been a brilliant week. Even the radical change in my daily routine was a bonus. I think I might start keeping normal working hours from now on instead of my crazy night owl schedule. Whenever I read the G2 section of the Guardian henceforth, I will see faces instead of newsprint, the smiling faces of those people I sat near on the third floor of the Guardian building on Farringdon Road. As a guest of the Women pages I was warmly welcomed and felt at ease in their world, taking my seat every morning amongst the rows of computers (same Mac I have at home), everyone focused on individual tasks but definitely part of a team, with much laughter floating over the top of the monitor screens. I'm so used to working alone that initially I was worried I wouldn't be able to write when surrounded by people, but the opposite was true. Each person's concentration was a boost to my own and with none of the distractions I have at home, I could get on with the job.

My job was twofold: one was to edit a feature about artists who happen to be older women - an idea which was among those I submitted to the competition last year. The article was due to be published this week but at a production meeting, it was realised that Wednesday's G2 cover story was about old men (why they have a harder time growing old than women do) so the oldie artists in the same issue would have been too much of a good thing. It's therefore been scheduled to appear next Wednesday - don't miss it, it's excellent!

My second task was to write the feature which you can read today, online or on newsprint. Many thanks to Beth Cassandra, Fran Sacred Ordinary, Marja Leena Marja-Leena, Penelope GrannyP, Rain, Rainy Day Thought and Tamar , who all gave me quotes to incorporate in the text. I hope they get lots of new blog visitors as a result.

The online version, for some reason, is missing the note which, in the newspaper, is printed at the bottom of the article: Today's Women pages were guest-edited by Natalie d'Arbeloff, the joint winner of our first Mary Stott prize.

I would have like to illustrate it but, understandably, the Guardian has their own design team and the image provided, while attractive, is not what I had in mind. In the online version there's no illustration anyway, so when I got home I drew the one below. Look at it while you read Where are all the older female geeks?

Update (1pm): Thank you so much, everyone, for all your encouraging comments and forgive me for not responding individually to each of them. It's a fantastic thrill to see your responses to my article. The reason it focuses attention on older women is because it was written for, doh, the Women page and because the statistics (if you can ever trust statistics) do say that there's a considerably larger proportion of geekish older males out there on the net.

I also want to make clear that I have absolutely no quibble with the fact that the illustration in the print version was done by a Guardian staff designer - this is their job and I was only there for a few days as a guest. In any case, I only did this cartoon after I got home last night and it took me about four hours! It certainly would not have made the paper's deadline. Blaugustine is where I can post my own images anytime, about anything, taking as long as I want. That's one of the beauties of blogging.

One more thing: it was not possible to add hyperlinks for the bloggers I mentioned but their blogs' titles are given, therefore interested people can easily find them via Google.


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