Letter from the i editor: A truly happy birthday

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The Independent Online

Let’s start at the end. This column advocates responsible drinking.

However, i’s birthday party night out in Birmingham – which ended up at a London club in the wee small hours wherein our two youngest colleagues failed to last the pace of their elders – was even more enjoyable for a little irresponsible drinking. Without it, I doubt very much that i’s most dapper staffer would have revealed a surprising ability to sing The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York to his tired and rather emotional i colleagues.

OK, it was the quiet carriage, but nobody used their mobiles — other than to take pictures. And those other three gents were happy – they received a free upgrade to first class from a charming and patient Virgin ticket man, who is now assuredly an i convert.

Although the journey home was one of the more enjoyable train rides, i’s gang had been reluctant to leave the lovely Ikon Gallery. It was truly a happy birthday party in which a dozen i staff mingled with readers who had come from as far away as Sheffield! Thanks to the staff at Ikon and i’s Hannah Nicholls, who organised the event. I am no longer surprised by your loyalty and enthusiasm towards our young brand, but nor do I take it for granted. Tomorrow: what I learnt from the i party other than Hamish McRae is a God, and that unlucky aspiring student writers might be more generous of spirit than their cartoonist equivalents.

And so to the start: on the train north, gallant i hacks learnt that in future they should really check, before offering up seats, that those crutches are not in fact stilts used as props by a Coventry students’ modern dance troupe – alongside their anvil-grinders!

Next stop: Manchester.