(Warning: contains personal reminsiences that maybe of interest to only about 5 people....)
I found out a little while ago that The Leeds Guide went into administration a few days ago. I started out my glittering career in journalism at the magazine many years ago and have many fond memories (and a couple that are not so fond, but such is the nature of these things).
As the Film Editor I was a quasi-employee on the mag and had tremendous fun across the way. I won the Regional Film Writer of the Year in 2002 for work I did for them (a Monsters, Inc and Thunderpants review I seem to remember) and - alongside tonnes of reviews - can count George Clooney, Bruce Campbell, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Willem Dafoe, Sam Raimi and James Cameron amongst my interviews. I also did a lot of stuff outside of film including interviewing Eddie Izzard, Jackie Mason, Rich Hall, Neil Gaiman and Ray Harryhausen whilst writing about comedy, music, news and anything else that they let me loose on . All these were great opportunities provided for me by the mag and I had a whale of a time.
One memory that sticks out is one of my first interviews. Pete Postlethwaite was a brilliant interview and thoroughly nice man (he was doing the one man show Scaramouche Jones at the West Yorkshire Playhouse). I duly returned and wrote it up, and it was looking good. Just one thing. We needed a title for the interview and for the front cover of the mag. Alongside Dan, Dom, Digger, Abi and pretty much the rest of the office we mused. We thought. We agonised. We thought about purchasing a rhyming dictionary. And nothing. Not one thing. We proceeded to think even more. Inspiration - divine of otherwise - did not strike. Finally we made a bold decision. We'd put a galvanising and exciting title for the interview on the cover and the interview. It read:
Genius eh? So away went the mag to print and it returned.
Only then did we discover we had mispelled 'Postlethwaite'. D'OH! (If you want to read it, I did a re-jigged version of it HERE after Pete Postlethwaite sadly passed away)
May I point out that later on I remember similar agonising about the title of an article on a war photographer. The ultimate result was the frankly genius 'Prints and the Revolution' and those who thought of it earned their year's pay and bonuses on that moment alone.
Other things I always remember were the day me and Dom had to go round various bars and restaurants sampling cocktails and food for a Christmas Cocktail article. Let me reiterate - we had visit bars, drink and eat AS WORK! The various parties and events including Leeds Festival, various birthdays, bar/event openings in which much drink was imbibed and things discussed. The Sex Sells issue which was hilarious to put together: including seeing two members of staff pose for a photo to accompany an article about dogging and - when the mag came back from the printers - some people
were adamant that there was a problem as there was a crease in the cover (those who remember will know what a terrible and rude jokes that was). The soundtracks of Scott Walker and Jacques Brel that often played in the office. And lots, lots, more
Of course the best thing was the people I worked with. Dan Jeffrey was the boss man and a great one at that. Same goes for Dom Dwight and Abi Bliss who were always fun to work with. Lenka, Digger, Laura and Rom in the design office. All my colleagues like Amy, Kim, Rich, Elizabeth, Paul, Hazel, Ian (W and M) and so many others who I am proud to call friends to this day.
Of course, writing this makes me feel very old school. I never even made it out of Aire Street Workshops, never making it to the new offices when they moved. I am sure that there are a lot of good people who have lost their jobs in sad circumstances and all I can say is that TLG will hopefully stand in you good stead for the future. Good luck with it all, be proud of the work you did there and - most importantly - the writing you produced. I know I am.
Thanks again to everyone and goodbye to The Leeds Guide.
It was most definitely a blast.
...EVER! (or not)
But Eesti Ekspress has published it's Top Ten Film of 2011 online HERE. I contributed to the list by sending some of my choices, which for those of you who are interested were:
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
But in compiling them I remembered how hard it is to do things like this. Just because I loved TTSS and Melancholia, does that mean they're better than A Seperation? Could I fit in The Adventures of Tintin which I also thought was great. It's never an objective case of one being better than the other. At least not for me.
And, let's face it: there's also an element of not wanting to make yourself look bad. It's like the people who go on Desert Island Discs (not Britishy type people check it HERE) and choose an 18th Century Madrigal and piece by and avant-garde composer when they really want to choose Aqua's Barbie Girl. They don't want to appear like a philistine by picking something they would actually like.I remember putting together my list for the ONE LINE FILM REVIEW 50 GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME. I agonised whether I should put The Goonies in the list, as people would think I was taking the piss. Then I realised I didn't care. I genuinely like the film so it went in. The trouble is that these lists is that my taste, like anyone elses, fluctuate with time and experience. I appreciate a film because of it's technical and emotional brilliance. I also like a film because it reminds me a time and place in my life. It does not necessarily make them mutually exclusive.Certainly, I always gets asked "What is your favourite film of all time?" and I always say I can never give an answer* There's too many films that are good for many different reasons.
For completists, here's also my list for BEYOND THE CANON and the CINEUROPA BEST FILMS OF 2011 (on which, like a complete an utter tool, I forgot about Tyrannosaur....)
*However, if you really, really want me to say then I suppose it would by NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
No, I am not declaring war on the genius designer. Partly because I have no reason to. Partly because he's been dead for several years which, let's face it, would be rather unfair.
Instead I am pointing out that I have done a review of the elegant coffee table book SAUL BASS: A LIFE IN FILM AND DESIGN over at The Sabotage Times HERE. It really is a glorious book and well worth the £50 or so that it costs.
As for THIS MEANS WAR, I review it HERE for The Baltic Times. Surprise fact: the film is shite with a side-order of right-wing propaganda. Ok. Maybe that's not such a surprise.
The latest issue of EESTI EKSPRESS has a small boxout by me about the strength of feeling directed towards to Mrs Thatcher in the UK. it compliments coverage given to THE IRON LADY released in Estonia this week. I will publish the English original over the next few weeks.
Whilst I try to avoid becoming a dreaded 'quote whore' it's always nice to see my words on a poster / DVD release. Especially when they're translated into Estonian:
This is my new blog that will dispense of any attempts at insight, intelligence and trenchant analysis and instead shamefully parade new work as and when it becomes available alongside promoting screenings and stuff that I am doing. Though I may post one or two rants as and when I feel like it. So enjoy. Or not. But if you don't, what are you doing here anyway?