Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Newspapers, tightrope walking and slamming the phone down...

That last post had a lot of links to newspaper articles, didn't it? It sometimes feels like the papers have little left to say (what with the new media being so ubiquitous and all) and then all of a sudden I'll read a whole spate of really interesting articles in the old hold-it-your-hand-and-it-rustles media and...as if by magic... suddenly they don't seem such a waste of space after all. Maybe it's a lack of imagination on my part but I find it hard to imagine a world completely free of conventional crinkly newspapers. What will people soak their new puppy's wee up with, for a start, if we go all electronic? Will the phrase 'just put some newspaper down' vanish from our lives altogether? That would be so strange.

We get the London-based 'Independent' newspaper in this house. It's what you'd call a quality daily I suppose and it's my Mum's choice (remember she lives here...in the same house). The rest of us like it well enough too though and it seems a waste to get another national paper every day for the same fairly small household so we stick with 'The Independent' most of the time. My Mum has read other papers in the past (the Guardian, the Times, possibly even the Telegraph at one point...she is the floating voter/reader) but the 'Indy' has been her firm favourite for some years now (and it always seems politically bizarre getting an English paper called the Independent when you live in Scotland...I wonder how many people pick it up by mistake here, hoping for an SNP special...). She likes the crossword in the Indy (most important) and some of the columnists and it has enough 'proper' news (national and international) and a good spread of arts coverage. It has too much fashion for, well, all of us and it sometimes has a tendency to be that kind of chattery middle-class paper that gives a person a headache but overall it has enough good to outweigh the tedious. Also it's not owned by the monstrous Murdoch machine and it's not full of celebrity gossip/diets/'Britain's Got Talent' bilge (and it has Mark Steel in it sometimes, who I love). My Mark sometimes brings home a 'Guardian' too (IT days especially) and we get regular local papers like the daily Dundee 'Courier' (lots of car crashes) and the weekly 'Montrose Review' (lots of Brownies and hey, Our Girl was on the cover last week with her library group – big news in a small town).

We don't get a regular Scottish national paper (no real reason...Mum was getting the Independent when she lived in England and just carried on with it when she moved back up here). I was reading just lately though (here) how the Scottish papers are not doing so well (well, which newspapers are?) so when Mum was away for a couple of weeks I tried getting the 'Scotsman' and the 'Herald' to see if they might win me over. They were interesting enough but nothing jumped out at me and said 'get me every day, get me!'. But then, in all honesty, would I get any newspaper every day if it was left just to little old me? Probably not. Am I not, after all, just the kind of half-hearted, laptop-happy reader who is pushing the newspapers so quickly towards their demise? Er, maybe...a bit. If it was left to me I'd get a paper once every few days, most likely, and I'd try different ones here and there and I'd often read them weeks after I'd bought them so I'm not exactly a newspaper editor's dream statistic, I imagine. I did also write a not-completely complimentary poem about weekend newspapers which some of you may have seen already ('A weekend lost' – it's in the book page 28 and on the website under 'modern world' poems).

I do think about journalists in amongst all this though (having been one for a while). I never had a big career as a national media journalist but it was something that I much more than dabbled in (arts journalism anyway...I never could hold facts well enough for proper news). And journalists are writers too after all, aren't they? Mightn't we stick together...just a little bit? Like lawyers, traffic wardens and other less popular professions, journalists, somewhat contrarily, get a bad press when really all they are doing (most of the time) is providing a service that a lot of people want (and some even need). Yes, some journalists go too far but most of them are OK and a lot of them (like a lot of us) are just doing the job in hand to pay the bills till something better comes up (like selling their novel to a publisher, in many cases).

My journalism career was mostly in the 1990s and mainly based around a local magazine in Leeds (Leeds Other Paper, then renamed Northern Star). I started out writing reviews for nothing (I was doing paid work elsewhere) but then I made a break from my other job and moved on to working in the office, writing a great part of and editing the what's on/arts side of the magazine. I also wrote music reviews for Record Mirror (part of the national music business paper Music Week), interviews and a column for the Manchester-based 'Big Issue in the North' and a few other bits and pieces here and there. I never quite had the drive and ambition to really succeed nationally as a journalist...plus I never seemed to meet the right people at the right time...plus I never wanted to move to London...plus, oh yes, I'm a bit idle...but in the end, after a lot of scribbling and typing and taping and transcribing, I was quite glad to leave it all behind really. It was fun...I got a lot of free stuff...but it was time to move on.

Some of my strongest memories from that time are of interviews that I worked on (and I'm not talking just Q and A type pieces...they're easy peasy...no, I'm talking proper 'essay about a person' interviews, where you go into some depth, where you maybe have a line of argument, where you might even develop themes, tackle tricky subjects and all that). Interviews are quite a big deal for a journalist – you do a lot of preparation (or you should), you have a lot of responsibility (to get the quotes right, to represent the subject accurately, to tell the truth...as much as possible) and sometimes you're meeting someone you really admire. They can go very well...and they can go very, very, VERY badly. It can be a little like tightrope walking because it looks easy (it's just talking, right?) but getting the balance right can be...anything but. Maybe the interviewee has just done loads of other interviews and is pissed off. Maybe the interviewee is tired and drained. Maybe you're tired and drained. Maybe the interviewee just doesn't like you and won't play ball. Maybe you don't like them. It happens.

I interviewed heaps of different people (mainly for Northern Star and the Big Issue) and lots of the names wouldn't mean a lot to you now but there are some that you might still recognise. For a start I interviewed:

actors Angela Griffin and Marsha Thomason,

the brilliant singer Carleen Anderson,

a Carpenters tribute act (added that in because of the recent Carpenters frenzy on this blog...),

the cartoonist Jacky Fleming,

a whole range of comedians including Craig Charles, Jenny Eclair and most excitingly of all the fabulous Linda Smith,

DJs Janice Long and Sister Bliss (of Faithless),

poets Henry Normal (not a poet/performer now...that I know of... but Managing Director of the TV company Baby Cow Productions Ltd with Steve Coogan) and (someone I still mention quite often) Lemn Sissay

the writers Livi Michael, P.J. O'Rourke and Helen Zahavi.

I had some great experiences doing these (and other) interviews. Singer Carleen Anderson, for example, (formerly of Young Disciples, works a lot with Paul Weller) is about one of the nicest people you could ever talk to and I still remember our conversation fondly (though I'm sure she doesn't). I am also really glad I got the chance to meet comedian Linda Smith too (she died in 2006 - such a loss, such a really funny woman and lovely in person too). It was interesting to meet US writer PJ O'Rourke (I went all the way to London from Leeds for that one) because I'd been a fan of some of his humour but in person...well, it was all I could do to stop myself yawning as he droned on with his 'witty' repartee. Writer Helen Zahavi (best known for 'Dirty Weekend'...made into a film by Michael 'the cringe' Winner) was a great interviewee (I interviewed her twice) and in fact something she said still rings around my head every now and then. Talking about her book and the idea of a woman who kills rapists (as 'Dirty Weekend's main character Bella does) she said “if dead rapists started turning up in the gutters of a few major cities it would concentrate their minds enormously well...like O levels.” Zahavi wasn't one to mince her words, that's for sure. I wonder what she's up to now...

I will be coming back to the theme of press interviews soon (and with a special guest...) but in the meantime how about one last question for me? How about...what was your worst interview experience ever? Well, the Henry Normal one wasn't great, and I did one on the phone with comedian/now writer Rob Newman that was fairly dire (and unusable I think) but both of those were a walk in the park and day at the beach (respectively) compared to a phone conversation I had one morning with the hugely successful comedian Eddie Izzard (I know, I bet you all love him...). I was interviewing him for the 'Big Issue' and it went so badly I just put down the phone on him in the end (well, 'slammed the phone down' would probably be more accurate). I think I might even have said 'you're only a bloody comedian you know' and burst into tears... but it's all a bit vague now. In my defence he didn't answer any of my questions and I was working for some really annoying pseudo-transvestites at the time and I was going through a fairly dodgy patch (very little sleep, perhaps morning interviews not a wise move...). I did write the 'interview' up but it was not nice and the editor wouldn't print it (at the time I was annoyed but really, I was quite mad and I'm sure she was quite right). After that I couldn't watch Izzard on TV for years (the pain...you have no idea...) but I watched his 'live' show on TV the other day...and, finally, it was OK. I even laughed once (the bit about seatbelts on planes). I don't think he'll ever be my favourite comedian or anything though...

But that's old news...what paper do you read? Or do you not read any and you get your news from TV or t'internet instead? And if you do read a paper which bits of it do you read (honestly – hard news or soft)? And which bits would you like to write? And if you did interview anyone who would you choose first? See, I am still an interviewer after all...except now it's more like market research (I did that for a while too...).

Back soon with another interview post...and that guest. And it won't be Eddie Izzard...I can tell you that for nowt.

x

54 comments:

John Baker said...

We don't get a daily paper, apart from the Observer on a Sunday. But I only read the culture bit. I use a local cafe, though, that has most of the morning papers and I sometimes skim them.
Most news enters me from the internet, syndicated newspapers and Twitter.
For one day last week, Israeli paper Haaretz let 31 authors and poets produce all its content. Would be really nice if we could have the Telegraph for a week, please.

Rachel Fox said...

Interesting John, very interesting.
I have yet to even look at Twitter! And I'm still laughing at my friend Sean Smith's 'Twitter ye not' line. Frankie Howerd..how we miss you.
Does it have to be the Telegraph?
x

Titus said...

No electronic media, just The Times.
UK news during spare moments/waiting for kettle to boil in the morning, World news in similar spare moments in the afternoon carefully saving the Opinion pieces and the Letters page (best bits) for once the children are in bed. Then the T2 (culture pages) in the bath each night.

Habit so ingrained now that I find it very hard to read another newspaper, though my mother does regularly send me clippings from the, wait for it, Daily Mail, that she thinks I'd like. Last one was about James Stewart's poetry (yes, the High Noon actor).
He wrote one about his dog named Beau which he read on Johnny Carson. Here's the ending (it's an elegy, by the way)

And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he's not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.

Clippings have not yet persuaded me to change my paper buying habits.
Linda Smith - what a privilege!

John Baker said...

Well, I thought, if the poets and writers took over the Telegraph for a week it wouldn't really be the Telegraph any more.

Titus: I think it was Gary Cooper in High Noon. James Stewart was the guy with the "aw shucks" demeanour in Rear Window.

Titus said...

John, you are so right and I'm delighted to be so wrong as it saves me from looking like a smartarse all the time!
James Stewart was in the rabbit one though, wasn't he? And the Christmas one everybody cries at?

Rachel Fox said...

Oh I love/d Jimmy Stewart. What a voice. Like a man with a mouthful of squashed aniseed balls. I like him in 'Rope' best I think.

I used to read the (London) Times sometimes when it was free. It's still a Murdoch paper though isn't it? We were very effectively brainwashed against Murdoch in my student days and it has largely stuck. (And yes I think I know he owns myspace but I never give them any money).

As for the Daily Mail, I remember having a clueless friend who said to me 'I like the Mail because it always gives you both sides of the argument' (that'll be the stupid and the really stupid side, I suppose). She's a bit of a Catherine Tate character my friend. But sweet.

And that's fine, Titus. We are no longer intimidated by your encyclopaedic knowledge. And you're off the quiz team. Or maybe in reserve.

x

Rachel Fox said...

I interviewed Linda Smith at Leeds Uni where she was appearing at a freshers' event. She was just how you imagine - friendly, funny, clever, thoughtful. With that slightly faraway/startled look in her eyes.
x

Poetikat said...

Not much time, but I can tell you we used to get The National Post until they screwed us over on a credit issue. I get a daily update from The Globe and Mail in my inbox and read some locals on the web. The Globe and Mail has the best cryptic crossword so that puts it up there a bit, but the National Post's Art section is very good.

I find online news sites are fit in better with my schedule.

Very interesting and though-provoking, Rachel.

Kat

Niamh B said...

I can't imagine Eddie being anything other than delightful - you'll have to publish the interview to prove it!
I don't really buy papers, flick through the economist, and otherwise depend on tv and blogs for news. If I ever get kittens I'll have to start buying them I guess.

Rachel Fox said...

Thank-you, Canada.
x

Rachel Fox said...

That last comment was for Kat...yours slipped in while I was typing Niamh!

It's not looking good for the national daily paper versions so far though is it? Many online bulletins. So far only Titus and my Mum buying a national daily...

As for Mr Izzard....it was really a non-interview. I think I do still have what I typed up somewhere but I will never show it! He was just grumpy...I got the feeling he had done a heap of interviews one after the other. Publicity people arrange these things but it's a silly practice - better to just let the person in question do one or two really good interviews than lots and lots of crap ones.
x

Liz said...

I read the Internet papers (The Guardian, The Irish Times)- costs a small fortune to buy an English newspaper here. I read the local Canarian paper online too.

Love the slamming-down-the-phone story...bet he thoroughly deserved that. : )

Who would you really like to interview - be it a poet or other?

Rachel Fox said...

Whilst I still read interviews, Liz, I never really feel like being the interviewer anymore. I think I got that out of my system!

If I did ask people questions it would be people who aren't well-known, who don't get interviewed all the time, people doing ordinary jobs, or extraordinary ordinary jobs. Are there any writers/poets that I would like to interview...mainly dead ones I think.
x

The Weaver of Grass said...

Rachel - I take the Times - mainly for the Crossword (Cryptic) which I do on and off all day - I couldn't manage without that or the other puzzles. However, I do read it from cover to cover as well. I used to take The Guardian but got fed up with it sitting on the fence over every ajor issue. Even if I don't agree with the Times's view at least it does come down strongly on what it believes.

Rachel Fox said...

That's two for the Times, Weaver.

I'm sure the people at the Guardian would be surprised by your verdict on them...it's certainly not their usual reputation (fence-sitters) - is it? As I say we do read the Guardian sometimes, but not regularly. When I do read it there's as much that winds me up as interests me for sure. I can't abide the Guardian blogs though (poetry one especially). Not the high class of commenter you get on here! I've looked in on them a couple of times and always come out shaking my head in disbelief...
x

green ink said...

Wow, great to hear some yarns about your days as a journo. Very interesting reading!!

I read The Guardian mostly, in print and online, and go to bbc.co.uk/news and news.com.au for my latest updates. For more in depth and meaningful reporting on what's going on back in my home country, I go to The Monthly. Occasionally, only if I don't have a book in my bag, do I take one of the London Lites.

I read the hard news - only because I like to be well informed - and the G2, and all the arty cultural bits. Those are the bits I'd most like to write. I'd love to interview someone whom I could have a nice conversation with - you know, lunch spilling into afternoon tea, spilling into cocktails....Nigella maybe?!

LOL at Eddie. I think every journo has had a nightmare interview at one point. My dad was once doing a radio interview with a prominent Australian cricketer, and the interview was scheduled to take place at 7.55am live. Dad rang him a few minutes beforehand to just say hi and get him ready. The cricketer, once hearing who was on the phone said,

"What time was the interview?"
"7.55." replied Dad.
"And what time is it now?" tersely replied the cricketer.
"Uh..7.53." said Dad nervously.
"Which is not 7.55. Call me back then." And the cricketer hung up.

Dad doesn't really like cricket anyway :P

x

Rachel Fox said...

Great cricket/journo story Green Ink. And of course Nigella was a journalist (as far as I can remember) and so was her first husband. Her Dad (of course once a Tory politician) writes for the Independent these days but I never, ever read his articles I'm afraid. I can never get past sentence two.
x

Fiendish said...

Ooh this was all very interesting. My current (read: this week) career plan is music journalism, because I imagine myself interviewing and subsequently dating the various Strokes.

But your Eddie Izzard interview does bring up an interesting point: are nice questions the only right questions? If a celebrity is a proper twat, can't you print that? Isn't it just the same as saying something nice? After all, if you treat someone in a twattish way, you deserve it really.

I reckon I'd be a great interviewer. Very charming. This is self-deceit, as I would either talk too much or not talk at all.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh Fiendish you are far too talented for journalism - especially music journalism! But saying that it is a way to get your name known and all that jazz...one big reason a lot of journalists do the job (with their eyes firmly on the novel or whatever in the future) and it is a way to make money (sometimes...I never earned much, I have to say).

And I am, of course, not saying that Eddie Izzard was or is a twat. I had probably done enough interviews by that point and was ready to stop. Plus phone interviews are (almost) always harder - very artificial, probably better for more factual type interviews only.

The Strokes...totally passed me by so far. Wouldn't know them if I fell over then in the street. Are they good then?

x

Propellerhead said...

I mostly use rss feedreaders to get headlines and blog posts from BBC Sport, The Guardian, The Register, the Onion (for alternate news) and of course More about the song (not that I'm in any way biased). If I see a headline that interests me then I click through to the full story on-line.

Mark
(him who sometimes brings home a 'Guardian')

Rachel Fox said...

See how honoured we are today!
x

Rachel Fox said...

Oh and top geek photo there, by the way.
x

Deborah Godin said...

Your speculation about the future of the phrase "put some newspaper down" has renewed my deterination to find what I did with that list I was making, of words and phrases that, so far, seem to be outliving the technology or whatever for which they were invented. At the moment, the only one I can recall is "mixtape" but if I come across that list, I'll get back to you!

Rachel Fox said...

I bet there's a name for words/terms like that...isn't there? Someone on here will know it I'm sure.
x

Sorlil said...

The Herald for me, it's not as good as it used to be but I love the fact it's such a west coast paper (The Glasgow Herald) and old habits die hard. The odd time I try another paper, never been that fond of The Guardian, The Times is ok. I don't buy The Herald everyday now though, tend to check BBC news webpage!

Rachel Fox said...

Because of its daily poem The (Glasgow) Herald probably would be my choice of Scottish daily (if we didn't already have two daily papers ..and sometimes three...lying around the house). I think just printing single poems in publications not dedicated to arts/poetry is the one of the best possible ways of getting poetry into the world at large. I think they should have a daily poem in all newspapers, all magazines, all publications.
x

Jim Murdoch said...

I have never bought a daily paper on a regular basis. I tried about thirty years ago getting a Sunday paper. I can't remember which one. McIlvanney used to have a column in it. It took me all week to read the damn thing and frankly little of it interested me. The only paper I scan nowadays is the Metro when I'm on the bus.

I remember, again about thirty years ago, my boss (actually my boss's boss's boss) asking me what paper I read and when I told him that I didn't I got hauled into his office and spent the next two hours defending television journalism. For years and years I never watched the news on the tele either, in fact when I turn the TV on to watch the news these days my opening line is generally, "Well, let's see if the world ended today."

I guess I've always been so wrapped up with my own wee world that it would probably have taken something like the world ending for me to take notice of what was going on in the rest of the planet.

Rachel Fox said...

Your points do highlight some of the problems for daily papers though Jim. If people are real hounds for hard news they can get that much quicker via TV, radio or the internet now...maybe not always in the same detail but with news speed does matter (obviously we managed without it for long enough but now we know we can have quick news we expect it, I think...even more so for sports fans). So the newspapers make up for lack of new news and sports with much more of all the other things - opinion pieces, arts, interviews, fashion, recipes, homes and gardens...and then really they are more like magazines than newspapers (and who needs a daily magazine...magazines were weekly/monthly/quarterly for a reason!). The more comments I read here the more I think their goose is cooking day by day...serves 'em right for printing all those recipes, perhaps...

And I said to my Mum how I surprised I was that so many of you read the Times (London Times). "Yes, but it's very cheap now, dear" she said!

Colin Will said...

I used to read The Scotsman when it was a quality paper, then I read The Independent for many years, then the Guardian, About two years ago, having vowed I'd never give Murdoch any of my hard-earned dosh, I tried the Times, and I read it most days now. I don't get a Sunday paper, and I've stopped reading the local paper since it raised its price, although they regularly publish stuff I send them about local literary events. Loved Linda Smith, btw, miss her.

Rachel Fox said...

What changed at the Scotsman then Colin? You would think this was prime time for that paper in a way. Wouldn't you?

And what do you like in/about the Times?

And, yes, Linda Smith. Interviewing her was definitely one of the highlights of my journo days.
x

Colin Will said...

Change of ownership, change of editor was what happened at the Scotsman. Commercial pressures, I suppose, but if I pick up a copy now it seems an unsatisfying read. The Times Scottish edition really does cover Scottish news, as well as world news (and I'm an internationalist in outlook). I like the culture pages, and filling in the odd crossword gap that Jane leaves for me. The Guardian is too 'right-on' for me sometimes.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for coming back to answer. I really am interested in all this stuff.

Maybe I should have stayed in market research after all...or maybe if I had I wouldn't be interested...familiarity and contempt and all that.

x

smith3000 said...

Great piece. I remember those interviews! You were always very good at writing them up, whatever problems you had doing them.

Bugger. Running out of battery power and no lead .. I will return tomorrow.

Rachel Fox said...

I seem to remember quite a lot of them were typed up on that not-particularly good typewriter of mine too.
x

smith3000 said...

Do you still have that thing? How did we ever cope with manual typewriters?

Anyway, I don't buy papers and read the stuff that interests me online, mainly the BBC, the Guardian, the Sun, the MEN and various local news / entertainment sites. Lauren buys the Times, the FT, the Mirror, the People and NOTW at the weekend, which I generally have a look through if I have the time.

Breaking news often comes from Twitter which I follow up for detail via the Beeb / Guardian when they eventually get around to covering it (sometimes hours later).

Some newspapers are trying to find a new business model though, bless 'em. Can't say too much but I'm currently working on a project with one of the major groups which, ultimately, will lead to a 'hyper-local' newspaper ie catering to specific postcodes. It's exciting stuff. No really, it is!

Who will buy the ads that supposedly pay for it all is another matter entirely ..

Rachel Fox said...

You're very cutting edge!

No, I don't think I have the typewriter anymore. I kept it for a while for sentimental purposes and then eventually got sick of the sight of it. Mind you, if I didn't have the in-house tech support I think I might have kept it for emergencies.

You get a lot of papers at the weekend. Do you read them all?

x

Crafty Green Poet said...

I buy the Guardian twice a week and the Scotsman on a Friday but that only if I'm looking for a job. i don't like the Scotsman. I'd buy the Guardian every day but i'd spend all my free time reading it....

Rachel Fox said...

Maybe Scotland needs a new newspaper...or journal of some kind. No one seems to have a good word to say about the Scotsman..

Do you find the Guardian good for green issues CGP? Is that partly why you read it?

x

Colin Will said...

Meant to say I met Henry Normal a couple of times in Edinburgh in the early 1990s, at the Poems 'n Pints gigs. I liked his poetry. Roddy Lumsden was a regular there too, along with Kevin Cadwallender, Hamish Henderson, Rab Fulton, oh, and me.

Rachel Fox said...

I think H Normal and I just didn't click at all during the interview, Colin, plus I didn't like his act at that time (maybe I would now...who knows...I found him just too wimpy - and not in a good way). It's interesting that he has gone to be (very) successful behind the scenes rather than on stage though (guess that wimpiness really was an act!). He was very much part of a lively Manchester scene back then that included Caroline Aherne (back when she used to dress as a nun). I didn't interview her...wish I had now.
x

The Solitary Walker said...

The Guardian. But you guessed that, didn't you? The Saturday Review section is one of my highlights of the week.

I haven't interviewed anyone, but have met lots of writers and 'celebrities' in the course of my publishing sales' jobs. You mentioned Frankie Howerd above. I once helped him choose a shirt to wear for a Pebble Mill At One appearance. (It was pink, and the collar was frayed and dirty, incidentally.)

Kenneth Williams could be very serious and miserable.

And Richard Briers was very nice indeed.

And I bored the pants off Linda Barker from makeover telly describing in minute detail what colour I was painting our kids' bedrooms. As if she hadn't heard it all before! She was most polite, and didn't yawn once.

Rachel Fox said...

Sounds like I could interview you, SW...some good stories there! I should think you could dine out on that Frankie Howerd story if you fancied it.

I think maybe we have equal numbers of Guardian and Times readers amongst those of you who read a British paper (not that I'm doing a survey or anything). No-one else reading the Independent though. And only you reading the Sun, Smithy!

x

Rachel Fox said...

But I imagine you're reading it for research purposes.
x

deemikay said...

Erm... Metro on the train. Sunday Times on a, well, Sunday. Guardian very, very, very occasionally. Glasgow Herald when I'm job hunting (which I'm not).

And lots of online places. :)

Rachel Fox said...

Because I don't commute (or travel much just now) I rarely see the 'Metro'. But I do wonder quite how much it takes away a section of the commuter market from the paid-for papers.

When I have read Metro in the past I've usually ended up with that 'I just read nothing' feeling. Know what I mean? Or is that unfair?

x

The Solitary Walker said...

Well, you could do some of those online interview-type things on some of your fellow blogger-readers - a list of both probing and fun questions. Just a thought. People could be as revealing or as secretive as they wanted to be.

Rachel Fox said...

I'll have a think about that, SW, for later in the year maybe. Got 'family holiday' coming up soon (schools break up in a week or so).
x

deemikay said...

The Metro art/review part is the main thing I read... the news itself is neutral to a horrible degree. But it's free. And so many paid-for newspapers are turning into opinion column after opinion column... it's just like reading blogs. So I do. :)

Rachel Fox said...

I think I have a friend who writes for the arts bit of Metro. Not sure how much they use the same articles all over UK though (she is in north of England).

As for opinion columns in the other papers...yes, I know what you mean...and there are not that many that I would say a person can learn much from (are we all so devoid of opinions that we need them all from elsewhere?). Some are funny but not that funny (though there is the odd exception)...all in all I think the opinion column is a feature that has written itself out. I wrote an opinion-type-column for a while (years ago) and whilst it sounded like a good thing to do (easy money, the chance to sound off etc.) I got frustrated it with it pretty quickly. And quite often when I read a newspaper opinion column these days I think (afterwards) 'why did I read that? What a waste of time...why didn't I just read some news or an interview instead...or, as you say, a blog.' Opinions on blogs (at their best) can be more thought-out, less 'neatly fitted into the necessary space', more varied.

x

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed with ur Izzard encounter...I would have thought him more congenial. I would be pissed 2. Nonetheless..I am traveling to GB from USA to see him in November.

I think 90% is opinion oriented. I watch link.tv (which, I believe, is unbiased). What do u think of link.tv

Rachel Fox said...

Hello anonymous
As I say it was as much to do with bad timing as anything. EI sounded like he was just out of bed too...who knows maybe with a hangover...he was talking about needing toast if I remember rightly.

I don't know link TV.

Please leave a name of some kind when you comment...even if a very silly one. It feels weird otherwise.

deemikay said...

The Metro I read has a lot that's speific to Glasgow/Edinburgh, so that keeps me happy. (The tv/music/book reviews are national though, I think.)

Yes, blogs are perhaps better sources of opinion because they don't have a style guide or a sub-editor. (Ed. - I told him to write that.)

Rachel Fox said...

Made me smile! Who needs editors...
x

Poetikat said...

Ha ha! I got the Canada reference before it was explained, Rachel.

Kat