What do you do for a living?
Much to my own surprise I currently find myself editing and publishing Wyrd Science, a magazine about tabletop games, space wizards, sentient jellies and all kinds of other strange stuff.
In the increasingly limited time when I’m not doing that I still do a spot of freelance writing, mainly music and culture stuff, and I work for a few indie record labels, generally helping them with their PR and marketing.
What does that mean day-to-day?
In terms of the magazine, sadly EVERYTHING. It’s the curse of technology. It allows us to put together and run a magazine like Wyrd Science with what barely amounts to a skeleton staff, but to quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
But anyway, day to day that means you’ll find me doing some combination of planning a new issue, doing an interview, writing a feature, editing someone else’s feature, commissioning art, working on the magazine’s design and layout, running the social media accounts, dealing with customer orders or problems, staring at spreadsheets trying to figure out how to make the numbers go up or down depending and, just occasionally, lying in a dark room sobbing.
What do you love about magazines?
Well apart from the crushing business of them, just about everything. Whether it was “borrowing” my neighbour’s White Dwarf aged 9 and discovering whole new worlds within its pages, religiously devouring Melody Maker every week as a teenager or graduating onto my older sisters’ copies of The Face or iD, they’ve literally changed my life, changed me, more times than I can think of over the years.
And today I love them more than ever, especially knowing the grind that goes into making one. It’s a tough gig but especially away from the big publishers there’s just so much good stuff there at the moment, all these wonderful titles covering everything from fashion and films to fungi, current affairs to crafting.
When so much is reduced to instant attention grabbing hot takes on social media it’s more important than ever, I feel, to be able to log off and spend some proper time in the company of people who know and love their subjects, whatever they may be, and who want to share that with you, ideally at length. The way magazines can be both completely and utterly ephemeral and at the same time aspire, and even sometimes manage, to change the world – and that that often plays out within the same pages – I find endlessly inspiring.
Tell us one thing not many people know about you?
I’ve had to, hopefully temporarily, give it up, as one of my arms has recently decided to stop doing what an arm generally should, but a few years ago I got particularly into late medieval German longsword fighting. It’s good to have a hobby and get out the house even if it does involve someone trying to knock your block off with a remarkably heavy chunk of metal.
I think this year whilst I wait to see what happens with my arm I might get really, like too much, into playing pétanque instead. Who knows, maybe there’s a new magazine in that…
Where can we connect with you?
In the desperate attempt to stay visible, the magazine has a presence pretty much anywhere it’s allowed to, whilst in an equally desperate attempt to become invisible I’m on increasingly fewer places, still I do have some kind of barely half-arsed profile over at LinkedIn.