Monthly Archives: December 2006

Out With The Old, In With The New!

Well, it’s a new start for me.

On 22 December 2006 I walked out of the offices of Total Film magazine holding in my hands a farewell card (which contained so many signatures someone had to glue a sheet of blank paper to the back so they could fit them all on), a box of silly presents (including an Action Man and an Ice Age 2 rucksack) and a fistful of HMV vouchers (which I’ve already started spending). My last words as an employee of Future Publishing were, “So long, suckers! I’m free! FREE AT LAST! Woohoohoohoo!”

Which, in retrospect, might not have been wise, seeing as I want to return to the magazine as a freelancer. Still, I’m sure my colleagues understood.

So now I’m officially unemployed, have virtually nothing planned for January except for whatever freelance writing gets thrown at me, and I won’t step into an office again until the start of February, when I’m booked for a week of subbing on DVD Review. After that is anyone’s guess, although I’m quietly optimistic. For someone who won’t be getting a paycheque in January, I’m amazingly calm about it all, although I have a feeling The Fear will hit me in a few weeks. I know I’ve done the right thing, though. In my two years on Total Film and four years on SFX I’ve waded through around 80 deadlines – far too many of them as a Production Editor – and that’s something that can wear you down like the Colorado River niggled away at the Grand Canyon. I love working on magazines, I love the people and I love the perks, but the weight of responsibility grew too heavy in the end. Remember Sisyphus, the dude with the rock? I had a rock-shape forming on my shoulder, and seeing as the only rock I like is The Rock, I wanted rid of it.

It’s gone now, thankfully, thanks to some serious, dent-removing R&R. I really enjoyed my Christmas break, although I did so little I fear I veered dangerously close to slipping into a coma. I did leave the house once to see Casino Royale at long last and loved it to bits, managing with almost bewildering serendipity to pull a bar of chocolate out of my bag and eat it just as Daniel Craig walked out of the sea in his tiny swimming trunks. Strangely, I can’t remember much about the rest of the movie!

Looking forward to 2007 – work worries aside – I know that it will be filled with all my favourite things: good friends, good music, good movies, good television. For instance…

There’ll be a new album from Neil Finn, which will hopefully make up for the fact he played a gig in Bath, a few minutes’ walk from my old house, that I didn’t find out about until it was too late to hop on a train. Surprisingly, I’m more upset about missing that gig than I was about my trip to New Zealand being cancelled with only four hours’ notice! It was my biggest disappointment of 2006: missing him playing his new album for the first time anywhere in the world… at the pub I walked by every day for four years. I could spit, I really could, but I won’t, cos that’s common.

There’ll be a new Spider-Man movie, which was the film I was most looking forward to until I saw the trailer for 300 – man, that movie looks goooood. And all the men in it are half-naked: what’s not to love?

There’ll be another series of Doctor Who, too, although my Who love is waning somewhat, along with my Tennant-as-The-Doctor love. I’m hoping my reservations about Who year three will evaporate once it starts; fingers crossed. The Christmas special didn’t feel special at all, and I fear that could be the start of a trend. Still, I came out of it liking Catherine Tate – who I usually despise – so maybe there’s some magic left after all.

And talking of despising people, I watched The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year the other night because Noel Fielding was one of the contestants, and thanks to him I’m now over my irrational hatred of Russell Brand. They were soooo good together! Which reminds me: hopefully Noel will team up with Julian Barratt again and The Mighty Boosh will treat us to a new series in 2007.

If not, there’s still Heroes (the best show of 2006, without a doubt), Studio 60, Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Smallville, Veronica Mars, Medium, The Sopranos and, last but by no means least, Supernatural, the show that somehow stood for everything shiny and wonderful in this big world of ours last year. For me, anyway. Not to get soppy, but I never had any siblings, so I’m living vicariously through Dean and Sam Winchester’s relationship. All the other aspects of the show are just gravy to me. Bloody tasty gravy, too.

(While I’m at it, I’m also living vicariously through Allison Dubois’ marriage to the wonderful Joe in Medium, as well as through Keith and Veronica’s father/daughter relationship in Veronica Mars. I think it’s fair to say that television is like therapy for me, although where The Sopranos and CSI sit within that definition is open to question. Guess I just like ’em cos they’re fab.)

And with that, I fear I’ve wibbled on for too long, so I’m going.




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Goodwill To All Men, Not A ‘Bah, Humbug’ In Sight

Merry Christmas! Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful time – or still are, if you haven’t returned to work yet and remain full of Christmas spirit, which should definitely be the case!

I’ll blog properly in a day or two when I take my ‘holiday’ head off (which brings to mind Worzel Gummidge and his many heads, something I haven’t thought about in many a year… damn, that scarecrow used to freak me out). At the moment I can barely rouse myself from my sofa, such is my determination to do as little as possible. The way I see it, I’ve just left my job and, after ten years straight of working in offices, I need a break like Ice Age’s Scrat needs his acorns.

Peace and quiet! Long lie-ins! Late nights! Much chocolate and even more coffee!

**contented sigh**

Then again, if I don’t move soon, I’m gonna grow roots. Maybe I’ll actually get dressed tomorrow.


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Gifts Galore And Thanks In Abundance!

First off, I’d like to thank Dutch Ruud and Brasilian Lilia, regular readers of this blog from The Netherlands, for going to the trouble of sending me a Christmas present – despite the fact that we’ve never even spoken, let alone met! It arrived at my work today and I was absolutely amazed at their thoughtfulness. Obviously I haven’t opened the present yet but the letter was just lovely. I’m very touched that two complete strangers took the time to do something so sweet… and I’m very humbled. Thank you again!

(I’m also thrilled to bits to hear that Lilia bought The Winter Of Enchantment – I really hope you enjoy it! If you do write that article, let me know if you need any details…)

And, sticking with the ‘fabulous gifts’ theme, my friend Anne outdid herself this year by buying all my Christmas shopping online and having it delivered to me this evening in lieu of an ordinary present. Knowing that the freelance life I’m embarking upon might leave me starving, she bought me enough food to last a nuclear winter. It took me four trips to get it all up the stairs to my flat, and even the delivery man looked surprised at the mountain of shopping bags he piled on my doorstep.

There are now a whopping 33 packets of crisps in my kitchen!

I have the biggest box of cornflakes I’ve EVER SEEN!

I have more soup than I’ve ever eaten in my life!

I even have two cans of Smash potato mix, which is somehow very funny although I’m not quite sure why – maybe it’s the thought of the Smash aliens being in my cupboard?

So thank you, Anne. As ever, you’ve proved you have a heart of gold, along with two complete strangers from across the Channel (who have the cutest little girl in a bunny shirt evah – Merry Christmas, Jasmijn!).


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Normal Service Will Resume When Life Returns To Something Approaching Normal

Well, I lived through my week from Hell and barely had a second to myself (though I did manage to attend my own leaving party, which was quite a result, I thought, considering the latest issue of Total Film wasn’t quite finished and the deadline pixies were getting annoyed). Then, just as things calmed down – temporarily, I should add, because all that is Hellish awaits me this week, too – my broadband connection at home completely died and I had no internet.

For five days.

Five long, painful, withdrawal-symptom filled days.

I think now I have an inkling of what heroin addicts go through when they give up the drugs. I was climbing the frickin’ walls! And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my forced internet drought, it’s that I’d rather lose television or music or telephones but oh my god never the internet. Never. It rules me.

Yes, I am the internet’s bitch.

I was forced to call my friend Biddy and get her to check my emails as I listened down the phone. She rummaged through my Hotmail account, read out messages and announced, “I feel like I’m going through your knicker drawer,” which must have really confused her fiance when he wandered by just as she said it. When my connection was finally re-established (and in the nick of time, too, because I was beginning to hallucinate and see bugs crawling through my veins), I called her up and yelled down the phone, “It’s back! I got it!” To which she replied, “I know. I felt a great disturbance in the Force.”

So I’m back, but I’m busy for the next five days, then I leave Total Film and move on to other projects I can’t discuss here because they’re not finalised yet and I don’t want to jinx myself. And it’s Christmas, too, so everything’s all festive and wonderful. See below? See Trafalgar Square? Isn’t it pretty? This was taken on Friday night and I only wish you could hear the carollers under the tree… though they were having problems getting their voices heard over all the people screaming when the wind changed direction and blew fountain spray across the square.

Not so much ‘Silent Night’ as ‘Soggy Night’, really.

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Week From Hell!

There’ll be no blogging from me for a short while because I have the Week From Hell fast approaching. I’ve never been so busy in my frickin’ life, what with work, work and more work. Which is great… except it’s not, because when am I supposed to sleep ‘n’ stuff? There’s even a small chance I’ll miss my own leaving party (6pm, Thursday 7 December at the Hobgoblin – next to Marylebone Station – if you want to come along) because of our deadline. Which is hugely ironic. Fingers crossed I can make it!

Incidentally, if anyone reading this did happen to see me on TV, I’d like to state once again for the record that I am not fat. One of my appearances made my arms look like tree trunks, when in reality my arms are slim and completely fine.

Note to self: turn off widescreen function on TV when watching yourself.

Right, need to work. Speak to you on the other side…


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