The funny thing about being a freelance journalist/sub-editor is that you never quite know where your next job will come from.
You’ve got your regular gigs, such as the six days a month I work on DVD & Blu-ray Review magazine, which I’ve been lucky enough to have for over two years now. And there are other regular gigs, such as my SFX column or the advertorials I write for Total Film, or the semi-regular pieces I scribble for Supernatural Magazine.
And then there are the jobs that come out of the blue. These can happen when someone you’ve never heard of emails you and says, “Hey, would you like to write something for us?” and you can’t figure out how they know you until you discover they’ve heard of you through a friend of a friend. Or, more often than not, a person you last spoke to two years ago recommends you for a job and you end up being commissioned and owing them a very large drink. There’s a lot of backscratching in this industry, and I try to scratch back as much as I can to even the balance.
Or there’s just coincidence. A few weekends ago I went to Crystal Palace for a meal with my friend Paul. We hopped on a bus back to his place and he pointed out of the window and said, “Hey, look at that guy’s socks!” I looked, and there was a chap walking down the street wearing some rather bright red socks that would’ve stopped traffic a mile off.
“Hey, that’s my friend James,” I said, because it was. Small world!
I sent him a text message saying “Nice socks!” and didn’t think anything else of it until three days later when he emailed me to apologise for not texting me back. A few emails after that, he said, “Hey, are you free in May?”
And thus I got two weeks of work on his magazine simply because my friend Paul spotted James’s socks and thought they were worthy of comment.
Freelancing can be like that sometimes. Now I owe both James and Paul a large drink apiece.
That’s not the end of the coincidences – last weekend I interviewed James Marsters and decided it would be a good idea to rewatch the very last episode of Angel because I hadn’t seen it for years and couldn’t remember what had happened to his character, Spike. I watched it, blew my nose (it’s sad), wandered into the kitchen and turned on my iPod, which was set to ‘shuffle’.
The episode was called “Not Fade Away”. The first song that popped up on my iPod was The Rolling Stones’ “Not Fade Away”.
I did a little dance of awe around the kitchen.
I love coincidences, whether they bring me work or not. They’re still cool.