Sunday, 17 October 2010

Platform for a Good Mood

I've been feeling a bit down recently and when that happens its a godsend when you find something to cheer you up.  The feature that put a smile on my bleeding miserable fizzog was some sage advice on how to have a long term relationship.  It's very wise, honest and funny.  By the time you get to the end you almost envy the understanding he has with his other half.  There's loads of good features to read on Platform and it'll definitely be my first port of call next time I get the blues.  The reason for my gloomy demeanor?  Money or rather lack of it.  I haven't worked for a month - partly because there was none of the bread and butter work that I usually do being offered (picture research), partly because of my bastard knee, which as been slow to heal and bloody painful at times and partly because I haven't been able to flog the feature that I think is really good (see last post for details).

I'm up to five rejections for the thing now, which may not seem a lot, but when you're lying there with your leg up just hoping for a little ray of sunshine, another 'thanks but no thanks' can feel like a real kick in the teeth.  Of course just because I think its brilliant, doesn't mean to say anyone else will but the rejections are making me really determined to place the thing.  Maybe its true that pitching is a bit like gambling - some you win and some you lose.  You're probably as sick of hearing me bitching that people won't take my story (how very dare they?!) as I am so here's the bit that's like the feelgood story they do at the end of the news about a really cute kitten or something.  Actually that's the story that usually makes me want to gag but anyway, I had an email last week ACTUALLY ASKING ME IF I WOULD WRITE SOMETHING FOR THEM IN RETURN FOR PAYMENT.  I got a commission and after a year of banging on doors asking for a chance, someone has actually come to bang on mine.  All I need is a couple of those a week for 48 weeks of the year and I'm laughing.

The fact that I tagged Lisa Edelstein as one of the people in the story from the last post prompted Daphne to get in touch from Virginia in the US.  So I know who she is and where she's from.  I also now know that if you tag your blog with celebrities, you'll get a lot of hits.   Daphne was a mad Lisa Edelstein fan who, reading between the lines, likes her so much because she's an actor herself (how come no-one is an 'actress' anymore - is that sexist too?) and admires her work.  Anyway, it was cool to hear from someone in a different country who read the blog and know why they were reading it.  I've no idea how the rest of you got to this blog though.  Yeah I'm talking about you in Russia and you in Denmark.  Come on people, get in touch.  I've got a lot of questions about, ooh I don't know, why Vladimir Putin was always showing his muscles while fishing and how come Helena Christensen is still so damn hot.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Who are you (and where are you from)?

Blogger has a tab that I've only recently discovered called Stats - I'll admit to being a bit slow on the uptake.  I was relying on Google Analytics for a while but for some reason its stopped recording traffic and I'm not enough of a nerd to work out how I can fix it.  Initially that was depressing as I thought absolutely everyone (even mates) had deserted the blog but then I was getting reactions to posts via Twitter, Facebook and the rest.  I'll get to the point - in the last few days theres been a real upsurge in hits and from countries where I dont know anyone.  This is both heartening and intriguing and, if you're reading this from a country outside the UK, please get in touch on the email address above.  I'm curious as to what you're reading and if you're finding it interesting. In particular I'd like to hear from anyone from UAE, Canada, Germany, China or Belize but wherever you're from, write.

The numbers going up has been a real boost as otherwise, its been a bit of a crappy week.  I wanted to write truthfully on here so if that's the case, I should write about the times when you're not getting anywhere with your pitches to magazines.  I have a really good story about Ben, who was the in-house photographer at a New York club in the mid 80s - his photos are choc full of celebrities, most of whom are at the beginning of their career.  Lisa Edelstein is there, 20 years before 'House', Russell Simmons, hanging out with Scorpio from Grandmaster Flash, young artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rick Rubin and the Beastie Boys, BB Buell (Liv Tyler's mum)...the list goes on.  Specifically, I was hoping the Saturday Telegraph magazine would take it, just because they are great at giving space to both words and pictures for photo-stories.  They've turned it down though, as 'there isn't enough narrative'.  Frustrating, as I think the narrative would come from a finished piece once commissioned.  Also, to 'fess up, there were a couple of typos in the pitch - who's going to commission a sloppy writer?  Very embarrassing.  I'm going to push on with this one to other magazines and papers and if no one bites, you'll see it on here.  I also pitched something to Short Cuts in G2, but no joy with that one either.

On top of that my leg is fecking killing me but I'm determined not to whinge as it was my own bloody fault!  To leave you with something good to read, here are a couple of links to features on Rachel Johnson, sister of Boris and editor of The Lady.  I wouldn't pretend to know her very well though I've worked for her in the office and she ran one of my pieces of course, but my feeling is The Guardian feature gets her spot on and to my mind, is a great interview by Zoe Williams.  A great phrase Zoe uses is 'superior conversation-management' - its something I wish I had.  First read Rachel's boss saying 'You can't get her away from a penis' here and then the Grauniad one here