Time Out London is bringing out the Hippy in me! This month brought me a coveted internship with the incredible Time Out London magazine to go towards my Journalism Diploma. I was fortunate to have made contact with them because of the Revolution taking place back home in Libya and they were happy to offer me a placement.
As a trainee with TOL, I am learning the tough craft of news reporting and how to cover tales, from the supply end of information. All the things I unfortunately didn’t learn at No Sweat College - a very sore point for my intake - I am now picking up the technique of how to present stories and seduce readers from the get go.
Yes, sales of printed and online newspapers and magazines prove that people will always be eager to know of the odd behavior and lives of others, the good and the bad humans do to each other, as well as to laugh or lament the unusual circumstances of still many more.
Working in the friendly news team with Rebecca Taylor and Rachel Halliburton, TOL’s preserve is to get the quirkier London stories that don’t get aired in the national press. The political stance taken is not as leftie as you might imagine, but always balanced to suit.
It is truly the most creative and open office atmosphere that is so laid back - just to perfection – I’ve ever worked in. It is free of the ‘work shackles’ others experience in rigid company structures, that allows for artistic flow and exchange between the writers, editors and different departments.
For me, it is also the news stories that are most intriguing and every time we research and investigate a lead, it opens a whole other world, as I learn of individual or group trials and tribulations. Some of these are positive, some negative, others happy or sad, and, at times, just hilarious.
This month, for example, I spoke to Roma Gypsies and Irish travellers who are facing eviction from their caravan homes in Dale Farm and who plan to set up a human ‘resistance camp’ against bailiffs and the Essex police. I also interviewed the ‘Clapton Improvement Society’ who transformed a public toilet facility into a pop-up cocktail bar without permission from the local Hackney council.
Then, there was the plight of the ‘cruising canal boaters’ on the River Lea who must now fortnightly shift along the waterways if they cannot afford to permanently moor their barges. And the sad but inspiring story of Wilton’s Music Hall that is raising funds to restore its historic but crumbling down building.
The Mayor of London and local borough councils are also very involved in many stories; and, no, they are not always the baddie, just imposing the law, which can of course be an ass.
But the top story I enjoyed was about the ukulele instrument, the unusually little four-stringed guitar that I never knew existed. Though it is becoming very popular with children and school music departments, the Duke of Uke store, which is the only dedicated ukulele shop in the city, has to raise money to afford relocation, as its lease is soon to expire.
And so, life goes on, humans find themselves in strange predicaments and newspapers and magazine deliver the stories to the public. But slowly and surely, TOL is bringing out a hippy in me. I feel so at ease, free and looking forwards to work in the morning never before felt. For those who know of my sleeping issues – that I love to sleep - will understand this is a big transformation. Just too bad that my days are numbered and I will hate to leave