Week Two: FHM

If you read my post about last week you might have thought that I’d had a bit of a ridiculous time, it was just a bluff and there was no way the second week would top that.

Sorry.

It was far more hectic this week, with a whole office being packed up into boxes and moved another five tube stops further north. It meant a lot of unpacking and sorting out before we could get on with work – and then some more after that.

One of the first things I wrote this week was about Cheadle Town’s huge loss of 22-0 and put a spin on it listing the worst football defeats ever, learning a bit about the history in the process. The post did really well on the site, and it was really enjoyable to write something so topical with a specific audience in mind.

You can read everything I've had published by clicking these blurry football players
You can read everything I’ve had published by clicking these blurry football players

I wasn’t having everything printed or posted all the time though. A lot of the copy I wrote didn’t make it to the website or magazine – it might not have been substantial enough or was something not really close enough to the target audience , but most of the time it was just not as topical as some of the other things that were due up on the site.

The internet really is all about being timely and on trend, which has spawned a bucket load of click-baiting websites. What I noticed about FHM is that they would at least try and put a spin on news rather than just reporting it (“Here’s who we’d cast for the all-female Ghostbusters” and “Tetris: The Movie and 5 other video games that would be better with popcorn” are two of the pieces I wrote during my time there).

On Tuesday and Wednesday I was given my first bits of work that would feature in the magazine; interviewing some fairly well known people for the magazine’s Bloke Test over the phone. Basically they’re asked a load of ridiculous questions and then FHM rate their answers as ‘bloke’ or ‘not bloke’.

The first person I interviewed was Wilkinson, a producer in the music industry. Obviously I was fairly nervous despite doing interviews with decent musicians before, but mainly because of the new bit of kit I’d been given to record the conversation. Mostly though it was because I’d been trusted to do something that I wasn’t sure they normally let work experience guys do (but something I’m massively grateful for).

WilkinsonIt went really well, Wilkinson was one of the nicest people I could have gotten to interview first, had some decent answers (“the idea of this is just to be a massive geezer then, yeah?”) and put up with me asking the questions I’d been given about poo.

The second person I interviewed over the phone was Ron Jeremy. Yep, THAT Ron Jeremy. He was also got really involved with the whole thing, giving me some bizarre anecdotes to be used for the equally as ridiculous questions. I transcribed, edited to 700 words and selected the answers for that one on a train up the next morning, ready to be on the Access Editor’s desk before we started work.

I quickly learned when to prompt for further details about the story or whether it was just a question dead in the water. The idea was that fifteen ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers were not good enough – I asked how they had set that tree on fire, where they’d killed a lobster or did you really sell your only pair of white jeans to a guy who decided to hike up a mountain wearing them to raise money?

On that same day, FHM played host to seven YouTube stars or The Sidemen as they’ve collectively called themselves. These guys are a bunch of good friends who all put up videos of them playing games, kicking a football about or just all going to Thorpe Park together. Oh, and they’ve got millions of subscribers between them.

They were invited to take part in a Mario Kart tournament (seeing as that’s all anyone in the office plays) and it would be recorded and posted on their YouTube channel soon after. I won’t spoil the result, but I’ll link back to this post when it does go up.

MarioKart

One of the guys who set the event up also let me interview them (so I’m also very grateful), all seven of them. All at once. I asked similar sorts of questions as I’d been asking on the phone with hilarious answers, and for the magazine asked JJ who to look out for as up and coming talent on YouTube.

They were great sports about the whole thing, gave a really interesting and entertaining interview and were funny throughout – hopefully that will be up soon to watch as well. That’s me in the middle of that Instagram picture.


Friday was a bit of a cool-down day for everyone, still unpacking boxes – I spent an hour sorting through magazines and beer and stacking them away in cupboards organised. I did some more transcribing for the Upgrade Editor, who asked what the people in Amsterdam thought should be illegal (a few of them misheard the question and thought that drugs should be made legal before changing their answers) and also pitched a few topical ideas to the web guys.

I finally had a go at Mario Kart and was absolutely terrible, but it was a good laugh. I suggested a drink at the pub and ended up staying at a place in Camden for quite a few drinks where I got to know a lot of the guys much better. They asked if I wanted to come back in November for more work which I obviously jumped at.

Yoshi let me down, man.

My next trip is up to Today’s Golfer in Peterborough where I’ll be working with the web guys to do a similar job as to what I did here. I’ve been told that specialist magazines are great for helping to get your name out there, which I hope is the case.

I’m also staying the week up there – waking up at 6:30 every day to get to London was a bit of a push but there’s no way I’d survive a commute an extra hour north of that each day.

But if it’s anything like these two weeks, I can’t wait.

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