Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Guest Speaker - Boyd Farrow

“Very few people actually make money as a journalist, but it's an amazing way of meeting your idols.” This seemed to be the dominant theme in Boyd Farrow’s lecture on the 5th of November: Journalism is not a career, but moreover a lifestyle.

First year Journalism students heard of Boyd’s journey from a Philosophy degree to the streets of London, where he begged for jobs on the doormats of prestigious publishers around Soho, until he gained a position as an Editorial Assistant.

However, the peak of his career was obtained when he maneuvered up the position ladder of “Screen International”, ultimately settling as editor. This job sent him round the world, meeting all of his idols, bar Martin Scorsese, and attending Cannes Film Festivals.

However, he soon escaped the pressure at the top of the board, and opted instead for a career where he could “Remain a teenager for the rest of his life”. Referring to the late nights, lie-ins and partying of the freelance world, Bryn Farrow described the first seven years as a diet of “Cigarettes, Jack Daniels and Tom Waits” and writing throughout the night.

Boyd seemed to foreground the idea throughout that the relaxed lifestyle of freelancing was better than any stable wage how could have been offered, as he has “only been working for three days a week” for the last year.

He added “The best thing about being a Journalist is being able to travel”, but never really spoke about his income, excusing the loose pattern of his wage as an “Adrenaline rush” that many people feel they need to have.

He concentrated a lot on the things he could take for free whilst being a Journalist: hotel rooms, first class flights, even ash trays. This does seem to coincide with the idea that Journalists remain adolescents, as the ‘taking something for nothing’ hints at a childish greed that does invoke a sense of adrenaline.

To sum up his argument in favour of the excellent lifestyle of freelance journalism over the prospect of no money, Boyd simply said:

“People don’t lie on their death beds and say ‘Oh, I wish I had more money in the bank.’ They do, however, say ‘I wish I would have done this.’.”

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