In this post, I want to talk about one of the things that actually inspired me to get a new blog in the first place. My path in life, especially leading to this particular career, was in all honesty a bit round-about and slightly random, and most of it done under my own steam. There are however one or two people, events, places etc… that I can definitively point to having had a profound effect on me, sometimes even inspiring me and generally shaping the person I am now. If this comes off as a bit of a love letter well… tough.
Just over a week ago Matthew Handrahan served his last day as Features Editor on GamesTM, and his last day as a permanent staff member at Imagine Publishing as a whole. Maybe you know off him, maybe you don’t. The way GamesTM was operated you never really knew who wrote what, or who even worked there apart from a very small column right at the back of the magazine. You’d have to work there yourself or know some people at Imagine to really get a clear picture there, but anyway, Matthew Handrahan was there, and now he’s not.
During my last year at Bournemouth University in October 2007, I did two weeks work placement at Imagine and specifically worked on GamesTM. The Editor was understandably cautious to allow me to have a go at anything serious, especially reviews, so I was mainly assigned to Matt to help him out on the various feature pages and standing sections. After reading a letter I’d submitted to the site, he was kind enough to let me do my own two-page feature for #76 of the magazine, something which I’m still very proud off and very grateful to him though. It would be an understatement to say that he ‘made’ that placement for me, and not just in giving me a chance but in two very key aspects:
The first was making your text witty, funny or just generally interesting to read. If any of you have a back issue collection, pick out #69 and go to page 120 and read the Turning Point: Fall of Liberty review. That was Mr. Handrahan. Everything from the “Imagine a world where Call of Duty didn’t happen” quip to his scathing remarks at the games oddities just had me tearing up when I first read it. Whilst you could argue it’s far easier to rip something apart than it is to praise and be funny, reading Matt’s review and talking to him showed me the importance of keeping your prose fresh. Whilst wit and humour have their places and should never be over-used, there’s still plenty you can do to keep things interesting.
Secondly though, talking to Matt provided such an insight into the industry that has really helped me in the years since, and helped me be realistic and guarded when dealing with a space that’s still going through many growing pains. I won’t delve too much into the specifics of what he said, lest I get him into some kind of trouble, but it was illuminating to say the least. Matt is a very interesting person to talk too, and what’s better is he writes how he feels, and takes the consequences.
Many of my friends who aren’t also colleagues say I have the best job in the world, which is true in some respects, but as Matt showed and so as I keep telling everyone else: You’d be surprised how much shit can be found in the best job in the world.
So, to you Matt I say thank you, and I wish you all the best in the future.
Until next time.