Clayton Goodwin is editor, TheWeekly Gleaner
Morning – Crayford. Hair cut: had to be as smart as you would expect for the start of this diary. Unlike my colleague Rodney Hinds, sports editor of The Voice , who lives within his readership and spends hours in his barber’s talking over football with the customers, the cutters at Crayford have never heard of the publications to which I contribute.
“And what does sir do for a living?” “I’m a writer.”
“Writers never write about anybody interesting, like …. (now who could they have in mind?) … myself, for instance”.
They then recite their entire life story in detail.
Now I reply: “I’m aide-de-camp to the Maharajah of Tarapore”. My hair is always cut with a snort – but quickly.
Evening – Bloomsbury. Held regular weekly “surgery” at the bar of the President Hotel, Russell Square – to pick up tips and leads for stories.
People cannot be expected to travel all the way to my office in Kent and here the ambience is amiable.
Evening – Belgravia. Accompanied Natalie Galloway (Miss Caribbean & Commonwealth) to a reception at the Ghana High Commission for Serena Roye, Miss Ghana, on her way to the Miss World competition in Beijing.
After winning Miss Ghana UK, she went to her ancestral home and became Miss Ghana proper. Guests included John Fashanu and Lisa I’Anson.
Colin Reid, managing director of the Gleaner/Voice , told me all was well with the papers.
Miss Caribbean & Commonwealth contest at the Wandsworth Civic Suite was a “Trini triumph”. Shaherah Williams won, with Alafair Celestine runner-up. It is easy to believe, as many Trinis do, that the island has a monopoly on beauty.
Ian Dowe, former world champion body-builder, and martial arts master Laurie Ince showed that men, too, can keep in good physical shape.
Archbishop McCarthy of the Caribbean Episcopal Church, who declared the beauty competition open – which a West Indian wouldn’t necessarily regard as being incongruous – provided some information for my forthcoming feature on Mary Seacole.
Interested to note that Emmerson Braithwaite, formerly with Choice FM, is now director of marketing at OBETV.
Man with a microphone asked: “Clayton Goodwin, can you tell me your name ?” “Yes – it’s Goodwin.”
“Thank you.” The rest of the interviews just had to be more enlightening.
Beauty contests and dominoes dominate West Indian social activity, yet – through prejudice, political correctness and class snobbery – are never mentioned in the national media. But if West Indian events are to achieve greater exposure, the community must learn the purpose for which clocks were invented. Many otherwise excellent shows are marred by appalling time-keeping. Watched television coverage of Paula Radcliffe winning the New York marathon and cheered for her Kenyan rival.
This year I have seen much of the East African long-distance runners and have got to know them. Identification with the readership of African/West Indian publications strains national loyalty, but there are limits. For visits by West Indies cricketers I generally use the pronoun “we” to describe the tourists -except at Canterbury where “we” always means the home side.
All day – Barnehurst (at desk).
Checked proofs of my British Journalism Review article about the crisis in the Caribbean press. Not sure which was more depressing- the performance of the West Indies cricket team or of the West Indian media. London Extra expired in August, the day before the cricketers were crushed at The Oval.
By then The Voice had sold out to The Gleaner ; Choice FM, the leading black radio station, to Capital Radio; and an ABC audit showed that sales of New Nation were about two-fifths of what had been touted. With Kelly Holmes winning gold for Britain; Danny Williams the British challenger for the world heavyweight boxing crown; and black football fans taking Arsenal (Thierry Henry etc) to their hearts, it is increasingly difficult to justify a “black point of view” separate from the mainstream media.
All day -Barnehurst (at desk). Visit to the World Travel Market was delayed for a further day to chase up outstanding cheques – which in this sector, takes up as much time as the actual writing. New African payment still outstanding for reports on the World Indoor Athletics Championships at Budapest in March, and much in-between, but they usually get there in the end.
The delayed cheque from The Voice’s cricket supplement in July has been promised for tomorrow. Started writing something on Junior Hart’s healthspa for black women in Stratford (East London). Otherwise the only relevant news on the “tapes” (or e-mail as they are now) was about Trident murders and rumours of murder.
Morning and afternoon – Docklands. The WTM at the ExCeL Centre was less wearying than usual.
The organisers seem to have got the hang of the new venue. The centrally sited Press Centre provided a welcome chance to rest up from time to time.
It helped, too, that I had company in Shyraine Mubiana, researcher for Events-in-Print; Earle Robinson, “Mr Leicester” -indeed, Mr East Midlands and more as far as the West Indian community is concerned; and Arif Ali who, if he wasn’t the founding father of the UK Caribbean press, was certainly its early dynamo for many years, are regular visitors, and their continued commitment and enthusiasm puts many younger folk to shame.
The media market could do with Arif’s charisma again just now. Spent the time taking note of which events in the Caribbean and Commonwealth next year should be reported, and arranging coverage of the Rotterdam Summer (Caribbean) Carnival.
No cheque in the postal delivery.