Unlimited Hyperbole #17

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[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/79952026/Unlimited%20Hyperbole%20S4%20-%20Episode%20Two.mp3]

[ download this episode ]

They say there’s more than one way to skin a cat and, likewise, I say there’s more than one way things can get away from people too. They can slip away slowly and quietly, for example, or they can be taken in a sudden tragedy – and this episode covers a bit of both.

This week journalist David Brown talks about the closure of PC Zone Magazine. Once home to the likes of Charlie Brooker, Jon Blyth and Will Porter, PC Zone was a bastion of irreverence that was edged out by the realities of print publishing. As the last writer left on the team, David talks about the final days and how they shaped his opinion of journalism as a whole.

Unlimited Hyperbole is a short podcast about videogames and the stories we tell about them. The show is divided into seasons of five episodes, each with a precise topic. This time we’re talking about ‘The One That Got Away’ – but to find out more, read after the jump.

So.

I sympathised with David a lot in this episode. I’ve been in the shoes he describes and that moment when a blank-faced suit with an air of false sympathy tells you you’re out of a job? It feels like a hand reaching inside your chest and turning your stomach inside out – and the only person to blame is yourself.

This isn’t a tale of black-and-white badguys though, so anyone reasonable person has to recognise that the closure of a magazine is a business decision made for intelligent business reasons. ‘Blank-faced suits’ is a nicely vilifying concept, but it’s totally unfair. These things happen and people move on.

Much as I sympathise with David’s story though, I still disagree with some of what he said. The issue of pay, for example, is a particularly troublesome one for me because I always felt I was getting a fair wage for the work I did – and strictly never accepted less. That’s not to say I was rich or anything but I don’t thing it’s fair to complain about cash when there’s bread on the table – especially when you put it there with a joypad.

Ultimately, I guess it’s different strokes for different folks. Personally, when it comes to the matter of improving the standard of journalism I think what’s really needed are more (and more varied) role models, rather than bigger paycheques. We have a handful of exemplary voices, but they’re few and ultimately lacking in both machines to rage against and ways to rage.

It’s taken me an awfully long time to learn and re-learn this, but review scores and free t-shirts aren’t the only thing worth complaining about and manifestos aren’t the only way to change things. We don’t all need to jump on the same bandwagon at once.

And there I go proselytizing again. I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

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