I’d been meaning to write about this for a while, but had never got around to it due to the sort of weird resolution of it. But driving back from my joyous Easter seaside vacation, I thought about it and figured it was a good a topic as any to write about.
Last year, while I was recovering from my tonsillectomy, I received an email from Alex Spence, a writer. He was writing an article for Metro magazine that was about, at that stage, interesting people involved with new media in New Zealand. I had been recommended to him as an interesting person to talk to by a mutual friend. It seemed like fun, so I emailed back saying yeah, ok, choice-arse.
So after my throat had healed and I was able to talk properly again, we met up at a cafe and he asked me questions about stuff.
Thinking back, I can’t really remember what specifically we talked about. The one thing that does stick is when he asked me what a really good web designer could earn. I had no idea of what kind of money such a person could be making, but he seemed to want a number, so I just randomly selected a decent sounding salary. Alex joked about being in the wrong business. I felt a bit silly.
After the meeting he sent me a big list of questions to answer, which I took much pleasure in answering. I sent them off, he replied back with a few more questions, and I didn’t hear anything further from him.
Then the December 1999 issue of Metro was published, and there, on page 64 was an article titled “World Wide Whizzes”. The article was classified under business. I could tell I wasn’t going to be in it.
I’d made it pretty clear that I wasn’t in it for the money. That I wasn’t prepared to work long hours for shit pay in hope of stock options. That I was more interested in happiness and fulfillment than money.
The article was about five geek boys. One I personally knew, another I had corresponded with online, another was a flatmate of a friend, and another was a friend of an acquaintance. Only one was photographed, and at least three of the four had had their names changed in the article.
And it was about money. Income is never directly quoted, being a societal taboo in this country, but is alluded to, giving readers the idea of how much cash these boy wonders are raking in.
Of course, if I had been included it would have disrupted the flow of the article. “This guy’s a high school dropout and he’s worth a million bucks! But she’s got a job working for a large corporation getting paid less than everyone else in this article, and she’s reasonably happy there and doesn’t see much sense working her arse off going after someone else’s pipe dreams, and after working many hours in one job only to be rewarded with glandular fever, it’s really made her value life outside the workplace.”
Anyway, it was a really good article. Mr Spence is a very talented writer, with a pleasing style of writing and I enjoy reading articles he has written.
The whole situation – of being interviewed for a magazine article, but not making the final copy – was a strange situation. It’s not really something to brag about (“Guess what! I was going to be in an article in Metro magazine, but I was too boring!”), but it is an interesting tale to tell. And it has been told.