Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Picture This

Blimey, the tiny media world I orbit is imploding. I've long been of the belief that there are actually only about two hundred people in Britain really and they all double up (I'm assuming I'm either not really a person or I missed the briefing the day this was all organised) but this afternoon's post convinced me. Pop Culture is eating itself (starting with Paul Morley).

I'd ordered a few books via bookfinder.com (no financially beneficial hyperlink- it's just for fun) last week. They're to help me with the book I'm working on, and at least one was going to be handy when discussing the career of a director of commercials, some of whose archive I started cataloging a few years ago. The director in question had once employed one of my previous interviewees and his son now works with another interviewee whose sister I went to University with. Kremlinologists should be able to provide all the required names now.

Anyhow, a few of the books arrived today and I opened up the biggest of the packages to find not only the book I was after inside, but lots of sellotaped newsprint too. I ripped it open and discovered my book had been wrapped in a magazine showing a picture of someone I used to work with. It was a picture of the editor with a little Q and A below it.

Bizarrely, the picture looked at first glance exactly like a photo I'd once taken of them in the house Gerry Thunderbirds Anderson grew up in in Hackney (none of us knew he'd grown up there at the time- I was only there transporting Play School 's Humpty down to a reunion with Floella Benjamin in a cardboard box full of acid free tissue paper- Humpty not Floella).

I was momentarily rather befuddled- two separate parts of my life were colliding. It was a bit like when you naively invite people you know in different capacities together- and find that not only do they not get on but that you are incapable of satisfying what is wanted of you by all present. I'm sure I've mentioned that heart sink before, if not (and indeed if) it's the story of my life. These things should not co-exist I thought.

Then I had a bit more of a think- I never express amazement when things I buy aren't wrapped in pictures of people I know and that happens far more often. I was buying a media related book from a bookshop that probably specialises in media related stuff and it was a media related magazine that my ex-colleague from a media related organisation was now editing. I think it was free too, so they probably had loads of copies for wrapping purposes. What seemed an incredible coincidence was just the kind of thing that happens all the time in a relatively small closed system. Britain/media/arts/academia is ultimately a Venn diagram with a tiny little intersection.

Still, makes you think, if only about the way you think.

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