Sunday, 29 May 2016



It was a dream come true when Skane asked me if I wanted to be Art Director for Skateboard! magazine in 1989. I packed up my Renault 5 with all my possessions and moved up to London to join Skane (editor), Meany (deputy editor) and Steve (ad sales) at Advanced Publishing, an independent magazine publisher founded by journalist Mark Williams.

On my very first deadline, only 3 weeks into the job, the printers were hassling for the finished layouts and I had to go back into the office over the weekend to finish the cover. So I was the only one in the building, frantically working away on a Saturday morning, when a bloke came striding through the front door.

"Ere mate, where is everybody?" he asked, scanning the empty offices beyond my desk.
"Only me today" I chirped.
"Well, I've come to collect your old fax - new one coming Monday innit." He said moving towards the big, sturdy fax machine in the hall.
So I hopped off my stool and crawled under the desk it was on to pull out the plug and help him lift it. It was after all quite a lump.
"D'ya want a hand out with that?" I offered.
"Nah, you're alright mate - I can manage." And off he went.

I went back to my drawing board and spent the rest of the day on my own finalising the magazine and getting it all ready for the printers.

On Monday morning I strolled into the office, feeling upbeat about having got ahead of the deadline with the intention of delivering the artwork to the repro guys within the hour.

But I was greeted by the sight of a crowd of editors and production managers alongside the boss all standing by the empty space where the fax machine usually was. I quickly gathered that there was some confusion and concern - after all this was pre-internet, pre-computer and the fax machine was at the very heart of communications in those days. And here was a busy publishing company producing a handful of different magazines who all relied on that fax for virtually every word that came into the building.

"Oh, if you're wondering about the old fax machine," I helpfully piped up, "the bloke took it away on Saturday."

Everybody stopped talking and all heads swivelled to face me.

I started to explain about being here on my own and helping to hand over the fax. But before I got any further with my little speech everybody suddenly started talking again. Only this time they were using lots of swear words accompanied by furious glares in my direction.

Luckily Mark Williams ushered me into his office and away from the wrath of a company full of people suddenly facing a shitload of extra hassle first thing on a Monday morning. "Which 'bloke' took it on Saturday, Sqeez?" he asked.

Somehow as I began to repeat the story of the random man wandering into an empty office on a Saturday morning and then waltzing out with an expensive piece of technology, it became clearer to me that perhaps I had been a touch naive..

"Oh shit! - Mark I'm really sorry, I'll pay for a new one, you can take it out of my wages." I blurted.

Luckily for me he was a very cool cat and just said that I should perhaps be a tad less trusting in future as he called out to his secretary to firstly organise a new fax machine and then get the insurers on the line.

For the next few days there would be repeated calls to me from the hallway outside the studio..

"Fax coming in for Sqeez!"