Friday, May 11, 2012

Cover me

This is a complicated thing to explain to you just to stand up the image there, but follow.

I am a freelance writer. However, through a budget requirement and/or a clerical error years ago, I went on staff for a couple of days a week at at Radio Times. I shrugged: what difference did it make?

It made a lot of difference to my accountant who had to periodically phone me up to ask why this bit of work was staff and taxed but this bit wasn't.

He's happier now because I am back to being entirely freelance. But this time, I didn't shrug. Instead, I crossed my fingers.

Because I've been there long enough to know that some people, some times, get a remarkable gift when they come off the books at Radio Times.

You're looking at it. I mean, they gave me a terrific send off in every way but the bit I want to tell you about, the bit I really hoped would happen, is this cover.

I can't tell you that it's a Radio Times tradition, because I don't think it is. Not everyone gets it or the art department wouldn't have time to do the real magazine cover. I really don't know how they had time to do this one.

I feel honoured. Seriously: this is Radio Times, the only magazine I know whose covers are so famous that they get republished in books, that have had art exhibitions devoted to them, and which each year are the excuse for the all-star celebrity Radio Times Covers party.

But I don't think these fake covers are well known outside the magazine so I wanted to tell you about it. And to boast, frankly to preen a bit here as there is no measure to how big my head is today, but also just to tell you.

If you can't guess and you don't happen to have an instant-recall memory of every Radio Times cover, what happens is that they take a genuine old cover, Photoshop you into it and then rewrite all the cover lines to chide/mock/belittle/kid* you (*delete as applicable).

You've got three questions now, I can tell. The answer to the first is yes, I'm getting this framed for my office. The second is that, go on then, here's the original version of that cover.

It's from 2008's cover for the Doctor Who special, The Next Doctor, starring David Tennant and me. I mean, David Morrissey.

As to your third question, well, I don't know, it's a very good point. A very good question. Hard to say. Very hard to say.

But I wondered too. Does this mean I'll be invited to next year's Covers Party?

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