Over the years I’ve been sacked by more magazines than Joan Rivers has had face-lifts. But somehow I never see it coming. The arrival of a new editor just about guarantees it but a new editor may slide into her seat while the old one is still packing away her Newton’s cradle.
Sometimes a new editor will leave you twisting in the breeze for a while. I once survived six weeks under a new regime before I was invited to go in for ‘a chat about future projects’. It was a form of blood sport, I soon realised. I was the hors d’oeuvre before she tucked into somebody really important. Also she wanted to check whether I had any really brilliant ideas worth nicking before she flushed me down the dunny and out onto Broadwick Street.
Appealing to a younger demographic… new direction… difficult commercial decisions… it is with great sadness… I’ve heard it all before. Just take me to the vet and have me put down. The news used to come in a brown envelope. Today’s curare-tipped arrow was let fly by email. I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t by SMS.
In this case it was probably high time: fourteen years strapped to the gurney of an old-fashioned little magazine. I’ve offered to retire a few times, thinking they must be as tired of the sound of my voice as I was, but they always begged me to stay. ‘Our readers love you’ they said. ‘Look what happened when we reduced your double page spread. Riots.’
But now the men in suits have had their say and it doesn’t matter how many times it’s happened before, it still hurts. And the hurt is compounded by the instruction to keep my final column light and fluffy with absolutely no hint of valediction. Riot control, I guess.
Ah well. Good thing I didn’t order the new Merc.