Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lunch with Robyn Malcolm

On Friday we had the third and final 2012 meeting of the Wintec Press Club, hosted by Steve Braunias. Robyn was a good choice as speaker because unlike some of her predecessors – looking at you, Winston Peters, Michael Laws and Paul Holmes – she is not an egomaniac. She has been on the receiving end of terrible treatment by the media and, without whingeing, explained to the journalism students what that is like.

I can’t quote anything she said – for one thing, most of it was wonderfully rude and this is a family blog; for another, Braunias had said when introducing her that Chatham House rules applied. But she was clear about the compact with the devil that one makes when one sells a story to a women’s magazine – one can’t complain about media intrusion ever again. Topics ranged from Shortland Street (the writers described her character Ellen Crozier as “a slut in a cardy”) to The Hobbit (and here Chatham House kicks in). She was funny, feisty and a massive hit with the students. And with every single heterosexual man in the audience. Some of the married ones too, probably.

Greg King’s recent death cast a pall over proceedings: he was the speaker at the September meeting. Braunias spoke movingly about him, but then brightened the mood by announcing that all present – Wintec media students, celebrities, politicians, sports stars, newspaper editors, magazine columnists and freelance freeloaders like me – would receive a free pen emblazoned with the Wintec Press Club logo. It was, he lied, a strictly limited edition so was a collector’s item. Plus, it was free. And it looks like this:

The new Close Readers CD, New Spirit, is in the photo to give a sense of scale. No it isn’t: apart from the awesome logo the pen is a standard pen, they are all the same size. The plan is that this will shame me into reviewing the album sooner rather than later. The boast: I was the first buyer. The skinny: it’s great.

As is the new Maxine Alterio novel Lives We Leave Behind, which I will review too but Vanda Symon beat me to it. She likes it.

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