MEL magazine deputy editor Alana Levinson on quaranculture and pitches she'd like to see
I’ll avoid starting off this newsletter on the wrong foot…
Oh dear. Let’s get straight onto the latest episode of Freelance Pod shall we?
After you meet this episode’s guest, keep reading for a global letter from lockdown, links to free upcoming comedy writing classes and a free podcast event tonight!
Alana Levinson, deputy editor of MEL Magazine, Skyped in from lockdown in Los Angeles to talk about the lack of town cars in a 21st-century editor’s life; how the internet has changed the nature of celebrity; and how she and colleague Miles Klee decided to embark upon The Great Solicited Dick Pic Experiment.
MEL is a lifestyle and culture magazine covering sex, relationships, health, money, work and culture from a male point-of-view — even though they’re not all male, and aren’t entirely sure what “male” should mean anymore.
Alana shares advice on pitching her, the kind of stories she’s looking for and what she’s like to work with as an editor. She gets this endorsement on Twitter so I’ll be pitching her:
Global letters from lockdown
Lockdown has really blurred personal, professional and geographical boundaries. I’ve had amazing catch ups with former colleagues and acquaintances in the past few months, when we might never have thought of video-calling each other for a chat before. It’s made lockdown much less lonely.
I found myself fascinated by the stories I was hearing from different corners of the world - so I’ll be sharing some of them in this newsletter and in the next few issues.
Today, we have Abdulwahab Tahhan, a journalist, academic and brand-new podcast host. He’s also a Syrian refugee who’s lived in London for six years, and recently became a British citizen.
Abdul and I met through the London College of Communication’s Refugee Journalism Project mentoring scheme about a year ago. I was absolutely not his mentor, but I was lucky enough to read his outline for the podcast he’s launching today, Integrate That! It jumped off the page at me then, and it’s a joy to see a write-up of the pod in the Financial Times now (also available in print today). His global letter from lockdown is below.
Are you spending lockdown in a city that’s not London? Are you just about venturing out now? If you’d like to share your global letter from lockdown here, just reply to this email!
Lockdown in Turkey - Abdulwahab Tahhan
I left London on March 16, when toilet rolls and many food items were nonexistent in grocery shops. I travelled to Bursa, western Turkey, to stay with family.
Upon arrival, I went straight to the supermarket to buy the essentials, and nothing was missing at all: there were lentils, pasta, plenty of toilet rolls. I couldn’t help but compare it to the state of grocery shops in London.
Lockdown measures here are tougher than in the UK. Anyone under 20 and over 65 is not allowed to leave the house at all. During Ramadan we had a curfew every weekend, sometimes extended to Monday and Tuesday. Travelling between cities was not allowed and cities were sealed off. During the curfew, we would go down to our building’s gate and buy fresh bread, or pide, from the cars that pass by.
I can say with honesty, that I made the most of the curfew. I worked on my upcoming podcast, Integrate That! It’s by refugees and about refugees: we narrate our own stories the way we want. I hope to launch it in the next few months.
Links Links Links
Vittles is such a great newsletter about food and memory and nationality and hunger and joy and the restaurant industry, all relating back to the effects of COVID-19; the latest issue, on The Diversity of Caribbean Cuisines, is an education.
I held my breath through this story about Makeda Davis, who left prison in 2018 after seven years (pictured above on the day of her release), and found a world changed by technology, as well as a once-tiny daughter who’s now an adult. An incredible story about a life’s second act beginning at 59 years old (via The Profile newsletter, which is excellent).
The Succession cast breaking down four stand-out scenes from Season 2 on a group Zoom. I really do miss all of those terrible, rich, mean, funny, terrible terrible people.
Serve me everything Heather Havrilesky writes on a plate, please, I beg you.
Online writing classes
Join Angel Comedy’s Facebook group to find out more about their brilliant, free comedy writing gyms, which they’re holding Thursday-Sunday from 2pm. This weekend’s teachers included Ben Target and Olga Koch. It’s a ton of fun, you see other living human faces and it will definitely kick-start your writing.
That’s all from me, have a good week! x