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Old 02 January 2017, 06:52   #4
Pat the Cat

Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nottingham, UK
Posts: 481
Originally Posted by TroyWilkins View Post
Hi and welcome! Pretty cool to have you on board here. I used to wish I was in the UK, as it seemed to me that there were so many more people who used Amigas compared to the seemingly few that I knew of here in Australia. I'd love to hear more about your experiences working at AF, how did the people feel about the "opposition", such as CU Amiga for example, I seem to remember there being some rivalry there, which I could never determine how serious or friendly it was, but perhaps that was more after your time there?
Well, gosh. That's kind of big ask for one post...

... I guess my closest work buddy was Trenton Webb. He later helped with Zeewolf and other, with a few of the other team members. I stopped by once or twice to say hi. His view on it was, "it's tribalism Pat. Us against the other Future mags inhouse. Us with the other Future Mags and friends* against the other magazines." Something like that, anyway.

* (and READERS, of course... most everybody read something from the place before working there).

Trent started opposite me on Amstrad Action, so I guess that's why I feel I was closest to him, when I worked there. I think I made a few enemies there. Shook hands afterwards with most if not all of that few. "Rival" more than "enemy", maybe.

I seem to recall Nick Veitch took over as Tech Ed from me, on AF, and he was headhunted from a rival publishing group (might have been CU Amiga, can't remember), so it wasn't like people didn't flow from one group of publishers to another. There was less rivalry, and frankly, drama, from the editorial side than the advertising side. They were the more flamboyant ones, generally. With a few exceptions.

Next in terms of flamboyance would the "crayons". The artists. Some carried scalpels. Most of them were still using them when I was there, because the colour flatbed scanner hadn't really arrived. I remember downloading a Mac Scanner driver via an Amiga on dialup, transAtlantic, for Dr D to use. A5 size scanner, mind you. Took too attempts, nearly 2 hours. Copied onto PC floppy and handed it to him, scanner fired up in 3 seconds. Future didn't look back from there, but it would have happened anyway sooner or later without me doing it at the time.

I was a "scribbler", a writer. Tech Ed carried weird responsibilies, but also a huge amount of freedom of choice and action in some respects. Most of it was listening to requests, saying "can't be done", and telling them how maybe 24 or 48 hours later. Not all magazines carried Tech Eds. Compartmentalization was frowned upon, mostly, if you wanted to see anybody, you went and knocked on the door. Throughout the company. Only Chris Anderson, the founder, had any kind of minimal buffering, and he was the best boss I've ever worked for. I first met him soon after buying and reading AA issue 1, his major startng point.

I guess you could say Amiga Shopper and Amiga Power were kind of Amiga Format cloned into seperate areas, double sales from the same source. There was kind of a rivalry there, but friendly. The mags had enough of their own style, if not a great dissimilarity in advertising. Adam Waring did great stuff there on Shopper, and he started at Future taking over from at Tech Ed on Amstrad Action. I think I got on pretty well with all the Campbells at future. Even the Scottish ones, Stuart and his brother, who did such outstanding work on Power. So maybe it wasn't as "tribal" in the sense you might think. (McDonalds and Campbells are traditional Scottish clan enemies, have a history of vendetta and feuding, but nothing like it in my time there at Future Publishing).

Yeah, the PC mags really raked in the adverts. We raked in the readers. Our crew. My crew. We were honest, and we did silly hours for not that much money (Bath is not a cheap location) but had big and little breaks too. Dave Haynie has written about realising where Commodore and the Amiga were headed in 1991, and I guess I kind of worked it out about then, or a bit later. Somebody bought up the 68050, and the A4000 never got a DSP. But there you go, CBM made way too many bad decisions, and the market kind of flowed away from them, for many reasons.

Anyway, I stopped because I couldn't do it anymore. Killer work, the press. Always critical, was turning me way too cynical.

EDIT: Oh, I remember. Dennis the Menace. It was a court case, so yes, I guess you could say the rivalry was pretty serious, but it was kind of a silly affair from beginning to end. Case dismissed, thank you M'lud.

Last edited by Pat the Cat; 02 January 2017 at 10:56.
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