Gordon Burns' Fan Zine...

Last night I infiltrated the Big British Castle (BBC Manchester) to attend a "Journalist Trainee Scheme" launch. It was basically telling the people that were interested in the scheme, the who, what, when, where and how's. I attended feeling a little bewildered about the current direction of life, and knowing only that I am creative, I can write, so why not? I sat next to a friendly bunch of people from interesting and different backgrounds who introduced themselves immediately. Nothing about this evening seemed fake, awkward or forced. Everyone was just, nice. Well that is the background as to why I was at the Beeb, but I am mostly writing this as a post to tell you a little story about Gordon Burns...

In the North West we have a news program imaginatively named, North West Tonight. It is presented by a man named Gordon Burns. You may also recognise Gordon from television game show classic, The Krypton Factor.

I was sat in a room full of various people, all either longing for a shot a journalism, or a chance to penetrate the big British castle and arouse its demise from within, or maybe, just like me, were there for a vision of a possible future. Suddenly the atmosphere changed. I felt my blood warm and a prickle at my neck. There was somebody famous in the room. It was Gordon Burns. He enters at 5.45, before going live on air at 6.30. I conceal a scream, grin stupidly and put a halt to any attempts at asking for an autograph. I am a fan of Gordon Burns. It constantly sounds like his voice is about to break, it wobbles and has an unruly tendency to change pitch. He is brilliant. He stood before us, all polished and ready for the News. It was bizarre seeing him out of context, I mean, he has legs. You never see that on air, but he has them alright! He begins into a captivating story about how he got into journalism. He speaks flawlessly (despite the little breaks in his voice which I was amused to find happened off air as well as on) without utterance on the subject and I wonder how well practiced this story was. His eyes never once rolled to the left as if searching his mind for the memory, nor did they glaze over in the fondness of telling the tail, his visual world disappearing from the BBC bar to the memory of his youth. His eyes were all over the audience, picking out the eye contact of various people. I attempt to hold it. There is nothing like a good bit of eye contact, especially with a celebrity. His tale was of how, as a boy, he had been in a 'Rugby' school. Football was banned. There was no talk of it. No playing it. Nothing. Just rugby. But little Gordy and his friends loved football. As a result they started a team and entered a league. It took off and every one wanted to take part. Before long little Gordy began publishing fixtures, league tables and reports into a little stapled zine, which he then sold using the proceeds to pay for bus fares to matches and kit. And they sold. When the Headmaster found out he insisted that Gordon stop selling the zine. That it was now. Officially banned. Then he suggested that he tried his hand at something more productive, like rugby. But little Gordy cared not for Rugby, he was all about the footy. So, he picked up his suitcase full of home made footy fanzines and took them a yard out of the school gate where he continued to sell them. Now that the zines were prohibited merchandise, all the kids wanted to get their hands on one. So they sold better than before. A local paper picked up on the story and little Gordy was taken to the local Gazette and interviewed. It was then little Gordy got his first taste for journalism. Gordon, if you are reading this, I am definitely up for writing your biography. I propose we make it in a similar style to your zines and sell them outside the BBC from a suitcase. I can summarise the whole thing in a similar way to how I summarised the above story. A page a chapter, a neat staple in the middle, a couple of quick sketches/portraits, and a photocopier. It will be beautiful. Call me.

1 comment:

Libby Scarlett said...

Please please do this Mandi. I bloody love Gordon Burns. What a legend. A true player.