My first introduction to Tina Brown came when Googling, surfing the web on a break; Orion were about to release The Vanity Fair Diaries. (Bear in mind this was near the end of last year.) It appealed to me instantly; the personal diaries of an editor, glossy figures, and the challenges of turning around a failing brand? Check.

I think it should be noted that this book is a thick volume; at over a decade, these diaries have been edited before being printed. It also makes me wonder; what has been left out?

Content and plot.

The introduction instantly sets the scene, with the first few entries elaborating further; Brown is barely thirty when arriving in New York as a consultant for Vanity Fair. The sense of frustration is also palpable from the beginning, in the sense of actually getting the editorship. Then: just how to save a magazine? 

Journalistically, the content is also interesting. There’s a lot about the editorship, the daily choices, moving in what seems to be a man’s world.As one publication put it in their headline, it was a supreme balancing act.  However, I’m not sure it would necessarily appeal to a wider audience; in this respect, the book is very ‘niche’.

In terms of style, I think Brown has a novelists pen coupled with a journalistic sensibility; she makes people instantly memorable.

I also like how the book has a wider sense of the time; there’s a sense of being on the edge, technology speeding things up, going at a quicker pace.

A note on the characters.

I think this memoir was timely in one sense, given today’s politics. For instance, Boris Johnson appears in the book, albeit briefly. (With my interest in politics, I was smiling at this particular entry.) There’s also Donald Trump-the domineering, overbearing character who appears at various times in the book. It’s slightly eerie in a way.

Should you read it?

If you remember the eighties, this is a book for you. (I don’t-being born well after-so at times I was left wondering “Who is x, y, z?”) If you also enjoy magazines, then this is also the book for you-it recalls what could be coined as a ‘golden age’ for journalism. I enjoyed it, although I had to plod through a little bit; I would have loved to have worked for Brown at this time.

Buy The Vanity Fair Diaries on Amazon. 

*You can buy the keyboard mentioned in this post here.* 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately-about being on spectrum, and the impact of technology. There’s a sort of correlation, even a relationship between the two.

You see: one of the stereotypes frequently levelled at me for having Aspergers is that I’m “good with technology”, or that I should probably be “good at science and or/maths”. (The latter I’m not at all good at. You could probably say that I’m good with technology-I’ve set up this blog, I know how to create a film… )
But… I like technology fundamentally, as it enables me to communicate more openly. I can talk with ease to people on Twitter, find my stories, create content for this website, network, and submit copy for publication. It removes the worry surrounding social situations for me.

Sometimes, though, I feel that technology is not used in the right way.
A story was circulating a little while ago, about the creation of a Robot to help people on Spectrum at work. This was supposedly to help them develop better skills, i.e socially-but it forced them to make eye contact. (Not helpful.) I don’t like the use of this technology-as I feel people with Aspergers/Autism should not have to be ‘normalised.’
There’s also technology used to spread fake stories, incite hate… I don’t like that.

What I like, though, is when technology is seemingly designed with the user in mind.
I use a MacBook Air, an iPhone, and the Keyboard shown in the pictures in this post.
Designed by Penclic, this keyboard can be paired with a tablet, or a desktop, via Bluetooth; it’s really easy! Once connected, the keyboard is a pleasure to type on. It’s also really easy to take on a commute. (It was also featured in a gift guide over on Criddle Me This.)
Technology has enabled me to communicate a lot better than I usually would; it has allowed me to make friends, get published, network, find stories. When it is designed for the user, technology is a wonderful thing.

If you are on spectrum, what are your thoughts?

Disclaimer: I received the keyboard featured in the post at my own request, in exchange for a series of posts. You can purchase it here. However, the views in this post are my own.

Growing up, I can still remember how I wanted to be a writer. I was the one, who would spend hours in the school library, dreaming of how I would one day leave a book behind on those shelves. This is why I am so exicted to introduce this new interview. I was very humbled to speak to Jacqueline Wilson, my idol when growing up.

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