In an earlier post, I talked about finding some old newspapers, left in the attic of my home by a previous owner. I was chuffed to bits when one of them – a copy of the Evening News from September 1991 – had a story I had written as the splash.But on the pages of those three yellowed and brittle newspapers were a whole bunch of other names that I enjoyed seeing for a variety of reasons. Mostly because I’m still in touch (or at least follow the careers) of many of the people I worked with at that time.
Not only was my spell at the Evening News my favourite ever job, I think it was one of those happy points where lots of likeminded and talented people all ended up under the one roof.
The working atmosphere was excellent and the sense of shared endeavour was strong, albeit with a ferocious undercurrent of competition. The result was a team who worked hard and played hard together with everyone striving to get the best stories.
A lot of awards success rolled in at that time, but like any golden period (and that’s certainly how I remember it) that young team gradually matured, broke up and moved on. And most of them moved onto better things.
So what of the names from those newspapers of yesteryear? Well, the most familiar of all is none other than my business partner, Raymond Notarangelo, co-founder of Holyrood Partnership. And just to make my day, Mondo’s article didn’t only have a byline – it had a photo byline.
At the time Mondo was renowned as a moustachioed maestro. Only two other people had a ‘tache to match his. One was our editor, Terry Quinn. The other was Saddam Hussein.
I’m glad to say Mondo doesn’t look like this any more. He saw the light some time in the mid 90s and shaved it off, thereby depriving Lord Lucan and a number of Japanese soldiers (who didn’t realise the war was over) of a place to hide.
We still fondly reminisce about the bristling magnificence of Mondo’s facial hair, inevitably leding our staff to ask if there is any photographic evidence. So, they should be glad to see this picture, though I’m not so sure the man himself will thank me.
Of course, I shouldn’t knock it. This picture regularly appeared on the pages of the Evening News during 1991, when Raymond led the paper’s hugely successful fundraising campaign for the Sick Kids hospital. So successful, in fact, that he picked up 1992‘s Journalist of the Year title in the Bank of Scotland Press Awards.
After his success at the Evening News, Raymond went on to work for the Daily Record (where our paths crossed again), The Scotsman and for Beattie Media – including a long spell as the press officer at West of Scotland Water. A great man to have in your corner.
Other bylines from 1991 included (in no particular order):
Lana Montgomery. At the time I didn’t realise it, but this is the perfect name for a screen diva fom the 50s. I never got to knew Lana particularly well, but she was a real pro and prolific at this period in 1991 as the health reporter. She later ended up subbing at the Daily Record, where I believe she may still be working on a part time basis. She also married photographer Alistair Linford, not only a talented snapper, but one of the nicest blokes I worked with. I believe they now live out East Lothian and have a couple of kids.
Richard Neville. I’ve not seen Big Nev since last year (when we tried to play golf at Kingsacre Golf Course during a monsoon, only to admit defeat on the fourth), but still catch him occasionally and hear his news through a few other. Now the Deputy Editor of the Press & Journal based in Aberdeen. I’d love to see Richard get the editor’s chair he deserves. In the meantime he will have to console himself with his Southfork Ranch-like home where he lives with the lovely Morag and their two boys.
Barbara Buchan. When I started at the Evening News I was a rough-round-the-edges boy from Edinburgh’s most notorious housing estate, Wester Hailes. Barbara, on the other hand, was the poshest woman I’d ever met in the flesh. She was married to fellow reporter, Lindsay Reid, whose Porsche car with private registration was an early indicator of his entrepreneurial spirit. Lindsay founded and runs Grange Communications, a lucrative publishing business dealing mainly in calendars. Barbara is now even posher.
David Thompson. It remains a mystery how a man from Dennistoun in the East End of Glasgow has such a smooth line in Received Pronunciation. Indeed, smooth is the only word that does David any justice. A smooth operator journalistically, he is now putting his superbrain to good use (alongside the finest Oxbridge has to offer) on the BBC’s Politics Show. Dave was always a smoothie with the ladies too. Now he lives with his wife and in August the couple had a baby boy. So that’ll be an end to the smoothie stuff then.
Alison Dewar. Forgive me the red haired cliches and stereotypes, but Alison was a dramatic titian who ticked all the boxes – fiery, passionate and the woman most likely to set hearts aflutter among male colleagues. They included charismatic Aussie Sean Munday, who arrived at the Evening News as a sub. A committed party animal with a shock of blonde hair, he also had a constant 5 o’clock shadow which led me to nickname him Barney Rubble. He seemed an unlikely candidate to whisk Alison off her feet. But that’s exactly what he did and they jetted off together and spent several years working in Hong Kong and Australia. Now back in Scotland, they live in Perthshire and sub for papers in the Far East via the internet.
Stephen Rafferty. In the paper from Saturday, September 14, 1991, Raff had two bylines. One was on page two, over a story about a mystery bug at Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Pool which struck down seven kids. The other was on the sports pages – and caught my eye because that was unusual. Despite being an ardent Hibs fan and a dab hand at pool, Raff never, to my recollection, went in for sport writing. However, all became clear when I read the story. It featured a businessman who paid for a paint job at Hibs’ Easter Road stadium. This was linked to Raff’s true calling, as a crime and investigative reporter. The businessman was one of his shady sources and years later was jailed for his part in a drug dealing operation which saw a huge stash of narcotics stashed at a children’s nursery. Raff is mostly working in PR now, though he still dabbles in the occasional crime story. You can catch up with all his chat, media observations and other news at his blog, here.
Of course, there were others who didn’t have bylines in those copies of the paper I found in my dusty attic – Magnus Llewellin (now assistant editor at The Herald), Aidan Smith (Scotland on Sunday’s resident novellist, sports writer and interviewer of the stars) and Barbie Dutter (who is a highly respected freelance in Australia) to namecheck three very good friends.
Maybe others out there in Medialand can update me on other names from the Evening News Class of ’91?