'Dyl communication' is not a good title for a Dizzee Rascal interview by Alexi Duggins

Ok, ok: you are probably unsurprised by the revelation contained in the title of this post. But let me tell you, when I did the NME's exclusive cover feature with Dizzee Rascal – which was the first interview he'd given to any journalist ahead of his latest album – I was pretty damned excited to have come up with it. Although, admittedly, it only really works if you:

a) Have a pretty good knowledge of Beastie Boys album titles
b) Have a good enough knowledge of grime to know that Dizzee is sometimes referred to as "Dyl" by people who name him well enough to use a shortened form of his first name (Dylan).

So maybe that's just me, then.

Anyway, you can read the whole NME cover interview with Jeremy Paxman's favourite grimer here - alongside the headline that they went with in the end.

Recognised at an awards ceremony by Alexi Duggins

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I was recently recognised at an awards ceremony. Fortunately that awards ceremony did not take into account the speed at which journalists blog about having been decorated by awards panels, because given that it's taken me over a month to write this blog, I clearly suck at it. 

The British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) awarded me a 'Highly Commended' certificate in the category of 'Best Print Writer' at their 2017 Talent Awards. They've even given me a logo to use 'on your website', so I've put it here as I don't really know what else to do with it.

It's been a good few months for me in terms of awards, given that this 'Dear World' cover that I wrote for Time Out ended up winning 'Best Cover' at the Digital Magazine Awards (Second category down) and my Skepta interview  for Time Out was shortlisted for Scoop of the year at the BSME awards and won an 'honourable mention' for Best Features Package at the 2016 Eddie Awards (no: me neither - but praise is praise, eh?). Not, obviously, that I got round to writing about any of them until ages later. Slow journalism, yeah?

 

I've been shortlisted as Best Writer at the PPA Awards! by Alexi Duggins

I'm not 100% sure who actually reads these blog pieces, so I don't know if you'll have a clue what the PPA Awards are or not. However, they are, according to 'The Celeb Diaries' – the autobiography of ex-Heat (and, later on, Time Out) editor Mark Frith – 'The Oscars of the magazine industry'. Admittedly, he was probably saying that to make working in magazines sound slightly more exciting than it actually is, but it sounds good, so I'm sticking with it, ok?

Anyway, to my utter joy and astonishment, I have made the shortlist for Best Writer (fifth category down). Aside from being pretty much the most exciting thing to have ever happened to me (which it very definitely is), it will forever more mean that I'm able to say to people 'I'll have you know that in 2015 I was one of the 12 best magazine writers in Britain!'. Which, you have to admit, has a hell of a ring to it.

I deep fat fried an entire Easter roast and ate sushi off a man by Alexi Duggins

Photo: Graeme Robertson for The Guardian

Photo: Graeme Robertson for The Guardian

Yes, yes. The photo screams 'chip shop nightmare'. It is, however, the entire Easter Sunday roast that I had deep fat fried for me by Miss Cakehead and Jim Thomlinson, aka Fry Hard, for a two-page spread in yesterday's G2 section of The Guardian. Full feature available here.

Oh, and obviously, it's not healthy to go around only eating deep-fried food. So I also ate some sushi. Off a naked man. The below one, in fact. If you'd like to read about it – it was for The Telegraph, not some sort of fetish for naked dudes with troubling aromas – you can find the piece here.

*Heads off to eat the most normal plate-based meal he can find*

Photo: Jeff Gilbery for The Telegraph

Photo: Jeff Gilbery for The Telegraph


Jamie Oliver is EXACTLY as nice as you think he'll be by Alexi Duggins

For a 'Time Out' food issue in April, I interviewed Jamie Oliver a couple of weeks ago. Unsurprisingly enough, he's every single bit as lovely as you'd imagine. Polite. Interested in people. Remembers details about their lives. And so ludicrously busy that we had to start at 7.30am for him to find the time. And even then, members of staff were rushing in with dishes for him to taste. The full piece will be out in a few weeks, but until then, here's a picture of 'Time Out' photo editor Jael, posing with Jamie.

I played a drinking game with Caitlin Moran by Alexi Duggins

I love Caitlin Moran as both a human and a writer. So, when her PR suggested doing another interview with her, my tummy was all aflutter with excitement. Until, that is, they also told me she'd like to revisit our previous boozy debacle. At which point, it was mainly fluttering with thoughts about the booze-induced nausea that lay in the future. It was, if you like, Naustradamus.

However, it turned out that my editor loved the idea. Also, a Twitter conversation quickly made me realise that if I didn't go ahead with it, I'd be a massive wussbag.
 

But this time I decided to keep it a bit safer. So I set up a drinking game: ten quotes which Ms Moran may or may not have written. Ten shots of booze. Ten guesses. One hour. If she got a question right, I drank. If she got it wrong, she drank. The result? I got very pissed in the company of one of the most phenomenal people I've ever met. Oh, and we took loads of sozzled selfies. The full report's out in Time Out in a couple of weeks, but for now, a few of our pics are below. NB the eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that there is blood coming from Ms Moran's arm. The only explanation either of us have? BOOZE.

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I was on the Discovery Channel. In Canada. by Alexi Duggins

Yep, turns out I'm a pretty big deal. Amongst Canadain people who are interested in nature, that is. Because the below video I did for 'Time Out', in which I exclusively broke the news that you can play 'Snake' on your mobile phone on the fountains in Granary Square, King's Cross has, according to a call Time Out got from a Discovery Channel researcher, now been screened on the Discovery Channel in Canada. Which makes no sense whatsoever for a channel supposedly based around nature, unless they ran it under the heading, 'Spiky-haired monkey in London figures out how to use mobile phone!'

It's just one of the follow-up pieces other places have done on my video, including 'Metro', 'The Standard', and 'The Mirror'. Hell, 'Wired' even named it one of their '10 must-read articles' from March.

It's almost as big as the time I went round hammering tube seats to see how dusty they were.

I met Alfie Allen and definitely shouldn't have asked about Lily… by Alexi Duggins

I spent a whole Friday a couple of weeks ago hanging out with Alfie Allen, aka Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones for an interview in this issue of 'Time Out'. Lovely guy, he was. Except for when I asked him about Lily Allen. At which point he started glaring at me so hard I thought he was going to teach me a lesson by angrily firing his eyeballs into my face.