Amongst many other things, Mark Michalowski is the co-founder of the incredibly popular Shout! Magazine and has been the editor for 15 years.
Mark Michalowski (Pictured).
GY: How would you describe your personality?
MM: Talkative, up-and-down, intensely annoying!
GY: And sexuality?
MM: Bent as a nine-bob note.
GY: Shout is an incredibly popular and long-running publication. What were the motivation to set it up and the secret to it longevity?
MM: It was actually the idea of my ex-boyfriend, Mike, who bemoaned the lack of any sort of local gay paper, particularly for smaller, more community-based organisations. The ‘big boys’ – BOYZ, APN (at the time) and THE PINK PAPER didn’t seem interested in anything that wasn’t London-based, male-centric clubbing or full of cash to buy adverts, and suggested we see whether a local gay paper – for local people – would work. We honestly didn’t think it would last more than a year, if that: and here we are, 15 years later…
GY: What is the strangest/funniest story you have covered for Shout?
MM: Oooh, that’s a toughie. The one that sticks in my head was the story of a gay man with HIV who wanted to return to the UK, because of his health, from where he’d been living in Spain; he wanted to bring his dog back with him but couldn’t afford it. Just by chance, Julian Clary was appearing in York and saw a copy of Shout!
with the story on the front cover – and was moved enough by the story to pay for the man’s dog to come back to England. Stories like that make me think ‘Yes, Shout
GY: In addition to Shout, you are a published author, can you tell us about this and Doctor Who?
MM: Before Doctor Who returned so magnificently to our screens recently, my love of it was, I have to admit, a bit of a shameful secret! After it finished on TV back in, ooh, 1989, Virgin acquired the rights to publish brand new Doctor Who novels, and a friend suggested I write to them for the ‘Writers’ Guidelines’. I did but didn’t get around to submitting anything until around 2000 – by which times the BBC had taken back the publishing rights. After a couple of rejected ideas, in January 2001 I got one of the most brilliant emails I’ve ever had, telling me that the outline for my novel Relative Dementias had been accepted. I literally did run around the dining room shouting ‘Whoooooo!’
Since then, I’ve done a few more, and some short stories and audio plays, as well as a novel for the BBC3 series Being Human. My website – at www.markmichalowski.com
– has most of my stuff on it, although it desperately needs updating!
GY: What are your ambitions for you professionally and personally and for Shout?
MM: For Shout!, I’d be more than happy for it to continue being a paper that Yorkshire Queer-folk seem to enjoy! Fifteen years is the longest I’ve done anything in my life, and despite the recession hitting our advertisers – and thus us – we’re still going strong, and we’ve got plans to update and improve our currently rather saggy website.
And for me? I’d love to write more Doctor Who – as well as some stuff that’s totally my own. Fingers crossed!!
GY: Anything that you would like to add?
MM: I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone that’s supported Shout!
– and me – over the last 15 years: I honestly couldn’t have done it without you, and that’s no exaggeration!
Massive thanks to Mark for giving the time to do this interview and also for giving us the fabulous Shout! Magazine and here’s for another 15 years. xx