From Birmingham to Marbella: Why I’m A Terrible Journalist

Harry Goodwin 5 March 2022
Image Credit: Hstikkytokky

During the small hours of this morning, I tossed and turned in the cesspit of my consciousness. I had betrayed myself. At the Peterhouse History Dinner, the great and good of the college had flattered me with a range of interesting questions like ‘What are you going to do when you graduate?’, ‘What are you going to do when you graduate?’ and ‘What are you going to do when you graduate?’ I answered that I was applying to every newspaper under the sun, including The Sun. Assured that I will never out-earn them or redeem my reputation, my interrogators smiled and withdrew.

The truth is that I am not cut out to be a journalist. A recent feedback email from a major UK broadcaster informs me that although I am curious and creative, I lack the inclination to cooperate with others. I could reply that you can have the capacity for teamwork without liking it, but it’s been suggested this would only exacerbate the recruiters’ impression (and my mother’s) that I’m a smug git. The email also claimed, to my bewilderment, that my grasp of libel law leaves something to be desired. On top of this, there was the nice postgrad who told me that although I can string a sentence or two together, reading my articles can be frustrating since at least half of them commit hate speech. She’s not wrong, but how else was I meant to get on the Spectator’s podcast?

What I really want to do when I graduate is spend all day watching YouTube in my pyjamas (or, to use the proper term for this, do an MPhil). Better still, I could give up the journalistic ghost and become a YouTuber. I had a taste of this when a different recruiter asked me to film my ugly mug gibbering about my ‘skillset’ for ninety seconds. My submission, ‘Harry Goodwin Reacts to Harry Goodwin’s CV (Try Not To Laugh Challenge)’, alerted me to my undiscovered talent. What better way to fill up the long lonely evenings in my room than to join the YouTube morons who have brought such sweet solace to me?

It’s been said, self-regardingly, that as you become more intelligent, the great books you read and re-read become more intelligent too. The opposite might be said of such one-minute wonders as Kyriakos Grizzly’s ‘i know what men can do when theyre angry’ and RasNotty’s ‘Kato caught slipping str8 mustard face’, not to mention the ten-second knockout ‘Sonic Adventure 2 – “I miss my wife”’. The more obnoxious and ill-adjusted they make me, the less I notice. These are remarkable videos, best watched immediately after making love or on your deathbed. When I contribute to their number, I’ll end up like ‘celebrity landlord’ Hard Rock Nick, flexing my $3000 cologne collection while my youth slips away.

After all, the average melt on YouTube gets more money, fun and fame in a week than the most deserving journalists and historians get in a lifetime. The lifestyle vlogger Hstikkytokky is a few months younger than me. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched the videos he posts with titles like ‘Dropping Loose Game On Police & Changing Homeless Guys Life’, ‘We Got Kicked Out The Beach Club!’ and ‘From Birmingham to Marbella’. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched him fall in a manhole, get arrested outside a school and say, upon meeting a Colombian woman, ‘I never been to a Cumberland bird’. They love him, and I suppose I do too. Younger than me, he has brought more laughter to the world than I ever will.

Of course, I couldn’t say any of this at the History Dinner, let alone on LinkedIn. So here’s to my cover-letter self: determined journalist, fearless editor, committed to speaking truth to power everywhere except my CV.