Tim Southwell on Bill Williamson, Midweek Magazine

I
remember tiptoeing about Bill for a while because he was quite an
imposing character. Pretty quickly, though, you realised that he got on
with his editorial team and you could have much more of a laugh.

You’d
go through periods of silence when people would be getting on with
their work, but then some of us would start chatting and there would be
some kind of ruckus and suddenly the whole place would dissolve into
hilarity – Bill included. It was a really good place to work.

Bill was always kind to me, always encouraging.

Obviously,
the first thing you want to do when you start anywhere new is get
writing some good copy, and he was complimentary about the work I
produced. That acceptance early on in my career was really important to
me.

Bill was addicted to accuracy. If he spied any mistakes, he
could get quite waspy about it, so you soon found out that part of your
job was to clean up copy.

He was also really interested in the
personalities of the people who worked with him. He wanted characters
around him, people who could make him laugh, who were by and large up
to no good – real rapscallions. The magazine always had a really jovial
atmosphere. Bill used to take us out to lunch a lot, which didn’t
necessarily involve much in the way of food.

That camaraderie
extended itself even after I left the magazine to launch Loaded. Bill
was incredibly supportive and followed the progress of Loaded with
great enthusiasm, even writing a detailed editorial when we launched
the magazine. When I wrote a book, Bill put me on the cover of Midweek,
and as a result, 140,000 people on the tube got stuck with my ugly mug
on the front.

I remember Bill was always quite keen on gonzo
journalism. I wrote a couple of articles for the magazine, as a way of
introducing myself, on things like surfing. They were self-effacing
articles, but now that I think about it, it was very much a dry run for
the editorial style of Loaded.

Bill always had time to listen to any ideas you had and nine times out of 10 he’d be totally supportive.

A
lot of good journalists came through the doors at Midweek and went on
to do great things. Bill was a great judge of talent, and if he sensed
you were worth the effort, he’d make sure that you were looked after.
He’d really put in the hours to nurture your talent, to encourage you.

That dedication is something I try and emulate to this day.

Tim Southwell is editor of Golf Punk

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