Sorry, been a while again. I promised you an inlook into the first two weeks of my stint at Ny Tid weekly. First of all, I must say that I enjoy my work here very much. The staff is cool and the enviroment inspiring. Work starts at 9 am, I usually arrive a bit late since I’m bad with mornings, and the trams breaking down in the cold doesn’t help much.
Well, the office of Ny Tid is located in the old cable factory of Helsinki – Kaapelitehdas, or Kaapeli for short. Later-to-be cell phone giant Nokia used to manufacture cables and electronics in the factory, which was built in three stages from 1939 to 1954. With its 53 000 square metres of space, it was Finland’s largest building by the time of its completion. The building has from 5 to 7 stories and is built in the shape of a giant U-letter – with some extenions on one side. This results in a long narrow yard, which is constantly bustling with activity.
Located in Ruoholahti – Grass Bay – the factory was originally a gaudy white brick building. Through the years weather and pollution have lent it it cozy brown wash. Today Kaapeli is Finland’s largest cultural centre with 3 museums, 13 galleries, art schools, dance studios, artists, bands, organisations, magazines and companies. One of the largest actors is ELMU, the organisation for live music, founded in the late seventies when legendary Kill City in Kallio was demolished and need arose for live music venues. ELMU founded Finland’s first rock club Lepakko, which also hosted Radio City. When Lepakko was torn down, both ELMU and the radio station moved to Kaapeli. ELMU now provides rehearsal facilities for bands and a large stage for concerts and festivals. Other large actors are Zodiac, the centre for modern dance, Finland’s phtotgraphic museum and the museum for Finnish theatre.
You arrive to Kaapeli by tram or subway and Ny Tid is located on the fifth floor roughly in the middle of the courtyard. Behind original steel doors there is a large lift suited for heavy transportation. If you prefer the stairs you pass along a staircase painted in poisonous greyish green and white, further adding to the industrial feel of the place – or reminds you of an old school building. On the way you pass a couple of dance studios and an art museum, among others.
Behind a couple of more steel doors you find Ny Tid, which has a reasonably large office. It has the feel of a low-budget magazine with cheap wooden furniture, old computers, an impressive array of book shelves and an old sofa, where the assistant editor prefers to slouch while reading drafts. A small kitchen with the all important coffee maker stands at one end of the room. Further in you find the archives, copier and the former editor-in-chief’s old archive is situated. One of my tasks here is to assist Peter, the grand old man of Ny Tid, now retired, to empty his archives/office. Thus far I have filled about three recycle paper containers with stuff, and there is a lot more where that came from…
The weekly mag is led by editor-in-chief Nora and assistant editor Solveig, and the office is completed by part-timers, the master of the money Erik and layout bossman Willo, another long-haired rockanrollah. And fortunately Peter is still around to contribute with his immense knowledge and experience. The feel of the office is youthful and energetic, while still laid-back.
My day today started with an early theatre show for children at 10 am, after which I arrived at the office to finish an article about culture worker Nina Gran. Nina had mailed me some additional information, which I tried to incorporate in the text without making it too long for the layout. I then photoshopped an image of Nina, did some raw editing of my text and tried to get my e-mail to work, so Nora could have a read-through. Then followed the routine of taking out 15 garbage bags of Peter’s old papers, then I wrote a review of today’s theatre show. Today was layout deadline, and our layout guru Willo was home sick, so Jaakko, the stand-in man was swiftly hired to do the layout. Just like with any other magazine, layout day means hours of reading drafts, correcting spelling and layout errors and franticly putting together the last articles. Other routines for me include cleaning once a week, occational dish washing, posting and picking up mail, running on errands and a little bit of this and that. And making coffee. Of which I drink the most. And smoking cigarrettes, I added it to my job description myself.
All in all, I have found the last two weeks very interesting, rewarding and fun. But it’s easy to get a bit star-struck here. Today I enjoyed a cigarette alongside jazz star Timo Lassy, yesterday I rode the elevator with one of the Dudesons and the day before that I had a coffee in the cantine opposite rock star Herra Ylppö. I also discovered that Herra Ylppö is something of an artist, since his paintings adorn the walls of the cantine. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…