Words – March 2015

Published this month:

On the blogs:

Second #HOTGV podcast and additional podcasting notes

Heard on the Grape Vine update

It’s been a little over a month since the first episode of Heard on the Grape Vine went out and, despite some technical difficulties, there’s been great feedback – so thank you! If you’ve enjoyed the first episode, don’t forget to subscribe.

Amateur Wine » HOTGV Podcast

Heard on the Grape Vine is also up on iTunes now so you can subscribe there too —> #HOTGV on iTunes <—

Second #HOTGV episode

If you’ve been waiting for the second episode of Heard on the Grape Vine, it’s now available over at Amateur Wine.

The second episode is alcohol-free and features Jameel Lalani from Lalani & Co on the world of fine teas.

The first time we met was perhaps five years ago to talk about the Japanese green tea matcha, a topic which we revisited. We also talked about the ageing ability of teas, food and tea matching and Lalani’s tea projects in Hawaii and east Africa. And some other fine tea related stuff.

Basically, it’s one for tea enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.

Additional podcasting notes

If you’ve read my previous post on podcasting, you’ll know I had some trouble using the Roland R05, in that I didn’t realise I had to press record twice. For this second episode, I made sure that the screen said record, and not just stand by, which is just as well because I didn’t take a back up dictaphone.

So the second episode was recorded with the Roland R05 in its entirety and also the first episode to be recorded outside of my home office – you’ll detect the occasional background noise here which shows how important it is to have a quiet spot.

The thing that really stood out for me when it came to the edit was how three dimensional the recording was. You won’t detect this as much because of the edit but in the raw recording, the strength of the voice varied a lot according to where the speaker was. For example, the voice was a lot stronger when the speaker leaned forwards and significantly weaker when further away. It was easily fixable with the amplify function on Audacity but also contributed a lot more in the edit time (saved by the reduction in umms, yeses and aah that I stopped offering). I’ll need to adjust the settings on the R05 in the future, or at least keep my interviewee relatively still, but I think this shows how sensitive and geared to music the recorder is.

A little less writing, a little more editing

I’ve been installed in London for around six months now, which is possibly the longest stretch that I’ve been in one place for a year or two. If you’ve been following closely, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been doing a lot less writing for other people and a lot more pieces for my blogs In Pursuit of Food, Amateur Wine and Culture Explorer

Am I ditching journalism for blogging?

No, not quite.

I’ve been doing more in-house editing jobs lately so haven’t had as much time to pitch stories. Incidentally, a bit of shameless self-promotion, but if you’re after a digital editor get in touch with me here.

One of these editing projects is for the Chinese edition of Cedar’s BA High Life.

Picked up this today, something I worked on last month #BA #HighLife

A photo posted by Qin Xie (@qinxiesays) on

But I still love writing of course, which is why I’ve spent more time working on my blogs where I have full editorial and creative control. It’s allowed me to put up more video content and start a podcast for Amateur Wine. I don’t really feel that it’s a trade off as it allows me to develop and build on my existing skills in my own sandbox.

I also took a month off in February to do a 30-day novel writing challenge, of no relation to the movement, which really re-energised my love for writing. Yes, I know – what a luxury. It’s something that I’m still working on, albeit less fervently.

The future, however, is in the balance.