London-based movie magazine Little White Lies is one of the precursors of today’s independent magazine boom. It launched in 2005 and quickly established a reputation for the quality of its reviews while also being instantly recognisable for its illustrated front covers. We join editor David Jenkins to look at his week ahead.
Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work
I’ll ride my bike in (weather permitting) which takes about 20 minutes. This mode of transport sadly precludes books, coffee, music.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your office
An embarrassing disaster zone, like a 13-year-old boy’s bedroom. I have a Saki KitKat box that was a gift from Japan. Some old Super8 Daffy Duck cartoons. Back issues of the magazine. Various wires and chargers for electronic products I no longer own. Some headphones, bike lights and expired batteries which I’m keeping until I know where I should dispose of them. Phone. Some Sharpies. Receipts.
Which magazine do you first remember?
Time Out. My dad was a subscriber for, I think, my entire life. First printed matter I was interested in reading without the use of force or educational necessity.
Which magazine matters to you the most right now?
Sight & Sound because it’s something I have read every month for the last… 20 years? And, I don’t know what I’d do without it
Can you describe your magazine in three words?
Indie for everyone.
So many films, but only six issues of Little White Lies a year. How do you choose the cover movie?
It tends to come down to films we personally like, and want to spend the best part of two months with. Also comes down to films that offer unique visual inspiration – we want to do something different with each issue. Sometimes it’s the star and the personality who will end up being the “face” of the issue. Timing is relevant, too. It’s very intuitive all told, and mostly cover films just slot neatly into place. We rarely have massive discussions about it.
How do you deal/ will you deal with the ‘disappearing’ of stars like Kevin Spacey following the allegations of sexual misconduct?
Our main editorial focus is on the craft of film, so we deal with matters like this as and when they become relevant. When the whole Weinstein / Spacey thing dropped in the news media, we had long discussions about how and why we’d cover it. It felt disingenuous to jump onto those headlines and capitalise on a scandal for the sake of clicks. But, with any event which shapes the film landscape, we would want to offer a broader, more considered take on its wider impact. We’re less interested in the perpetrators (beyond reviling their actions) and more on the wider ramifications for film. It’s also about channelling the relevant voices and opinion makers to comment on stories like this.
Are you ever tempted to move away from the signature illustrated covers and try a photograph?
Ha ha. No. That would be like giving up.
What are you worrying about at work this week?
Whether I’ll have time to get back to all the emails mounting up in my inbox.
What’s going to be the highlight of the week for you?
Cooking for my wife. Watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on TV.
What will you be doing after this chat?
Transcribing like my life depended on it, plus drinking sugary tea.