CV; EKOW ESHUN Editor, Arena

I remember writing an essay in my English class when I was 11 about what we wanted to be, and I wrote I wanted to be a journalist. I never really had any other ambition: from a very early age I wanted to be heard - before I even understood what I wanted to say.

In 1987, I went to the LSE to study politics and history, and in my first term I started writing for the LSE student newspaper. Also, through some friends of mine, I began working for Kiss, which was then a pirate radio station. Kiss wanted to start a magazine programme, and my friends and I started something called The Word, interviewing people whose music was being played on the station.

We did that for a year, and it was a pivotal thing for me. Kiss at that time was an amazing place, with about 30 of the best DJs in London - and among them were Jazzie B and Soul II Soul. The following summer, Soul II Soul took off, and this sense of what we were doing in London suddenly turning into a global phenomenon was very empowering. I realised then that if you had self-belief, and felt what you had to say connected with other people, there was really nothing to stop you actually doing that.

At the end of 1988, Kiss closed down to apply for a legal licence, and I carried on being a student. Shortly after that, I phoned up The Face, which I'd always been a fan of, and offered them some ideas. The first thing I sold to them was a 100-word piece in the Hype section, about the return of Kickers, which nobody had really noticed before. And after that, during my second and third year at college, I started to write for The Face regularly, and, later, for Elle as well. I was writing mainly about pop culture, music and fashion, because those were the things that made up my life.

When I graduated, in 1990, I went freelance, carrying on writing for The Face and Elle. And, because I'd got some experience from Kiss, I started doing stuff for Radio 5, when it first started, as well as for Kaleidoscope on Radio 4, and for World Service radio. I started repackaging and reselling a lot of my material across different media: I'd go and interview people for The Face, doing it on professional recording equipment I'd got from the BBC, and I'd then do a package for some BBC programme based on the same thing.

Then Toni Rodgers, who I'd been working for at Elle, became editor of Just Seventeen, and I was acting features editor on that for a year - my first proper staff job. I was supposed to be there for just a couple of months, but I liked it and I stayed. It was a radically different experience for me: I realised that it's very important as a writer or editor on that kind of magazine to connect with the emotions and desires of your readers - it's not just about writing what you will. You'd get sacks of mail every day - the readers really cared about what was in the magazine - so it was a very rewarding thing to do.

While I was there, I was also still working for The Face, so every now and then I'd disappear off to, say, New York for a week to do a story for them. Once, I went to Iceland to interview Bjork for the cover story. And I was still doing stuff for Radio 4 - it was a ridiculously busy time. Then, in late 1993, I got a staff writer's job at The Face, eventually becoming assistant editor. It was very fulfilling, and real fun: everything I did, read, listened to, and wore, and everywhere I went, I put into the magazine.

At the end of 1996, when I was 28, the editor of Arena suddenly left the job. I applied for it, and got it. And so began the strangest period of my life, because suddenly I had this thing that was properly mine - before that I'd just been doing things that were part of something else. For the first few months it was really intense, because I was changing staff, and changing the direction and look of the magazine. I wanted it to speak more accurately of how men lived in the late Nineties.

But, after about six months, I began to relax in the job, and the magazine began to have it own pace and own life. We've got editions planned out for the first six months of 1998, so now I can see what we're doing. Right now, I'm having a lot of fun. I'm editing a magazine which I genuinely believe in, and I've just started contributing to The Late Review, which is a programme I've always watched and liked. It's the best thing in the world to be asked your opinion and be allowed to say what you think.

Interview by Scott Hughes

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Administration Assistant / Office Assistant

£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone