Read about Joshua Lachkovic’s new literary outlet, London New Journal – a project that breathes life into the untold stories of the city.
Hunter S. Thompson’s name was spoken of throughout our entire group of friends – and for a long time without any of us having read his work.
Back then, I had one career aspiration: become a journalist in London. I didn’t think about it much more than that. Those were the two things I wanted. What would I write about? I’d work that out in due course. But no matter what, I’d be a journalist living in London.
Fear and Loathing came from nowhere for me. Watching it very late one night with friends didn’t have the same effect as reading it for the first time. The infamous “We were somewhere around Barstow” opener is a great way to start a book, but it was the “Strange memories on this nervous night” monologue that really, really got me.
This wasn’t a novel, nor was it just a diary, or a journal or a biography. This was journalism. But journalism like I’d never read before.
The natural trajectory from then on was to continue down that path. I read everything Thompson had ever written, then Tom Wolfe, then Norman Mailer, et cetera, et cetera. I bored whoever I met, telling them about New Journalism.
The problem was that none of it was particularly new. I looked at our papers with their weekend supplements and couldn’t find anything I liked. Even in the magazines I really loved, the writing wasn’t the same. Where there might be investigative reporting and writing, it wasn’t close to Wolfe’s New Journalism.
Outside of journalism, I found myself liking the equivalent notion of storytelling in other mediums. In TV, my favourite writer is Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin is famed for telling engaging character-based stories that rely on personal interactions more so than drama or action. And so it was with the written word in the modern world where I was most disappointed.
With the advent of the internet, this only intensified. Ad revenue requires page views, and to get those up, lists and click bait took over. The hunger in me at sixteen to become a journalist had nothing to do with writing lists or reporting on stories just to shock people.
* * * *
In February this year, I launched London New Journal. It is a digital magazine published to the iOS Newsstand on the last Monday of each month. There are no ads but it costs £1.49 a month to subscribe.
All the articles are over 1,000 words in length, with an average of 2,200. I don’t publish news, reviews or opinion pieces. Instead, we publish narrative-led non-fiction.
The stories are told by Londoners about their lives. This was one of the things that was important to me. When I discuss a passion for London with my friends or colleagues, we don’t talk about the city in the way that a review or a news feature might do. We tell stories. We share the things outside of what a review might talk about, as an explanation of why it must be checked out. And those are the stories I want to publish.
Whatever it is might be tiny. No-one else might see it. On the other hand, it could be something we all interact with every day but don’t think twice about. But if there’s something about this city London that you really love, then that’s the story London New Journal would be interested in.
London is made up of the lives of eight million people. And in London New Journal, I want to tell as many of those stories as possible.
By Joshua Lachkovic
Founder and editor, London New Journal.