Tecla Ciolfi is probably better known, to those of us who live online, by her twitter handle @texxonfire where her bio states, ‘likely to drape myself over a baby grand after a few drinks – @yourlmg editor, blogger, music journalist and cosmo twitter queen.’ Which says it better than we could. After reading about her Oppikoppi experience on her music (and a bit of other stuff) blog Texx and the City, we had to find out what it takes to be a music writer in South Africa. So we asked. Here goes:
Between 10and5: Please let us know your official (or unofficial) job title.
Tecla Ciolfi: Iâ€™m the editor of Your LMG music magazine and the creator of Texx and the City.
10and5: If you studied, what and where did you study?
Tecla: I studied English, Media and Drama at UCT. Then I went on to do my Honours in English and next year I take on Creative Writing Masters.
10and5: What characteristics and skills does it take to do what you do?
Tecla: An open mind is key. I love listening to the different opinions people have, especially if theyâ€™ve been in the industry for longer than I have and have respected opinions. But then again, sometimes the most arbitrary people can shed light on a band/an article because theyâ€™re looking at it in a completely different way. As far as skills go, a good grasp of the English language is mos important.
10and5: What’s the hardest part of your job?
Tecla: I run on Italian time, which is a million times worse that Cape Town time, so deadlines are my fatal flaw.
10and5: And the part you most enjoy?
Tecla: Iâ€™m all about the free shit.
10and5:Â Best live music act in SA, in your opinion?
Tecla: Oh lord… uuuh… I reckon itâ€™s a tossup between Isochronous and Van Coke Kartel. I have mad love for both bands.
10and5: Weirdest task you’ve found yourself doing in the name of your job?
Tecla: When I first started writing for LMG I missioned out to the â€˜burbs for a gig, got a little lost and ended up in the middle of a happy clappy, Jesus-loves-me-this-I-know scenario. I didnâ€™t know whether people were baptising or exorcising each other. I never made it to the gig.
10and5: Any industry secrets?
Tecla: In Cape Town itâ€™s all about who you know, so that makes networking quite important. Also, itâ€™s quite tough to get going and build a decent portolio as a writer initially, so the more publications â€“ be it print, online or whatever â€“ you contribute to the better. Also, watch out for exploitation. Thereâ€™re a lot of people in this town whoâ€™ll ask you for everything but your soul and give you sweet nothing in return.
10and5: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Tecla: During my â€˜Flipperâ€™ phase it was a marine biologist and during my â€˜LA Lawâ€™ phase it was a district attorney. I reckon I just liked the way the job titles sounded.
10and5: Advice to those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Tecla: Be prepared to have people talk a lot of shit about you. Then be prepared to have those same people kiss your ass when they need something.
10and5: Something your line of work has taught you that you didn’t already know?
Tecla: How nervous I can get. Iâ€™ve always been super comfortable chatting to whoever in a social environment, but put me in front of that same person in an interview scenario and Iâ€™ve been known to get tongue-tied. Iâ€™ve found that a drink before/during helps tremendously.
10and5: Your dream job?
Tecla: How about securing a nice sponsorship that allows me to travel the world from music festival to music festival, watching and interviewing the musicians that inspire me on a daily basis? Sign me up babeee.
If you or anyone you know has an interesting, creative job then please be in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.