More Thrills than Skills: A Half-life in Journalism – Part One

Over the next few weeks, allmediascotland.com is to publish, each weekday, extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More Thrills than Skills: A Half-life in Journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

I’ve always lived several lives in parallel.

Not quite on the scale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but there’s been a good bit of necessary dodging and weaving. You may not find very much, or anything, in these pages about the Paul Harris you thought you knew: publisher, disc jockey, discotheque proprietor, restaurateur, hotel manager, printing and publishing consultant, art dealer, book collector, writer on art, books, food and drink. This essentially is the tale of something more than a decade in journalism, travelling the world, and a few associated activities, some rather murkier than others.

I’d always wanted to be a journalist. I can remember exactly what inspired this bizarre deep inner-longing. Around the age of ten, I was the yearly recipient every Christmas of The Daily Mail Boys’ Annual. This quasi-literary offering was eagerly anticipated and voraciously devoured. In one particular issue, there was an article about the desperately