MATT Bendoris joined The Scottish Sun as their chief features writer, 20 years ago this week. And during that time he has also written five books, in his spare time.They include two ghost-written autobiographies – on The Krankies and Sydney Devine – and three crime novels, the second of which, DM For Murder, was shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year 2015.
His third novel, Wicked Leaks, was launched last week in Waterstones,
Argyle Street, Glasgow, at an event hosted by broadcaster and columnist, Tam Cowan.
This year, Matt was named Arts/Entertainment Journalist of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.
When did working in the media become an ambition?
Truthfully, it was never really an ambition. But I approached a local newspaper, the now defunct Glasgow Guardian, and asked their editor, Danny Brown, if I could write a pop column for him. Amazingly, he said yes. I was just 18. But once I was involved in the industry, I couldn’t get enough of it.
What was your first ‘media job’?
The aforementioned Glasgow Guardian. £15 a week for the column and an extra £24 for occasional copytaking. I would have done it for nothing.
Describe briefly how your career has unfolded between your first media job and where you are now.
Local paper to The Scottish Sun, where I landed a weekly pop column, the cheesily-named Scots Rock!
But a few stories from that caught the attention of Piers Morgan at The Sun in London. He actually hired me twice, including for a stint at The Mirror. I returned to Scotland in 1996 and have had the same job ever since.
Any particular big breaks along the way?
Probably David Bowie was my first break. I had a tip he was taking the train – for a gig in Scotland. The expectation was that he was flying in, but, of course, he had a fear of flying.
Scottish Sun legend, photographer Mark Sweeney, did the rest when he snapped him boarding at Waverley Station, in Edinburgh. That helped get a foot in the door.
They also paid me £180 for the tip-off. When it’s 1989 and you’re getting paid £15 a week, that felt like a jackpot win!
Who would you like to thank more than most?
The late, great Danny Brown. He took a chance on a wet-behind-the-ears 18 year-old. If he hadn’t, God knows what I would have done?
He was probably one of the most important influences in my life, never mind my career.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?
I wish I’d known how important digital technology and social media were going to be, so maybe the industry could have been ‘ahead of the game’ instead of playing catch-up.