To whom it may concern,
“Would your parents be open to being interviewed about their sex lives…by you?” and “Can you find me a psychopath, surely there’s one that’s done a TedTalk” are just a couple of questions I was asked at VICE that I’m almost certain would be considered out of the ordinary anywhere else.
I decided to intern at VICE while visiting my parents in Melbourne – partly for the invaluable experience and partly because mum doesn’t really enjoy people relaxing in the house for more than a week. I’d already pushed this boundary for 3 more weeks than anyone had ever managed before and it was time to get back to being productive.
Working at VICE brought back serious ‘1st day of school’ vibes. I couldn’t figure out where I fit in. Walking into the warehouse cum officespace, I noted almost every female had a micro-fringe, didn’t care for their bras and were letting their armpit hair grow (I’m assuming for feminism (but not their leg hair…still investigating this logic)). The guy in charge of me skateboarded to work and I was definitely the most square person in the room. On my first day, I sat in front of a girl who had piercings, a micro fringe and a mullet and she was making it work – Do you know how cool you have to be to make a mullet look good?
Covers of books aside, the level of wit and intellect was on a completely different playing field. These young, super fresh minds seemed to know about everything: politics, new music, current events, fashion, pop culture, art from every era, knowledge of drugs and their aftereffects. There were no censors and they unleashed this knowledge on their website on a daily basis.
While everyone was warm, they were incredibly focused and single-minded in their work. My ideas didn’t seem to fit and I didn’t have an edgy way of executing them – this struggle lasted for almost three weeks. No, I didn’t want to write about my parent’s sex lives; there’s not enough money in the world to make me write about that and I wasn’t getting paid at all, I’m also genuinely not that curious about the effects of inhaling nitrous oxide on the brain, I will however definitely hunt down a psychopath for your article on ‘how to get over breakups like a psychopath’,
I was almost defeated – I’d completed one interview of a Kiwi band and the editor edited in swear words so that ruled out sharing it with my Gran. One day I sat across from another girl, this one had multiple tattoos of various religious symbols of which I’m almost certain she had no belief in, and I thought sod it – I’m going to write about something none of them can, I’m playing the brown card.
And so I interviewed my Granny about arranged marriages. They edited out all the nice things I said about my Gran to make it edgier but I think it still turned out alright. She was cool with it because as the pre-edited version would read, she’s a boss.
I did learn a lot about good writing from this bunch of geniuses. I also learned that there’s a component named psilocybin in magic mushrooms which research shows when given to terminal patients can eradicate the feeling of dread and fear of dying. Fun fact. I’m not sure I’ll ever be edgy enough to work at VICE but damn, it made me want to be good enough to write there.