The Insiders: Doug Johnstone

Here’s the next subject in the second and final week of our exclusive look at the key players in the Scottish music scene. 

Full name: Doug Johnstone.
Age: 37.
Hometown: Edinburgh.
Job title: Freelance journalist for Sunday Times, Times, Independent on Sunday, Scotsman, Sunday Herald, Herald, Metro, The List, Big Issue in Scotland, I-On magazine – all on a reasonably regular basis.
How did you get your job? I’m self-employed. I quit my office job, did a diploma in journalism at Napier University and started trying to freelance straight away.
Did qualifications or experience help you get your job? Didn’t have any experience when I started, and the qualification from Napier didn’t matter a hill of beans to editors – most important thing was and still is enthusiasm.
What’s the best part about your job? Freedom to do what I want when I want, plus the fact that I simply love music and writing, so it’s pretty much perfect.
And the worst? Just not enough hours in the day to do everything. Having to continually hussle for work with editors who are short of time and often patience.
What’s the biggest misconception about your job? That it’s all booze, drugs and groupies. That’s the bands, not the music critics.
Who is the most famous person you’ve met while doing your job? Chris Martin from Coldplay, probably, although he wasn’t famous when I first interviewed him.
How long would it take for someone to be trained to do your job from scratch? It’s an ongoing process, you’re always learning, but I guess you could start making money after a few months of hard graft.
Complete this sentence: The amount I make for doing my job is… very variable, but never as much as people think.
Whose music is making you most excited right now? Ida Maria – a Norwegian cross between Iggy Pop, Bjork and Janice Joplin.
What’s the next gig in your diary? I’m playing an acoustic set with some friends from the Fence Collective on March 13 at Henry’s in Edinburgh.
Anything else you’d like to add? Never miss a deadline – that way poverty lies.

4 Ida Maria – Better When You’re Naked
4 Northern Alliance – Line In The Sand

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