Media, Darling: My first record – part 1

Last year for the holidays, we asked some of our past Media, Darlings to share their favourite holiday traditions (check out part one here and part two here). This year, we decided to mix up it a little, and got them to spill about their very first album/record/tape/CD. The results were even better than we were hoping for. Without further ado, here goes the first round: 

Laura Serra: Culture Club’s Colour by Numbers. I used to turn our family room into a dance studio, jump off the sofas and boogie the night away.
Doug Wallace: Throughout the whole of the 1960s, I was obsessed with The Beatles. She Loves You came out when I was two years old, and the words were dead easy to remember! Aside from the obvious bubble gum compilations (so cheap and pressed for peanuts in Mississauga) that my teenaged siblings brought into the house every weekend, I spent my “drugstore” money on Beatles albums, until I had most of them — and then they broke up. And now, as they slowly die off (and their hair is brown still!), I have my eye on the complete iTunes set. On my list.
Flannery Dean: I have an older sister and so much of my music (like my clothing) was hand-me-down and consisted of mixed tapes (cassettes!) that she and her friends made. But my first big-girl purchase was a bargain-bin CD of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits when I was 12 or 13. I bought it because I had a crush on a boy at school who was a self-styled troubadour in the vein of Bob D (he was adorable and pretentious — adorably pretentious). The crush on the boy faded. My affection (One Too Many Mornings) for Bob Dylan endured. 
Athena TsavlirisGosh, I think it would have to have been a Madonna album. I totally remember wearing white fishnet gloves and belting out Papa Don’t Preach into my curling iron. 

Maryam Siddiqi: I have a horrible memory and can’t remember the first album I bought (though I have faint visions of Corey Hart’s Christmas EP — on red vinyl!), but do know that the first poster I ever had on my bedroom wall was of Wham! It was the cover of their Make it Big album. Many a hairbrush was used as a microphone for my renditions of Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, and I had a bit of a crush on Andrew Ridgeley. Fun fact: I’ve never really cared for Careless Whisper.


Sasha Tong:  The first CD that I bought with my own money was Blind Melon, you know, the one with that cute bee-girl on the cover. Need I say more than No Rain? Come on, that song is a pretty awesome jam and to this day it’s still one of my go-to Karaoke songs. You should also know that I went to see them open for Lenny Kravitz in Vancouver when Shannon Hoon whipped out his BLEEP and peed on a person in the front row. I thought it was really cool back then and I actually still do….

Randi Bergman: The first tape I remember having was a single of TLC’s Creep, which incidentally was purchased for me by my grandmother. I can’t imagine that she would have bought it for me had she known the lyrical content, but then again… I had no idea what it meant either.

Mackay Taggart: My first album, I’m hesitant to admit, was Boyz II Men’s sophomore CD II.  I was 11 and (at the time) far from soulful, romantic or deep…though come to think of it perhaps the same can be said for Boys II Men. My one saving grave was that the CD was a gift, however enough digging would probably reveal a letter to Santa that requested the title along with the latest air powered NERF gun. Looking back on the lyrics of the album’s hit single I’ll Make Love To You, I question what a sixth grader could really glean from words like “Girl relax, let’s go slow, I ain’t got nowhere to go….Girl are you ready? It’s gonna be a long night”. Nonetheless I had my hands on a record spun nightly by Tarzan Dan on AM640, so I felt cool. All this said, acquiring that album back in Christmas of 1994 was probably the closest I’ve ever come to having “game”.

Bonnie Munday: I remember playing Supertramp’s Breakfast in America over and over again as a kid with my best friend Sandra in her basement. I loved the lyrics and that the band was British, but listening to it now, it’s pretty cheesy. 

Paul Boynett: My first album was Never Mind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols. I bought it because my close friend brought over Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and I needed to cleanse my ear palette as quickly as possible (do we even have ear palettes?). I had never even heard the band but their notoriety intrigued me so I bought it without hearing it. From the opening sound of boots marching in Holidays in the Sun to the very end, I love everything about the album – still.

Funny side story: I left the album at my British girlfriend’s house and her mom threw it out.  I thought it was because it was so loud and obnoxious, turns out it was because bollocks was a “bad” word over in the UK and she was offended by the reference. Who knew? I guess the album was an education as well.

Stay tuned for part two of our Media, Darling’s first albums next week. What was your first album? Leave a comment or tweet us @rockitpromo.

Media, Darling: Athena Tsavliris

We know many of our awesome readers are regulars of the Media, Darling column, and we’ve got a little surprise for you. This week, we asked our Media, Darling – Athena Tsavliris – a brand new set of questions to shake things up a bit!

Tsavliris is the Toronto editor of Vitamin Daily. Her writing has appeared in the National Post and Fashion magazine, among others. Home sweet home is in the Annex where she lives with her husband, daughter and wacky schnauzer, in a slightly lopsided Victorian with a pomegranate door.


Her personal blog, La Parachute, is a scrapbook of all things pretty, quirky and unique.

Twitter: @VitaminDailyTor

How did you get your start as an editor?
I interviewed our editor-in-chief, Sarah Bancroft a couple of times for features I was writing for the National Post and Fashion Magazine. When the job came up for Toronto editor at Vitamin Daily, I contacted her directly. The fact that we already had a rapport and that she was familiar with my writing secured an interview with our publisher. I’ve been with the company since its toddler years.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
As a teenager, I was always mesmerized by the eye popping window displays at Harvey Nichols. If not media, I might have worked with clothes, creating ridiculously over the top windows or sourcing costumes for the pantomime. Wouldn’t that be fun? I could also have been a manicurist, like Dita Von Teese’s mum. I can paint 10 talons (base, polish x2, speed dry) in less than 10 minutes. No smudges. 

Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Phone calls are much more personal, but I think most people nowadays prefer email. I personally can’t always switch my focus to palazzo pants if I’m in the thick of a rice pudding recipe. If an email grabs my attention, I respond promptly. If it doesn’t, I’d rather not sit through the schpeel on why your client’s printed-rayon palazzos are the perfect breezy summer evening look. 

There is one publicist I’ve worked with who’s been in the business for many years and takes a very traditional approach – hand-written notes, formally crafted emails and voicemails that are as articulate as they are brief. However you choose to communicate, do so with style and respect, and you won’t fail. 

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and 8 follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
Ah yes, irrelevant pitches – hemorrhoid cream and flea repellent won’t make the cut, I’m afraid. I’m amazed at how many calls I get from people who’ve never set eyes on Vitamin Daily, so it goes without saying that publicists should read (even skim) a publication before making a pitch.

A misspelled name or addressing the wrong person is sloppy, but an open call is annoying too. If a pitch begins with “Hello there,” I can safely assume that I am one of a trillion recipients or the sender hasn’t taken the time to look at our masthead. Either way, it lacks the personal touch so integral to the journo/publicist relationship.

When you have 100 people to call in a morning I can see how it’s easier to follow a scripted pitch. But the schpeel sounds wooden and insincere, especially when I’m your 99th call.

Long, repetitive press releases, attachments and fancy fonts are other peeves. 

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Scent? Ren Moroccan Rose body cream.
Cookie? Walkers shortbread.
Flower? Soft peach Ranunculus.
Ticklish? Yes.
Shower or bath? Shower.
Film? Big Fish, Life Is Beautiful and Finding Nemo. I spot a theme.
Crush? Jeff Bridges
First job? Waitress. And a lousy one, at that.
Inspiration? Gosh, so many. But let’s begin and end with my family. Diana Vreeland and Iris Apfel fall somewhere in between.