AND THAT REIN ‘IND111 ME.
WB had long-established work practices and who was I to try and change them? may remember that towards the end of the last century the Tee family sold this title to
Haymarket; some may choose to forget that it then became my privilege to edit it.
Under-resourced for years, Motor Sport’s only assets were its name and green cover, then and now deputy editor Gordon Cruickshank and, of course, Bill Boddy — then a trifling 83 years old.
Working with WB was, for the most part, an editor’s dream. He always had something to say, had a unique and engaging way of saying it, was never late (and often early) with his copy and knew more about his subject than anyone else.
But his means of transferring his thoughts from his office in Powys to ours in Teddington was, frankly, a nightmare. Copy arrived by fax, typed on a machine that may have pre-dated him, with annotations typed or illegibly scrawled in tiny letters between closely spaced lines and quite often up the side of the paper.
Action was needed. I wanted to meet the great man who, even then, was not easily tempted from his home, so arming myself only with Simon Taylor and a computer, I set off for mid-Wales.
Bill and his late wife Winifred were charm personified. She made tea while Bill listened assiduously as I set up the computer and showed him how to open a Word document, write and edit his words on screen, and save them to a disc he could post to us. I returned to London, assured the office secretary her ordeal was over and awaited the arrival of the first disc.
I was still waiting when drawn away to freelance life four years later.
Now, as Bill’s family undertake the sad business of sifting through his belongings, I hope the discovery of an unused 15-yearold Macintosh will afford a smile at the memory of the day a gauche new editor visited a grand old editor thinking that, in one afternoon, he could change the habits of an illustrious lifetime.