WHAT DOES KAREN CHUNG DO?
As editor I've been behind the scenes, replete with high-value Nando's card, making magazines for clients such as the Hôtel Beau-Rivage, Selfridges and Montblanc, so am very cosy in fashion, beauty, style and culture – a lovely mix. However, I've also created a gorgeous guidebook for a social enterprise and a lively website for a community garden. And I think whoever said never work with children and animals must have taken leave of their senses. Children and animals are brilliant! I'd love to do a magazine for kids. Especially if I have minions to deal with the tantrums, while I sip Earl Grey from the comfort of my throne. And it would be amazing to do one for a charity that's super cool and looks gorgeous. Imagine!
I started copywriting at Vogue, and it really took off at Wallpaper*, where my desk was in a narrow thoroughfare near the loos; as passing editors were always nudging past, I picked up a lot of work. My despatches have ranged from round-ups of European furniture fairs, to restaurant reviews, and musings on important matters such as the wearing of hats, about which I have always held strong opinions. My snippets for the early issues of Wallpaper*, in 'Short and Sweet' are particularly rich in nonsense-value and payback.
I am a nosy neighbour and led the creation of Lamlash Garden, one of the Mayor of London's 100 Olympic legacy 'Pocket Parks', here in my 'manor' in south London. We run a monthly gardening session on the first Sunday of every month, where anyone can muck in, buy our home-made jams (I love making jam), or just say hello. See lamlashgarden.co.uk, where you can read my blog. Having recently acquired, by mistake, a pet hamster with whom my little nieces and my nephew are besotted, I will also be blogging on: 'Tuffy: South London's baddest hamster'. Do befriend him: he's very cute.
As a feature writer, I have covered a manifold cluster of glorious subjects: architecture, interior design, art, fashion, travel, social trends, music, food and London's open spaces, for titles including Harrods Estates, Wallpaper*, Time Out London and Montblanc magazines. I think the fact that I adore clever one-liners, intuitive design, memes and beautiful paper informs my work, and it's nice to spend time on an interesting subject. Note to roving commissioning editors: for feature writing, I charge by the article; for jams, 'tis by the ounce.
Sub-editors: the unsung heroes of the publishing industry. Mission: to eradicate grocer's apostrophe's and other grammatical aberrations; to invent splendid headlines and captions; and to ensure content falls not foul of libel laws and bankrupt one's publication/agency. On the subs desk, I've overseen the fiddly bits in magazines, catalogues and brochures and whipped copy into readable, box-fresh fabulousness. It sounds easy – and have you noticed how far down the masthead sub-editors are usually located? Grrr.
I play the harpsichord and am currently working on a PhD in music history. I sometimes wonder, what is the point of a PhD, aside from the thrill of putting 'Dr' in front of one's name? And if anyone ever had the misfortune to have a heart attack in front of me, I would instantly be rumbled as a FAKE doctor. So I asked my mother (a retired nurse) to teach me CPR. Just in case. The point of my PhD is therefore, if you have a heart attack in my presence, you've a fighting chance of not expiring before the ambulance arrives. It also clarifies that I can research and write – excellent and useful skills for a journalist. Especially one who writes a blog for a hamster.