Illustration by @daisyleesonart

If there ever was one who could instil in an angsty undergrad a sense that success might come sooner in one’s career than expected, it’s Aleks Cvetkovik. Fresh out of Oxford only some six years ago, he quickly found a niche for himself as a menswear journalist at The Rake Magazine. He then moved on to become deputy editor of luxury men’s magazine The Jackal before turning freelance two years ago to try his hand at making podcasts. HandCut Radio has earned its stripes by offering a thoroughly journalistic approach to the fashion podcasting market, with its host always asking the question behind the question. Today I also hope to ask Aleks the question; Why?

I honest to God cannot tell you how simple life is as a student. If only I’d known! Because work is bloody miserable. To be able to learn for the sake of learning was such a joy for three years. I had an absolute hoot of a time, drank far too much, didn’t look after myself at all, mentally or physically, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’m absolutely useless with TV. Partially because I tend to work crazy hours and partially because I spend so much of my life is staring at social media screens for work because I manage a number of social media accounts for brands now.

There’s no support network when the tap gets turned off

This year has been an exercise in feeling grateful. Lockdown was tough because my work dried up almost overnight. A lot of the magazines had to turn off their freelance projects. That’s the game you play as a freelancer. You can earn really well when the going’s good but there’s no support network when the tap gets turned off . That’s the first time that’s happened to me.

I feel guilty because we’ve been off air for almost – I don’t want to say it – five months now, which is much longer than I would ever want in a normal year. It’s been a battle to put this one together because we can’t travel, and we’ve had to build the season up again from the start.

I’ve been very stubborn and stuck my tentpole in the sand and said we won’t do any Zoom recordings, simply because the podcast has grown very quickly off the back of high-quality production values. All of my mentors in magazine land have always told me “always do the interview in person.”

I was terrified that the podcast was going to bomb

I’m generally quite good at backing myself but I was terrified that the podcast was going to bomb. I said to my producer, James, “I don’t think we should put this out there,” and he said, “No, no, no, we’ve spent money on this we’re bloody putting it out there.” And, he was right. He’s always right, damn him.

I think there is a place for print [journalism]. But we have to accept that wide-spectrum, safe lifestyle magazines have lost their place and are going to continue to struggle and I think fade away. Print works when you talk to a very engaged community.

The full interview with Aleks can be found below:

Osian Williams

Osian reads English at Trinity, and is in his second year. He holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest 20 year old in the world.