Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 17th 2015 Contents Wednesday, June 17, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In remembering my times at the
Guardian, which now span four and
a half decades, I most clearly recall
two very industrial things.
The first came on my very first visit to
the paper, at the request of Circulation
Manager Mr Cardinez, for reasons that I
no longer recall.
I was a tween paperboy for the paper,
and the thing I've never forgotten for
that visit was the steady thump that
came from the bowels of the building; a
sound I would later learn was the
industrial thunder of a letterpress
newspaper being printed.
My other recollection is sited rather
later on than that, just thirteen years
ago, and it begins with the hard cracking
wrench and tear of wooden European
office systems began to crash down, the
start of a long overdue revamp of the
newsroom began based on a layout I'd
shared with Peter Gomez, former
General Manager, Administration.
Between those moments, I've had
what troubled lovers call an "on and off"
relationship with the paper. It's been a
time filled with achievement, the joy of
good work done and displayed in the
paper and the agonising heartbreak of
dreams gone awry.
I have freelanced there for most of my
working life and been an employee twice
as well, leaving, yet always inexorably
It's been a relationship that's seen the
burning down of the building, the
wrenching switch from typewriters to
Microtek word processors and then to
the arrival of Macintosh computers, the
first large-scale deployment of desktop
publishing in this country.
It was here that I saw the first colour
negative scanned into bits, an experience
that changed my life and career, leading
almost directly to 20 years of technology
reporting in my weekly column, BitDepth.
There are many others who began
their own digital journeys here, Kevin
Khelawan, the Michaels, Haynes and
Tikasingh, Julien Westfield and more.
It was here too, at the tabloid
experiment The Wire, that I learned the
craft of leader writing some 1,500 odd
The Guardian, in that space on St
Vincent Street, has given much to me,
and I dare say that I have given much in
Now the heart of the paper is being
transplanted to another building, far
away and for many, that first feel of the
beating heart of a newspaper will touch
them somewhere else.
Yet for me, wherever the Guardian
goes and whatever it becomes, that
subtle, infectious thrumming will always
echo here on St Vincent Street, where it
began, and for almost a hundred years,
beat strong and loud.
Mark Lyndersay has been a paperboy,
writer, columnist, leader-writer,
subeditor, interior designer, consultant,
manager, photographer, picture editor
and paginator for the Trinidad
Guardian. Former EIC Lennox Grant
described him as a "doer of things."
Government Spokesman and
Icould begin talking about how
Clive (CR) Romain was the most
clinical compositor I ever saw, and
how he would not drive a stroke, or lift
a finger properly, until he had
consumed at least a nip of scotch.
After hours, Mr Elcock manned the
operator's booth, and he was the
sentinel on duty, the part of the job he
took significantly more seriously than
husbanding the switch-board. To
extract a pencil, a pen, or worse, a
notebook from him, you almost had to
pass an exam.
You came to understand that after
dark, the venerable Evans K. Greene
would likely be found taking a nap over
the trusted Olivetti typewriter on his
desk, often enough as well, barely-eaten
food perilously close to his elbow, at the
mercy of a violent swing. Greene, it was,
whose long and pointed typing fingers
tapped on his keyboard with a beauty, a
majesty and a word-per-minute rate
that, put together, amalgamated to
present a picture or admiration. He was,
then, one of two highly accomplished
short-hand writers at the Guardian. The
other was John Babb. Between them,
they could cover a day's worth of
reporting, from the courts, or from the
parliament, getting everything down and
delivering pages full of material from
these proceedings, in the paper's
broadsheet format of the day.
Greene was a crime reporter who
knew everybody in town. He would go
the magistrate's courts, any one of them,
and be regarded with more respect by
the presiding magistrate, than either the
prosecutor or the attorneys on either
side of the matter. He would order police
officers attending a sensational matter
and jamming the benches reserved for
the press to "get up from there" and
make room for any novice reporter
intimidated by the presence of the men
There are many, many others, which
space does not permit me to mention.
And then there was Rudy, the
diminutive, fast-talking newshound from
the neighbouring 610 Radio news room,
comfortable in a right side shoe and a
left side slipper. Myers usually paying
him out of pocket.
All this and more, much more just in
the three years, 1973 to 1976, my first
encounters at the famous address on
Queen and St Vincent. The last of those
three years, I spent as the night
correspondent at the Airport Bureau,
with its own set of tales to tell, learning
from the venerable Ray Alonzo.
The building had long been rebuilt
after the fire of 1980 and much of that
flavour gone for good, when I walked
through the doors again, in June 1997, as
Editor of the Trinidad Guardian. But that
is a different story, for another time.
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