Not The Features Ed Blog: Curiosity Rovers


One of the best things about working on the Features team is always finding out about new things. It’s a great job for anyone with an Alice-like sense of curiosity!

Proposals from our freelance writers are one source of new information. Another is researching our own ideas, whether for our Features team meetings or for the This Week We’re Loving page.

We constantly happen upon uplifting, fascinating or downright quirky things that are going on in the world. Chatting about these to decide which to follow up for the magazine is great fun.

A recent such chat in one of our meetings resulted in Alex’s feature in Special 204 about unusual musical ensembles.

Orchestral manoeuvres

Alex’s description of the Boston Typewriter Orchestra struck the right note from the start. Were there others?

Well, he’d been lucky enough to interview Alexander McCall Smith a few times, from whom he’d learned about that gentleman’s “other life” in The Really Terrible Orchestra. So that was two.

As we discussed the topic, I remembered seeing the musical “Stomp” several years ago. I’d been stunned by the troupe’s inventiveness in making brilliant sounds from household objects, dustbins, you name it!

And speaking of household objects, the Viennese Vegetable Orchestra must be one of the most creative ways to get your five a day . . .

Then we recalled that Gillian Thornton had chatted to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain for us, in 2015. In fact, it turns out that there are a surprising number of these creative folks around. And so, a new feature was born.

I’d love to see some more of those performers in real life. If you’ve been lucky enough to attend any of their concerts, let us know what you thought.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to find out what turns up next at our meetings!

Satisfy your curiosity by looking at more “Friend” features here.

Marion McGivern

As editor of the cookery, money, pets and eco pages, Marion covers a wide range of regular Features content. Along with the rest of the Team, she enjoys finding interesting features for both the weekly and Special issues that readers will love. Having so much variety every day means that over ten years with the “Friend” has just flown by!