2 min

Changing of the guard

Gareth goes to Ottawa

Credit: Xtra West files

The New Year usually brings us opportunities to change our daily routines and the one approaching is no different.

Now, I’m not one to make resolutions because I have learned over the years that, as far as I’m concerned, a resolution is just a limitation on living the way I really want to. So, come Jan 2, you will still find me lighting up in the smoking room, enjoying the occasional evening out with the help of copious amounts of alcohol and otherwise continuing to partake in the general debauchery of life.

But 2005 will usher in some changes at Xtra West that I, for one, am looking forward to. After eight years of running our editorial department in a style that could be described as anything but dull, Gareth Kirkby is moving on. Moving east to be exact.

Gareth has graciously accepted a promotion and will move to Ottawa to head up Capital Xtra, our Ottawa version of Xtra West. His abilities and dedication to his craft will no doubt play a key role in helping Ottawa’s communities rise to the challenge of creating a sense of self and, of course, fostering constructive dialogue.

I think we can all agree that Gareth was able to get that dialogue train racing down the track at breakneck speed during his tenure at Xtra West.

Now, I know that after reading this there will be throngs of readers in tears, unable to bear the thought of Gareth leaving at the end of January. But have no fear; Gareth will still be found from time to time in the pages of Xtra West. While in Ottawa, not only will he be managing Capital Xtra, he will also be developing coverage of the federal political scene for all three Xtras.

Working with Gareth over the five years since I started at Xtra West has been… well, the mother of all experiences!

I can honestly say that I have never worked with someone who has taught me so much about what I thought I already knew. I think it is safe to say that he has made many of us double check our convictions-sometimes making us change our minds and sometimes helping us confirm our initial thoughts.

It is only fair to also mention that working with Gareth has given me my fair share of headaches. But I have come to learn that good editors have an uncanny talent in that department.

Although I’m sure Gareth will be missed here at Xtra West, we are all looking forward to the opportunities that arise out of changes such as this.

For example, that other little dynamo in our editorial department, also known as Robin Perelle, has agreed to replace Gareth as Managing Editor of Xtra West. Although Gareth leaves a big pair of shoes to fill, Robin has, over the past three years, proven herself to be an exceptional reporter and lively writer able to communicate often complex ideas in a reader-friendly way. She has a particular talent for explaining to people why they should care, whether about a complex legal issue or about a challenge faced by one of our community organizations.

Whether you meet Robin in person or read her articles and analyses in Xtra West, you can’t help but be captivated by her infectious spirit and energy. Robin will no doubt channel this energy into giving Xtra West a fresh spin when she picks up the mantle of Managing Editor on Jan 1.

One thing that won’t change, though, is our commitment to our mission statement. Like Gareth, Robin has a keen understanding of our mission here at Xtra West. (You may have noticed the line printed at the top of this Naked Eye column in every issue: “The outcome that we seek is this-Gay and lesbian people daring together to set love free.”)

So out with Father Time and in with Baby New Year… At Xtra West, we will continue to bring you more of what we do best.

Ken Hickling is Publisher and Editor-In-Chief for Xtra.