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MC Slim JB on His Post-Phoenix Future as a Food Writer

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Yesterday The Phoenix announced that it would be abruptly ending 47 years of publication, which begs the question as to what will become of the staff, including restaurant critic and food writer MC Slim JB, whose Food Coma column ran nearly every week. Today the Globe shares further information about the closure, noting that employees "will not get any severance pay." MC Slim JB, whose thoughts on the local food scene have been appearing on Chowhound since before he went pro, took to Chowhound with a response. He says:

I'll keep doing what I've done for a long time before I even started posting on Chowhound. Like a lot of folks here, I get out and eat because I'm a bit obsessed with it. The privilege of getting paid for that nerdy hobby by writing about it has always been gravy on the fried chicken, and a role I've long noted is going the way of the dodo and the landline phone.

Slim also describes his food writing as "a hobby job" and notes that "it would be folly to complain about losing that perch when so many people at The Phoenix made their living or a substantial part of it there, and have been abruptly thrown out of work without severance." See below for the full text from his Chowhound post.

In his own words:

Thanks, everybody, for the kind words. I'll be sure to check in if I find another food-writing gig. It's always been a hobby job for me, so it would be folly to complain about losing that perch when so many people at The Phoenix made their living or a substantial part of it there, and have been abruptly thrown out of work without severance.

It was never about the money for me; I barely broke even on it at best. It was fun, a terrific platform, and I got the services of talented photographers and editors to make my work look good. The weekly and biweekly deadlines got me out of my own kitchen to try new places at least a couple of nights every week -- not that I ever needed much pushing.

It was a lucky bluebird of an opportunity for me. I was writing reviews on Chowhound when editors at Stuff at Night and The Dig offered me freelance work, and that led to more freelance work at Boston Magazine, Gayot, AskMen, Serious Eats, and then my regular columns at Stuff Magazine, the Boston Phoenix, and finally The Phoenix.

I'll keep doing what I've done for a long time before I even started posting on Chowhound. Like a lot of folks here, I get out and eat because I'm a bit obsessed with it. The privilege of getting paid for that nerdy hobby by writing about it has always been gravy on the fried chicken, and a role I've long noted is going the way of the dodo and the landline phone.

I'm saddened that this particular chapter in my accidental food-writing career is done, but my loss is utterly trivial compared to the greater loss of The Phoenix's voice in Boston media, what it signifies for the alt-weekly press in general, and its terrible impact on the real professionals there for whom it is much more than an avocation. That's what really crushes me about it.

· End Comes for Boston Phoenix, Alternative Voice Since The '60s [BG]
· Boston Phoenix to Close... [CH]
· Boston.com: Boston Phoenix to Close [~EBOS~]
[Photo: MC Slim JB/Facebook]

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