My magazine-editing days started with The Calendar (unless you include the school magazine Go!). The Calendar was published by International House Barcelona and started life as a newsletter for teachers in Catalonia. The original editor was Jane Cadwallader, who went on to find fame and fortune as an ELT author.

Apart from editing the newsletter, I also typed it, stuck the labels and stamps on the envelopes and took all the copies to the post office. The original Calendar office was a large cupboard under the stairs at IH Barcelona.

Things improved greatly when the school expanded and I was given a real office with a window. The newsletter also improved greatly with the arrival of Scott Thornbury and Piet Luethi. Scott’s writing and humour combined with Piet’s amazing visuals turned The Calendar into something very special.

Apart from including articles and information for teachers, The Calendar provided teachers with activities that were up-to-date, motivating, and that didn’t shy away from difficult topics. Back in the 1980s there was no Internet or satellite television, video was a novelty and the British newspapers usually arrived at least one day after their publication date. So topical activities were in demand.


Regular features

The newsletter included a regular comic strip about the life and teaching times of Toni Teffel, and there was Professor Badger, whose regular column was always a great read and who went on to write The Bluffer’s Guide to EFL. In October 1988, Mike Combellack wrote his debut “Computer File” column, announcing that this was the first issue to be produced on a computer.

 with piet luethi, carlos coria and scott thornbury in the calendar days

with piet luethi, carlos coria and scott thornbury in the calendar days