Annual Port Review: Dan Crowe

Port editor Dan Crowe on taking long wine lunches with Fergus Henderson while researching the Food issue, Samantha Morton interviewing Philip Seymour Hoffman and why Will Ferrell is his favourite coverstar

This was a fun year.

We started out with Philip Seymour Hoffman talking with Samantha Morton, a twist on the cover interview, but inside the issue we featured something even more unusual: the reclusive JP Donleavy, author of The Ginger Man, granted us an exclusive interview at his house in Ireland. He also gave us some work in progress, an extract from his new book. I love being re-introduced to someone great, and that we had JP at own home made it really special.

This year we ran our first themed issue: Food, guest edited by chef Fergus Henderson. It featured many of the greatest living chefs. Calling it “work”, we took long lunches and discussed pasta varieties with likes of Giorgio Locatelli. Juergen Teller took Nigella Lawson’s portrait.

It was our most successful issue to date, people seemed to enjoy us closely drawing focus on a subject, and so we have started work on our next themed issue, which will be out in the spring. That theme will remain under wraps for now!

“Next year we are looking forward to launching a series of
audio podcasts on diverse “Port” subjects and publishing our first book”

One feature that really struck a chord for me is from issue 7. The piece was the idea of a certain Daniel Day-Lewis, a keen supporter of Port from the start: he thought we should do something on The Fitzroy Lodge Amature Boxing Club in South London. An unspoiled boxing institution that encourages respect, hard graft, dedication, family, and punching each other very, very hard. Daniel wrote about the man who ran the club until he passed away last year: Mick Carney. The piece also had interviews with the men, women and children who work and train at the Lodge. It’s just great to have so many backgrounds and generations together in one piece.

Will Ferrell on issue 8 is narrowly my favourite cover. It shows him in a natural light: not in character. We wanted to know what he was like as a family man, and met him in his home in LA on the eve of the presidential election. It transpired that he is possibly one of the world’s kindest and most charming men. It’s a classic cover portrait – confident, serious, and handsome – but because it’s Will, there is a comedic undercurrent to it. He just cant help being funny.

Next year we are looking forward to launching a series of audio podcasts on diverse “Port” subjects and publishing our first book: Letters From New Orleans, by the acclaimed American author and Port contributor Nathaniel Rich.

Stay tuned, have a great holiday and thanks for all your support!

Dan Crowe