In the first of a new series of posts where we get to know more about the Channel View team, we ask Tommi some challenging questions!
Some of our readers may already be aware that Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters is a proudly independent publisher and that we were founded in the late 70s by Mike and Marjukka Grover. Our Managing Director, Tommi Grover, took over the running of the company from his parents in 2006 and has led the team ever since. In this post we’re hoping to give you a little insight into the man behind the company!
As your parents set up the company, it probably seemed like a given that you would follow their footsteps into publishing, but did you ever consider a career outside of publishing?
Many different careers! After admitting to myself that I wasn’t going to be Britain’s first ever cross-country skiing Olympic champion, I considered a variety of different options including becoming a barrister, and even tried my hand at selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. However, I eventually came to the realisation that the book industry was where I wanted to be. Not necessarily publishing, but somewhere in the book trade.
Ah, so we can deduce that you’re keen on winter sports! As there aren’t many opportunities for skiing in the UK, do you have a favourite destination elsewhere?
I do. I always try to get to Finland at least once in a winter, and as the southern winters are getting less snow cover, for the last few years I have been going to the Kiilopää fell centre on the edge of the Urho Kekkonen National park. The countryside is beautiful so to spend a day skiing around the trails is the perfect way to get away from daily stress, and the smoke sauna followed by a quick dip in the avanto is the perfect restorative for tired muscles at the end of the day!
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised you chose Finland! (Readers may not know that Tommi is British-Finnish, his mother’s family comes from Oulu in north-western Finland). We know that you do a lot of travel both as part of your job and for fun, what’s the most interesting journey that you’ve ever been on?
I have spent my whole life travelling, whether that was wintery train/boat journeys to get to spend Christmas in Finland with my grandparents, or summers spent wandering around Europe in a camper van, my parents brought me up to understand that the journey was as much a part of a good holiday as the destination. It really is hard to pick one interesting journey as there have been so many! I’ve always enjoyed travelling by train and boat, as you tend to meet people in a different way than you do travelling by plane. I’ve struck up a few close friendships while travelling, and met a whole host of interesting people.
One of the biggest regrets about modern travel is how most of the interesting ferry journeys from England to Europe have long since been closed down. My favourite was always the Harwich to Hamburg route where, after crossing the North Sea overnight, you would then spend the morning travelling down the Elbe. On approaching Hamburg, there was a particular point where a band would play and welcome the ship into the city. I think most of the time they replaced the band with loud speakers, but I remember once or twice seeing a live orchestra, and it just felt very special.
Another favourite of mine was the night train from Paris to Bologna. Often the train would arrive around dawn, and you would get off the train just as the sun would come up and the city started to open its eyes, almost as if the sun itself was saying “welcome to Bologna!”
These all sound like great journeys, and I’m sure you’ve got many more in store! Aside from your international travels, do you spend much of your weekends out and about closer to home?
Tommi taking part in an urban orienteering event. Photo credit: Robert Lines
I spend most weekends indulging in my other favourite Nordic sport of orienteering. In short, it is running with a map and compass, trying to visit a set series of locations in the forest (or city) as fast as possible. During the winter, we have a Night Orienteering league which is the same thing but in the dark with headtorches. The pleasure of running on your own and finding the control points in the middle of a dark forest is matched by the drink and meal together afterwards where we can each compare notes and discuss where we got lost!
Not too lost, I hope! Thanks for sharing your stories of your travels and sports with us, Tommi. To finish up, let’s hear your response to these quick fire questions!
Summer or winter? Both! And I love Spring and Autumn too…
Theatre or cinema? Theatre. I love the fact that live performance is never the same twice.
Sausages or steak? Steak.
Football or rugby? Ice hockey.
Moomins or Donald Duck? Moomins
Tea or coffee? Good coffee. If it can’t be good coffee then tea is a safer choice!
Pop or classical music? Ooh tough question. Pass. I quite like silence.
Thanks Tommi! We promise to have the office radio off sometimes!
Keep an eye out for posts about the rest of the team over the next few weeks!