Dylan Stableford Remembers the Time Nick Denton Gave Him Props

Former FishbowlNY editor helps us celebrate our 10th anniversary

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we sent out questions to some of the illustrious folks who’ve previously occupied the FishbowlNY editor’s chair. Our first participant is Dylan Stableford, at FishbowlNY from 2005 to 2007 and currently a senior editor with Yahoo News.

Favorite FishbowlNY memory:
That’s a tough one, because there are many. I would say the brawl that nearly broke out at a book party for Toby Young at Soho House. Here’s part of my recap:

DylanStablefordPicAbout midway through last night’s book party at New York’s Soho House — hosted by Nick Denton and Jared Paul Stern — in honor of Toby Young’s Sound of No Hands Clapping, Young’s wife, Caroline, broke up a near-brawl involving former New York Post gossip columnist Ian Spiegelman and New York Press writer and freelance gossipist Douglas Dechert. Spiegelman, the author of Welcome To Yesterday, approached Dechert before shoving him, sending part of Dechert’s drink onto onlookers. Young and his wife intervened shortly thereafter. Later, Spiegelman told us — and just about anyone who would listen — that a piece Dechert wrote got him fired from the Post, and that Dechert recently made scathing, “borderline anti-Semitic” comments about him. [The two have what some would call a history.]

An inebriated, rambling but surprisingly thorough Spiegelman said he shoved Dechert’s forehead multiple times after the two exchanged various pleasantries. [Check out Gawker photographer Nikola Tamindzik‘s rather excellent photos of the blessed exchange.] [EDITOR’S NOTE: We recorded a video interview with Spiegelman immediately after the altercation, which we will post shortly.]

Sadly, I can’t seem to find the video. But trust me, Spiegelman was thorough!

A standout FishbowlNY post, and why it was memorable:
I guess that would have to be the report I did from a book party for Arianna Huffington hosted by Tom Freston, then the just-ousted CEO of Viacom, at his New York apartment. I was taking photos of the party, including his massive walls of books and trinkets collected from his worldly travels. I think I even took a photo of his “to-do” list. (All of this stuff was out in the open, by the way. I didn’t go sneaking around his townhouse.)

Whenever I did a party report, my approach was to take readers inside the party. Fly-on-the-wall kinda thing. In this case, I guess I went too far. He got mad and threw me out, and it became its own media gossip story for about a day. We ran the photos, and then ended pulling most of them after Arianna called Laurel [Touby]. I remember seeing Nick Denton a couple days later and he congratulated me. At the time, it felt like The Godfather of Party Crashes giving me his blessing.

A media company or personality you especially enjoyed writing about:
The Jared Paul Stern scandal was especially interesting to cover. We broke some news on that and I ended up going on the CBC to explain to Canadian viewers what Page Six was and why Bill Clinton would’ve been on a plane with Ron Burkle and a bunch of models.

Weirdest anonymous FishbowlNY tip received:
Again, there were so many, I can’t remember a specific one. I did get a lot of hate mail through the anonymous alias. I used to print the best out and post them above my desk. (They were often really well-written!) I’m not sure what that says about me, but it was a daily reminder that not everyone loves my writing as much as my mom.

Best party invite or FishbowlNY perk:
Hands-down, the Time 100 gala, the annual black tie event at Jazz at Lincoln Center for the “100 most influential people in the world” – and, um, me. Working in media in New York, you get invited to a lot of parties, and naturally tend to get jaded about them. You start going to VIP events and then realize there’s a VIP section within the VIP section. But at this one, everybody is a VIP, and everybody has to enter through the same red carpet and drinks at the same bar. I’ve never been to the Oscars, but I imagine it’s as close to that as a party in New York gets. Actually hang on, Diddy is calling me.

Thoughts on where FishbowlNY fits in today’s much larger media landscape:
I’m not sure. I think it fills its role covering the fishbowl that is New York. When I was there, it was Gawker up here, then the Observer, Fishbowl, the Huffington Post, Radar, Jossip, Keith Kelly’s column and a bunch of others I’m forgetting which covered New York media obsessively. Now Gawker has gone mainstream, other sites have come and gone, and a select few (Fishbowl, the Observer, Capital New York) that are as obsessive as they were when I was there. So I think it fits in by fulfilling the promise of its name.

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