News Archives

The More They Stay The Same

People of Neverland, Jas Hook here.  My darling Wendy recently brought it to my attention that her family’s local newspaper has been floundering.  This news kicked me back on my heels, and spurred me on to do something about it; not just because the Kensington Chronicle matters to Wendy but because it matters to me.  I, too, read John’s editorials week in and week out, and take no small source of pleasure from Michael’s Dear Darling videos.  What’s more, even though I’ve spent the better part of my life far from the town I first called home, an important part of my heart has always been in Neverland.  For a long time, I was the only out-of-state subscriber to the Chronicle.  Shipping a copy to New York on a daily basis is not the cheapest proposition in the world, but being the CEO of a massive global conglomerate like JH Media does occasionally have its privileges.  Honestly, my advisors recommended against acquiring the Chronicle; “It doesn’t make any sense,” they told me, “Not from a financial standpoint.” Well, I’ll tell all of you exactly what I told them: JH Media is about more than just what makes “financial sense.”

I didn’t really know Mr. George Darling very well in high school, but I’ve spent a great deal of time with him on my most recent visit to Neverland.  And I’m happy to report that he’s every bit the charming, local hero that the paper makes him out to be.  His passion for the Chronicle is unmatched (except, perhaps, by that of his son John), and I’m proud to say that more than a little of that passion has rubbed off on me.  Like George said in his last editorial, the Kensington Chronicle is a Neverland institution.  And as such, I want to inform everyone that JH Media maintains a commitment to making as few changes as possible.  With that in mind, for as long as he’s willing and able, there will always be a place for Mr. George Darling at the helm.

I know that John Darling, editor of our online edition, is a prototypical Neverlandian in his reluctance to embrace change.  It’s my understanding that he’s not been taking the paper’s sale  particularly well, which is why he hasn’t written any editorials for the past several weeks.  But I want to make it clear that I know John’s aversion to the new status quo has nothing to do with me or my company; John and I have enjoyed nothing but the most cordial of relationships since I came into his sister Wendy’s life.  I think John is just having trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that the family business is no longer all in the family.  But I have no doubt that John will come around, and his position will be waiting for him when he does.  Because, as a longtime reader, I understand that the Kensington Chronicle needs John Darling as much as he needs it.

So take heart, people of Neverland: your beloved local newspaper isn’t going anywhere.  If anything, I’m committed to making the Kensington Chronicle better than ever.  I’d also like to invite your input during this period of transition, to make sure we’re putting out a paper that meets, and hopefully even exceeds, your needs.  Despite my complicated history with Neverland, in my heart it’s always been my home.  It is an incredible honor to shepherd my favorite local paper into what I know will be a new era of prosperity, and I’m fully aware of the great responsibility that that entails.  Your stories are the heart of Neverland, constant readers, and we’re going to keep telling your stories.  Because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on September 9, 2015

Dear Darling – SELF HELP!

Dear Darling,
Hey Michael it’s Michael! How are you? Never mind I know exactly how you’re doing – you’re freaking out! Everything is changing and I don’t know what to do! Today I saw John wearing a wrinkled shirt. A WRINKLED SHIRT!!! If that is not a clear sign that these are the end times than I don’t know what is! So I guess my question to me is…How do you stay calm when you have no friggin’ idea what will happen next, and down is up, and right is wrong, and good is bad, and you’re completely OUT OF CHEESY POOFS!?!?!?!!1

Sincerely Michael Darling.

Well, Michael I can tell by your punctuation that you are A) very handsome B) very cool and C) super stressed out.  And my advice to you is…I DON’T KNOW!  And what do I do when I’m lost?  Watch cartoons!!! So please enjoy this advice:

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on September 9, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 9/1/15

Party Patrol. There was a lot of build-up to Sarah-Jane Lakewood’s NYC engagement party this week. After she enlisted security help from Teresa Delacruz and Sheriff Lestrade, the Neverland Fate Stalkers were called to expand their normal matchmaking duties to include public safety. They may be lovers, not fighters, but Neverland stayed quiet except for a few rustling shrubs.

A Michaelstone! Kensington Chronicle’s resident advice columnist and vlogger Michael Darling celebrated his 100th episode of Dear Darling this week. His unique blend of heartfelt advice and off-the-wall antics have made for quite a run. Here’s hoping he’ll have a hundred more great episodes – maybe guest starring his sister and new boss-in-law Wendy!

My Fair Soiree. As expected, Ms. Lakewood’s engagement party was quite the event! The guest list included Cecco, Ed Teynte, her roller derby crew, Marvel executives, Chris Pratt and Mermaid Lagoon. Neverlandians in attendance were Wendy Darling, Jas Hook, Sheriff Lestrade, Bri Valdivia, Nanny Ams, and Fish Girl Pond. The surprise of the night was when Special Guest Julie Andrews came out of retirement to sing to the couple.

Editor-in-Grief. If you have been keeping up with the paper through this difficult transition, you may be missing a certain voice. If the Kensington Chronicle is the heart of Neverland, then John Darling is the heart of the Kensington Chronicle. We here at the paper miss his passion and commitment, and look forward to his return! Now back to my absolutely filthy desk…

All My Single Landies! A certain gossip columnist promised to feature sexy singles in her column sometime. Well, carpe date ’em! If you’d like to be mentioned, DM me with a little bio about yourself and what you’re looking for in a significant other. Summer’s coming to an end, and as that crisp fall weather approaches, we all deserve someone special to cuddle up to.

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on September 1, 2015

Shuffling Paper

Pop culture has done a lot to romanticize the notion of a captain going down with his ship.  Now, that might be an honorable decision once you’ve gotten everybody to the lifeboats.  But if your crew’s still onboard, it’s the captain’s duty to keep the ship afloat at all costs.  Even if that means ceding control of your boat to someone better equipped to stay its course.  Okay, let me back up for a minute, because this metaphor is getting unnecessarily dramatic.

George Darling here, longtime Editor in Chief and owner of the Kensington Chronicle, writing to explain why I’m not the paper’s owner anymore.  As many of you have no doubt already heard, I recently sold the Kensington Chronicle to JH Media.  After considering all the options, I found this to be the best one for everyone involved.  But just because it was the right choice, the only choice, doesn’t make it any easier for me, or for my family.  The Chronicle has been owned and operated by a Darling since my ancestor Kensington founded it in 1862, after all.

Now, the question on a lot of your lips is probably, how did it all come to this?  Well, in recent months, I’ve been candid on the Twitter about the paper’s financial difficulties.  And, truth be told, I wasn’t making the situation out to be quite as dire as it even was.  We were maybe just a few months out from me having to close the doors to the Chronicle for good.  And the fact of the matter is, I’ve got my employees to think about, some of my closest friends and kin, and some of the best newspapermen and women that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.  They’re the crew members I talked about in the boat metaphor, the ones I can’t bear to see go down with the ship with me.  But even more than that, The Kensington Chronicle is a Neverland institution.  When we’re at our best, we’re providing the kind of relevant, hyperlocal news that I truly believe every Neverland resident has an inalienable right to.  So even if there wasn’t a whole staff of people whose livelihoods depended on the paper staying open, I couldn’t be so prideful as to deprive my community of its lifeblood just because I don’t want to see another man’s name on the masthead.

Mr. Jas Hook, owner of JH Media, and now, by extension, the Kensington Chronicle, has a reputation as a bit of a shark in the corporate world, but I think that reputation is undeserved.  For the better part of the past year, my daughter has been working at JH Media’s corporate headquarters in New York City, and what Jas has done for her since she got there, both personally and professionally, is something I don’t think I’ll ever be adequately able to thank him for.  And this was by no means a hostile takeover, not by a longshot.  I wouldn’t even say it was the best of some bad options.  Ultimately, I believe it’ll be a privilege to work for and with Mr. Hook, and that the JH Media name will give our local rag more resources than we’ve ever had before.  I’ll still be in charge of the day-to-day operations at the paper, and I’ll tell you this much: Not that much is going to change.  Not if I have anything to say about it.  Guess pretty soon we’ll see just how much my word still counts around here.

Oh, and lastly, a few of you have been asking after John.  I gotta tell you, he’s taken the news of the Chronicle sale harder than anyone.  Harder than I ever could have anticipated.  Suffice to say, me writing this week’s column was about more than me wanting to have a heart-to-heart with all of you loyal readers out there; John is also not in a great headspace at the moment.  I suspect he’ll resume his regularly-scheduled editorials soon, as he starts to come to grips with the new status quo around here.  He’ll be okay, we’ve weathered worse than this.  But thank you all for your kinds letters, on his behalf and mine.  We’re all still here, and we’re going to work just as hard for you as we did before.  Because when you get right down to it, no matter who’s signing our paychecks, The Kensington Chronicle is about Neverland.  And outside of my family, there’s nothing in this world I love more.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 31, 2015

Panlet

Last night, former Kensington Chronicle cartoonist Peter Pan mounted a production of his “original” play “Panlet” at the Neverland Community Theatre.  For those of you who were not fortunate enough to attend, we’ve archived the performance here:

CREDITS

WRITTEN/DIRECTED BY
Peter Pan

CAST

Peter Pan as PANLET
Michael Darling as DANGERPANTZ
John Darling as JOHN-THE-STERN
G. Harrison Lestrade as THE GHOST OF PANCULES
Teresa Delacruz as QUEEN GWENDOLYN
Rowan O’Connor as JAS HOOK
Morgan Skylights as NARRATOR

MUSIC BY
Fish Girl Pond

MAKEUP/SFX BY
Elsa Fairy

ANIMAL WRANGLER
Lorelai Rosewill

SPECIAL THANKS TO
The Neverland Community Theatre
The Jolly Roger Soda Ship

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on August 7, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 7/28/15

Ten Delicious Decades! As mentioned last week, the Jolly Roger Soda Ship is celebrating its 100th anniversary tomorrow, July 29th. The crew will be hosting an all-day party at the shop with yummy treats and music from Fish Girl Pond. In addition, shop owner Aimée Jolie will be posting an extensive history of the shop, chronicling its decades-long presence in Neverland and it’s ever-evolving role as a gathering place throughout the tumultuous twentieth century in America.

Reality Bites. Since the return of Jas Hook and Wendy Darling to Neverland, some Neverlandians have been tuning into the JHMedia Livestream to learn more about the company (and feed their curiosity about the power couple). Last Thursday those same Neverlandians witnessed a shocking confrontation between Hook and Neverland’s favorite son Peter Pan. Peter came across as, for lack of a better word, a bully. It will be interesting to see how he handles his new notoriousness.  Is the play really the thing?

Get me to the Church… Sarah-Jane Lakewood set a date for her nuptials to fiance Alfie. Neverlandians, mark your calendars for August 15, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Should be a hot ticket! As in literally very hot. August in Louisiana hot. Lakewood says invitations will be going out soon. Don’t give her honeymoon advice if you want to make the list!

Changes of Heart (and Location). Teresa Delacruz has relocated to New York City with her boyfriend Neal. Though everyone will be sad to see less of her, we wish her the best with her new life. And if you’ve stopped by Neverland Books lately, you’ve probably noticed that Mia Rivers still has not returned to her post. You only have to look so far as her tumblr to find that she’s currently residing at a crossroads between Neverland and Denver.  Though not always an easy thing to do, try to follow your heart where it leads, Mia!

New Sheriff in Town. G. Harrison Lestrade has been offered the job of Neverland’s Deputy Sheriff pending a background check. But, since he comes directly from the FBI, that shouldn’t be a problem! While we’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of Neverlandians, we are excited to welcome him and accountant Wesley Parsons (who’s looking for a roommate!) to the community full time.

Local Blues. Neverlandians were dismayed to read last week’s editorial in which John Darling, assistant to the Editor in Chief, opened up about the Kensington Chronicle’s financial difficulties. As a recent hire, this gossip columnist found the the article especially distressing. However, it’s been encouraging to watch Neverlandians gather around the paper in support. Many citizens have pledged to pick up subscriptions and the Neverland Care Center guaranteed that copies of the Chronicle would always be available in its waiting room. Keep supporting local news!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on July 28, 2015

Growing Apart

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my sister’s welcome home party, and I was struck by the melancholy realization that the older we get, the more and more quickly things change.  I’ve known Wendy for literally as long as I can remember, and for so many years, whether we liked it or not, my siblings and I were inseparable.  Dozens of photo albums’ worth of important milestones came and went in the blink of an eye, and I watched my siblings grow up so gradually that I was scarcely aware they were changing at all.  But after she’s spent a mere 6 months, Wendy’s made herself a new life in New York City, filled with a cast of unfamiliar characters, and that realization has forced me to come to grips with just how much I’ve missed her.

Of course, Wendy isn’t the only person guilty of moving on.  It’s shocking how quickly Neverland sans Wendy has become the new status quo, for all of us.  Michael stepped in to replace Wendy at Dear Darling.  Wendy’s duties as surrogate mother to Michael have fallen to me.  Our friend Lily even took Wendy’s place as Peter’s girlfriend.  The circle has closed, and everyone in it seems perfectly happy.  And yet, I wonder how much of that is a carefully crafted self-delusion that we all share.

I’ve been so excited about Wendy’s book and all that that means for her that it’s blinded me to the reality of my own feelings about the void she left in all our lives.  Much to my own surprise (and dismay), the reception Wendy received from both Michael and myself at her triumphant homecoming was downright chilly.  And the bizarre notion of Wendy being a visitor in Neverland just brings out in stark relief how off kilter everything’s been in her absence.  I’d hoped her return would bring us all closer together, but instead some things have come to light that threaten to drive a wedge between lifelong friends.

Now, change isn’t always a bad thing.  I recently wrote an editorial about how Neverland’s own Jas Hook pulled himself up by his bootstraps and improved almost every aspect of his life.  Though, in his case, he did have to move away and leave everything he knew behind in order to do so.  And, to be clear, I don’t in any way begrudge Wendy her desire to forge her own destiny; she’s amazing, and I’m truly thrilled that the world at large is starting to see that.  I just hope that Michael, Father and I factor somewhere into that success.  And that our family and our friendships can stay the course in these stormy waters.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 16, 2015

The Importance of Being George

In honor of Father’s Day this year, I thought it was long since time I wrote a piece on the man responsible for bringing you the Kensington Chronicle 7 days a week 52 weeks a year, my father and our editor in chief, George Darling. And how, if not for a chance meeting more than 30 years ago at the Neverland Train Station, I wouldn’t even be here.

As you can no doubt imagine, it takes a certain kind of person to run a newspaper day in and day out. George Darling is driven, organized, and knows how and when to delegate. But believe it or not, my father was not always the taskmaster he is today. Though George is loath to admit it himself, my grandfather, David Darling, has imparted to me on more than one occasion that in his formative years, my father was relatively aimless. David Darling saw his son’s potential, but feared that George was in danger of squandering it. George, for his part, wanted the freedom to make his own choices, and in those days, being groomed to take over the family business was the furthest thing from what he wanted.

David Darling was ultimately able to impress upon his son the importance of getting a college education, and George begrudgingly enrolled at Neverland University, from which he emerged four years later with a degree in English and Journalism. But this was far from the last time George and his father would engage in a heated debate about the direction of his life. Not long after graduating, George and David would have the most contentious fight of this kind to date. At an impasse, a furious George stormed off, intent on fleeing Neverland for parts unknown. But fate had other plans.

It just so happened that the woman working the ticket counter at the Neverland Train Station that fateful day was one Mary Davies. To hear my father tell it, once he locked eyes with Mary for the first time, the rest of the world faded away. She was the most beautiful creature George had ever laid eyes on, and from that moment forward, he never thought about leaving Neverland again.

For much of my life, I’ve harbored the belief that romantic entanglements are a distraction, at best. But in recent months, I’ve begun to revise that opinion. I’ve seen evidence of how the right pairing can create a union that is far greater than the sum of its parts. And this was absolutely the case with George and Mary Darling in the early years of their courtship. Now, starting a family was at the forefront of George’s mind, and he decided to put his journalism degree to good use. Much to David Darling’s relief, his son finally agreed to follow in his footsteps, and Grandfather could rest assured that the dynasty of Darlings at the helm of the Kensington Chronicle would continue, unabated.

And, of course, for my money, the most important result of the union of George and Mary Darling is their three children, myself and my siblings. I, personally, have been a newspaperman from the womb, and the paper will be in good hands when my father does decide to retire. So we at the Chronicle wish George Darling, and all of you other fathers out there, a very happy Father’s Day. We owe all of you a debt we can never possibly repay.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 22, 2015

Pinning Me Down

This week, if you fine readers would indulge me, I thought I’d highlight each of the categories on my personal Pinterest page, in an effort to help all of you get to know me a little better.

BROLLIOLOGY

I am a firm believer that umbrellas need not be saved up for a rainy day!

GRABATOLOGY

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.” – Oscar Wilde

OFFICE FURNITURE

Your office should be your home away from home: Furnish accordingly.

ORGANIZATION

A well-ordered room begets a well-ordered mind.

HOME DÉCOR

I love a home decked out in pure, unadulterated white (although sometimes that and little brothers don’t mix).

CLEANING

Clean every day like it’s your last.

VINYL

Even broken records are music to my ears.

ART

To this day, no one holds a candle to the old masters.

MARMADUKE

If you need more than one panel, you’re doing it wrong.

ORNITHOLOGY

For me, there’s naught more calming than a bird on the wing.

CALLIGRAPHY

You can tell a lot about a man from his penmanship.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 17, 2014

Millennials in Neverland

Right around the time that most of the so-called millennials were partying like it was 1999, psychologist Jeffrey Arnett coined the term “emerging adulthood,” which, appropriately enough, would come to describe the epidemic of protracted adolescence that is quickly becoming the most defining trait of my generation. In the eyes of the world, the generation of people born after 1980 seem either unwilling or unable to grow up. Some people blame it on the overinvolvment of so-called “helicopter parents” who hover around their children so ubiquitously that they never learn how to deal with adversity themselves. On the other hand, many reactionaries are ready to diagnose our entire generation with narcissistic personality disorder. As with most important issues, I believe the whole thing is a lot more nuanced than that.

In a lot of ways, the youngest members of the Kensington Chronicle family are prototypical millennials. And in a few cases, it’s not even an exaggeration to call it a family, since, to the extent that we are employed at all, myself, my brother, Michael, and my sister, Wendy, all work at a newspaper which just happens to be owned by our dear father. You might think it’s a pretty cushy setup, being poster children for nepotism at our dad’s small business. And you’d be right, up to a point. But it doesn’t do much to impress upon us the importance of responsibility and financial independence. I talk a good game, but KensingtonChronicle.com – at least so far – is like the red-headed stepchild of the print publishing division. And I’m not saying that all of what my siblings and I do for the Chronicle is incredibly work intensive, but when you boil it down to dollars and cents, our salaries don’t amount to much more than a pittance, certainly nothing even remotely approaching a living wage. Wendy, Michael and I are all in our mid-to-late 20s, and the only way that we can afford a place of our own is because we’re splitting it three ways. And this isn’t because our father is a penny-pinching miser, either: it’s because there’s simply not enough money to go around.

I think this is a good example, in miniature, of our generation’s seeming inability to grow up. Secondary school is now a requirement for any young person who wants to be competitive in the shrinking job marketplace, a hurdle which was not present even a generation ago. The good news is, this makes us the most educated cohort of young Americans in our country’s history. But on the flip side, with our schooling now extending into our 20s at least, the onus of crushing financial-aid debt that many college students find themselves under at the outset of their post-college careers, and a recession-culture job market that underpays and undervalues their more-than-qualified workforce, is it any wonder that my generation appears to be floundering? That it takes us years to start families, not only because we can barely afford to take care of ourselves, but also because the rat-race to stay above the poverty line is so all-encompassing that it renders us ill-equipped, from the a time-management and emotional-growth standpoint, to even know how to carry on healthy romantic relationships?

In Neverland, it is particularly difficult to cast off the chains of childhood, due in no small part to the fact that magic is, in one form or another, part and parcel to our everyday lives. In fairy society, youth is famously a prerequisite for holding any position of power – a fact which our fairy friend Tinkerbell very vocally laments (though I dare not print her age, lest I see my own “emerging adulthood” cut tragically short). And Peter Pan, our cartoonist at the Chronicle… Okay, it’s possible he actually does have narcissistic personality disorder. But it’s equally possible that young people are simply narcissists as a matter of course, and that as our generation is forced to hold tight to the reins of perpetual adolescence, so, too, do we cling to that particular excess of youth. But fear not, people of Earth: we are not, in the final analysis, a generation of lost boys and girls. Your millennials are, in fact, growing up; It’s just that growing up isn’t what it used to be.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 12, 2014

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