Here we go again. Another post-Christmas bubble of hope, enthusiasm and resolution(s) destined to pop sometime around March.
Despite the odd bout of cabin fever – due in no small measure to the continuing persistent weather – the festive season was one of relaxation, family time and recharging the batteries.
With my voluntary redundancy application accepted I have to start preparations for 2011 before the old year is out. I know what I want to do, what I would like to do (escape the Admin rat race and give me something resembling job satisfaction) but time and, it pains even me to say it, age may be against me. My desire to be a writer-broadcaster may not happen this year but I have to aim for it. You can’t just say it won’t happen. I have to put the work in to give myself a shot at it. If I don’t I’ll never know if I could have got to my employment ‘happy place’.
I am already a writer-broadcaster of sorts but on a scale far removed from Radio 4 or Radio Scotland. I make irregular blog entries and present a two-hour retro music-fest on hospital radio, namely Victoria Radio Network 1287AM in Kirkcaldy. Of course, these are voluntary, unpaid positions and the audience for both is limited. Scottish radio airwaves are dominated by and saturated with unimaginative, chart-based, lowest common denominator commercial stations and with Radio Scotland trying to become Radio McFour, with less and less music on the air, the opportunities are few and far between. Community radio is the new local independent radio, although, again, it’s largely voluntary.
I joined Leith FM last year and have waited patiently to be offered a suitable slot. Come March I’ll have more time on my hands and may be able to put in some daytime shifts, if only to get used to the set up and get my “mistakes” out of the way before I get to do my own show for real. I’m also looking into the one-year HNC Radio course at Telford College and the two-year HND Radio course at Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy. While these might not get me permanent work in an industry where jobs are rarer than rocking horse poo, it may help with technique, technical knowledge and adding to my “rainbow of skills” ( © The Apprentice).
I’ve used the time off in December to lay some foundations so as to minimise the distractions that dogged me in 2010. 2011 has started well and already I have put in my first media appearance of the year, albeit in not in the ay I had hoped.
Last January I appeared on Fred Macaulay’s Radio Scotland show as part of their New Year, New You feature – a title “borrowed” this year by Scottish Television for a similar feature. Members of the public were paired with Radio Scotland presenters who had a similar goal for 2010. Losing weight, running a marathon and overcoming a fear were some of the goals and mine was to complete the book I’d started in 2009. I was paired with Out of Doors presenter Euan McIlwraith who wanted to write an Out of Doors cookbook.
Twelve months on and it was time for our last catch-up. The plan was to drive through to Glasgow and do the piece in their studio with stand-in host Susan Calman (Fred’s climbing Kilimanjaro) and Euan, as ever, on the phone. As my daughter’s school had tagged on an In-Service day to the Christmas holidays, I’d have Flick for company and I figured she’d enjoy the excitement of being at the Beeb and seeing where Nina and the Neurons is set/made (the Glasgow Science Centre is next door).
We never got there. An untimely black ice-induced crash on the M8 had closed the road for about 3 hours while the powers that be gritted it. By the time we should’ve been in Glasgow we’d only just reached Harthill services, two and a half hours after we left the Kingdom of Fife.
Of course, sod’s law struck and as soon as we parked up at Harthill the motorway traffic got moving again and returned to normal. It wouldn’t have made any difference to us though as we wouldn’t have made it anyway, even with Sebastian Vettel in the driver’s seat.
In the end the item was squeezed in at the end of the show after we decided to do it over the phone from the car. Occasionally when I did the show last year I had been frustrated that I hadn’t contributed as much as I’d wanted to but I was happy this time. (You can Listen Again here on the BBC iPlayer until next Tuesday). I was however cursing the driver(s) that had apparently caused the traffic chaos as I had missed out on the opportunity to sell myself – and some ideas I have – in person to the producers of the show.
After a stressful morning, during which my daughter showed the patience of an angel, we headed off to Cowdenbeath and the Leisure Centre swimming pool. After the events (or non-events) of the morning, this was quality time and a great way to end the holidays.