Dressed for radio?

When I was twenty something, a good friend of mine, a housemate at the time, encouraged me to be a bit more altruistic in life.

They were actually sounds words of advice, and even though she and I lost touch , (and as non stalker in the world of Facebook, I have no idea where she is or what she is doing …but hopefully not a ten year stretch in one of ‘her majesty’s hotels’ for fraud or embezzlement) . Actually, I very much doubt it, her generosity and love towards her fellow humans always put her in a good direction in life.

In the UK, we often refer to prisons as Her Majesty’s Hotels!

I am sure she has gone on to do great things and motivate many others. Thank you Julia.

My friend was a planet saver, volunteer, befriender and the all round good person that many of us hopefully aspire to be but trip up at early stages and often give up. From her, I actually got sound and simple advice….do things for others that you are good at as you will have a much greater chance of longevity and success than trying to be something that you are not.

My interest, and potential future career at the time was in radio/sound recording and although a ‘sliding doors ‘ moment took me in a different career direction, but that move was to come in later years.

As indeed will come later a blog post on my sliding doors moment!

So armed with my ‘expertise’ in sound recording I volunteered at the local Talking Newspaper for the blind. Every week, we would have some ‘professional’ readers come to our little studio, and they would grandly and eloquently read articles from the local paper. This would be recorded, edited and then using fast copy machines, we had to make a 100 or so copies onto tape cassettes, and put them in special mail packets addressed for each visually impaired recipient.

It wasn’t a highly skilled task, but I was happy to do it, I really enjoyed the company of my fellow ‘technical’ volunteers and the artistic panache of readers.

The readers were very much of a higher standing than us, the backroom people.

The location of this branch of the Talking Newspaper was in leafy and affluent Guildford in Surrey with its grand houses , and in that area, some were the size of small castles! So our professional readers were mainly made up of retired professionals in broadcast, stage or public speaking who were plentiful in this rather well heeled area.

I was particularly in awe of one of them..a retired BBC radio newsreader from the era of when they read the radio news wearing full dinner dress. He didn’t arrive quite so attired for our recording, but he still had that aura about him. One of his sons is now a well known UK TV and film actor and whenever I see him, I always think with fondness of his Dad.

Well life moves on , and I have done a few other voluntary things since then including a spell as a hospital radio presenter…but my dress style never quite matched that of my original mentor!

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Sliding Doors…..

My favourite movie of all time is ‘Sliding Doors’ …now I know that is quite a rash statement to make…but I have thought about this a lot and that is my final answer!

So to answer the obvious question of why? Well first of all, if you haven’t seen it, its one of these parallel time movies where one set of things really happens and one doesn’t and actually what this is there to demonstrate is how one simple event in your life can totally transform it.

In the case of this story, set in London, its all about a girl (Gwneth Paltrow) who was cheated on by her partner and only found out about it as she just caught a tube train (hence the name, Sliding Doors) with seconds to spare.

In the parallel instance she just misses the train and doesn’t find out about his infidelity and life takes on a completely different path.

I think this is a wonderful demonstration how for many of us our lives will take on a completely tangential trajectory from one (or in reality numerous) sliding door moments of our own …I realise this is probably stating the obvious but I think in some ways its a real ‘wake up and smell the coffee moment’ that we all think we are so clever controlling and planning our destinies but actually they are outside our grasp. Ask anybody how they met their partner, got their ideal job, etc. and it will often be from a sliding door moment. Depending on your spiritual beliefs or none, you may see this as coming from an external source – whether a believer in those influences or just fate, the results are still the same.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you should (on Netflicks I think now) as its a surprisingly feel good film and very funny in parts..even to the point where John Hannah (the new love interest), is traveling on the tube and ‘breaking all convention for London’ and talking to people!

Look forward to your comments and anybody willing to share their ‘sliding door moments’ …I’ve got a couple of them of my own (but for the avoidance of doubt, not like the one in this film!) and they will appear in a future blog post

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