So then, this is the first paragraph. As mentioned in previous blog posts, the first paragraph is normally superfluous and serves as a way of helping me get into the flow of writing. There are probably a number of regular readers (ever the optimist) who simply skip the opening paragraph and get straight to my flow; and what a flow it will be. But for now, this is the first paragraph and I’m still revving up to that moment. But that’s OK. What’s the rush? We’ll get there. In fact, I can feel the flow coming. To be honest it’s quite a disconcerting feeling and it’s one of the primary reasons why I’m such an infrequent blogger. OK, brace yourselves, it’s flow time!
It was just over three weeks ago when I first attempted to tell you the reason why I left
but then I got a little sidetracked and started rambling about lesbians and
“”Sir Patrick Moore.
(not that the two subjects were connected to each other in any way. Although I suppose since I’ve now mentioned Sir Patrick Moore and lesbians in the same sentence, this blog post is likely to come up in the top ten results for anyone doing an Internet search for “Sir Patrick Moore, lesbians, which is something I’m rather proud about. If you have found this blog post by searching for “Sir Patrick Moore, lesbians” then I’d like to say Hello to you, you strange creature, but I’m sorry, I don’t think this blog post will really satisfy your perverse needs. If I do find that there is a demand for it however, I might compose some erotic literature involving Sir Patrick Moore and lesbians, and upload it to this blog for you. But in the meantime, I’ll tell you why I left Southside. Feel free to stay though. Wow! I might have stumbled on a new career as a niche erotic author, writing about sir Patrick Moore and Lesbians. I’m getting quite excited about the prospect. I’m going to race through writing this blog post and then get straight to work.)
At the end of my last blog post,I was working for Southside, and things were going pretty well. I had helped them increase their transmission range quite considerably, from a couple of beds in a hospital to the entire world via the Internet. Not a bad start. I’d also started producing adverts for the station, promoting various businesses which made the station a bit of money. again, not bad going. I then began presenting the Southside Podcast and was getting quite a lot of good feedback for it. Things were going well. I didn’t have to play generic pop music. I didn’t have to mention the weather or traffic/travel, or give constant time-checks. We featured interviews with fascinating people, reported from a wide range of exciting events and locations, and I was allowed to say and produce stuff that I thought was funny, and most of the time my humour and style was corroborated by our audience and Alex, the station manager. There were times when Alex would suggest that I maybe shouldn’t have said a certain thing or done a certain feature, but then this was usually when I’d get an email or a comment from someone saying that they especially enjoyed that very same thing; and of course, I would always heed the person telling me how good it was and inexorably do more of the same the next week. I generally got away with it though. People enjoyed it, and the podcasts sounded really good and fun. I respected Alex’s view when he would comment that I maybe went over-the-top or said or did something he didn’t think was funny or of any value, but I took it with a pinch of salt. This wasn’t because I was arrogant, but because I knew the type of media he liked and the type he really didn’t like. he didn’t particularly rate
who I had a lot of time for.
“”Russel brand’s radio shows,
whereas I personally thought they were refreshingly anarchic, exciting and
unique in a world were broadcasting was starting to become more distilled and homogenised. So I didn’t really get upset or dissuaded by his negative comments because I knew that he wasn’t going to like some of the things I did and said because of his individual taste. But it generally wasn’t an issue. I tended to get away with it, plus I got enough positive feedback to quell any fears that Alex’s opinion conformed to the opinion of our audience. And I got away with it for 86 weeks and 86 podcasts, and then someone complained. I made reference to it in
“”this blog post
but I didn’t mention the issue in any detail. I was told to remove the podcast and resubmit it with the offending item omitted. Since I’m not working for southside anymore, I have no reservations about showing you what the offending item was. So, if you’re willing to risk being offended
Of course, this gave Alex ample opportunity to bring up all the other things he didn’t like about my presentation style. I could sense the storm clouds looming. Things were never the same again. I was getting some really good feedback from listeners. In fact, people were commenting that the podcasts were getting better and better, but it seemed as if every single podcast I did from then on would be followed by more criticism from Alex. I played my
“”Leona Lewis Parody
on a podcast, and I got a phone call from Alex, telling me that there is no room for such content on the podcasts, and that it wasn’t at all funny and that I should leave the parodies to Chris Moyles and his ilk! Alex used to have a habit of ringing very early in the mornings. Often I was just getting up or was still in bed when he’d phone, and so his increasingly frequent negative phone critiques were becoming my regular alarm calls. I remember this particular morning call distinctly because I’d just woken up and I had a long, stressful day ahead of me, full of things that I really didn’t want to do. I had just managed to motivate myself to get out of bed and face the day when I got Alex’s call telling me how rubbish I was. he obviously didn’t say those exact words, but that was generally the vibe I got from the calls. He tended not to address his views against me as an opinion but as an obvious fact that I really should have known myself. So when he told me that my material was rubbish, a part of me started to believe it as fact. He would almost suggest that I should be able to regulate myself, and automatically know that what I was creating was pointless and unfunny. I didn’t personally see that this was possible, since the material that he tended to hate was the kind of material I and others liked. But these frequent criticisms were really starting to grind me down. I would sometimes dread checking my emails in case he would have sent me a written version of his thoughts, so that I could keep it and read it if I ever dared to get a little positive about myself. The day after this particular phone call, I was tentatively checking my emails and saw a message from an address I didn’t recognise. The message was titled ‘The Latest Southside Podcast and the Leona Lewis Parody!” I sat there for a few minutes, bracing myself for the negativity that was about to greet me. “I’ll read this email which will confirm my ineptitude and then I’ll resign from Southside and forget this radio presenting nonsense forever” I thought. I mentally prepared myself for the abuse and then opened the email.
“Can I have a signed copy of Bleating Love as sung by yourself… it was great, it really made me laugh. I nearly crashed the car, I was laughing so much.”
(You might think it’s a bit sad that I’ve got all this saved on my computer, but I want to assure you that this is not the case and that I found the email by doing a search for it in GMail. Glad I cleared that up.) So, it wasn’t a negative comment after all. Instead of resigning from Southside, I became more defiant. Alex’s opinion was just that – his own individual opinion – and I would no longer take his point of view as fact, no matter how he tried to put it across to me.
On the 90th Southside Podcast we had an interview with
Alex made a comment to groove Armada that they should collaborate with the Nolans. Obviously their styles of music are rather divergent. A jocular response was given to this suggestion from groove Armada. I decided therefore to try and persuade Groove Armada to take Alex’s suggestion seriously and enthuse their imaginations about how such a collaboration might sound by creating a
“”mix which blended the two groups together.
When I played this out at the end of the 90th podcast, I got a morning phone call from Alex telling me that the mix didn’t work, and that it wasn’t really necessary. I tried to ignore this assessment and to keep believing in myself and my judgement. Sure enough, I got an email from someone, saying how much they liked the mix. So I got more defiant. I would keep going, and do what I wanted, and what I believed in.
Then there was the 98th Southside Podcast. I’m sure you all remember it word for word, but just in case you don’t, there was an interview with a man who called himself a “Systems Management Engineer”. (Don’t ask). he was going on about how he hated people who used confusing language, lengthy complicated sentences and long words to describe things. He reckoned that things should be as least various as possible so as to make the point simple to understand. “A sound idea” you might think, but he tried to support this thinking by reading a long, various quote from an 18th century philosopher. You can hear what he said, and my opinion on the matter
We then got an email from the man himself, complaining that he had been misrepresented. I was a bit baffled as to how I could misrepresent someone by playing exactly what he had said, word for word. So I’d misrepresented him by playing a recording of his own voice, saying his own words, in the very order he said them, within the context he made them? But Alex didn’t see it from my perspective. Still, I wasn’t to be concerned about that. And so, like the heroic protagonist (or idiot, depending on your view) that I am, I overreached just a little bit more, and managed to receive yet another complaint in the 99th podcast. Two complaints in the space of two podcasts. Now I must be getting good! The main point of this rather lengthy complaint was (funnily enough) to do with (you could say) a fledgling attempt at erotic fantasy – a genre that I am soon to perfect with my stories concerning Sir Patrick Moore and his active interest in lesbianism. We featured an interview with a science fiction author who was talking about people who were obsessed with Doctor Who. He said that people who had an abnormal obsession with Doctor Who were termed “Whomosexuals”. So I followed this up by imagining an erotic scenario involving Daleks, as anyone naturally would do. But for some reason, this wasn’t deemed normal or acceptable and there was a complaint. However, I did again get another email from someone redressing the balance, saying that they had enjoyed that part of the podcast. So I obviously became more defiant. Don’t worry, we’re nearly at the point where it all goes horribly wrong, and I get my just desserts. Incidentally, you can hear the offending items from the 99th Southside Podcast
But they couldn’t stop me now, surely? I’d done this for 99 podcasts. It was quite a while before I finally recorded the 100th podcast. I probably should have made this my swan-song. A lengthy imagined erotic scenario involving the Queen and the Pope should have done the trick nicely I think.
Then I decided that the southside Podcast really deserved a bit of a makeover, a revamp. So I created a new opening jingle for the Podcast, changing it from the plain old ‘Southside Podcast’ to the new and improved title, ‘The Southside Podcast with David Eagle’. I think, to be honest I was just trying to see what it would take to make Alex crack and get rid of me once and for all. I was “crusin for a bruisin” which I believe is a line from a Shakespeare play if I remember rightly. Alex protested at this change of title, but I was still in a position of power. I was doing a lot of work for Southside and not really getting much money for it. Alex didn’t really have any idea of how to upload podcasts, plus he didn’t have the means or skills to edit a podcast together in the way that I was doing. Then the 102nd Southside Podcast came. My final Southside Podcast. There was a report from the London Boat show that I was given to play out on the podcast. This I duly did, but when the report ended I dissected the whole thing and tore it apart. One of the interviewers kept asking a sailor questions about being a salesman. Alex did an entire interview with someone, constantly getting his name and the name of the company wrong, and failed to mention what the company actually did. There were loads of other mistakes that I played and gave mention to. I did this because I thought it was funny. Alex was often calling me up at 7:30 in the morning to criticise me, and so I thought it only fair that I should do the same, only make a funny feature of it on the podcast. You can hear this podcast and my open critique
This was the last Southside Podcast I ever did. I didn’t release another thing on Southside for about six months. Alex didn’t let me release another Southside Podcast, although he was happy to give me a load of editing to do. He gave me a load of reports and interviews to edit and upload to the website. He wanted me to edit them and then upload them as individual files, rather than packaging the items together into one podcast. I wasn’t getting any money at all for this and so I essentially became an editing slave. I wasn’t allowed to speak or produce anything, but I was expected to sit for hours listening to Alex’s voice, editing and uploading the content. This was no fun at all. I was doing quite a bit of freelance work at this point and so when I’d finished working for the day, the last thing I wanted to do was sit for a couple of hours, editing Alex.
Then I got an email from Alex. He said that I could do another podcast series, but that I must keep it simple and not decorate it with any features or “humorous” content. He suggested that I go for the “vanilla” approach. It sounded utterly boring to me, but I thought I’d give it a go. So I released
“”the first episode of the Spotlight.
Because I wasn’t allowed to do any features or extended items of my own, I decided to take on some of the interviewing duties. But there’s little point mentioning this podcast too much, since it only lasted for one episode. I was happy with the first episode. I felt that both Alex and I did a good job on it. While Alex was positive about my interview, he made no bones about telling me that the podcast still suffered from my attempts at humour. “Very disappointing” he wrote. I was working on a couple of projects at this time, and things were going really well for me. I was getting really positive feedback for some production work I was doing, which I was actually getting paid for. After reading Alex’s email, I suddenly came to a realisation. I didn’t need it anymore. southside and I had grown apart. Where once we had worked together, benefiting from a symbiosis where I was allowed to broadcast in my own style, and I allowed Southside to actually broadcast to a bigger audience than just a couple of hospital beds. This partnership worked really well for a few years, but then we both outgrew each other. So I sent Alex my resignation email – which wasn’t at all unpleasant – and I’ve not heard from him since. I sent the email in Mid May, so that’s four months ago.
I’ve just had a look at the Southside website, and they’re doing really well. I personally feel really well and am doing some production work, and some other jobs unrelated to radio. And so the story has a happy ending for all concerned.
So there you have it. Thanks for reading to the end. IN fact, as a reward for all your hard work, my next blog post will be an erotic story about Sir Patrick Moore and lesbians. ‘The Thighs at Night.’ Standby for my first exciting story in the series in which sir Patrick turns from respectable star gazer to filthy bra gazer. But now I’m off to post this. Maybe I should do some research into what legally constitutes character deformation, just to make sure I’m allowed to write this sort of stuff and post it to the Internet. … Nah! I’m sure it’ll be fine! if I end up in court, at least I’ll get some publicity from it. I’m sure Sir Patrick would be thrilled and honoured. He might even agree to read the audio book version, or play himself in the television drama. Now there’s a thought. Things are really picking up a pace. I’d only conceived this idea a few minutes ago. This is how J. K. Rowling must have felt when she came up with the concept for ‘Harry Potter’. Maybe this will be the new ‘Harry Potter’. A cinema blockbuster. Wow! I suddenly feel like my life is meaningful at last. I’ve discovered my great purpose in life!
I’ll keep you posted. Bye for now!
P.S. Sorry for the length of this blog post. I’ll try to write something a bit more substancial and lengthy next time.