|Can We Talk? is my new short story podcast about some of the remarkable people I have encountered in my working life and what I think we can learn from them about how to live. Phew, that was a long sentence. More details below. |
It’s also a genuine question, because this is the first in a series of very personal posts in which I’d like to set out some of the things that are going on with me, share thoughts and ideas and pictures and songs and clips and see if it any of it resonates with you. If it does, even if it winds you up, let me know, and next time I’ll share that too, if you like.
So, let’s start with the short story podcast which is being launched on February 8th and will be on Spotify, Apple, Acast and wherever you usually get these things. Subscribe now and you’ll get episodes one and two as soon as they drop.
The first is about Scarlett Johansson and how a quick chat with a publicist in tow turned into a long and pretty deep conversation in a hotel bar in Manhattan that went on for hours and had me wondering what on Earth was going on. The vain male chimp chattering in my brain had all sortsof ideas but he was wrong again, as usual, and the reality turned out to be much more interesting.
Others in series one include Tiger Woods, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, the Queen and a refugee called Zahra who crossed the Channel on an overloaded rubber dinghy early one Christmas morning.
I love the way David Sedaris tells stories, and while I would not dare claim to be that accomplished or funny, these pieces are inspired by what he does. They are are intimate reflections on what it was like to be with that person at that time and what the encounter says about our longing to connect, with each other and with ourselves, with the natural world and with the divine, if we believe in that.
|Listen to the trailer|
|You can hear a chat about interviewing, journalism, connection and the time Desmond Tutu thought I was trying to kill him in this interview with Ed Thornton of the Church Times. And me and Charlotte Sibtain are back on Radio 4 at the moment as The Wedding Detectives, so if you fancy a bit of social history sleuthing that uncovers tragedy, scandal and romance, give that a go.|
If you signed up for the music by the way, thank you for your patience! I’ll be singing and telling stories with The Light Keepers at Printers Playhouse in Eastbourne on February 4th and you would be most welcome. Here we are singing a song about Beachy Head in the lantern room of the Belle Tout lighthouse before Covid. That is the setting for The Light Keeper novel, copies of which remain in the wild.
What have you been watching, listening to or reading? I love Ted Lasso, the warmest, wisest, wittiest comedy on the telly for years. It’s a sitcom about blokes in football that isn’t really about the blokes or the football. The Mermaid of Black Conch is a wonderful book, mesmerising and profound. And thank you to my son Jacob for introducing me to The Weather Station, who make gorgeous, mysterious music. What do you recommend?
Also, while I’m asking questions, I wonder who is the most remarkable person you have ever met? They don’t have to be famous or infamous, just have made an impact on you personally. Maybe it’s your Mum. Maybe it’s the milkman, I don’t know, but I would be really interested to hear. Get in touch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or by email and I’ll pass your wisdom and stories on as part of the short story podcast Can WeTalk?
It’s good to talk, as Bob Hoskins used to say in a telephone company ad when I was a nipper, but you’re far too young for that.
Love and strength and may your day have some joy in it,