Saturday, November 25, 2006

MA Results

News just in:

It is official as I received the results for my MA in Broadcast Journalism. Apparently the course has been 'completed successfully, with distinction.'

I am very pleased indeed and am rather looking forward to the graduation ceremony, now.

Can't quite believe that all that work paid off.


Monday, November 20, 2006

One of those days

Bit of a mixed day today with somethings going right and some not.

Sigining on was the usual heap of paperwork but they are covering my costs for tomorrow in Manchester. Have to admit to being a little nervous about it all despite having done my preparations. It's the fact that I do not know precisely what will happen that's the problem.

Anyway, I'm off to go and swat as well as relax.

Hope you are all well with you,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Radio and its best ... and worst

Have heard two bits of radio that have been truely amazing. The first was 'The Archers.' I know I am turning middle-aged when I start wanting to know how the Ian/Adam Civil Partnership story is coming alning. Interestingly, I read an article that the gay couple in Ambridge are the of the longest-lasting of all soaps which is a tribute to the rural soap. However, there was a particularly good bit of radio when David found out about Ruth falling for Sam the milkman. Oh, I tell you, it all goes on in Borcetshire. Tuesday's episode was particulary good and ended with a six minute scene (can you imagine that in any other soap?). It showed the anger, hurt and illogical nature of discovering an affair. This was truely radio at its most powerful: simple, uncomplicated and moving.

This is in comparison to Stephen Nolan's programme on Sunday on BBC Radio Five Live. It wass looking at Elton John's claims that religion attacks and 'hates' gays. They had a woman from, a man from 'Changing Attitudes' and Matthew Parris. The debate started in the normal way with no-one really listening to eachother and the American bible-basher sharing the bible in the most aggressive, unpleasant and hateful way. She seemed to miss the fact that Jesus came in love and reconciliation. This wass radio at it's worst where nothing was said, nothing listening to and at times nothing heard as people talked over eachother.

Then a woman rang in from Ireland and my heart broke. The woman's daughter had just come out to her as a Lesbian and was now feeling suicidal. The American lady attacked the daughter as being on her way to hell. As the host pointed out, there was no Christian love there. Then the woman from America attacked the Mother for not teaching her child correct moral values. This Irish lady was so upset, unable to talk that it was awful. The panalists tried to comfort, arguing that this was infact a blessing but it might take a while to appreciate it. Despite the problems of the debate, this was radio at it's best. The human story came through and summarised a debate far better than any debate or discussion would.

So, today, I pray for our common humanity and interest in the story over the issue, not just on the radio but in everyday life,

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Just had a call from the BBC ...

They called me to tell me that I had not got the job of Assistant Producer at Songs of Praise.

I thought, well, really, the normal e-mail would have done.

However, said the nice lady (and I was soon to learn how nice) at BBC recruitment, the Executive Producer Hugh Faupel was interested in my ideas and would like to have a chat. She said that this was highly unusual (and, on further investigation, never heard of) and gave me his details.

I've left a message and am waiting for the call back ... here's hoping.

Songs of Praise would be marvelous as a job. More people watch it than actually attend church. There is also a certain freedom to the programme in that there is no fixed format. There is also room within the programme to explore peoples' stories which I think are wonderful and under used on T.V.

Your prayers would be appreciated,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Selling Myself

My father always says that the best person to sell myself is me. I have been doing that recently through applying for jobs and so forth but not with any success. It is rather disheartening and, as I have stated elsewhere, I did start to wonder why I wanted to be a journalist.

Furthermore, I have been a tad low having not seen many 'young' people for a while or, indeed, any of my friends. That is why I was thrilled when a good friend over from Japan and I managed to meet up earlier this week. We chatted and met up with a third friend and thus ended up staying with this third friend for the night as it became late and a little alcoholic. It was great to be a gang of three again to talk things through and remember why we made such a good group of friends.

Though this was a positive experience, as I remembered the strength of friendships, in some ways it was less positive as it brought back old memories. It's taken me a while to get over the last few, emotional months at Warwick. It took me 8 or 9 months to forgive myself yet alone the others involved and I wanted to prove that I was over the past. As I sat on the Motorway back home, I heard a song that I had not heard in a while and it seemed to summarise an old internal division:
"So I guess the fortune teller's right: I should have seen just what was there and not some holy light but you crawled beneath my veins. [...] There's nothing where he used to lie, my inspiration has run dry. That's what's going on. Nothing's fine, I'm torn. I'm all out of faith. This is how I feel: I'm cold and I am shamed, lying naked on the floor. Illusion never changed into something real. I'm wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn." (Natalie Imbruglia - 'Torn')

I realised that there was still some forgieness to do - both of myself and others. I did wonder if I had been trying to rush this, not giving myself the proper time to recover. I heard in a recent interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, a discussion of forgiveness and bridgebuilding. He said that rather than looking for things to be resolved in human time, we need to look for Reconciliation in God's Time. Things do not happen overnight and this may just have been one more step along the road of resolving who I am and what sort of relationships I want from life. Then, I need to better present myself as a partner. That does not mean 'selling' my body but acknowledging that I have personal value, not just in an academic or work-based location but also in amorous sense.

As I got home, I was listening to a CD that I loved whilst in France and there is a track called 'James Dean' (the acoustic version is far better than the original) which ends with the line:
"I could be knocked senseless by what you do but if it's pain that you put me through, this isn't love now. I've made up my own darn mind; I'm getting no love after all this time. I'm gonna make music till my brain is fried cos you can't see the man inside." ('James Dean' - Daniel Bedingfield)
So, I suppose this is true and it just took me a long time to realise. Despite the pain of the past, in a way I am more convinced over the last few days of what I want from the future. I spoke to a friend from the journalism course who told me that she and the course leader had met up recently and the course leader had said she was amazed that I had not got a job already in production as I will make one of the best producers. Another friend told me it would be such a loss not to be a journalist. Following on from my previous reflections, I realised that I will and the person stopping it all is me.

Therefore, following the 'sharing ministry' weekend, following the chat with my journo-mates and following the wonderful meeting with my two Warwick friends, I feel I am more focussed and wanting that journalism job, home and life I always dreamed of. I always had this dream of getting home from a late night shift presenting or producing a programme on Five Live, getting into my house and snuggling up someone I loved. It's time to start implementing it.

You know, sometimes when I write these things I feel like a teenager and know that I am showing a certain emotional immaturity. That said, i do find them comforting and I thank you for reading this drivel until the end.

I hope that you can see the need to love (and sell!) yourself without selling out,

With Love,

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Church Today, Gone Tomorrow

Went to a 'Sharing Ministry' conference with the vicar yesterday which was interesting and rather surprising.

Met the Bishop, all three local Archdeacons and a variety of leading clergy which was an interesting event. The diocese, like all diocese, is changing shape. Due to smaller congregations and fewer vicars, the way 'ministry' takes place. The theory seems to be that the congregation take over more of the running of a church but there were many more questions asked than answered. Whilst this is a good idea, there is a lack of thought into who administers the sacrements (Eucharist, funerals, baptisms etc.) and what the actual role of the 'Vicar' i going to be. I did wonder after one talk if they were to be made unemployed and to what extent this could lead to the church splitting up with individual congregations doing individual things.

That said, during a conversation with the Bishop, it became clear that though the number of clergy in this diocese is to decrfease from 109 to 75 by 2013, the actual problem will be filling those 75 roles as there are fewer coming through. It became clear that although people were happy to talk about taking over, the reality may welll be different. From my point of view, the conference opened a series of possibilities. Becoming involved in the church does not mean ordination necessarily as there numerous roles which I can take over. Lay Readers being but one of them.

So, think about your church and the role it plays in your society. Would you be sad to lose it? Then, perhaps, now is the moment to save it.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A wedding, an interview and a lot of thinking.

It’s been a busy few weeks with some joyous moments and some less joyous ones.

I went to my best friends wedding a couple of week’s back (you can see the photo.s here) which was a wonderful event. I have been to two weddings in recent weeks; the first ceremony seemed a prelude before a party. The second wedding was a joyous, God-centred celebration of marriage and the blessing of a new relationship. The ceremony had so many personal touches with hymns that meant something to them and a great deal of time to surround the marriage in prayer. The reception was lovely and it gave me a good opportunity to get to catch-up with an old friend called Pete.

Then there was the interview at Premier Christian Radio which was good. I did not feel at my best, to be frank, as I was so nervous. I answered most of the questions appropriately. There were a couple of issues. I was asked the problems faced if the radio news team spread into TV journalism. I answered the question by talking about images to which the programme controller seemed to mutter ‘a rookie reason’. Perhaps, I should have mentioned the fact that there would be a limit to the area covered, the timing issues (TV takes far longer) and the need for more library images. The second question I could have been stronger on was the last one. It was the famous one about being given an hour’s programming for the next day and what would I fill it with tomorrow. Despite having prepared the question, my mind went blank and I bumbled something about the effect of religion on politics. I just could not think. We will await the outcome.

I am still awaiting the outcome of the interview and for all the other jobs I have applied for. That said, I have been given time to think about what I wanted to do with my life and how I want things to balance out. This means balancing my family, relationships, journalism hopes and faith in some sort of way which will sustain me for the coming months. I have been wondering about exploring a career in the church and trying to work out if that is what God is calling me to. I mean, this does not necessarily mean becoming a vicar; it could mean lay readership, working for a church organisation or simply being involved in the church. I have been reading up on vocation and it seems that God calls us to some sort of ministry and mine could well be journalism but I feel a deeper sense of unrest. I get these images of how the church should be structured, what needs to be done to make a church grow or what a sermon should have said. I have also got these dreams about presiding at the Eucharist. I feel I want to tell the world about the good news but tell them that it is open to them whatever their colour, wealth or sexuality. God is a God of love without condition or clause. I just need to work out how all this fits together.

I have also been feeling a bit down recently; not only working through the above but also working on finding a job and living at home. It has been great spending time with my Mother and our relationship has strengthened recently. I just miss seeing people my own age and having a little more freedom in my life. I have been increasingly tetchy as I struggle to find a job which is not fair on anyone.

That said, there have been various friends who have been an incredible support and who have helped me to go forward. My parents have this on-going confidence in me which is wonderful. I have now to tap into my own personal strength.
There’s a song by Sigur Ros which has been used as the soundtrack to the ‘Planet Earth’ adverts. It’s last line (in Icelandic) summarises what I need to do so well:

‘Og eg fae bloonasir, En eg stend lltaf upp’

‘And I get nosebleed But I always get up.’