Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything (G B Shaw)

And so dear listener, it was on 1st April 1979 that I joined the BBC as a researcher in Religious Broadcasting in Queen Margaret Drive. That same day a new TV producer called Les (from local radio in England) also started.

That lunchtime, the head of the department, his assistant, Les and me went to the Storm Queen in Dumbarton Road for lunch – alcohol with some food on the side – and this was my introduction to much of how broadcast journalism worked. In those days. 🙂

It was a time of cocktail cabinets and lock-ins in the BBC club (which ostensibly closed at 2.30) and wine when there were things to celebrate like the end of that day’s programme. Or five o’clock on a Friday when a trolley came down to the newsroom to celebrate the start of the weekend with free booze. 😀 It doesn’t happen now.

And when I worked in Embra with Religious Broadcasting, Radio, not only was Friday celebrated in Henderson’s for lunch but a well know Embra wine seller/cellar in George Street had a couple of bottles of white chilling for us for the afternoon and this with a Saturday and early Sunday ahead of us. Happy daze. 🙂

(All to a certain extent like my introduction to student life at Glasgow University and my progress in the extra-curricular life, where alcohol and the Beer Bar played a major part in acceptance and it was how I met the rrm and Dennis and Big Jock……the need and search for acceptance)

But it ain’t like that now. The demands of news 24/7 and the open plan offices at Pacific Quay have put an end to that. ):

This all came to mind as I watched BBC’s The Paper Thistle – a eulogy to/a celebration of the 200 years of the Scotsman and the easy acceptance of booze as part of the accepted behaviour, and its acceptable influence, in the wonderful world of journalism.

But, as in all aspects of people’s dependency on drugs such as alcohol and coffee (ask the Queen for her definition of mind-changing drugs), behaviours can change when there is a reason for change. 😀

I enjoyed my time with Religious Broadcasting. I did so much and learned so much. I worked in both TV and radio. I co-presented (kinda) a TV series and presented church services on radio; I didn’t enjoy TV presentation and the then Head of Radio, Scotland, didn’t like my voice. But I survived and stayed with the Beeb for many years and in many guises.

It’s funny tho’. On the same night as the documentary was on I continued tidying up the back bedroom that I use as an office. I shredded millions of stuff associated with the SVQ (honest) and thought I’d continue with the ‘academic papers’ I have – a few of which were accumulated through Inter Library Loans which the Cistercian monks invented but which in some libraries are now called something different. Once I’d been shown (slowly) how to find things on the ‘net and print them off, there was no stopping me. Anyway, I picked up the first clump of papers which turned out to be a Powerpoint presentation on being Drunk and Incapable by Ken Barrie (Skippy can we re-write that bit?)

And of course I sat down and read it and thought I can’t throw that away…….will the book idea ever leave me? (Excuse me while I look up Griesbach et al 2009)

But I was also reminded of a time early in my BBC career when libraries and journalism coincided. I was working for BBC’s Nationwide (of glorious memory) but it was during the Falklands War and unless I was called down to the War Desk in London, things (in Glasgow) were quiet.

I was approached by the producer of a Saturday programme – Jimmy Mack’s Old Gold – who wanted a feature called In This Week Ten Years Ago, Twenty Years Ago and so on. It involved me going down to the Mitchell Library (no USB sticks were harmed) every few weeks and going through the massive volumes of old Daily Records and Daily Expresses to look for the quirky – the stories that made you go Wow! 🙂

I could have done it in a couple of hours but there was a strange attraction in reading these old newspapers  or the high-tech world of the micro-fiche and following through a story – linking things before hyperlinks existed. Libraries can have that effect. How much material exists precariously on top of that bookcase that I didn’t need for my MSc but I got printed off anyway?

Gosh, 734 words without any effort…..I have 250 left.

And finally, a big well done to my friend uni-Sharon who managed to find the exact spot where we were meeting and on time.  Speaking as someone who had dreadful trouble finding a bodyshop in Bishopbriggs to get some work done on my new car, that was seriously good.

Cya, still wearing that badge and there is a knack to keeping it simple which I sometimes forget.

Johnt850, happily keeping it random.

So why do some people need the editing service I provide as secondary income for me?

Well I was approached by someone who asked if I could read 86,970 words in three weeks. ‘No’, I explained. ‘Not enough time.’ And I quoted Glasgow University’s Peer Proof-Reading Guidelines which suggest allowing ten days for essays of 20,000 words – rough guideline.

Back came the reply;

‘Sorry. I meant 8,697 words.’

Yes. You need a proof-reader and yes, I can.

I haven’t done anything about going to see Celtic Connections yet, for all sorts of reasons but this is Emma Pollock from this year’s Roaming Roots Revue at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Not big skies, J, but dark skies;

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