Crave new world

The jobs I left behind – journalism and TV production – are well-known. They are not well understood and the general public are deeply ambivalent about them. Tell someone you’re a journalist and they often back away thinking ‘Oh God, what did I tell him?’ They say “Don’t quote me.” and “Please don’t put that in the paper.” They say this regardless of how dull and of little public relevance their comments might be. But when they have an indignant sense of some injustice having occurred, they say “Right, I’m going to the papers with this,” and they fully expect us to put it in.

When you tell people you’re a TV producer, they say “Can you get me on the telly? I want to be famous.” When you ask them what they want to be famous for, they reply that they don’t want to excel in any particular field. They just want to be famous. On the other hand, people have a deep distrust of ‘the media’ and believe we are part of a conspiracy to protect bankers, crush the proletariat or whatever.

I shall miss these standard responses to my work. Now I shall have to get used to the quizzical look and the raised eyebrow. “A mediator? What’s that then? Is it like meditation?” Or perhaps, at social gatherings, when I tell people what I do, their eyes will refocus and look over my shoulder in case there’s someone more interesting to talk to. Someone in the media, perhaps.

But yes, that’s what I’ve been up to. As well as getting a shed and learning to ride a motorcycle, I have been training to be a mediator – someone who helps to resolve conflicts before they blow up into court cases, employment tribunals, feuds, wars, you know the kind of thing. I’m still on the course so haven’t done any real mediations yet but I found my experience as an interviewer and as a union rep very helpful. More on that as it happens.

Another thing I’ve been doing is voluntary work for the Witness Service, a division of Victim Support. I’ve been working in Cardiff Magistrates’ court and will be in the crown court tomorrow.

And another thing – poetry. 

ImageHere I am, in the south of France, practising my iambic pentameter. More about this in a separate post, probably but here’s the thing: accepting redundancy has given me the chance to concentrate on the stuff that I believe in. Witnesses play a vital role in our criminal justice system and they deserve all  the help and information they can get. Mediation is an all-round good thing in that it gets to the bottom of conflict, enables people to be happier with each other and saves the nation a fortune. And poetry is one of those precious things that make us human. 

Of course, I don’t know for sure how any of this is going to work out but it certainly wouldn’t work if I never gave it a try. So, if you’re thinking about redundancy, don’t just think about the negatives. Consider the possibilities if you decide to take the money and run.

The Gun of Jesus

The video mentioned in my previous post – The Gun of Jesus – is now available for viewing on YouTube.

I suppose I should brace myself for some hate mail but, with a bit of luck, the gun-slingin’ tea-party types might miss the irony and take it as a sensible question. What kind of gun would Jesus use?

If you like it, please alert your Facebook friends, Twitter contacts and so on.

A good show!

The movie-makers’ evening at Chapter was very pleasant. I had feared ‘artistic’ temperaments and bitter rivalry but no. It was a good crowd of creative people coming up with very different films. We had documentary and drama and a variety of budgets. Some had been made over two years; mine was shot and edited in a few hours. Despite its lack of filmic cleverness, The Gun of Jesus was well received and I was approached by two people who were interested in collaborative projects with a poet. Watch this space.

My favourite film was called ‘The Claw’ which was set in Barry Island.