Cross Rhythms interview (website)

The recent radio interview I did for Cross Rhythms has now made it to their website: click here.

(For more about the interview itself, see here)

I’ve done lots of (more than 10, less than my age) interviews in the past, but wonder if this is the first one where my ‘audio’ has been transcribed into text. It’s interesting to see the difference between the two; if I’d been writing the answers rather than saying them, word choice would have been quite different, I imagine (and already I can sense that although this is interesting to ME, it is quite likely boring both the shoes and socks off the rest of you… sorry!).

Not convinced I said I was once a “tough member of my youth group”… makes it sound as though I used to beat up the leaders every other week, just for kicks!

Granted, I’m still using the piccie of me that was taken 8 years ago. How much longer can I get away with the pretence that I still look like this?
Hopefully a couple more decades, at least.

P.S. Check out the excessive use of semi-colons in the transcript… I thought I was the one with an unhealthy addiction to them.
(But surely forgiveable as transcripts are tricky animals to tame.)

‘Cross Rhythms’ interview

The UK Christian radio station Cross Rhythms recently invited me aboard for an interview. (I spoke at their festival back in 2003, and was interviewed by them, on air, in that same year also.)

The topic was the ‘Dear Bob’ novels, that were first published 8 years ago. Thus, it was a bit like someone enquiring as to my opinions regarding nappy changing, even though my kids are now 11 and 13! But in a good way. I’m always chuffed to bits to have those books reviewed or to be asked about them, in any context; it keeps ‘Jude Singleton’ alive, and reminds me of the fun I had penning her (fictional) story.

When it was aired, they cut out one of the questions:
Who was Jude based on?
Part of my answer was that, to some extent, Dear Bob was autobiographical. But then I paused and wondered if I’d pronouned it properly… did I say ‘autobiographal’, omitting the ‘ic’ syllable towards the end? But self-correction didn’t appear to be an option, so I pressed on regardless. Naturally, this has haunted me since, prompting me embark on a frantic Google search, to check if I could get away with it, had I made that omission (which revealed: fat chance).

Had it been in the final cut and had I actually said it incorrectly, I was planning on establishing a movement, on behalf of writers everywhere, to shorten all multisyllabic words related to the profession. After all, all writers concede that time is a valuable resource – why waste it saying long words when you can use shorter ones? Who has the time to say ‘autobiographical’ (SEVEN syllables)… not me, clearly! I even considered taking the cause to a higher level to see what could be done. Kate Middleton is probably hunting for worthy campaigns to back, bless ‘er…

But nay, the question and answer were given the chop anyway, so whether or not I committed such a blunder will remain forever a ‘radio-archive’ style mystery (a little-explored literary genre).

See here for other radio stations I’ve been interviewed on. (At bottom of the page.)

Click here to email Kate directly, regarding the surplus syllables you’d like to see brutally extracted from words, to give us all more time to enjoy life.
(just kidding!)

Here is the interview itself… a time-efficient 4 mins long… and if you check your email or Facebook messages whilst listening, you’ll not in any way feel as though it’s 240 seconds down the drain…

back from greenbelt!

what a cool babe!
Home again!

think this was the best greenbelt for me, and that’s out of a total of 7, i think.
no doubt the FAB sunny weather was a big factor… i am not a happy camper when it rains – just ask my family!
but also we had a total of 25 people from our church come this year… families, kids, teens, couples… a real mix! It enhanced the whole GB experience to be wandering around the site and to come across familiar faces and to be able to have a quick natter before moving on, or perhaps decide to go to something together, etc.

On that note, i was totally amazed by the amount of other familiar faces I saw at GB this year… friends from subway (online christian writers’ group) and generous… some i know v well and some just a tiny tad… but also other GB folks i’ve got to know over past few years… again, it was great to see someone i know every now and then.

Particularly enjoyed meeting up with Jo Dafforn (who i hadn’t seen in about 12 years) and Kate Beaton (8 years)… they were just as gorgeous as they had been back when we were mere yoof!

The panel i chaired
went well, from my p.o.v – i can only hope that the 275 people who attended would agree! (well, the venue said it had a capacity of 275, and there was no way you could have squeezed anyone else in that room!). I wasn’t expecting to learn anything from it, which sounds v big-headed, but i do ‘study’ and live the whole ‘ethical shopping’ thing somewhat… but i was given a couple of things to chew over that perhaps i will share another time. Just when you think you’ve got something sussed someone comes along and throws a few more things in the mix, and you’re back with more questions again! Still, that’s how it should be, i’m sure.

The panel i was on
was a bit weird… it was organised by Christian Aid, and the idea was that it was to be just like speed dating, but without finding the love of yr life at the end of it! They called it ‘carbon dating’, as it was all to do with climate change… quite witty really methinks! The concept was fab, but the journalist lady who compared it was a bit mouthy, and thus it was v hard for the people on each table to ask their ‘experts’ questions when they were supposed to. In the end i noticed a lot of tables just ignored her and got on with it! It was fun tho, and i had a few good chats re ‘generous’ (which was what i was representing… you didn’t think i was an expert did you?!)

Then i also slipped onto greenbelt fm, again to talk about generous… that was cool.

and each day from 4-5pm i was in the generous zone in g:source, serving free tea (fairly traded) telling people re generous and facilitating discussion on a slightly different topic each day, along with the fab claire, jerry and sue.

best bits: sunshine, taking my kids to see BlushUK (christian version of Girls aloud) as they were really star-struck, chairing the panel and a yummy thai chicken pie (i think from ‘pukka pies’)

I also enjoyed 2 doses of last orders, steve price the illusionist, and SHOPPING (i always get a few FT organic items of clothing at GB, to last me the year; makes a change from my usual charity shop purchases!)

Piccie is of tilly and the teepees/wigwams, etc. personally I’d rather stick to our tent… it doesn’t look as cool, but i’ve heard those things are chilly and can leak!
[click on the piccie to see it much bigger!]

Nearly Greenbelt!

high up!v much looking forward to Greenbelt this wknd.

i am again working on the ‘generous’ area in g:source (new name for the pulse) and will be there from 4-5pm, sat, sun and mon… and perhaps at other times. you can read more about generous here

i think what’s going in the programme is:
4pm Saturday, Sunday and Monday – Living Generously – in the Generous
space in G:Source Come and have a sit down and a chat about how Living
Generously is going for you : sharing tips, ideas, and maybe some

i am on the christian aid panel ‘carbon dating’, which is apparently to be run a bit like speed dating, tho don’t tell mark as he doesn’t know yet!! you can read more about that here

i will also be on greenbelt fm at some point, i am told

and hopefully St. Andrews will stock and display lots of my books, as they kindly have for the past few years, and will sell millions (or just a few would also be nice!)

i’ve been for the past 4 years (i think) but also went a couple of times as a teenager… last year we went with 2 other fab families from church, but this year we’ve got 25 coming from church! hurrah!

are you coming…?!
if so, tell me… we could meet up!

i am hoping GB will be a bit more chilled for me this year, as doing less than have done other years, work-wise… and hopefully that will also mean that mark won’t have to have the kids on his own so much, poor bloke!

PS piccie is not related to GB, but is, yes you’ve guessed it, from our recent tour of europe… looking at the aletsch glacier in switzerland!

BBC somerset sound

zummerzet... ooh aarrhh !got and email from Tracey last night to see if i wanted to be on her panel this morning, as some bloke had dropped out (it’s great to be wanted!). She had actually talked about me coming with her to somerset sound for a while, so i didn’t feel like too much of a stand-in.

i was on a ‘green’ panel, consisting of Tracey, who created ‘national downshifting wk’ and who lives just round the corner from me, my good self, and Gyles, director of the Magdalen Project (a few miles away from us, and where Fraser is going for 3 days on a school residential in Oct!).

We talked about stuff in the news (I selected this story where a woman had won £1.1 million on the lottery but not changed her lifestyle… i put forward the question, not ‘can money buy us happiness’, but ‘can STUFF buy us happiness?’. I was sort of making the point that it can’t, not always, even though most of us live as though it can and will). It was tricky as they only gave us the tabloids to select stories from, whereas I was kinda hoping for the Guardian, leftie snob that i am!).

any-hoo, it all went swimmingly. I mainly promoted fair trade, inc the monthly stall and bag scheme we do. I took in some choc-related FT snacks for the presenters to munch on – that seemed to go down well!

the presenter was the same one who had me on her show about 4-5 years ago, re dearbob… and she remembered! OK, so i mentioned that i’d been in before, and she said she remembered… it was the point at which I said ‘the book is very pink’ that i could see the cogs in her brain clicking before me.

i wonder if i might win an award for the most links in a post on a blog? well, it might win if i just compared it to other posts on this blog alone, i guess.

moving on… part of what was great about it was being able to chat freely about other ‘stuff’, and not just eco/FT stuff. I ended up promoting ben elton’s eco novels (‘stark’ and this ‘other eden’) but trashing his latest: Chart Throb (sorry Ben, but it’s just not as good as the rest) as well as contemplating, live on air, selling hubbie on ebay, along with his 20 or so boxes of CAR magazines currently sitting in the loft… as long as the price was right.

should you desire to listen to such varied waffle… i mean, life-changing discussion… then you can go to their website here, click on the ‘listen live/listen again’ bar, and under ‘morning Jo’ click on monday (18 June). We were on from the start of the show, for just over an hour.

Another plus to doing this sort of thing is just meeting like-minded people, like the fab mad Tracy, and Gyles, who lectures on sustainability in London when he’s not getting his hands dirty down on the farm! It’s great to make links with people who are almost literally on yr doorstep, who are keen to live simply and lightly on this planet, so that others can, as Tony Campolo once said, simply live.

Hope FM

Was on Hope FM a couple of days ago. It’s a Community Christian station, in the Poole/Bournemouth area.

The guy who interviewed me (re Generous) found Generous at Greenbelt last year, and interviewed me on Forest FM a while back.

It was longer than the other recent BBC interviews, and 100% positive, which was great!

He threw me by asking for my top 5 tips for living generously. I said:

1] Buy less. Consider buying 2nd hand (ebay/charity shops, etc) or borrowing (library, DVD rental, etc).
2] When you have to buy new and buy food, try for local products where poss… and if it’s something produced in a developing nation, buy fair trade.
3] In the kitchen – don’t overfill your kettle, and when you boil food (pasta/rice/eggs) bring it to the boil and then switch the hob off, and leave it for longer than usual… it will cook! (yes, this is 2 tips in one, but i don’t think they noticed!)
4] Don’t leave electrical appliances on stand by… switch them off properly.
5] Drive efficiently, to save on CO2 production… so take off the roof rack if it doesn’t need to be there, find out what speed is most efficient, etc etc (lots more to say on that one, see other posts on this!)

I picked these (very quickly) as they are things everyone can do, pretty much. You don’t have to be an eco warrior, just someone who is happy to do something in a slightly different way, in order to be more loving towards others.

If I’d had had more than the length of a song to work out this top 5, it might be different, I guess. I think I’d always put ‘buy less’ at the top of any list… ethical shopping is my thing, after all!

any one out there got other things that ought to be on a list of top tips? what have i missed out…?! (dare i ask…!)

bbc radio coventry

was interviewed by them 2 days ago, along with Jo Rathbone, who runs Eco-Congregation… a fab eco lass if ever i knew one!

it was a bit odd… the interviewer was v negative from the start. On the whole, that’s not odd. ‘They’ often start off with a few challenging or controversial questions, so you can justify your position and stuff… but then they usually get a bit more positive, and end it that way, as with the last radio interview i did last wk.

But this woman seemed to be practicing for Panorama or something… she accused us (generous) of all sorts of things, and didn’t let up! I had heard it all before and hopefully said the right things, but it wasn’t easy.

If we were pro fox-hunting or similar i might understand an interviewer being that way… but our humble little goal to be generous to others… how can that possibly offend others?! 2 ways perhaps… firstly the christian aspect of it (this seemed to bother her somewhat) and secondly that our project has the potential to make others feel guilty for not being generous enough. I wish it didn’t, but i think sometimes it does, and perhaps that’s where this woman was coming from.

bbc radio nottingham

was interviewed by them on Weds of this wk, in my capacity as part of the GENEROUS team. Richard (Generous member) who lives in Notts was in the studio being interviewed at same time – he was FAB! I didn’t have to say much but that was fine by me. And, as usual, what I’d thought they’d ask and prepared, they didn’t ask… and then they threw something at me that I hadn’t thought about (she came on the line and said “right, after this song can you tell us about some of the quirkier actions on the website” and then she listed a couple. This was freaky as they were ones I hadn’t written up (and I guess I’ve written up most of them on the website) and one of them i wasn’t really v keen on , but i didn’t let it show (i hope!).

Anyway, it’s all ‘spreading the eco word’ so all good stuff. hurrah.

Wanted to put in a link here so you could here it, should you be REALLY bored and have nothing else to do… but their site seems to only allow you to listen to some past progs and not all.

radio ga ga

un-generous wine-hogger (i am) just been interviewed on this radio station, about generous.

the presenter found generous at GB this year and wanted to do a ‘piece’ on it.

went OK – v hard to summerise something like generous, but i prob got all the relevant info across to the masses (!)

the more coverage generous can get the better… must ask tony blair to mention it in his next/last (?) speech.

PS the piccie of me and the gang @ GB… i’m sure i was sharing our (biodynamic/organic) wine, but it looks as tho i’m hogging it, or showing off that i’ve just finished the whole bottle on my ownsome! (The Pot Noodle tub was not bought or brought by us, as we’ve not bought for eons, as you can’t get local or organic varieties (!) but friends had one their daughter started and then abandoned… hubbie and i descended on it like half-starved vultures and consumed within seconds, making those kinds of noises that they make in those rude pot noodle adverts, proving that the adverts really do know what they’re talking about! those babies really are scrumptious…!)

GB…Best Bits

if i don’t write this tonight i’ll never get it done as 2moro am all back to normal (ish).

i think what i enjoyed the most this year was the social aspect. We camped alongside good friends (richard and lori passmore) and Rich came in useful when a group of loud persons decided to party outside our tents around 2:20am one morning! My sister (Zoe Stephenson) also came each day, as she lives in Chelt, and several of her friends were around also, so we got to know them a bit. Oh, also i went to hers one day for a shower… that was a real highlight! Hanging out just in front of the yurt, near the TT tent was one of our fave pastimes… the kids loved playing on those white bars that surround the arena, or hanging out in the yert with unknown teenagers, or playing with the ‘poi’ I bought them (those balls on strings that everyone was throwing around!).
So yes, it was v sociable, more so than last 2 years, and perhaps even more so than when i went as teenager, way back when.

Enjoyed hanging out with guys from ‘between the lines’ venue and also from ‘generous’ project… my 2 areas of interest. My workshop with Penny (Culliford) called ‘finding your inner bridget’ (re chick lit) went well… had a fairly packed venue… got lots of positive feedback, etc. Our signing was busier than last year… altho I use the word ‘busy’ in the very loosest of senses. Still, our bookshop ‘escort’ (i told her she really needs to ask for a less dodgy title) made us tea, which made us feel like divas, so that was cool.

I was thrilled to meet Nick Page, as i am a big fan of ‘and now let’s move into a time of nonsense’, that i have reviewed on this blog somewhere (and a fan of some of the other 3 billion books he’s written) and Rev Alistair McCollum (whom i 1st met on an SU holiday many moons ago, and then again last year at GB) and Conrad Gempf (I have added all these guy’s blogs to my blogroll, for yr info).

I was also happy to meet some lovely Subway-ers (Christian writers e-list) who were involved with some of the BTL sessions. Met Jude Simpson (i am huge fan) briefly… missed her show tho, but bet it was good – i went to it last year, nearly wet myself (in a good way!) . Also good to meet Generous-ers (Greenbelt ‘year of living generously’ project)… would have gone to every session in the generous zone if i’d been able to!

My ‘generous’ session went well. Neither Bob, Bono or Leo turned up (see my ‘fantasy men’ post a few days ago!) but it went ok nevertheless. I was helped by my fab friend Lori Passmore who was v ‘generous’ to help me out, even tho i only asked her a few days before GB! We had about 50+ people, which wasn’t bad for an area which was only really designed for 10-20 people to attend a session in. Main message was: buy less stuff in general, cut down, cut back… use money saved to shop locally, fair trade, organic, eco-friendly, all that jazz. Lots of nodding heads at the end was encouraging, and people afterwards coming to me and telling me that they agreed with everything i said, can’t be a bad thing!

I also helped with a couple of other sessions and was on a ‘blogging’ panel, but i don’t think it much compared to the ‘spirituality of blogging’ by the great blog-gods: TSK, Maggie Dawn, Jonny Baker, et al.

Penny and I found ourselves yet again spending eons of time doing interviews. We went to the GB FM area at 5pm on the Fri, as we had been invited to come then… only to be told that they couldn’t ‘do’ us then but could we come back at other times. We spoke to a BBC Radio lady (who was ‘helping’ the GB FM team…!) for a while… we must have been there for about an hour in all. Then I went the next morning to be on air talking about my ethical shopping session, then penny and I met up with some nice ladies at the Mocha coffee cafe, to do an interview which was taped and used later (re our chick-lit I mustn’t complain, it’s all good publicity, etc, and I am fine doing interviews (not nervous, like with w.shops, etc)… but it meant poor old hubby had to have the kids for even more of the time… whoops!

We (Pen and I) also got invited to be interviewed at ‘last orders’ on the last eve. This was one of the best things ever, not just coz we got interviewed, but coz we got to BE there… soooooooooooo funny! Really enjoy comedy and stuff. LOVED ‘Tent TV’… such a shame so many GB-ers prob don’t know what this is… it really should be played from the main-stage! Rev Gerald Ambulance also there… I was just a few metres away from the gr8 man… i have been such a fan since his 1st writings in Disclosure, eons ago. Kept meaning to go and chat but chickened out, and also he was quite busy… err… changing clothes and stuff! Still, one day…!

Leo Hickman interview was good – fab guy.

The Proclaimers were worth it.

Oh, and Fraser getting awarded one of the ‘tree’ pictures by the artist was amazing… see ‘visual greenbelt’ post for a pic of this… he is only 6, and the artist read his poem in the ‘tree poem’ book published at GB and loved it, and decided to award him the picture, publicly, at the end of his interview in the BTL tent. It was a gr8 moment… hubby has just hung it on his wall… it’s framed and everything!

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all i can muster up for now (“hurrah for that!” they all cry)… oh, the pizza was also nice, as was the pistachio flave sheep’s milk icecream!