Please enjoy this video I made with the team at That Lot…
— That Lot (@thatlot) November 10, 2016
As a child, I was utterly terrified by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. So terrified that even putting that picture above these words now, at the age of 45, causes a slight shiver of anxiety. I was also confused: surely a ‘thriller’ was an exciting, dramatic film? I didn’t understand why Michael Jackson was singing about movies like that while dancing with zombies. Surely he should have been calling it Video Nasty?
But I did appreciate the musical delights of Thriller – and also the tiger cub he was stroking when you opened the gatefold sleeve (my sister, older than I and therefore with more sophisticated tastes, bought the album. In 1982, I was all about Bucks Fizz and The Kids From Fame. My sophistication would not come until 1986, when a month’s pocket money would pay for Janet Jackson’s Control).
Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans, as Allen Saunders (and later John Lennon) said – and that’s my excuse for not having posted a blog post for a while.
Coming into 2016, I didn’t realise this would be the year I’d get engaged, let alone married. And here I am in October, with a ring on my finger and a spring in my step and a feeling of true contentment – at the age of 45 – that I’m still getting used to.
I’ve just written about this for Standard Issue – tying it in with my joy at watching the former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
There is a connection, trust me. Because whether it’s a ballroom dancer or a bride, I hope that both my and Ed’s stories can show that it’s never too late to be what you might have been. And that we all have it in us to write wonderful new chapters in our life.
I never met Jo Cox. But like most people now, I wish I had.
Learning now, as so many of us, about all her work both before becoming an MP and while she was in Parliament, it’s clear that Jo was an extraordinary person whose compassionate world view ran through everything she did, and how she did it. She was loved and respected by her constituents and on both sides of the House; and she used her power and position to help those in need, whether that was in her humanitarian work for Oxfam or as an MP, helping refugees, chairing the all-party parliamentary group on Syria, and championing measures to help immigrants, women and children.
As Conor Costello of Oxfam said: “She had an amazing capacity to inspire and lead, and a soul-deep commitment to equality and justice that she acted on, every single day.”
And in her death, Jo continues to inspire.
The RH Experience are a delightful bunch of comedy eejits (you can use that on your next Edinburgh poster, lads) who I was lucky enough to share a radio studio with recently.
Specifically: I was the guest on their weekly radio show/podcast Played Up – in which they improvise the contents of ‘cassettes’ that their guests bring in for everyone to listen to. And suffice it to say, the results are delightfully silly and funny.
From the game show ‘Whose Dog Are You?’ to the classic jazz standard ‘You Can’t Scat This’, you can listen to the full show below or the iTunes podcast cut-down version here.