I went for a drink with an ex colleague last night – retirement increases the number of ex-colleagues at a stroke. I mention this because it’s unusual in a number of ways – this particular colleague and I don’t usually go out for a beer; I don’t go out much to the pub at all although there has been a slight increase since the puppies arrived but, more importantly I think, it was unusual in that he suggested another approach to putting my blogs before the public.
He said he liked the blogs, which was nice – he and I have not always said nice things about one another which is probably why we don’t drink together very often – all in the past now we’re no longer colleagues, of course. So that’s two nices.
He suggested that he thought my blogs would work well on the radio, which is something I had never thought of and appeals very much. The icing on the cake was that his further suggestion was that I could be a reincarnation of one of my all time heroes. Always a pleasure to reincarnate a hero. This person isn’t dead, or wasn’t the last time I looked although he is 71. So maybe reincarnation isn’t the right word – recreation?
The person is Garrison Keillor, author of the title quote but a name which may mean very little to a lot of people although he has become increasingly popular in this country. His long running (1974) American radio show called A Prairie Home Companion is known as Garrison Keillor’s Radio Show on the BBC Radio 4 Extra. This was first broadcast Saturday 29 October 2011. I have to confess I don’t really much care for this show in which Garrison acts as compere to a host of guests. He sings little ditties which I don’t care for much either. My early memories of him are his radio broadcasts, him reading short stories, in America when we lived there and me reading his books thereafter. Lake Wobegone Days 1985 was my first buy of his. I would like to include it here, just to show how long I have admired him but, irritatingly, I can’t find my copy of this book, so I’m including his next one Leaving Home (1987) instead.
I even went to see him appear ‘live’ when we lived in Washington DC. On Wikipedia now he is pictured wearing, and I quote, ‘his signature red shoes’. I can tell you when we saw him in 1978 (that’s how long I’ve been an admirer) his ‘signature’ was red socks and red bracers. These with black suit and white shirt. He looked cool. Given that he has become the voice over of many Honda adverts since, he will be extremely rich, I would guess. And still cool.
So the possibility of emulating the great man and maybe even, as a bonus, Alistair Cooke and Letters from America, is thrilling. In a future blog I will tell you about my long-standing relationship with America but that’s not for now. It just seems to me in my, no doubt blinkered, ignorance, that the greats of this kind of regular, short story telling, public radio broadcasting are American, although we do have The Archers. I remember the last Armistead Maupin book The Night Listener, I read the hero is a writer of tales about the gay community in San Francisco which he reads on the radio. If I said that seemed like my ideal job right there, you might think I meant that I wanted to be gay but no, not a problem but that wasn’t part of the appeal, it was the writing for radio that really hit the spot. All I’m saying is that I hold a long term admiration for this aspect of American culture (stories on the (public) radio) and for my ex-colleague to mention that this might be possible, made me giddy.
Now it’s tomorrow and the idea still appeals. I’ve started to read a couple of my blogs out loud and time them, not sure why I’m doing this, the timing that is. That makes it sound like I’m seriously thinking Radio 4 or whatever (I wish we had the equivalent of local, public radio like they do in the states. But then maybe we do). But no, I’m not thinking that far ahead. I just thought I would record some of them and transfer, if that is the word, to Songcloud.com, which is an audio platform of which I have some experience after my song writing exploits.
This, then, is my plan. It’s simple and it speaks to my need to be famous or at least increase my blog readership. I will record my blogs, get them broadcast and sit back and await my voice-over contracts and shed loads of money. Now that’s what I call a retirement scheme.