Episode 8 is fabby....it may be your favourite but it's delayed by a day due to cabling mishappery!
A multinational conglomerate is sending a wee man round with the solution tomorrow so we'll be in your ears on Friday 19th/Saturday20th at the latest....You will love it. Chisels at the ready.........!!!
So, here we are on Lockdown and thought it was wise to give you the lowdown. To put things in perspective, Donald Trump has just advocated that we should try injecting disinfectant and bleach to kill the coronavirus.
Just say no.
It goes without saying that we are living through a historic period in the history of mankind. I suppose all times are historic in that they become history, either recent or ancient. But this is a particularly gruesome episode that someone will sit a futuristic version of a GCSE on. And yet, and yet...music and art are flourishing, we are kinder to each other. We acknowledge our duty to the healthcare system by volunteering, making and donating. The air is clearer, the birdsong is louder, the expectations are lower, sweeter and more easily fulfilled. Life is changing and it isn't all bad all of the time.
I don't know about you but my priorities have changed. To my surprise, rather than procrastinating with all this time on my hands, I am working harder than ever before to bring this podcast to life.
So, now The Way Home Project is on Instagram, Twitter, FB, Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer....and early signs are that it is doing well in the podcast derby.
Podcasts are set to take over the world and we are not being left behind.
It may be opportune to remind you that in these times, when celebrities are still trying to flog you their books, their albums, their Dettol...that podcasts are absolutely free to the listener. Subscription to a pod is free, even if it has visuals. I tell you this in case you think you will be signing your life away by pressing 'Subscribe'. No siree bob, rather you will be providing analytics to the people that can keep the pod on the air. Each time that The Way Home Project fails to secure a follower or subscription, an orchid somewhere will die . You don't want that on your conscience.
Future posts will contain links to MY favourite pods but for now, I just wanted to say that Episodes one to four are now available on all major platforms. The links are below:
If you prefer TV to radio, Youtube has visuals...Episode 1 not so much but they get better as they go along and we have movie-style trailers and extras now too. Merch coming soon!
Here's a rundown of what to expect:
Ep 1. Crime writer Val McDermid, my son and my mum (because you can do that in podcasts and
they can explain things better) on the town where I was born.
Ep 2. A chubby mermaid and Peterborough poets talk about being a compere for the vicar.
Ep 3. Wandering Minstrels...Indie band The Tin Pigeons and all-things-strings Amanda Lowe, remind
us of how life used to be when we travelled. It is absolutely confirmed during the interview
that Edinburgh is in Scotland.
The Tin Pigeons have provided TWHP with its soundtrack and images. Their music is available
on all major platforms and their new single 'Closer' is out now! When we are allowed to be
whole again, I'd recommend seeing them live.
Ep 4. A hugely popular episode which took us to Wakefield and The Art House to talk with Tony Wade about his fascinating project 'Boundary no Boundary'. I can only say that the experience of seeing it is emotional, just stunning.
Mo Barrangi is an amazingly talented Iranian Artist of Sanctuary and Paralympian and honestly..what joy he creates.His art created quite a stir on Instagram.I plan to paper my house with it.
Rumanh Binta is a young textile artist, originally from Iraq who pays homage to The Art House and to her mother.Her work in progress is inset here.
Rachel Hall is a writer from Huddersfield, and like Tony she finds inspiration in an industrial landscape...fascinating stuff and you can find fantastic images on Youtube or in our gallery since the episode is full of visual artists.
Links below so pop along for a listen. Gallery and transcripts are available soon.
Although I don't mind rain at all, today it seems altogether too wet - even for the dog. Although I quite like the dog, he's getting on my nerves because he refuses to go for a walk and must be storing up no end of trouble in that tiny Yorkie body....and a bladder infection. Although I don't mind walking, like it even, I am secretly glad the dog doesn't want to wee in the rain because I will get wet. Although I don't mind getting wet, afterwards I feel like sitting in, eating cold chocolate, drinking hot chocolate and watching the Christmas channel two months early. Although once in a while that is allowed, I do it very often and wobble a bit. Although that's who I am, I can't fit into my clothes and am due at a party in like....fifteen minutes.
And, I don't know whether the dog or the rain's to blame for me still sitting in my pyjamas.
I wrote this opening paragraph to a novel about 5 years ago. It has taken on a meaning it never had before, whichever way you jump. #Brexit #extinctionrebellion #climatechange #politicalclimateuk
Our small island survives through the patronage of salt water, our back against the wall of Europe. We who call it home, are convinced that the sea itself will never surprise the likes of us with tidal waves and storms of biblical proportions. What fools we are.
This sea wonders not who is in charge, it is not you my friend. One angry backhand and the water will swallow us whole. The Americans may wonder where we’ve gone. On the other had, such an insignificance… what would it matter? Think of it - an entire nation sunk, as though they never were and never had been.
The sea bides its time, especially around Lightning Ho! For the most part, it is grumpy and aggressive as it does the best it can to rally its whoosh of offspring into some sort of rhythmical order. The only problem being that in windy weather, like all children, waves become overexcited. They fling themselves gleefully against the sea wall then freewheel up and over its edge.They are boys at a skatepark.
Their father puts up with it for a while, boys will be boys after all. But from time to time, his nature takes over and they push him too far. He slaps them so hard that his water babies shoot up and over walls and roofs, ricocheting off the buildings of the cliffside town until water lands spent and limp on park benches, dripping pathetically from wooden arms and slotted seats as though God himself had sneezed. More still wallop and slop around the ankles of shopkeepers along the shore. Separated from their salty brothers, waves are unable to find their rhythm, the constant comfort of an ebb and flow. But always, when they have learned the cold, disorientating lesson, their father calls them home and they seep into the gutters, the drains, the grass and little by little they trickle down to the sea where they beg for forgiveness and vow ‘never again’. But there is always a next time.
So Episode 1 wasn't just about home, it was about Home home. That is to say Kirkcaldy, the place of my birth.
The pod got off to a rollicking start with the Big Cheese...my son Rory. The interview was conducted lying on the grass in St James' Park, just across from Horseguard's Parade in London and we were lying down so that he felt less conspicuous, Nothing to see there then except a chubby middle aged woman lying on the grass next to a bearded young man with a microphone stuck up his nose. Almost invisible.
From his recumbent position, he endeavours to explain why his mother is destined to fail in her quest for a spiritual home. This is largely to do with the impossibility of trying to recapture her youth he seems to think. He makes some good and encouraging points but I feel he is wrong about the youth thing. I can't recapture what I have never lost.
About a fortnight after the interview, I was diagnosed with Lyme's disease and I in no way blame the Queen's horses ...in no way Ma'am.
Then it's off to the Harrogate Crime Festival where Val McDermid is the thoroughly enjoyable meat in the sandwich of my family. Though everyone in this episode knows Kirkcaldy intimately, I was impressed by Val's holistic knowledge and her obvious dedication. The transcription of her interview is on the Interviews S1 page and if you'd like to hear her speak on the subject of the Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, of which she is justifiably proud, then bonus material is available to the purchasers of TWHP merchandise..
In the interests of clarity, Val has asked me to make a donation to Kirkcaldy food bank in exchange for this interview which tempts me to say that she is a lovely, lovely woman. Coincidentally this is exactly what Julie Walters once said about my mother in a bar in Lloret de Mar (totally true on all counts.) Whilst we are on the subject, my mother and Uncle Chris have the final say from Wetherspoons in Stamford during a family gathering 'down my end' so to speak.
You probably need to know that geographically, Kirkcaldy sits on the Firth of Forth estuary across the water from Edinburgh. It's actually in Fife and as Val says, Fife is 'stuck out on the side.' To me, it looks like a scottie dog and Kirkcaldy would be just about where you tickle it under the chin. It is on a beautiful stretch of coast with beautiful parks and community-minded people who keep your feet on the ground, but it is struggling economically. Unbelievably, from around and about come a remarkable amount of successful writers and politicians...both historic and modern. Oh that I could be one of them! As you will hear, I name drop one of them shamelessly in this interview. It's all the more impressive when you take into account that Ian Rankin isn't a writer usually associated with caravans. Then again I didn't manage to interview him so much as corner him with a single question as he was taking off his jumper and trying to stop his t-shirt riding off with it. If anyone would like to pay me to write a column about it, I think you'll find me imaginatively prolific.
You may think that I am repeatedly spelling the place incorrectly but yes indeed, for one word only, the k comes before the c. To anyone planning to visit, to buy a train ticket or to report a murder, please note that it is pronounced Kircawdey and definitely not KIRK-KAL-DAY. Similarly, to any American reading this, Edinburgh is pronounced Ed'nburra if you are posh and Embray if you're not, It's never ever Edinburrow. Obviously not...
I lived in Kirkcaldy until I left for college at 17 but retained strong bonds with my teenage gaggle of friends and my large extended family. Mum still lives in my childhood home. She is someone I admire greatly as she, like my father now sadly gone, is incredibly tenacious and upbeat in the face of adversity. I am also humbled by the fact that she is happy where she is...there is no yearning to be elsewhere, to be someone else or to have someone else's things. I really feel that the not wanting it all is such a gift and acknowledges that we already have everything we need. It must be less tiring too.
As you will hear, mum feels that it is paramount that I stay close by my own grown up children but also says that being closer to that family of my childhood -cousins, aunts and uncles - would lend me support.
I have three children. One is in London, one is in Leeds and the third is definitely a girl of the south east and still lives at home. I know what Mum means but it's my Uncle Chris who is able to articulate the displacement and conflicts that we share so I shall leave it to him to explain. Lovely man! Aunty Fred(a) was also there. I adore the woman and her input may turn up in bonus material. She's antipodean now you know!
Interestingly, Val(McD) echoes something I have been saying for decades now.. that home is where strangers know who you are without you telling them. If that's difficult to get your head round, imagine the whole of Scotland was fitted into Sam's bar at Cheers. Norm walks in.
Enjoy Val and ponder on this whilst you do. I left South Lincolnshire to interview Val McDermid in North Yorkshire about Scottish Kirkcaldy and within twenty minutes of arriving, I came across my mother's next-door neighbour on her holidays. We blinked a lot.
Next week, we visit my adoptive home of Stamford in Lincolnshire which is breathtakingly lovely and couldn't be farther from the sea.
Rory...incognito in St James' Park.