3 things I’ve learned from last 2 episodes; Don’t stop, Integrity, & Art.

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When I slow down, I stop.  I’m all in, or I’m all out.

Having launched myself head-first into podcasting last March I approached the summer with plans to build up a stockpile of shows that would ease the pressure on me to record and release shows while working full time, being a parent, managing a football team etc. For those of you who don’t already know I have June, July, and August off as a result of being a college tutor.

My plan started well with me recording 2 shows in London in mid-June, one of which I’ll be releasing on new years eve or day.  Then I went to France for a few weeks with the family, minus wifi, and enjoyed not being connected to the digital world after a few days of digital detoxing.  When we returned from France we spent another week or so on holiday in Ireland before returning home.

By the time I returned home my routine was well and truly broken and I learned again what I already knew.  I’m not the type of personality who can take breaks.  I’m all in, or I’m all out.  In the case of podcasting I was most definitely all out.  I justified this by telling people I was taking the summer off.  I was, but I also knew I might never record another episode again.

I’ve experienced this all out-ness before, many times.  I’ve had repeated experience of slowing down leading to stopping with:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. Stopping smoking
  3. Meditation
  4. Running
  5. Reading
  6. Preparing well or my classes etc., etc

I’m not sure if it’s a human condition thing or more of a Dave condition thing but I tend to do things I enjoy for a limited period of time.  And then I slow down.  And then I stop.  I do this much more effectively with things that are good for me and that I enjoy than things which are bad for me and that I don’t.  Possibly the worst part of these stopping experiences is when I’m asked by friends about them.  My answers will fall on a scale between evasion and deceit and this will continue until my friends stop asking or the remorse fades, as remorse does.

I’m back podcasting.  I’ve 2 new episodes up, I’ve 2 more recorded, and I’ve 4 interviews lined up for January.  I’d love to finish this section with something inspirational but it’d be bullshit.  For now I’ve stopped stopping.  Why?  Your guess is as good as mine.

T Christian Miller: Integrity & old school journalism

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T Christian Miller was a brilliant guest.  In an era when many journalists are ‘growing their brand‘ or clickbaiting, Miller is a journalist who is all about the story.  His work with ProPublica is patient, transparent, and most importantly for modern journalism, informative and entertaining.  Miller has old school journalistic integrity.

The following story will give you an idea of exactly what i mean by Miller’s integrity:

I’m interviewing a guy called John Perkins on January 7th.  Perkins once worked for the US Govt as an economic hitman and has written extensively about the nefarious role of US multinationals overseas.  Miller has spent much of his career investigating the same thing.  By way of thanking Miller, and as a way of putting these guys with similar interests together, I asked Miller for an address to which I could forward a copy of Perkins book.  Miller politely responded that he doesn’t accept gifts.  Integrity.

“All that matters is love and work.” Sigmund Freud

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I’ve quoted that header a lot but what I think Freud actually said was “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.”  Either way, it’s as good a maxim to live by as I’ve heard.  It’s also a quote that could easily be internet misattributed to my most recent guest, Mark Cousins.

Mark is a film fan and filmmaker and his episode is my most downloaded to date by a distance.  Why?, because he loves his art and people love him for it.  To immerse yourself in the work of Cousins, the fan and filmmaker, is to immerse yourself in someone so truly in love with their art that it’s difficult to tell where the person ends and the artist begins.  But isn’t that the way with artists?

Cousins also manages to dispel much of the myth of the artist by being very much of this world.  Not for him the high-falutin’ language of cinematic scholars.  Cousins says that he wants to speak to the 15 year old version of himself when he talks about film.  This idea reminds me of the advice of a salty journalism tutor I had when I was struggling to put together an article that was technical and detailed.  He told me to aim the article at ‘an intelligent but uninformed reader.‘  I’ll never forget that advice.

I’ll also never forget Mark’s descrition of what it was like growing up in working class war time Belfast.  His house had a glass front door and his Mother told him: “If you ever someone standing at the door, run.”  Can you imagine being given that advice as a child?


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