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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bmag 19th November 2013 - Service clubs, citizenship and Doctor Who

One of the best perks of my job as a breakfast radio announcer is I have time during the day to speak at service clubs. At least once a week you’ll find me addressing a Probus or National Seniors' Club, telling behind the scenes tales from my twenty-odd years at the ABC. My favourite part is the question and answer time at the end, which has proven to be the best and most direct way to receive feedback from listeners, and we do take notice of what they have to say. But these talks are also a great source of story material for my breakfast show.

Here are a couple of recent examples: At Cleveland National Seniors, a woman handed me a nude 2014 calendar! It turned out her retirement village had produced it as a fundraiser for Look Good Feel Better, which helps women manage the appearance-related side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I flicked through the hilarious and very cheeky photos and who should I find playing piano in the all-together? None other than the first man on Queensland television, Hugh Cornish! What a great yarn! (Yes, the calendars are available – call Renaissance on 3820 7700).

Then just last week, after giving a talk at the Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed, I noticed the members were putting together 300 flat-pack timber cubby houses. Apparently a large department store imported them, then realised they didn’t meet Australian design standards. So they’ve all been handed over to the Men’s Shed, where the blokes are assembling and fixing each one – mainly reinforcing the verandah railings. It’s a great little earner for the Men’s Shed and will set them up handsomely for 2014 but they’re running out of storage space! So if you know any children who would appreciate a cubby house for Christmas, please call the Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed on 3343 2216. They’re $495. If you’d like me to speak at your service club in 2014, shoot me an email.

In what’s been a very busy couple of weeks, I also wrote and performed “A letter to the woman who changed my life” at an event called Men of Letters. I wrote my letter to the whole of Australia. As I hinted in the last bmag, there was a bombshell. Here’s an abridged version:

“My dear Australia, I’ve been disrespectful towards you. You educated me (even if that did mean sitting me next to Kyle Sandilands at Manly State School), you introduced me to my wife, you employed me (including that dream uni job as mystery shopper at McDonalds! How can I ever forget sitting in the loo at Maccas shoving a thermometer into french fries?), and you embraced me as a breakfast radio presenter on your national broadcaster. Yet for all of these 32 years, I have continued to think of another as my motherland. It has taken me all this time, but I finally see how this must hurt and confuse you. So I am writing to ask – dear Australia, please can we formalise our relationship? Australia, I have loved you for a long, long time. Will you have me as one of your own? PS: I may still support England in the Ashes. Can I let you know after the Second Test?”

I guess the surprise is more that I’m not already an Aussie rather than the fact I’ve finally applied. I’ll let you know when Australia (i.e. the Immigration Department) replies.

This Saturday (23rd) marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Who. TV stations around the world are broadcasting the special episode The Day of the Doctor simultaneously – there is no better way to crush TV piracy than to broadcast programmes at the same time everywhere. ABC Radio is launching a pop-up Doctor Who channel from 24 to 30 November. Look for ABC Extra on your digital radio or radio app (eg Tune In Radio). I’m presenting a two-hour special on the channel which will have rolling 24/7 interviews and discussion about Doctor Who.

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