While most teenagers might be obsessed with Katy Perry or Justin Bieber, my love affair was with metal detecting.
When I was 14, my dream was to spend my weekends walking across a muddy field searching of buried treasure. I desperately wanted to go metal detecting. My parents, suspecting another whim (hot on the heels of bottle collecting, stamp collecting and an unhealthy obsession with stationery) drew the line. So I wrote to the local paper. I was interviewed, photographed and within days declared myself President of the first local metal detecting society. I didn’t even own a metal detector.
Lesson learned: If you want something, get up and make it happen. No one’s going to do it for you.
Years later when I wanted to make my living as a singer, I knew I couldn’t wait to be discovered. I spent years dragging my PA around Grimsby’s Working Men’s Clubs and hustling for gigs wherever I could find them. Eventually it paid off. I did some nice work and wrote a how-to book for anyone who wanted to do the same.
Next I set my sights on radio presenting. What I lacked in experience I made up for in enthusiasm. But that wasn’t enough. Who was going to let a novice like me loose on the airwaves? I was too old to be an intern and my erratic schedule as a singer proved problematic for hospital radio.
So again, I took maters into my own hands. I launched the Cabaret Secrets Podcast, interviewing over 80 movers and shakers from the world of cabaret. Then I launched the In Conversation Radio Podcast – a sort of Desert Island Discs only I got to ask the questions. Over 70 more interviews followed with people like Jeffrey Archer, Michael Ball and Lorna Luft.
By now, with over 150 interviews under my belt I was beginning to get the hang of it and I had a body of work to prove it. It was time to see if anyone would let me loose on air. Eventually, my old friends at BBC Radio Humberside gave me the break I was looking for, letting me write and present a two-hour special on Frank Sinatra. That led onto another special for BBC Radio 2, then a guest slot on Jazz FM. Eventually I was lucky enough to get my own show on The Wireless, Age UK’s own radio station. It’s my dream job. Every Thursday night at 7 I present The Legends of Las Vegas, two hours of great music and stories from the stars of the Strip like Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald. If you’ve not managed to catch it, the great news is that Sunday 26th February sees the launch of the Legends of Las Vegas Podcast. Then you’ll be able to enjoy the show at your convenience. Just search for the show on iTunes, subscribe and enjoy. For more details click here.
My dream is to get the podcast into the iTunes chart but I need your help. When it’s out, I’d love you to subscribe and take a listen. That’s all you need to do. I promise you’ll love the music and the presenter’s quite nice too.