September 16, 2005 – 9:06 pm
I’m sitting in my sister’s flat in London this evening, much as I sat in her flat a year ago today – the day I arrived in the UK to start my new Northern Hemisphere life.
A lot’s happened since then, and a lot has changed. How’s this for starters: the flat’s in Wimbledon now, my sister is a parent, I’m just a little train-lagged rather than utterly jetlagged, I’m a year older (turned 38 on Wednesday) and these days, I have an actual job.
I thought this evening, being the one year anniversary of my first day in England, would be a good time to reflect and talk a little bit about some of the things that have happened since I left New Zealand.
For a start, work’s going pretty well. Some highlights:
I’m now the project coordinator for a research and training program called Online Music Enterprise (my wife calls it ‘Head of iPod Studies’) at one of the top 3 Media Studies departments in the UK.
I’m a member of the Steering Group for the Radio Studies Network.
I’ve been asked to be on the peer review panel for the upcoming ‘The Radio Conference: A Trans-National Forum’ (Lincoln University, 2007).
I’m heading an Online Music panel at the First European Communication Conference in Amsterdam in November.
I’ve been asked to co-author a book on podcasting for Focal Press with Chris Priestman, the author of the book on Web Radio.
I’m currently involved in setting up the UK Radio Policy Unit, which is going to be based at UCE Birmingham.
The Society of Low Power FM Broadcasters Incorporated celebrates one year of existence this week. I had very little to do with its success, but I feel I had some small part in getting them started, so I’m celebrating that with a beer (The opening of an envelope, you say? Cheers!)
I’ve presented conference papers and participated in panels at The Radio Studies Network conference in Birmingham, the MeCCSA conference at Lincoln and a couple of other gatherings of similar types.
I’ve attended conferences on radio, the music industry, digital technology and more. This weekend, it’s The Art of Record Production Conference at Westminster University (wow… Simon Frith in person!).
I’ve had a couple of things published in the Radio Journal.
I’ve started podcasting – and been on BBC television explaining the phenomenon.
I’ve nearly (so close!) finished my thesis and am in the process of drafting my PhD proposal.
I’m co-writing a paper with Goldsmith College’s Kate Coyer on the Low Power FM movement.
I’ve even been given a brand new office painted entirely in mauve (!), with a scenic lookout over Aston Villa Stadium. Go me.
Other indicators of change include the fact that my wife is now a local celebrity. She works at what I think of the ‘Cheers’ Health Food Shop (Sage – where everyone knows your name). It’s the centre of Moseley Village life.
My son Jake has learned a good deal of German and will be visiting the language’s home country in just over a week on a school trip. Given that he’s gone from a small primary school in Parnell that shall remain nameless (Parnell Primary School), to a year of homeschooling, to a high school populated by 1500 primarily Muslim Brummy kids, he’s doing spectacularly well – and is being presented with an award at the school prizegiving on the 27th.
Sadly, I’m unable to attend that evening, since I’ll be at Westminster University filling in for David Hendy – the guy who wrote the textbook I used to teach from at AUT.
Members of my family (my NZ sister, my parents and the odd cousin) have been out to visit and have declared Birmingham suitable for human habitation.
I’ve been to (and am going to) some gigs I could only have dreamed of in NZ (Linton Kwesi Johnson‘s next).
I’ve holidayed in the South of France. My wife has popped to Gran Canaria for a week in the sun. I’ve marched in Edinburgh for the end of poverty. I’ve been to York, Coventry, Lincoln, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Wales, Stratford and (many times now) London. There were some smaller places too. I spent an hour in Grantham once.
I have become the carrier of a British passport.
So much has happened.
And yet, if anything, it seems that more things have remained the same than have changed.
I never seem to have enough (actually, any) money. There are far more records than I could ever hope to own. I remain the only vegetarian I know who has no problem gaining weight.
I’ve remained quite definitely kiwi. I am a proud owner of the Sola Rosa album (thanks, Joe). I have voted in the NZ General Election and I give a damn about the outcome (I encourage you to do the same). I miss feijoas more than probably anything else.
And yet I love my new adopted home. The air’s starting to cool. The accents are musical and lilting. The jaffa cakes are plentiful.
Here’s to a year in Birmingham. Cheers.