At this precise moment I’m having a brew and a danish pastry in a Polish deli in Chorlton, my home in South Manchester. It’s currently that short but blissful window of time I get to myself in between finishing work for the day and picking the kids up from school. More generally what am I up to? I’m in my fifth year of hosting the XFM Manchester Breakfast Show. The latest project we’re working on is a world record for the highest number of men checking for testicular cancer. It’ll be a novel way to raise awareness… not to mention a sentence I never thought I’d write!
The people and the stories! I’ve heard it all from listeners who never fail to make me and everyone listening laugh or cry. When I started on the radio my producer and I made a rule that nothing is sacred. We’ve shared everything from our lives; arguments, embarrassing moments, children’s births, the lot. If you leave yourself open and vulnerable I find people are willing to do the same.
Recently Noel Gallagher co-hosted the Breakfast Show with me. It was amazing… but definitely strange. His music was the soundtrack of my youth, and this song-writing genius is sat down doing my show with me. It’d be like Michelangelo coming to help me paint the spare room. Surreal, but brilliant!
Come on… after that do you really need to ask? Other than Noel, it would be the moment I was offered a job on XFM . I was a teacher at a Sixth Form and decided to give the radio thing a go. I was sat there being offered a dream job. Inside I was doing somersaults and wanted to scream in celebration, but I had to “play it cool” in front of my new bosses.
I’d be indoors on a cold, wet, grey winter’s day with the wind howling a gale. Toasty warm from the fire roaring away, and snuggled under a blanket with my wife and kids watching a film.
Anyone who puts their passions first and does what they really want to or what they truly believe in. For example, I met a guy called Duncan Goose when we were both talking at a conference. He gave up a highly paid job in the city to earn a meagre wage and make big personal sacrifices to start the charity One Water which helps people who don’t have access to clean drinking water.
By exercising (so I have that satisfying ache) and then putting my feet up in front of a game of rugby on the telly. I’ve stopped playing myself now but the game has been a massive part of my life. My brother plays for London Irish and my family is rugby mad. A couple of hours to watch a game will do me any day.
Close friends and family. My children have had an amazing day if they’ve built a den with a sheet and a couple of chairs. My wife and good friends aren’t concerned by some of the little things I can agonise over at work. They constantly remind me what’s really important.
Christian Slater. He plays a radio DJ in Pump Up The Volume which was partly responsible for me wanting to do it as a job. His English accent in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves is a bit dodgy though, so I’ll go for Christian Slater and a voice coach.
I enjoy the pain, and then pleasure, of a deep tissue massage. Releasing those knots makes me walk an inch taller, sleep better and feel more alert.
Someone who forgets about being who they think they should be and is confident enough to be who they are.
I’m going to go to bed really early. REALLY early! I’ll forget about sorting the house out, catching up on emails or doing laundry. My alarm goes off at 4:30am each morning for work and I’m happier, more productive and a better dad and husband if I’ve had a decent kip. It’s simple but it’s fundamental and I just don’t do it enough. I just wish my kids were as excited by the prospect of going to bed early.
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