Monday, 31 December 2012

Hey Sexy Reader

And so 2012 draws to a close and I'd like to thank you for your interest and support. It's been a defining year for me; one in which I left broadcasting and embarked on my poetry journey. I also got a dog.

Happy New Year and here's hoping we continue to live our dreams and dance to our own beat in 2013. You never know, the way we see it, however extreme, simple, or downright inane, might just be the interpretation or style that takes off....

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Oh nuts!

For a woman still in my thirties it's been lot to come to terms with now that my childbearing days are over. I already have two darling little terrors and although the mere thought of adding a new baby into the equation triggered palpitations, it still felt nice to have the option. I could have if I wanted to...

However my husband, Peter, had other ideas. He had always made it clear that two children, an heir and a spare, was plenty. This conviction was only reinforced by the hard and never ending grind of parenting. I mean, God love 'em, but THREE would surely have tipped us over the edge?

In the end, the decision was made for us; this being the age of austerity. With deeper cuts and Britain's elongated recovery from financial crisis, we have certainly been feeling the pinch. In truth, since "becoming" a poet, it's felt more like an enormous chinese burn. Not the most lucrative of career choices it has to be said.

The average cost of raising a child in the UK from birth to their 21st birthday is now 218,000 quid. Bearing in mind we have two, we are about 400,000 quid short. And when a minister announced that University tution fees were to rise to up to nine grand per year, it was game over. My husband's bollocks had to go.....

"The Snip" by Ruth E Dixon & Peter Dixon

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Fo' Shizzle

Hey there! How's your day been? I'm a little excited coz I've just released my first "rap". It's all because I've got ginger hair and people, right. People, yer, well they keep mistaking me for this lass called Rebekah Brooks. You know that bird who used to be married to a Mitchell; who seemed to be in charge of the entire British tabloid press and is bosom buddies with Rupert Murdoch?

 "Oh ha ha ha ha" I would say "no, really, you are very very funny; yes I do look just like her". It hurt a little though (only a smidgen) coz I'm a journalist too but I never did nothin bad bro and when I left my job I didn't get a seven million pounds pay off. I got a recipe for soup (delish).

Then I thought to myself  "Ruth E Dixon, I is having a cunning plan. Why don't you buy into your image issit and make sweet poetry". And then I got the idea to take it one stage further and write a rap. And then my lush gangsta (Annabel) who hangs in my hood just around the corner filmed it.

Me and Annabel thought we'd try to get the rap to "go viral" today; on the day Lord Leveson published his report into the culture and ethics of the press. But I've only got 80 followers on Twitter and Annabel's been in meetings and she's been eating cheese; and I fell asleep watching Leveson on the telly, and now I need to help my son with his homework.

Ah well. Consider yourself the exclusive audience. Keep it real bro.

Not Far Enough - The Rebekah Brooks Rap - Leveson Remix

Thank you to my buddy and wondrous filmmaker Annabel McCourt:-

Monday, 26 November 2012


Do you like music? It's a broad question I know, a bit like, do you like language or do you like countries? The vast majority of us will appreciate an aspect of it and regularly listen to a form of it be it live or recorded. Others will learn to play an instrument, or use their voice, or fiddle about with decks and beat boxes or dustbin lids. And then there are those who are born with music deep within their veins; who live and breathe it and through music find their means of expression.

You're getting an education today reader.

I really like music, I enjoy listening to it and I also tinkle the ivories every now and again. When I was a youngster I got my grade two piano and since then me and Chopsticks have never looked back. I even write the odd tune, Camping & Vaginas being my most popular to date.

The thing is, and please don't tell anyone, but in my head I'm hearing Mozart and Chopin. Alas, when it comes out, my compositions amount to little more than Knees Up Mother Brown and variations thereof. That's NOT what I meant to say fingers. Camping & Vaginas for example was supposed to be Ruth E Dixon's Prelude Number 3 "Sunshine Summers" in C major. It's fair to say that, as it turned out, the two do not blend. The one I'm currently writing has a working title of Rainbows Sonata in E Minor. Unfortunately the emerging combination of the "Have A Banana" musical notation and the lyric "He's having me Shirley's salamied" renders the original thinking meaningless. There's no getting away from it, I am a cockney poet not an Austrian piano genius. I'm not even Elton flippin John.

In order to up my game, I've enrolled the help of Peter (my husband) to aid me with my music making. I have to say, I'm really pleased with his honky tonk. The kids are enjoying it too because the rhythmn appears to prompt the need, several times, to jump off the sofa and walk around the living room with bandy legs. Not quite the Royal Albert Hall experience I had hoped for, but "a happening" nonetheless. The one thing I have had to ban though is Peter naturally falling into playing Radiohead's song Codex after our practice (apparently it's in the same key as my tune). Hearing the two back-to-back, well....salt, wounds, rubbing into etc etc.

The truth is though that I am in awe of, and hugely grateful to, that rare breed who feed your soul with their gift of music. I've just finished reading a biography of the Cellist Jacqueline du Pre. I can only sit back and let her beautiful language soak me up. 

Jacqueline Du Pre - Elgar Concerto

A link to my Camping and Vaginas song off the back of Jacqueline Du Pre would require so much self harm and salt that an agonising death would be imminent (and, reader, I still have too much music "to give"). So for those who are interested, might I suggest you go to my website:-

Not Even Elton Flippin John

                                                   Doin' the Lambeth Walk. Oi!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Show us what you've got

I've been thinking a lot recently about "offending people". Not necessarily with the intention of doing so but more with intrigue that sometimes it can be the byproduct of my work; my best work. I've been trying to figure out how and why and whether it's a problem that some people can take offence.I kind of think not because those I admire most tend to have a capacity to offend. But I needed some more reassurance.

So I googled it and I realised, hell no, it's not a problem at all. If anything, it's my duty.

Cheers internet.

Virtual Museum of Offensive Art  -  A virtual museum where you will find art works that have caused social turmoil in the past, present and possibly in the future. 

Do We Have The Right To Offend? - Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner argues that many of our most important social freedoms and advances have been brought about by people who caused great offence in their time such as Galileo and Charles Darwin.

It's Your Democratic Duty To Be Offensive  - Germaine Greer argues that freedom of speech cannot be maintained in a society where nobody ever says anything subversive or inflammatory. Agitated though we might feel by some of the things people say, we have got to go on defending their right to say them.

In conclusion to my own mini cruise of self discovery:- When I perform my poem "A Weather Girl's Got To Have Tits" please read between the lines. To be fair, most of you do. I campaign for equal rights for female broadcasters. Gender, age and the way we look should not matter. BUT, and as a completely separate issue, aesthetics and/or aesthetic beauty is truth (see "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats).

The truth is boobs have been, are and always will be absolutely lovely jubbly.

Tim Minchin's Confessions

Current Buns  - A website for up and coming female broadcast journalists.

Friday, 9 November 2012


Well this is weird, I don't have anything to say this week. But this is my allocated "blog writing" time and it seems a shame to toss it off? I could listen to Desert Island Discs or watch Jeremy Kyle. Or, Jenny Eclair has just tweeted that the Kardashians are "live" with Lorraine. How fascinatingly dull. Somehow writing nothing, or simply searching for something to say, seems much much more productive.

So, here we are.

How do you write yours and where do you draw your inspiration?

Ummmm....I've just been in the shed to look for a bike lock. I found it but I couldn't find a key to fit. Then I washed down my panniers. Not many people can say they've done that today; or ever.

I saw the brilliant Fascinating Aida at Hull New Theatre this week. OMG, where have I been for the past thirty years? In the shed?

Oh and I drove to Milton Keynes, spent the night in a bedroom on a roundabout and found the perfect dog to buy.

I guess in future I could use this time to walk the dog...or, instead of blogging....


Friday, 2 November 2012

I Quit This

OK, so I admit I really enjoyed the way radio presenter Danny Baker told his bosses where to stick their abacus beads after his show on BBC London was axed. "This is the best show I'll ever do, but that is apparently not the point", he said "it's about kowtowing to the reams of middle management". The fact that these swathes of management failed to actually inform Danny that his show was for the chop (he was told by his agent) makes you wonder what they actually get up to for all that time in all those meeting rooms. Hilarious to hear a clip of Danny's boss on Radio 4 programme PM saying words to the effect of "well this is the way it's always been done with Danny" i.e. NEVER actually speak to him.

Two points here reader; firstly, when I worked in local radio I avoided meetings like the plague. In my experience they were a complete waste of time and got in the way of my job; making radio. Secondly, the irony that managers of a broadcasting corporation seem to lack the ability to communicate with their staff.

When I finally faced the "semi-chop" (I couldn't present the show on my own anymore, a man needed to come in and help me), it was done with such a farcical display of colourful graphs purporting to illustrate "where I'd gone wrong" with my listeners, that it was hard to take seriously. But semi-chopped I was. I only wish when I did finally quit I had had the balls to leave in style like this DJ from Alabama...

Saturday, 27 October 2012

I Will Not Dance

Reader, there is so much we don't know about each other. My entries so far are but the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile you are still a complete mystery to me. There are ways and means of improving "blog traffic", bumping up "hits" and targeting "surfers" but this is a work in progress and frankly today it is all beyond my care. At the risk of sounding sentimental, I'm only glad you are reading this.

I'm having one of those "Poet" days today. Maybe that's how I really know a Poet is who I am, who I have become. I'm feeling flat and, when I get like this, the way through is with the written form. And when I even struggle with sentences like this one for example, poetry is the only path.

In trying to detangle my feelings, I've come to the conclusion that hope is a wonderful thing. False hope, however, is a complete arse pain:-

I Will Not Dance

Bugger off hope,
I can just about cope with you,
Not being around anymore,
Now deep deep down my inner core,
Has finally accepted you were false.

And yet you slip back in,
You try to sing the old tunes,
You spin my soul into oblivion,
With only a few notes,
It's not Fair, No.

I will not dance, I will not dance,
Please go,
Leave me to know my new beats,
For these are real,
And these I am learning to move with.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Never Ever Refer Up

So the fall-out from the Savile scandal continues and I'm as horrified as the next person as to how a paedophile could thrive for decades, seemingly unmonitored, at the BBC. When you see old footage of Gary Glitter and Jimmy Savile on BBC show "Clunk-Click" snuggling up to teenage female studio guests knowing what we know now. Well, it turns the stomach. How could this have happened?

On last night's Newsnight radio broadcaster, Liz Kershaw, talked of the "endemic sexism" back in the 70's and 80's in BBC radio. She described how being groped was part of the culture and if you were a woman, it was a way to " keep you in your place". The investigation into all this will perhaps go some way into establishing how Savile - amongst others - was able to get away with what he did so easily and for so long.

No less pressing I feel is the fact that sexism is ongoing in the corporation. As Liz Kershaw said, although the culture has changed, sexism continues to be a problem in BBC radio. Only 17% of output on the "Big Three" BBC music stations is female presentation and, as she also quoted, there isn't a single BBC local radio Breakfast Show in England currently being presented by a solo female. Reassuring again to hear that Director General George Entwistle will be looking into the treatment of women in radio.

Which leads me to my final point. Whilst the issue of trust in the BBC is on tenterhooks and the editorial decisions, defences, inaccurate blog, and managerial procedures brought into question, one thing is clear: the integrity and professionalism of Newsnight journalist Liz MacKean and producer Meirion Jones. Their goal was to bring an exclusive and extremely strong story about "Jimmy Savile the paedophile" to broadcast. They almost managed it but at the eleventh hour, the system worked against them. The irony being that the best the BBC has to offer; first-rate journalism, which in my view is the best in the world, is thwarted by the worst the BBC has to offer; bureaucracy and bosses saying "no".

The outcome of all this, as Rodd Liddle from the Spectator predicts, is that in future it may be much harder to do the sort of investigative journalism of the Newsnight ilk because the corporation will be much more cautious as a consequence. More bosses saying "no"? It was something as a BBC employee I was familiar with. For as long as I could I tried to get on with the job without involving the layers of management. Unfortunately the Sachsgate affair and increased "compliance" in BBC broadcasting killed any freedom of spirit or decision taking, for me at least. Becoming a robot radio star was not my idea of fun and, frankly, my gender was catching up with me too. But for those with some freedom still left the final lesson is, as Jeremy Paxman nodded to last night; never ever refer up.

Is this blog entry good to go Ruth E Dixon?


Monday, 22 October 2012

The Man from Uncle

It's a year ago today that my Uncle Alec died. He was a fit and active working 67 year old. He had survived 25 days on a life support machine but in the end his heart, the final organ with life in it, stopped beating on 22/10/11 at 12.40pm.

Alec was hit by a bus. He was crossing a busy road in London near his office, the same one he had crossed for the past thirty years. On this occasion, as usual, he walked on the pelican crossing. I gather that CCTV footage shows when he stepped out it was a green man.

I'm not here to apportion blame. Today, like his wife, children, brother, sister, nephew and nieces, I'm just reminded of the sadness of our huge loss and remembering a lovely man. We used to walk by the River Humber together.

The Man from Uncle Poem

Monday, 15 October 2012

Mushy Peas On Your Body. The Cultural Context

Yesterday I found myself in the unlikely position of explaining the delicacy that is "Yorkshire caviar" to Toby Miller, Professor of Cultural Industries at City University London. He was interviewing me for his podcast which is available to download in fifty countries. The feeling was Mexico, and perhaps Azerbaijan, might not be familiar with this thick green lumpy soup; a traditional accompaniment, here in the North of England, to fish and chips. Never mind their fajitas and their plovs, they haven't lived. But that wasn't the complicated bit. I then had to explain why I was in the ever more unlikely position of  lying naked across a table with mushy peas smeared across my boobs (a piece of battered cod hiding my modesty down below). And all for the sake of my art: poetry.

Sometimes I just don't have the answers, but I do keep asking the questions. Toby Miller had picked up on the email I sent to the Director General of the BBC, George Entwistle, a few weeks ago which had raised the issue of sexism within local radio broadcasting (see earlier blog entry). I think it would be a claim too grandiose to say that that email "went viral". But it certainly got "a bit ill" for a moment out there on the world wide web. I'm delighted that people picked up on it and the issues raised connected with a wider audience. My email is now going to feature at the first meeting of Harriet Harman's new Commission on Ageism and Sexism. I'm not sure of the date, but I have offered to bring the mushy peas.

Toby Miller Podcast:-

Toby's website:-

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

If The Crowd Are Behind You, You're Facing the Wrong Way

I heard that line (see title) this morning on YouTube; comedian Stewart Lee quoting comedian Simon Munnery. My poetic journey is certainly one of walking away from an audience and seeing who, if any, follow. But walking away nonetheless. I've already managed it with my blog. Take for example my first entry:- "That Email". So far 2733 have viewed that page. And my most recent effort last week in Blogosphere "I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead with it":- guess how many? No, less. Try again...fewer than that.

One. And I think that was probably me. Oh the irony.

Of course one might summise that people peel away because what you have to say is, for want of a better word, shite. Fair enough. But you see, now I'm a dead radio star and a living Poet, I just don't buy into that anymore. Something's changed and, without getting all born again; I believe. Believe in me. Just like I believe in you. As neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl said, there is no greater gift; belief enables us to become what we ought to be and could be.

Going against the crowd though isn't always easy. I feel, for example, that I'm building up to a right corker at my debut gig of new material on Saturday night. But will it stop me? I've just come back from a rehearsal with my trusted fellow poets. They think I should do it but say "the people" will think I'm mad. It's not like I don't even know what I'm letting myself in for. And still I choose to turn. Today is World Mental Health Day. My Mum has bipolar and is currently on a psychiatric ward in hospital. She's been facing the right way all her life, though few would see it like that. If anyone drives me, she does.

In his book, How I Escaped my Certain Fate, Stewart Lee talks about the mistake of publishing unhoned thoughts and half-baked ideas in the form of a blog. Captured in cyberspace for the rest of time.

Have it x

Friday, 5 October 2012

I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it

How terribly rude of me. I haven't properly introduced myself have I? My name is Ruth E Dixon and I am a Poet. I was a radio star; well I say radio star but, in truth, I don't think anyone noticed. Except me. I worked for ten years as a presenter on local radio in Hull. I started to become a star about five years in (never mind that X Factor instant stardom malarky; man gotta graft for the real thing). I knew it was happening because it started to feel right, radio jocking began to suit me like a sparkly skin-tight bodysuit. I recognised it in others too; I was fortunate enough to work amongst stars. I mean, they didn't have their name up in lights nor a number one hit single pumped out in time for Christmas either. But stars nonetheless. Anyway, like it does, stuff happened, lots of stuff. The long and short of it is that the bodysuit got too long; or was it too short for me? Either way, it didn't fit anymore. I needed to move on and in so doing, the best thing possible happened. Reader, I became me. Poet.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Burqa, Bog Seat and Buckaroo

Well, week one as a dead radio star and most of my revelations have begun with the letter "b". I'm busy writing and recording my first rap and thinking about costumes for a cabaret set. Somehow my thought process led me to eBay (most things do) and a type into the search engine for "burqa fashion". What a choice, I was quite torn between the different styles of headcover - the hijab abaya or the hijab hajj for example - but went for a simple triangle shape in the end.
Then, in celebration of my redundancy, Dicko and I drove to Scunthorpe and bought a bog seat. Reader, it's blue. A radical move I think you'll agree for a bathroom that, up until now, has only experienced yellow and cerise. But, it was time for a change. Finally, I went to Hull Truck Theatre where I saw Blackout; the first full-length play of fellow Hull poet, Joe Hakim. A post-apocalyptic comedy drama, it tells the story of two men holed up in a bunker amid the ruins of the world. Buckaroo comes between them; one seeing it as a metaphor for life (pile it all on until you buckle), the other seeing it merely as a board game with lots of plastic bits. How different one's approach to life - and death - can be.

Friday, 21 September 2012


Welcome to my new blog! Let's start at the very beginning shall we? This is a copy of the email I sent yesterday to the new BBC Director General, George Entwistle.

Dear George,

I am a Broadcast Journalist at BBC Radio Humberside, at least I am for the next few hours. Today I leave after nearly eleven years as a BBC local radio presenter. I have been wanting to email you before I go but I was not quite sure how to phrase it and now time is running out and I realise this is my chance to just tell it like it is.

George, I am a 39 year old local radio presenter and there is no place for female broadcasters like me at the BBC right now. When I started out in 2001, I was the co-presenter of the Breakfast Show and programming at Radio Humberside was balanced with female and male presenters. Over time this has changed and for the past year the weekday output between 6am and 10pm has been entirely male presentation. Four other BBC local radio stations also now have an all male presenter line up between these hours; Nottingham, Tees, Cumbria & Merseyside.

What I find worse is, as you take up the mantle, there is not a single BBC local radio Breakfast Show that is solo presented by a woman. The last remaining female broadcaster to lose her Breakfast presenting post was Helen Legh. Her Milton Keynes Breakfast opt (part of Three Counties Radio) came to an end over the summer as a result of Delivering Quality First. As you know George there are 40 BBC local radio Breakfast Shows; 34 presented by a solo man and 6 co-presented; but no solo women. Why not?

It is an absolute travesty that female broadcasters are being discriminated against in local radio. It is something I have taken up with my Station Editor, the Regional HR manager, the BBC Head of Diversity, Sound Women and even Jenni Murray. All agree but nothing has changed; in fact there are even fewer women on-air in 2012 compared to 2011.

I know diversity has already been on your agenda this week and following your visit to Radio 4's Woman's Hour you indicated that you expected the corporation to do better in getting more women on air. This is reassuring indeed. There is certainly also an issue with ageism which, in my experience, female broadcasters have to grapple with too.

For a while I fought to keep my options open here and I really struggled to come to terms with my own demise. However, the funny thing is that my experience in local radio has probably been the making of me. I have been forced to get myself out there, re-invent myself and engineer a whole new career. Life might have been steadier and safer if, like most of my male counterparts, I could have seen out my years here. Thankfully, it was not to be. I am taking voluntary redundancy, I leave at 2pm and I plan a future in stand-up poetry no less!

I agree George, the BBC is the best broadcasting corporation in the world but my drive to be creative means I must walk away. I absolutely love radio and will never give it up. I have set up my own little studio at home, have bought my own recording equipment and will no doubt be fiddling with sound waves for the rest time.

I feel like I have saved myself but as I leave I urge you to think of my female friends, colleagues and brilliant presenting talent who would give anything to have the opportunity to get on-air. It starts here at the grassroots, local radio. The rest will follow.

Very best of luck with your new role as DG and all good wishes for the future,



Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Ruth E Dixon will be launching her new blog, Poetry Killed the Radio Star soon! Listen here.