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.