If you fancy a chat with Andy Kershaw, intrepid reporter, fearless broadcaster and unique music man you have a chance when he hits the Arches in Glasgow on Tuesday 28 February.
‘This is better than a proper job,’ said Andy who is launching his biography ‘No Off Switch’ and taking the opportunity to tour 33 venues across the country to continue the conversation with people who want to talk with him. ‘Radio is a solitary occupation, so it’s good for me to get out and about.’
Andy presented his Radio 1 show for 15 years till he was sacked in May 2000. He joined Radio 3 about a year later and covered stories such as the volcanic eruption on Montserrat which happened the day after he’d arrived on the island with his partner for ‘a quiet Caribbean holiday.’
His autobiography concentrates on four particular areas he’s reported on: North Korea where he made the very first film from inside that secretive country carried by Channel 4 and where he’s been on holiday three times. Rwanda where he reported on the genocide there in 1994. ‘That was an awful situation which badly needed to be reported. Too many journalists were too scared to go there,’ he said. And some of his adventures in Haiti and Zimbabwe which are among the 97 of the 194 countries in the world, Andy has visited.
‘I’ve had 30 years of amazing adventures, seen history being made and reported on these things as a journalist,’ said Andy. ‘It is just as well I didn’t write my biography 20 years ago. While my homework may be a bit late, I’ve got more to say
And he says them through music too. Running the entertainments section of the students union at Leeds University in the early 80s for two and a half years, he lined up The Clash, Elvis Costello, Black Uhuru among many others. This took him to London – without a degree – as Billy Bragg’s driver and roadie. There his music career took off and his first asignment was a report for Whistle Test on the Monsters of Rock heavy metal festival. He now holds two honorary degrees from other universities.
‘Right now’ he comments there is ‘nothing new since Bob Dylan – who should have retired in 1976.’ But he claims he’s ‘too nosy to retire.’
His biggest challenge so far has been ‘Fatherhood! That’s the biggest responsibility and the most enjoyable experience of the lot.’
For tickets see the Arches website : www.thearches.co.uk
Bad Pitt and Halle Berry are in danger of being upstaged by a class of 10 year olds thanks to £30,000 funding to Glasgow Media Access Centre (G MAC). The children from St John’s Primary in Ayr have written scripts which will be the basis for two films to be produced by 82 young people aged from 13 to 21 in Glasgow and South Ayrshire and shown next year at the Glasgow Youth Film Festival.
Said Beth Armstrong, Project Manager at G Mac: ‘It is very exciting. One of the scripts from St John’s will be produced by a group of 16-19 year olds who are not, currently, in education, employment or training. The other script is similar to an idea already commissioned so a separate group will create an animation in partnership with the Deaf Youth Theatre and Solar Bear Theatre.’ The outcome will be a film with no dialogue which can be followed and enjoyed by anyone who is deaf or who has a hearing impairment and making it more accessible globally.
Said Beth: ‘First Light, the funding body, is a key partner. They support film making across Britain. This enables us to create opportunities for children from all walks of life so that they can aspire to become an active part of the film and media community, not just be consumers. By developing their creativity and giving them skills, we can raise the hopes and expectations of these young people who might be disadvantage or socially excluded otherwise.’
First Light funding – which comes from National Lottery money – enables young people to work with industry professionals on high quality, youth led, digital media projects. They will be involved with every aspect of the production process from drawing storyboards and writing the scripts to directing and lighting the films alongside industry professionals.
Said First Light’s Chief Executive Officer, Leigh Thomas: ‘The fantastic ideas we receive are grown from the young film makers’ own imagination and innovation and tackle some very important issues relevant to them.’
Another partner in the creation of the First Light productions will be The Arches venue in Glasgow. Based at 103 The Trongate, Glasgow Media Access Centre will celebrate 30 years of innovative work next year. These films by young people will be part of the year long celebrations.