Greetings, social media and metaverse Wombles. This is episode 2 of the West Park Park Bench Podcast. I'm Caron and I am intending to try and make a series that's longer than six. And that actually gets published. Hopefully you listen to episode one because at least that one is is done.
Come out of swimming today. Wasn't entirely sure if I would get to swim so if you heard last week's episode, you'll have heard my story of really intending to go swimming and seeing one ticket and knowing that I really need to get this routine into my schedule so god dammit I was gonna go and I did and I got into swim for half an hour. Move forward seven days and I did pack my stuff the night before I was teetering on the edge starting a habit very hard and and I'm no routine influencer all that sort of stuff I'm really I'm quite extraordinarily ordinary which probably is going to be the thread of this podcast. I went onto the website to look and it said "Full - waiting list only". Oh god damn it. So I thought no, I will put myself on the waiting list. But there's nothing to say whether this waiting list was triggered or how it worked. It's like that's fine. It's a 10-15 minute walk to the pool. I will take my bag and I will go and see what the situation is with a waiting list. I will then know in future. iI I can get a swim, I will get a swim, but if not, I have got my A4 lined paper notepad and a pen and I'm going to go to a coffee shop anyway and I'm going to plan the next six weeks. I've got quite a few things coming up that although they're in my schedule, and I know that they're in there in my mind, I don't have the walkthrough of the next six weeks and I really would like that.
There is a tractor passing behind me. I will let that pass
I'm recording this on the park bench that is actually in the thumbnail. That is the bench I'm sat on it's not a stock photo. It was a photo taken by me. I always try and take as many photos to include in podcasts and projects as I can so that I know that I own the copyright. I'm not a great photographer. I can point and shoot and I think sometimes I can pull off some good compositions but my techniques just not good. And the equipment that I have is okay, but I don't I don't spend enough time framing photos and actually photography is a craft. Good photography takes time especially if you're using manual SLR. Yeah, it's it's a craft. It's we all can stick a camera in front of my face and point at the scene that we're looking at and capture something but that is not photography.
Got here and the waiting list is triggered. One thing I know that I've got to bring to swimming in the future there's sandals so I don't have to work on the mankey floor and a bottle of water. So I apologise if I'm a little bit coughy before I go for coffee.
so yes, I got here. The waiting list is as I suspected, people take themselves on and off that list and if you get there and there is place... I get place, so I was cool. Again half an hour window. Had my half an hour swim.
The thing I love about swimming more than any other. I say sport but I don't really play sports. I did some gymnastics when I was a teenager. I enjoy trampolining or enjoyed trampolining then and I was you know, I could just do somersaults and stuff but I've never been particularly extraordinary anything hence I am extraordinarily ordinary. But swimming. There's something about having my mind put solely focused on my body and because at the moment I'm incredibly unfit, coordinating my arms and legs to actually swim and to think about my breathing and just get from one side of the pool to the other side of the pool and back and doing some stretches and being very aware of the limitations of some of my flexibility in my legs especially.
I have... what is that in the background? Oh it's I think it's one of those seed spreaders typical. Well, I hope it's not too distracting. I won't keep this podcast very long.
So this concept of extraordinarily ordinary which is the title of my Arts Council Award and the thinking behind this is all of the things that I choose to do I love to do and I try and do them the best that I can I also try and be the best that I can be. I always said all the way through my life and maybe not quite so much of recent years. And I really do have to refocus on that. I never wanted to say what if I never wanted to look back on my life and go What if I'd done that? What I do I do and I make those decisions in the moment. And those are extraordinary points of presence to take you through your life. Should I have thought about the more in the moment. Probably be don't know that when you're in the moment. So if you're listening to this and you are in your 20s I don't think my demographic is that age. But hey, and even you said this because hey, I'm 50.
A great piece of advice that I had very early in my career. I was about 23,24 I had an interview at the Royal Shakespeare Company. And at the time I was assistant stage manager at Century Theatre theatre by the lake in Keswick. And it was probably my it was my first job out of London fringe so I done a few I did some crewing work at Nottingham Playhouse dark Playhouse and then I thought hey London, so went down to London did probably 10 or 15 fringe shows in the period of sort of two years. Maybe not even that but then I got century theatre job which was a year in rep so it was kind of that first catapulting into what I saw as being a real real job in theatre equity contract. I think that was it. I know I had done some of that contract before then. Yes, I had I had done some small scale touring with Forrest Forge. Yes. And anyway, they said at the time, I didn't have enough experience, but I did have the right skill set and not to take a job because I needed the job but to look a little more not cautiously look a little bit more discerningly and decide where you want to go and pursue it and I kind of always did that. And for me it was to be back at the RSC or to work for the National Theatre. The rest of that story I think he's for another time.
But I I never I never got anything because I was popular. I never got anything because I was profiled I tended to get things because of that ambition, really, I wanted to go to certain place and I wanted to I wanted to work in the theatre. I wanted to I wanted to be in theatre, because I just I love that process of scripts to rehearsal to stage two performance to Curtain up to curtain down. Rinse and repeat. I like that process of Completion. Of course, I like exploring the worlds that those plays a thought. I mean, as an assistant stage manager, I was the one getting the props. And once you've got the model box to see what the vision of the set designer is. It's really your job to make that design exist. So finding all those things and the prop. So I'm in the doing The Importance of Being Earnest play Oscar Wilde, a lot of people know, but to prop that on a particular performance. There's a vision that the designer has had. So finding all of those props, you need to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, researched period, and that just fascinated me. So you know, and at the time, I would buy books and research and go to the library and find the source material and then go and find that thing in a prop shop or prop store or build it. So yeah, that bringing worlds to life is definitely a driving force behind why I wanted to be in the theatre. It was not to be famous. It wasn't to be entertaining. It was it was that act of making. And I enjoy doing that act of making as part of a team. So I do see myself as being extraordinarily ordinary and I always sort of miss out all those points of extraordinary-ness in the world. I tend to be the ordinary person who's just chipping along at the side. So I went to school. I desperately wanted to do wood work at school or CDT. I went to an all girls school and No, no cooking sewing RE. IT did get introduced with the very very early days of BBC computers and basic but that was not what I was aiming at. At that time. I was I wanted the practical building making skills. So I kind of that slipped me by. All colleges, I went to all seem to be at the end of the 70s and 80s era where everything was drab and concrete and uninspiring and grubby. And I saw over after I left college, those years were all of the 00s sort of the 90s and the 00s Everything started to become a bit cleaner and white. And it just it looked so much fresher than the environments that I had really felt really stuffy and stifling.
So, moving into a world where computers make us question everything. The Internet puts information at our fingertips in a way that was never really conceived. before. You know you had libraries where all the books and resources were and you could carry resources around with you but for me, you know I carried around boxes full of Yellow Pages. I remember being at Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, where they had a computer but to get onto the Internet I had to wait until they had finished so I tended to have five till six o'clock before I had to then set up on stage. And that would be the time when I get to access the other pages or the BBC website which had the sound effects library and then I had a laptop of my own and went through comical moments of trying to convince a modem to dial nine for an outside line before it dials the internet provider. Again, probably another podcast.
So that kind of finding my way into technology was because I needed to do it for my job. There was a time when I had some BBC sound effects I'd found on the internet, which were mp3 and everything else until then, had been an analogue so it was accessed. phono cables, tapes, cassettes, even mini discs had an analogue interface. So I had to go into computers because I I kind of... the CD rewriter didn't coincide with this period of my life because if it had it had been a very different story. But that moment of taking me into technology was because I had to do it for my job, and I presumed everyone would have to take that step for me to remain competitive. So that's how I kind of got my computer skills and then I you know, and then I just, I think the process of making the process of learning from computers meant that I wasn't in the school environment of of rote learning, and I found I could absorb things at my own pace much better. So again, never extraordinary school. In fact, in extraordinarily ordinary at school, I came out of school with C's and DS, I resat my GCSEs and I achieved a B in maths Oh, my God how that happened I have no idea but yeah, my A levels were I got a D in drama and E in English literature, you know, I was not only extraordinarily ordinary, probably verging on the point of not being particularly clever in a world that didn't really recognise dyslexia or neurodivergent.
But I knew I was not stupid, and discovering the neuro divergence, dyslexic spectrum helped me maintain a sense of self and just again, being the best self I can be being and trying to achieve things the best I am able. Which means I'm not going to be excelling in the way that viral internet shows us and so many people who do go viral. It's either luck, which I don't seem to encounter a lot of that but I do have some luck in my world. Would I use my luck to go viral if it was something that you could switch on? And off? Probably not. But there is a sense that some of these people that become extraordinarily famous being at the right place at the right time, at the right moment with the right thing? And everybody else being at a similar location and hitting the subscribe like button. It's very lucky. And also, unless you're in a position where the monetization of that action of likes and subscribes is in place, it's actually not it's not it's not going to clothe and feed you. And I think that that's where my trade unionism comes in and, and my sense of making and also wanting to make a way for those who come after me and I was incredibly fortunate to work on Equity contracts, and there's work that I do with Equity now that I had time again, probably into the podcast. But that extraordinarily ordinary trajectory, kind of touches every part of my life. Because now we are questioning our, our existence, our existential existence in a way that I don't know if previous generations did, I don't know.
Some of the talks that I've listened to as zoom controller for the world historical society, I've had some extraordinary lectures. And they don't there's not a an internal consciousness of history, at least not that I perceive. That we are questioning. And there must have been absolutely, there must have been I'm thinking of sort of how we've ended up with women's rights and how we've ended up with campaigns for change. Of course, there's there's an internal dialogue, but I think it's much more projected and much more amplified by social media than any other time in existence so far.
And that questioning of who am I what am I where am I? How am I? And that brings into focus, sexuality, gender, personality, neuro divergence or neuro, neuro numerosity. Whether you're a typical whether your typical or atypical. They're all things that being at this interest level of the entertainment industry where it crosses into cultural and community and arts and being a support professional as well. I think about those about me is it going to help me understand who I am and what I come to understand is that I am on the asexual spectrum with Demi sexuality. Intensity of closeness and needing to have a connection before really going deeper into any kind of sexual context. Hey, that's useful to know. I'm non binary in the sense that I've never really felt comfortable in the presence of women, and I know that I'm not male. And this emergence of a, of a non binary identity suits me very well. I think tomboy was always aspiring to be boy and I don't have any aspiration to be male. Likewise, I don't have any aspiration to be more feminine. So, again, by default, in the middle, but it sits well with me and it's nice to know these things. And it kind of makes sense when I look at the world around me of why I am, how I am, who I am. And then the other one of course is understanding the notion of neurodiversity and, and, and dyslexia and reading a bit of out dyslexia and helping you understand how I see the world in a very visual now kind of existence.
So yeah, that was that was a lot, a lot more. That was a lot more philosophical than I was intending to get. But yeah, out of all of those things, none of it makes me extraordinary in any way. But I think I'm quite ordinary on all of those spectrums. I don't wear outlandish colours. I am not a personality, that screams my queerness I don't really have a sexual fluidity because I sit on the non binary demisexual spectrum. But I have a love in my life that doesn't need to question any of that because I have that I have love I have a person I have the light of my life. So all the rest of it is just kind of sit back and sit back and enjoy the scenery. But it can be hard sometimes. Because it feels like you can disappear and I do disappear very easily. Because I'm I'm content to be wandering where there's not wandering around not wandering as I'm thinking where I am so say I'm sat on this park bench talking into my phone
I'm about to go for a coffee in Raul's in Long Eaton went in there a few weeks ago to poke my head around to see what the place is like to see if I would like to have a coffee in there. And there's some really nice tables in the back of the space with some really beautiful clean, crisp light so I'm gonna go and have a coffee in there and look at what the next six weeks is going to hold.
So if you've made it to here, thank you so much for coming on this journey with me and I hope you will be around for Episode Three