Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
I grew up in London, coming out to my parents when I was 17. I was always quite sure I wanted to be a journalist, and, having completed my journalism degree in Southampton, I found a job in journalism, working first as an assistant editor, then editor of a range of business and consumer magazines.
After a few years at a couple of companies, I’d had to call on the services of a few PR companies, all of which were pretty useless at their jobs, so I decided I could do it better – applying for, and getting, a job at a small PR agency in central London.
The first thing I noticed was the huge windows; the second thing, when I was being interviewed, was the people walking back and forward across the roof of the HMV record store opposite. I still don’t know where the two doors on the roof lead and why they need to go outside to get between there.
When I was temping after finishing my education, I was working in a shop which sold goods by mail order. They used a handling company called Ark H.
Ark H, they told me, was the planet in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on which all people who did purposeless jobs lived. People who did jobs that would never change the world.
One of those jobs was telephone sanitisers; another was my job, public relations. It turns out that they got the story wrong, that actually the people were living on Golgafrincham Ark Fleet, Ship B and the ship was programmed to crash on another planet because they were “a bunch of useless bloody loonies.” But that’s not the point of this story.
The point is, I’m aware of the fact that public relations will never change the world. If it ceased to exist tomorrow, no lives would be lost, and the only people who would notice are the people I work with on a daily basis. That’s why I do quite a lot of voluntary work.
In 2004, I decided I wanted to become a paramedic, and started volunteering for St John Ambulance, providing first aid at public events in my spare time. Then I got a real job with London Ambulance Service. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, because of the hours I was forced to work, and the miles I had to cycle each day to get to and from work, so I left and went back to my job in PR, where I remain.
But my desire to help other people hasn’t changed. I’ve started volunteering for the Terrence Higgins Trust (motto: the sexual health charity for life), and have gone back to St John Ambulance with significantly more skills than I had when I was with them first time round. (When I phoned up to find out more about how to reapply, they nearly bit my hand off because they were so excited to have someone with so much experience!)
So, as well as being a blog about the city in which I grew up, London, this blog is about
My inspiration for writing this blog was guy_interrupted, whose writings are superb. If you’ve not read his blog, I suggest you do.
Until the sites went offline, I was news editor at So So Gay, “the most popular and fastest-growing online LGBT lifestyle magazine in the UK”; and editor at DiscoDamaged Berlin, a website for English speaking visitors to Berlin.
I am now expanding my journalistic writing, contributing to Lighting & Sound Magazine.
Berlin, 12 April 2016