Monday, October 31, 2005

Don't stop running

You know you're going mad when you turn to running.

My Saturday morning run was spent dodging the smattering of little doggie presents that litter Stockwell's footpaths. At least, I hope it's dog poo - I hate to think of the alternatives...

I lie when I say 'run' actually - it's more like a very fast walk. There's no real levitation involved though. I never have been able to understand women who run and do so comfortably. I mean ladies, doesn't it hurt?! It sure jolts the living hell out of me! These boots may be made for walking but these boobs sure weren't! Gimme yoga, cycling (watch the motorists) or a rowing machine any day. My assets stay semi stationary and my future children have more of a chance from feeding from functioning puppies.

Why the sudden fitness fanaticism you may ask? Well dear reader, I can sum that up in one. It is five weeks until lift off. 35 rainy days until I wave goodbye to England for 6 weeks and head home to the sun and sand that I once called home. I haven't seen my family for two and a half years and I don't want to look like Katie the friendly ghost amongst their bronzed Australian bodies. I also want them to see an English Rose walk off that plane... not and English butterball. Hence - the 'running' and the pain.

While the rest of the UK gets ready to cover up their pale skin and hide away the extra winter tyres, your Aussie cousins are getting it all out, flashing their suntanned torsos and honing their pecks as they bound across the sun bleached sand. Gawd help me...

Finding a gym in this city is proving to be almost as painful as finding a flat - and just as expensive. I'm going to have to mortgage the house I don't have - just in order to sweat away the hours on a treadmill. I'll try anything... and cast it away just as quickly. I've even started taking Phase 2 - another health food store 'breakthrough' that claims to block the absorption of starch. I try not to eat carbs, dairy or meat anyway so it'll probably go to work on my greens. Do I sound boring? No carbs??? No sugar?? No tea or coffee? No smoking? I kid you not - but I'll be the first to have a drink with dinner and honestly think I have an addiction - to the theatre! Last week's must mentions were 'As You Desire Me' with Kristi Scott Thomas and Bob Hoskins. A finer performance you will never see - they are an example of quality A-listers taking to the stage. Get off you sofa and get to the Playhouse Theatre to see it - Eastenders can wait!

Slightly less glamorous but equally as enthralling is 'The Return' - the story of a young Australian girl hassled by two ex convicts on a train heading to Fremantle. The Aussie euphemisms, dry humour and faultless acting will have you on the edge of your seat. The two lead actors are to die for... talk about bronzed bodies! No wonder I have them on the brain. I spoke to lead actress Natasha Beaumont - a refreshing breath of air and testament that young girls from afar can make it big. See what she had to say about life on the London stage.

I'm heading to the 'News Blog Convention' this week. All in the name of work I tell you. My mind is full of visions of little men in round specs, hunched over their laptop with manic blogging intent. For those of you yet to join the phenomenon, a blog is a diary-style site, in which the author links to other web pages). Interested? Nope, moving right along then. I salvage some relief in the knowledge that there is a blogger out there called ‘Manolo the Shoeblogger’. Nevertheless, I think I'll wear kitten heels and contact lenses. It's better safe than sorry.

Oh, and in case anyone's wondering - I went to the Halloween party dressed as an evil pussycat doll. My left breast still has "Meow" scrawled across it. Take my work for it – permanent markers don’t wash off.

The things you do for a perfect costume….

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Sunday Tipple

K: Want to go to the London Wine Show on Sunday?
....if you're not busy that is.


A: Do I want to spend the afternoon wine tasting, mingling and relaxing?
Hmmm.... let me get back to you on that one!


It goes without saying - I'm going to have some serious column material next Monday! I was going to run laps of Hampstead Heath on Sunday but I guess that will have to be postponed... this diet is going nowhere fast!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Theatre overdose - is it possible??


Righto, this is definitely a week of theatre...

Misery - review here

Scrooge the Musical on Monday - good for the kiddies I guess but really, it's not even November yet so too early for Christmas songs.

Ducktastic on Tuesday... really funny but cheesier than Edam. I swear, there must be some duck cruelty issues there. although, they looked happy! All 21 of them. There was lots of nakednessm cavorting and dressing up as chicks in eggs. I haven't laughed that much in ages though.

And THEN... 'As You Desire Me' featuring Kristin Scott thomas and Bob Hoskins last night. WOW. Speechless, honestly... okay, so THAT will never happen - but I was blown away.

It was honestly the best show I have seen in London since my arrival.

Kristin Scott thomas was amazing - beautiful, poised, emotive and utterly convincing in the role of 'Chia'. I almost felt sorry for the rest of the cast - what a challenge to match such a performance. But they produced the goods... I particularly enjoyed the chemistry between the niggling Lara and the Uncle - sorry, the names escape me (must still be in shock from last night!)

The set was stunning... very convincing and didn't take away from the sotry line and the performers.

We originally worried that our AA seats were too close to take the full impact of the show but they couldn't have been better - we had full view of the characters' every move - and after studying them with my 'eagle eye' I can confirm that they never once slipped out of character - the little facial expressions, even when the focus was not on them made all the difference.

I saw 'The Posman Always Rings Twice' a few months ago at the Playhouse Theatre and Val Kilmer or no Val Kilmer - I didn't particularly enjoy the venue... but it was obviously down to the show because in this case, it was perfect.

The lack of interval was genius - a break would have disrupted the flow and taken away from the impact.

It sets the benchmark for any other shows I see from now on...

Tonight we are off to see the play 'The Return'. Absolutely can't wait for that one. I've been chasing Natashe Beaumont for an interview for donkey's years! I finally got it last week - phew! It'll be good to see if it lives up to the hype... it's based on a train and is apparently quite a black comedy driven thriller! Bring it on!! It's press night so after dinner and wine beforehand we'll hopefuly make the most of some wine. It is Thursday after all.

Still don't know what to wear to our halloween party tomorrow night - I think I'll just buy a mask!
I got paid yesterday - JOY!! So the days of counting my shrapnell at the bottom of my Mary Poppins bad are over for at leas a few weeks. The urge to shop is huge... hopefully the urge to save for Oz will be bigger. Somehow, I doubt it. Retail therapy is not a force to be reckoned with. :(

I was supposed to go to Birmingham on the weekend for the Gospel Entertainment Music Awards. It would have been a quirky feature for the radio show but the aforementioned budget issues scrapped that idea. Plus, one of Adam's very good friends died suddenly this week and he needs to be here for the 'group'. Such a waste of a young life... and all the more reason to get out there and do EVERYTHING. She says as she fights her eyes against the threat of computer screen-induced sleep.

Maybe it's the fact that this screen is smaller than my head - (and no, it's not a BIG head thank you very much!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bah Humbug!

After a year and a half in this city I finally managed to organise an appointment to score myself a National Insurance number. Easy you'd think in this day and age... ha! Not only did I have to trek all the way to Harlesden today (and isn't THAT the centre of the universe!), I also had to wait 2 hours AFTER my set appointment time before even being summoned.

Now, I'm not bitter... NOOOO, wouldn't dream of it! At least I wasn't until I discovered that they don't have public toilet facilities. Unfortunately, my unsettled and gurgling tummy wasn't having a bar of that - it was waiting for no one. I don't know what's going on in there but my stomach lining is obviously moving house... ouch!!!!

To be honest, I blame Gillian McKeith. I've been eating seeds and dried apricots and since I began my innards have never been the same. 2 days of salad seeds and I've got the equivalent of a 9 month baby bump. Honest! Okay, maybe 8 months but who's counting?

Up unitil an hour ago, all I'd eaten was a banana and pear for brekkie (with the nasty seeds sprinkled on top) and 4 dried apricot pieces. Hardly a feast... but tell that to my stomach muscles! I'd even started the day with the recommended glass of warm water and lemon and later, a herbal tea.. Obviously seeds (or apricots) are the spawn of all evil. They are now nestled in the bin under my desk. Rot in health food hell you little %£^&$!!!
A girl can only try!

Despite being ill because of the health food, I am going to follow the advice from the 'You are What you Eat' book and buy the vitamins and dates that will allegedly set me right. I think I'm on to something actually - they recommend food that is supposed to make you thin and healthy, yet actually maes you bloated, fat and gassy. (Think puffer fish!) THEN when you're howling in pain and are desperate for relief, they recommend another set of super foods to 'set you right'.

Well, I just succomed to a glass of red and a piece of chocolate in the Christmas meeting... that'll set me right. I NEVER eat choccy - but desperate times call for desperate measures!
I'm off to see Ducktastic tonight - If I make it there... it's had some pretty ordinary reviews... but the idea of a duck meandering across the stage is too much to resist. I had a duckling once... until my sister murdered him through overfeeding. Poor 'Little Bloke' - some things are just better done and dusted.

And yes, CHRISTMAS meeting... it's only

Ads and I went to see 'Scrooge' last night. it was the epitomy of 'cheese on toast' pantomine - and I have to say, if it was closer to December I would have loved it. Tommy steele was a hit... amazing stuff. the oldies in the audience LOVED him. I guess for some of them it was like revisiting their childhood.


Right, I'm off to revisit mine... 'Little Bloke here I come!'

It's times like these that I wish I was at home... mum's chicken soup would go down a treat - that and some undivided attention!

My interview with Richard Winsor and Sam Archer is now online - ballet dancers with STYLE and a blazing career ahead of them. I never thought I'd like ballet - but when two hotties, Matthew Bourne and Edwars Scissorhands are involved I'm SOLD. Going, going... gone!!!
http://www.020.com/webs/02005/showArticle.cfm?id=324

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

X in the City - Frieze Art Flashes

We came, we saw, and we left… promptly!

After all the pre-Playboy Bunny Party outfit dramas of last week, it turns out I shouldn't have bothered. My notions of a debauchery and gossip-filled recount of the sexy party at Harvey Nichols turned out to be a 100% incorrect. There was no sex to be seen (or heard), the 3 Playboy Bunnies were as meek as a trio of mice (cute tails though) and the party turned out to be little more than an excuse to make grown men pay £10 to enter a store they can see for free at any other time. What’s more, the unsuspecting sods had to pay to have a Polaroid taken with the three blind bunnies. If the poor depleted souls had any cash left in their pockets, they were then free to redeem a £10 voucher on any product in store. Bonus! Hardly... a handkerchief came in at twenty smackeroonies... sorry, but they'd have to be some pretty royal nose blows to merit that kind of cash!

The cocktails were nice though...

Flesh of an all-together different persuasion met my fragile eyes last week. Blood and guts filled the small, dank and oh-so atmospheric Kings Head Theatre during the stage performance of Stephen King's 'Misery'. No one can beat the disturbing screech of the film's leading lady Cathy Bates - but Susan Penhaligon sent shivers down my spine. She and Michael Praed showed what true live chemistry is all about.

The Shaolin Monks are also creating their fair share of physical torment at the Peacock Theatre. I don't know what those nuggets of pure muscle are putting in their breakfast cereal but it sure seems to be working wonders. If someone smacked me over the head with a wooden plank I'd die instantly. Gawd help them when the 'joys' of litigation corrupt their happy little stage production. People sue supermarkets when they slip on a lettuce leaf these days. Surely, a Samurai across the chest is sure to bring in the cold hard cash.

For the king of all flesh-baring events, the Frieze Art Fair has to take first prize. I have never seen so may boobs, butts and erm... ‘ball-baring’ in all my life. If it's not out on show, it's insinuated. Photographic images of a baby entering the world left me shaking in fear and have put me off all notions of motherhood. I grew up on a farm, watching cows pop out offspring the size of small elephants – yes, I know it’s a blood bath. I guess I just never put myself in the equation. A pet puppy is looking like a much better idea...

If you haven't been to the art fair, go next year - there's no better place to people watch. You can also plan your future art collection; when I finally win the lottery I'll be set. Now all I have to do is decide on a place for the birth piece… above my bed would provide a lovely conversation starter. If nothing else, it’d be the best contraception device in history. One look at that horror scene each night and I'd be put off lovin' for life.

That's my week in a nutshell...

Now, the most pressing dilemma of the day is what to wear to my Halloween party on Friday. If the past seven days are anything to go by, I think Burlesque is the answer.

Get it out this week - it's obviously "all the rage daaaarling!"

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Misery guts

We've done it... we found a flat. It only took a handful of disasterous viewings, a scatter-brained property agent from hell (excuse me, but if you can't even remember whether the flat you're showing is on the first floor or TOP floor, you've got problems). She even admitted she'd shown it to another couple that morning.

We're now renting a cute-ish, flat in the leafy suburb of Kilburn. I won't give the address because there are some nutters out there who may one day want my head - depending who I manage to offend in this blog... that is, assuming it gets read.

To be honest, it was either going to be one extreme or the other - I wanted to live in the outskirts where I can see the occasional flash of greenery (garbage bins don't count) or right smack bang in the middle of the city. If I can't have greenery I want a sleep-in and a zone 1 travel card. The fact that someone else had seent he flat and was coming back to put a deposit down was incentive enough... that, and a rush across town to view the Stockwell pit from hell. One thing about flat hunting - it shows you how the 'other side' live. Even my uni days (*sentimental sigh*) didn't involve such a breeding ground for ecoli strains... even with 2 Aussie males involved! This flat was decorated with a towering wall of dirty dishes, bras, rubbish and a guinea pig. I felt sorry for the rodent!

The pic leaves a lot to be desired... but believe me, our new abode is cute. Just wait til I get in there and funk it up. It's just big enough, in a safe area (no more unapproved gropings from half-baked prowlers in Stockwell for me thank you very much!). It comes cleaned, furnished, it has arched doorways, funky orange walls, a bath (yippee!!) and no guinea pig in sight. I've broached the possibility of investing in a fish. Not the battered vaiety - I want a pet. We'll see - my past brushes with amphibians have resulted in their suicide - hopefully English goldfish cope with life's misgivings a little better than their
cousins Down Under.

I move out of my share house this weekend - on the eve of a farewell party. Two Australian ladies (debatable!), one Swede and an Irish lass will hit the London night life on Saturday. If past performances are anything to go by we shall create history... in some way or another. There is bound to be a lost bag or two involved. Some things in life are set in stone.

I'm excited about the move - I won't miss my old room (though I may miss having a retreat when I need it). I never see my housies so that's no problem - at least we'll have an excuse to catch up now... but still I'm scared witless about the thought of co-inhabitance. I guess it's just the fact that I'm a little traveller... when I set off to conquer the world, I invisioned a life of glamour - a funky inner city flat with a girlfriend, the bachelorette's high flying life... and later, a stint travelling with my sister. BUT, somewhere along the line, I fell in love with an Englishman. Not a bad thing by any means but a part of me knows that living together now means living together forever. And not that THAT is a bad thing either! It's just the transition into the next phase...

Gawd knows, I'm such an independent, fiery little thing - I won't let myself turn into a homebody, DVD watching, ready cooked meal gobbling couch potato. If I start feeling the 'caged bird' effects coming on I'll do something about it! The bottom line is, we do so much together - experience everything we can... I doubt it'll happen anyway. I guess I'm just scared that I'll experience the same feelings as I did when I lived with my ex when I first arrived in London. But I guess it's a different situation, a totally different person and a different area. And that flat involved MICE!

Can't wait to start painting some master pieces for the walls.... yeah, I'm excited :)
This is a bit long winded because I haven't posted for ages.... other developments in KT world are - a new column 'X in the City' on http://www.020.com/ (excuse the corny pic) and I'm going to be the London correspondent for http://www.actorslife.com/ things are happening!! Now all I need is to get paid for it. She sits and aits patiently for a bloody miracle!

6 weeks til lift off - if they let us leave the country that is! Apparently bird flu is on it's way to the UK. I'll be avoiding pigeons from now on - I wanna go home and no flea-ridden feather ball is going to stop me! Once I'm there it looks like I may not be able to return - apparently I can't re-apply for an Ancestry VISA here in England - so will have to do it from home. gawd knows how long that'll take. Oh well, more fun in the sun I guess.

We're off to see Misery tonight at the King's Head. Somehow I don't think anyone can compare to Cathy Bates - but I'm prepared to eat my words... after I scoff a Tiger Lil's creation, that is. Ah, the joys of choosing your own fresh (again, debatable) ingredients and watching it be scorched in front of your very (smoke filled) eyes. Dining delights....

Monday, October 10, 2005

SATURDAY

We came, we saw, we inspected... and then we headed home flatless.
I swear, we inspected half the flats in North London and came away feeling better about the places we live than ever! My share-house looks like a palace compared to some of the prison cells they're charging £200 a week for in this city.

The weekend may not have ended in success but it definitely taught us a few things:

1. Queens Park is the equivalent of the ghettos.

2. Studio flats are evil - even in the gorgeous suburb of West Hampstead. No amount of new carpeting, polished laminate flooring and matching IKEA furniture would ever make up for having to cook in the room in which you sleep. A doona smelling like roast potatoes? I think not!! I'd end up killing poor Ads in such close confinement - and vice versa!

3. A big flat isn't necissarily a good-un. And no amount of mirrored wardrobes will overcome the drawback of dirty carpets. I want wooden floors!! Other people's dust is not something I want to encounter... especially year's worth. Maybe I should stop watching "How Clean is your House" I'll be buying a pair of pink-sequined scrubbing gloves next!

4. 'Simply Scrumptious' make the most amazing jacket potatoes in the history of potato kind. Tuna, avocado and pest still has my stomach in bliss. Well worth the kilo I'm sure it added to my waist!

SUNDAY

After a 2 month-long period of anticipation and pre-booking we headed off to the Absolut Wine Bar for our 30 minutes of below zero cocktails. But, it rained, it poured and tempers soared...

So, a mixture of flat hunting saddies, dangerously high levels of PMT and hypothermia prone toes meant that we abandoned the Scandinavian vodka bar and headed to the Crazy Bear for a posh (warm!) dinner. It took awhile for me to banish the shocker of a mood I tend to be in lately (homesickness is to blame) but the night was a good one - romantic even! ;)

Crustacean salad, put a smile on my dial and chocolate soup sent Ads into a choccy enduced state of euphoria (or was that the wine?). The mirrored toilets were as much of a novelty as a bar made out of ice would have been - though the shock of looking up and seeing myself on the loo is still giving me flashback shudders!! Not a natural angle.

AND RADIO...

Thursday is the official John Peel day so we're dedicating the show to the amazing man himself. I have to do a vox-pop in the lead up to the show- to find out whether he had an impact on their radio-listening lives.

Presenters are being urged to cast aside their playlists and play the music that inspres them... a bold move and one that John embraced. We'll be casting aside the usual ones and twos and playing the tracks that we want - the gigs from the upcoming weeks that make our heart pound.

Can't wait - what a special day to be part of.

Weekly upload:

ATTENTION...

Thursday is the official John Peel day.

Radio presenters throughout the UK are being urged to host their show in tribute to the amazing man himself... to cast away playlists and embrace the amazing world of UK music.

Of course, this is not possible for all - but at The Big Smoke, we are going to do the late legend proud and play a larger than usual list of tracks from bands that are playing John Peel tribute gigs... and the bands that make our hearts pound.

There's be info - all things John Peel, feedback from the people who's musical lives he's touched and of course, pumping tunes.

Be there - it's not to be missed.

6pm Wednesday

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Post show palipitations

It was one of those nights...

You know the type - everything you say comes out wrong. At least I didn't call my producer 'Victoria' again. Poor darlin' Veronica... I have no excuse!! Maybe it's age... 23 and suffering from severe memory loss. That and a severe addiction to rice crackers.

I suppose as vices go, it could be worse. Glorfified nuggets of rice and air are hardly going to send me to an early grave. Although, I bet they affect memory... something that tastes so distinctly of nothing must surely be bad for the soul. And yet, I love 'em! So too, it seems, does half the female population. Somehow, without us realising, Snack-a-Jacks are the new Pringles - without the waist expanding qualities (or the taste - but dieters can't be choosers)

Enough of that - radio is the blog-worthy topic. I've got the Schla La Las to interview, The World's Highest Gig to research (rocking out at the base of Everest doesn't happen every day!) and gigs to go to. I also have to reduce my hips, bum and thighs before heading home to Australia. I know my listeners can't see me on air but I'll be donning a bikini when I hit the Gold Coast and 2 years of limited sun has left me loooking like Casper. Omigawd it has finally happened... I've become a pale English rose.

Or maybe a little sleep-depraved cabbage is a more fitting description.

Onwards! Lettuce and Miso soup - here I come. Gillian McKeith will be ever so proud.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On air and my throat hurts

It's Wednesday - which means I have to go on air at 6pm.

It'd be fine and dandy if I'd actually prepared anything... I guess a few comps and interviews set up for next week count. It's amazing how time consuming PR can be. Gigs to attend, tickets to chase, people to convice that the big Smoke is the best thing since full-grain multi-vatamin packed, thick sliced bread.

To be fair, tickets to the poetry olympics may not do much to inspire my listeners but I have it on good authority that the event is actually fun. Sylvia Plath - eat your heart out.

What we need is some full-blown megastars to make an appearance. The type of guests that people will put down their fork for, stop eating and listen with intent. Brad Pitt would do it for me... who says they need to be musical? Although, if we want to really get anal about all that, we could ship Johnny Depp in for a celeb feature... chances are though, I'd suffer from 'tall-dark-sultry stranger' induced shock and lose all sense of reason and voice. Not a good state for a radio presenter.

Maybe I'll stick to the more accessible guests... until my star-struck tendencies are done and dusted!

In an attempt to track the show's progress, the presenting highs and lows and the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, I'm going to start recording the planning process in this blog. It can only be a good thing right? Public shame if we don't get our act together and playlist sorted in time.

We've arranged to have our weekly meetings on Friday nights (or Sundays) and to actually turn up! Meeting in the pub has been voted as venue of choice... at least the creative juices will be flowing (along with the Lager!)

Tune in - The Big Smoke, 6pm Wednesdays www.xstreameast.co.uk

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Xstreameast radio producing the goods

Fancy yourself as a radio DJ?

Do you dream of commanding the air-waves with your voice, a catchy story and some pumping beats? How about roping in listeners with your warped sense of humour and engaging personality? How difficult can it be… surely it’s just a matter of sitting behind a mic and chatting the hours away – right? WRONG!

Putting together a radio show is no easy feat… something that aspiring radio superstars often learn the hard way. I was one of them. Until recently, the quest for decent radio training seemed like an impossible dream. That was, until I stumbled upon the XStreameast Radio Academy. Based in East London, the free and thorough training academy is a new online radio station which trains students, for free. Documentary making, presenting, radio drama, PR, promotions and the nitty gritty technical secrets are among the skills on offer. In addition, each student is taught the basics of radio production and station management, and then actually allow them to put their skills into practice.

The academy is the brainchild of Executive Producer Kary Stewart who came up with the idea after years of working in the music and media industries. To the 50 lucky participants chosen to take part in the training, she is a God-send to the radio world. In an industry renowned for competition (just try getting a work experience placement at the BBC – let alone paid work!) she has given a group of fortunate Londoners from all backgrounds a chance to live their dream and broadcast live to the world. The big bucks are provided by the funding and support of ‘On the One’, a music production facility that teaches young people how to make music. And who does the teaching you may ask… Ministry Radio have made the time to talk to the students, whilst BBC 1Xtra and Somethin’ Else - the production house giant, have held workshops and mentored the future talent. Big names for a mighty big project!

All very well, you may say… but how does a budding radio junky begin the rockin’ road to success? Each story is different. Mine began in a dusty land, far far away… My love affair with radio began at birth. I grew up in rural Australia – under the influence of two music loving parents. I’m not talking Mozart and Slim Dusty… when my parents came home from a day on the farm, they spent the evenings listening to Deep Purple, The Men and Metallica. Commercialised pop was cast aside in favour for the alternative radio station ‘Triple J’ – an institution in Australia renowned for supporting independent indie, hip hop, rock and solo artists. Once a month my dad would take a break from the dairy farm and DJ at the local school discos. At the age of four, I would accompany him and spend the evening perched atop the large speakers – watching the flashing lights, lanky teens trying their hardest for a quick grope and their first kiss. But whilst the smoke machine puffed away and the ‘big girls’ shook their crimped bangs, my four-year old mind soaking up the music.

Such was my father’s obsession with music, he even insisted that the radio played in the milking shed (apparently the “cows enjoy it”). It goes without saying – music has always played a major role in my life and the dream of presenting a radio show never strayed far from my mind.

Once again, all very uplifting, but how does one actually go from miming into a hairbrush ‘microphone’ to the real she-bang? As a youngster, I kept my dream to myself. I never imagined having the money to afford a full-blown radio presenting course – and to be honest, there weren’t any on offer. It wasn’t until my university years when I noticed a flyer in a local library, offering a presenters’ course for a measly thirty dollars – that’s barely fifteen quid to you Londonites! One month later I found myself presenting my own Wednesday night show with the community radio station AIR-FM. The equipment was donated, the seat creaked, funding was non-existent and I presented into the wee hours of the morning. I was in heaven.

My alternative local music show ‘Locus’ moved its way through the airwaves and on to a prime time slot on Friday nights with the seaside radio station WOW-FM. The next thing I knew, I was chasing the media dream on an exchange in Stuttgart, Germany – producing radio features in German, with a laughable Aussie accent. Lesson number one – seize the moment and make the most of EVERY opportunity that comes your way. Rain, shine, Germany, England or Alaska – potential radio employers and trainers will be impressed by a willingness to make that extra bit of effort. After seven months of beer, pretzels and lederhosen, London seemed to be the logical next step. After all, that’s where all the entertainment dream chasers find their calling right? Wrong again.

The necessity for full time work – wherever I could find it, soon outweighed any dreams of on-air grandeur. It didn’t take long to realise that paying the rent in this city comes close to buying a small island off the sunny coasts of Australia. Either I’d have to quit work and save money by cutting back my food intake to the point of starvation… or pursue my radio dream in my non-existent ‘spare’ time. I chose the latter. Lesson number two - if ‘volunteer’ is a dirty word in your vocabulary, buy a new Dictionary! Volunteer work is a must. Hospital radio is a great place to get started, many Universities are full of like-minded media enthusiasts and student radio is a great way to gain new skills. Be pro-active and research the local community stations in your area. Chances are, you’ll have to work for free but the experience you’ll gain will be worth a mint.

Here I am now – twelve weeks in to a radio training program that has turned my life around.
The road has been rocky, time consuming, tiring, stressful and totally rewarding.

I’ve learnt that there’s more to presenting a show than sitting back in front of a microphone, chatting away the hours and hoping for the best. It takes time management skills that would do any mother proud… down to the very last second! The positives are starting to show though - the confusing array of buttons and knobs that make up the presenter’s board no longer resemble something straight out of NASA. 'Segue' and 'links' are no longer alien words and turning off the microphone after talking is now second nature. A swear jar sits by my desk at work – 10 pence a pop for any profanity (all in the hope of preventing any slips whilst ‘on air’!) I’ve learnt that mini-disks can NEVER be trusted – especially when you’re trying to record that one special interview in the middle of a music festival. For the record, security guards at large-scale events are best approached with caution. Not only are they near-deaf due to their proximity to towering amplifiers, they are also VERY protective of the stars behind the scenes. Do not forget your press pass under any circumstances or you will be reprimanded! It’s also wise to note that nine times out of ten, interview guests will get caught up in London traffic. ‘Cover up’ skills are a must!

All in all, the experience has been thrilling and I am now the proud presenter of ‘The Big Smoke’. It’s a cracker of a show - a one hour, live to air London gig guide, aimed at giving listeners no excuse to spend their time at home, sitting on the couch. Each week there will be competitions, interviews, amazing tunes and enough enthusiasm to launch a small airplane. Check it out on Wednesdays at 5.00pm and while you’re at it, listen in to the other talent bred by the XStreameast Academy.

Each and every member has proven that commanding the London air-waves may be hard work, but is more than possible.As for the rest of you out there, chase that dream – no matter how big and unachievable it may seem. Find yourself a mentor with drive and vision and make your assault on the world. If they have even half of the passion of Kary Stewart you’ll be well on your way.

As for the future of the XStreameast crew… watch this space. This is one chapter that has only just begun. The online ‘air waves’ are in for some musical mastery! Be there.

For more info on the shows on offer and to tune in to XStreameast radio, check out the link below:

http://www.xstreameast.cu.uk/