Introducing Jim Hawkins!
PUBLISHED: 00:18 17 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:19 20 February 2013
Jim Hawkins - On the Record
Its party season! To look at the adverts, youd imagine this means every evening is a cavalcade of beautiful and well-dressed people, laughing happily over glasses of wine as the fire crackles and the streamers tumble like a maidens hair around the platters of snacks so small youre not actually sure what they even are.
For you, this may be true. In which case, Im glad youre having a good time. For many of us, a party involves three hours chewing a vol-au-vent before driving home wondering who the hell all those other people were.
Why? Because were rubbish at introducing ourselves.
Me included. I mean, weve just met and you hardly know anything about me.
The straightforward facts are these: Im 49 years old, Ive lived in Shropshire for eight years, I do the mid-morning show on BBC Radio Shropshire and I have a dog, a cat, and a large number of guitars.
But what about the less-straightforward facts? For example, I once bought a shops entire stock of three thousand 78rpm records (Ive still got most of them). I interviewed Gordon Brown on a train, Cliff Richard in a caravan and the Go-Betweens in a shower cubicle. And my favourite: my mum used to be Ian Durys babysitter.
When youre at this seasons parties, be ready to share one amazing or surprising fact about yourself. Youd be amazed where the conversation goes from there.
Hooray for Shropshire, Shropshire People, and Shropshire Life!
I dont subscribe to the view that seems to be prevalent in some parts of the media, that life is grim, people are bad and if nothing awful has happened yet, it will any minute. I believe most people are mostly good, most of the time. In particular, I think we live in an amazing county, among some incredible people of all ages, diverse backgrounds and sometimes unconventional lifestyles. Many of them spend a lot of time and effort making a positive difference to the lives of other people, both in Shropshire and elsewhere around the world.
I love to share these peoples stories with you on my radio show, and Im really excited about the prospect of bringing them to you as part of your Shropshire Life every month, too. And if you want to tell me about someone you think deserves wider recognition, feel free to get in touch.
Have you heard of the Shropshire Disability Network? In October I hosted their Hardest Hit Debate in the Council Chamber at Shirehall in Shrewsbury.
It was an opportunity for dozens of people disabled and otherwise to talk about the effects of the squeeze on finances that were all going through at the moment, and to try to come up with positive answers to some tricky questions.
One of the topics under discussion was the face that Blue Badge holders disabled drivers have to pay to use Shropshire Councils car parks. Many people felt this wasnt right. But rather than just grumbling, someone suggested that Shropshire follows the example of Telford & Wrekin Council. There, blue-badge holders also have to pay, but they get more parking time for their money.
There seemed a lot of support for that idea in the room, and the Shropshire councillors and officers there took it on board. In fact, the next day it was announced that changes to the scheme were going to be made.
It felt really good to be part of an event that recognised the problems people are facing, but which also found a way to make a difference, too.
From Shropshire to Africa and Beyond
Recently I went to the Bear Steps Gallery in Shrewsbury to an event for the Shrewsbury-based charity The Woodford Foundation.
It was fascinating to learn how a small charity based here in our county, is helping transform the lives of deaf children in some of the worlds poorest countries. In some parts of the world, deafness means children cant access education, theyre destined never to escape a life of poverty, and theyre even seen as possessed by evil spirits.
The Woodford Foundation is working hard to give these children a better chance in life, and all from their base here in Shropshire. Watch out for their lively and passionate young fundraising officer, Harry Salter. Give him half a chance and hell tell you all about it!
You may well be reading this by the glow of Christmas lights, it being that time of the year. By now, I may have met you at the switching-on of Ironbridges Christmas Lights. Ive been involved with this for a few years now, and its always a tremendous night out, with choirs, a brass band, Santa on a sleigh and some spectacular fireworks. Its a big achievement by the organisers, and their little helpers from Ironbridge and Severn Gorge Lions Club.
If youve not been part of a Christmas Lights switch-on event so far this year, then you may yet be in time to join me when I switch on Highleys seasonal illuminations. The whole village will be celebrating on the afternoon of Saturday, December 3rd. Come and join us!
Hats Off! Or: Awesome!
Have you got a favourite phrase which maybe you use a bit too often? I say hats off! quite a lot, as an all-purpose expression of approval and admiration. But is it emphatic enough?
The brilliant Shropshire web designer Kirsty Burgoine is one of the people behind a great little organisation called ShropGeek, a collection of some of Shropshires brightest techie minds. When Kirsty thinks something is good, she says its awesome!
What a great word! Its so good that Im thinking of borrowing it. You see, from next month, this part of the page will showcase some Shropshire people who I think deserve your praise, attention, time or even your money.
And Awesome! would be a really fitting title for a short list of shout-outs, wouldnt it? Or should I stick with Hats Off!?
Help me choose? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me which you think would make the better title!
Jim Hawkins is a broadcaster, writer, photographer and event host from Shropshire. Find out more at www.jimhawkins.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @jimallthetime