When I was 11, I was given a radio cassette player for my birthday.
It was a very basic piece of technology compared to what we have today, but it meant I could save my favourite songs from the radio …. and, even better than that, record myself telling jokes and interviewing people.
As I got older, I would use it to perform duets with myself on the flute – and also to revise for my ‘O’ and ‘A’ level English. (I recorded half the dialogue of a Shakespeare play, then played it back and read out the remaining lines to fill in the gaps. It helped the words to ‘stick’.)
I guess this means I like the sound of my own voice! There’s no point in denying it – it’s no coincidence that every strand of my career … musician, teacher, writer … has been something that requires a captive audience! There was nothing I liked better than putting on a ‘show’, even if it meant the only person to hear it was me.
Now, years later, I’m at it again. I’ve just finished recording and editing a pilot of a video show, where I talk about words and music, interview people and hopefully have a bit of a laugh along the way. The plan is to do some ‘real’ shows soon, with a different guest and theme every time. Then, I’ll put them on YouTube.
But, oh boy, technology has changed so much since I sat in my bedroom recording myself and generally messing about! If you had told the 11 year old me that I would now be filming myself USING A TELEPHONE THAT WAS ALSO A COMPUTER, I would have told you not to talk silly.
When I was 11, nobody had a computer in their house, and telephones were permanently attached to the wall with a wire. I didn’t actually use a computer until I was 30 years old. Now I have my own movie editing suite on my desktop, which astounds me with what it can do. And – and this is a source of ongoing amazement – I have worked out how to use it all by myself. Not bad for a techno-wally that grew up in an era where pocket calculators were cutting edge and cool.
(Here I am interviewing a toy orang utan on the pilot. She was standing in for a real guest)
I’m proud that I’ve managed to adapt to the complexities and frustrations of the Age of Information. Maybe this means I’m not the scaredy cat I sometimes think I am! I used to be terrified of computers, but now I can make them do what I want (well, most of the time!) … and now I’m using them to put on a show, and do something I love. Maybe I’m a bit more like Beth Hardy, Jac-Stryder Jones and Laurel Smith than I thought. Actually, I CAN be brave and try new and scary things …
… And if I can face my silly fears, then so can you.
WORDS AND MUSIC WITH FIONA BEDDOW will appear on YouTube in due course. Watch this space for details!