Eurovision Song Contest rehearsals in 2013 (Ewan Spence)

Three Things About Me

It’s never too late for an introduction and to help break the ice, here are three things about me.

I Have Epilepsy

In January 2018 I suffered a tonic-clonic seizure (otherwise known as a grand-mal) seizure with about 10 seconds warning before I lost consciousness. I was rushed to hospital. The following day I suffered a second tonic-clonic seizure and spent nearly a week in hospital for testing; after which I was diagnosed with having epilepsy.

I wrote about it at the time on my blog, and the closing line is still very much appropriate: 

Given the number and type of fits in close succession, there’s no question on the diagnosis. I have epilepsy. And once the medications are all balanced, there’s no reason I won’t be getting back on with life as before.

Well… almost as before! It took until February 2020 to settle on the right dose of medication that gave me enough protection from the epilepsy while still leaving me clear of mind. Now I’m on a medication every 12 hours for the rest of life. But I’m still here and creating, so that’s one in the #win column.

I Might Like The Eurovision Song Contest Just A Little Bit

By a little bit I mean a lot. I’ve been following the annual spectacular that is the Eurovision Song Contest since 1982, and first engaged heavily with the online community in 2009. That was the first year I reported backstage at the Contest, and I’ve been there every year since with daily reports, song reviews, and live tweets.

It doesn’t stop at the show in May. I’ve travelled Europe going to the national TV shows across the content that select their song for the Song Contest. This has resulted in many many off-beat adventures including being drafted into an appearance as an expert panellist on Moldova’s political debate show on primetime TV, helping judge the Belgian song that would go to the Contest, and nearly being shot by the Azerbaijan military for having the wrong ID badge.

And I’ve been part of the main show as well. For the last three years I’ve co-produced the US radio broadcast of the Song Contest as well as being the lead Commentator on the broadcast. If you’re looking for the Duane Kuiper or Vin Scully of the Contest in the States, you’ve just found him.

I Was Scotland’s First Podcaster

I was there, long ago, at the dawn of podcasting. I was listening to those early shows in late 2004, and making guest appearances on those shows by November. My first show, memorably but not by design, was published on February 14th 2005. It was a very small community back then, and you could subscribe and listen to every new podcast as they launched and get to know the hosts. 

All of which meant that I am (almost certainly) Scotland’s first podcaster.

Bonus fact; I was also the first BAFTA nominated podcaster. My coverage of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005 was selected by the Scottish Academy for ‘Best Interactive Media’. Unfortunately I lost out, but it does mean every CV includes ‘BAFTA nominated’.