For me, few things can beat a cup of hot chocolate.
Maybe, apart from a bar (or more) of white chocolate. Starting to digress already …
But anyway, exactly two years ago, I had cause to be in one of the McDonald’s branches.
I remember it was evening (OK, night) and I was on my laptop. I had my ear-phones in.
McDonald’s has wi-fi …
So, I’m sitting there, when these two black guys come up to ‘my’ table and ask if they can sit there. I give them a “Sure, I don’t really care” gesture. They sit down and start talking to each other. After a while, one of them says, “Sorry, I hope we’re not disturbing you?”
I go, “Nope. I can’t hear what you’re saying; I’m busy and have ear-phones in.”
The second one asks me if I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve. I say, “No. It’s all the same to me.”
So, he asks, “What do you do, that it’s all the same to you?”
Now, the thing is – a fair number of people in the UK actively look forward to NYE, because they get time off from work. I don’t have such a luxury.
So, I say to them, “I’m a writer.”
One goes, “Oh” and the other looks slightly interested. I show them my blog, and my book. And they’re like, “Oooooh, you’re a real writer.”
Apparently, some people who have no idea what they’re doing with themselves, just drift about, calling themselves ‘writers’.
No, I’d no idea. It’s just …
Anyway, I vaguely remember them asking me where I was originally from. There might have been a grimace, when I said, “Nigeria”. They also asked me what the book was about. I told them.
Then, the first one said he just knew someone who would love to meet me. She was a radio presenter and with the things I was passionate about, I would be right up her street. He gave me her contact details and they left.
It wasn’t till February of the following year, that I actually took action.
Sent the radio presenter an email, after I’d given her a call. I remember it was a Saturday in February. Her name was Yishibah Gavriel and the name of the radio station was One Harmony Radio.
When she called me back – after reading my email and seeing the attachments – we agreed on a day for me to attend the radio station. The following Thursday, the pre-recorded session was broadcast. Then, she called me.
Asked me if I’d listened to the interview. I answered in the affirmative.
Asked me what I thought of it. I wasn’t sure if there was anything I should think.
Then, told me that a retired BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) correspondent happened to be listening in. And he had wondered about me. Wondered who I was. Wondered if I’d had any media training (I hadn’t; I haven’t). Then, asked her to look for me and bring me back into the studio – he was convinced that I had been sitting on the wrong side of the table. He thought I had a presenter’s voice.
I was stunned, but I didn’t realise that it was any kind of deal – never mind, a big deal.
I know that the older generation in the media, have no respect for the newer ones – let’s just say that the term ‘auto-cutie’ is not supposed to be a compliment.
So, to have a member of the older generation media say, “There’s something about that voice” was a bit surreal.
I showed up at the station, did another promotional interview. I’d no idea that the owners of the station were listening in a different room.
I got offered my own radio show. On-air.
Few things have dumbfounded me, like that.
I decide to co-present a show, first. I’d had absolutely no training before that time.
But the (maybe?) weird thing was that – the Xmas of 2013, I’d sat alone with my computer, typing out my hopes for the following year. I get like that sometimes; where I’m not 100% conscious of what I’m writing. When I finished and took a look at the document, getting into radio was one of the things on the list that I’d written. I had no idea how that would happen.
We ended up co-producing and co-presenting a series on domestic violence – “Let’s Talk About It”.
The experience changed my life in ways that I did not even realise, were possible.
And it all started, because I wanted hot chocolate …
All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani