Do you know the Arctic Monkeys album Whatever People Say I am, That’s what I am not? It was their quite brilliant debut, and always comes to mind when people ask me to say a little about myself. I suppose it always, always, revolves around those eternal questions : Who am I? Why am I here? Those crucial deep soul musings that have dogged mankind since the beginning.
But, If you really want to know, I am, like everyone else, pretty complex and split into many roles. Father, brother, son, football fan (sad but true), careers advisor, journalist, citizen of the world. I should add that this is not a conclusive list…as I am also a dog owner. Disconcertingly, Pablo the dog – a Jack Russell Terrier wired to a Patterdale cross – apparently, by barking at appropriate moments, agreed with everything Paul Daly said?
Amongst all the mixed up ingredients of being me I am also a member of the congregation of Holy Trinity, an Episcopalian church in Kilmarnock. It was this link and our sense of existential adventure that led us, my wife and I, to the local East Ayrshire Interfaith Group. My wife has since gained office as the local secretary while I am still a humble foot soldier. It was from her, however, I first heard about the call for Interfaith Ambassadors, and I thought…why not?
I like the idea of people, like hearing their stories, telling their stories and telling the unfolding truth of events, the serious debate, the overspill conversations and the humorous quips that often lighten the mood. So the idea of becoming an ambassador kind of sought me out rather than the other way round.
I cannot say that I am born and bred, but I do now live and work in Ayrshire and consider myself fortunate, it is truly a beautiful county. I am looking forward to covering the county as an Ambassador.
Being an ambassador is like carrying a message, a role that plays out to certain rules because it is always carried out on behalf of the Interfaith organisation. For me this is a huge opportunity to meet new people and groups, learn their stories and send that message out. Simple?
In many ways the Arctic Monkeys’ Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I Am Notalbum is a series of stories told from the first person vision of a ‘northern clubber’. That’s what I hope to experience as an Ambassador. Not clubbing, of course, but an opportunity to report on the events scheduled in my area, and to do this visually and in text. I hope to capture an authentic reflection of what goes on in debate, in relaxed moments, and in the opinion of those who attend.
What I really want from the experience is to find out more about the people who attend and make these events, but also about myself, like most, a searcher for the answer to those eternal questions.