Ahh, the internet: the fact that it has, as Clay Shirky put it, reduced “the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium” has meant that it has been responsible for more self-referential waffle than any other medium in the history of mankind. It’s almost like it was invented so that people could talk about themselves. And that’s just fine by me.
It’s for this reason that memes in which the author has to write something about themselves before tagging a whole bunch of other people, spread as they do. And, keen as I am to fill the internet up with meaningless crap, I’m very happy to take the baton passed to me by Jane Copland and, at the end of this post, to pass it on again. The idea here is to write 7 ‘interesting things’ that people may not know about me, so here goes.
- I Had An International Childhood: I was born in Toulouse France and lived there for a while before moving to Holland. I don’t remember Toulouse at all but do remember Holland, or at least The Hague which was the last place I lived before moving to England when I was about 5. I attended the American School (I still have the yearbook), which meant I picked up a slight accent meaning people thought I was American when I got back to Blighty, and lived just down the road from the first McDonalds in Holland.
- A Space Family: The reason that I lived in France and then Holland is that my Dad was working for the European Space Agency (ESA) on projects including the Hubble Telescope. Before working for them he’d worked for NASA. In fact he worked on the Apollo moon landings. In fact, “he received the Apollo individual Achievement Award from Neil Armstrong in August 1969 for his endeavors”. I help brands develop Facebook strategies. It’s OK, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never come within a light-year of matching my Father’s achievements (and am, in fact, amazingly proud of them).
- Media Whore: Whilst the web has allowed me to share my thoughts with the world at the click of the mouse (whether or not the world wants to hear them) prior to this I still managed to get about a bit. As a kid I appeared in the photos that accompanied one of the stories read out on Rainbow (my nursery was near Thames TV). And whilst at uni I appeared on Radio 4′s PM programme (talking about the Iraqi Super Gun affair – it’s a long story!) as well as on the equally high-brow Moviewatch with Johnny Vaughan. I was all set to be invited back to the end of series show as one of the best reviewers until I called Johnny a girl. He didn’t think it was very funny.
- Plastic Paddy: Many of you probably will know that I’m of Irish descent, which is why I have such a silly name (though I actually love it and would seriously consider calling a son Ciarán too). The little dash over the second a is not an accent however but, rather, a fada. It makes the second a into a long one which means that my name should actually be pronounced Kee-a-rawn. But that just sounds stupid unless you have an Irish accent which is why I pronounce it Keer-uhn. It means ‘little dark one’ by the way, and there’s a Saint Ciarán who predates Saint Patrick.
- Celebrity DJ: As anyone who knows me ever remotely well, or who has just read a couple of posts on here, will know, I’m an absolute music fanatic. For that reason I love nothing more than DJing, even though I have the mixing skills of Stephen Hawking. One of my best friends works as a location manager and, a few years back, got me to DJ at the wrap parties of the programmes he’d been working on. One of them was Manchild and my set, including Rolling Stones & Jimi Hendrix, had Anthony Head and Don Warrington giving it some welly on the dancefloor. At the wrap party for The Canterbury Tales Billie Piper asked if I had Beyonce’s Crazy In Love. I didn’t.
- I’m Not Meant For Piercing: I’ve tried just about every form of piercing that doesn’t involve parts of the body normally left covered, and all of them ended up going bad. I first had my left ear pierced when I was about 16/17 and had this for several years. In my first year at uni I had the top of my ear pierced too but the pain was such that I took it out after a couple of days. A year or so later I had my nose pierced but this kept falling out, so didn’t last that long either. Whilst living in Sydney I decided to have my eye-brow pierced (I was drunk) and, without going into details, let’s just say that I now have a very small scar where the piercing was and that I know what it’s like to be lying on a pavement in Kings Cross.
- Unaccustomed To Public Speaking As I Am…: I used to hate speaking in public and, particularly, presenting to groups. The the lovely people at RBI (where I was working at the time) sent me on a 1-day course called, innovatively, Presenting To Groups. It was brilliant. And I now enjoy presenting tolarge groups, especially at conferences and the like, more than just about anything else about my job. It’s taken me to Sydney, Barcelona and next week will take me to Dublin. Which is a long-winded way of saying that you’d like me to speak at your conference just drop me a line!
Well, there you go. 7 things that you probably didn’t know about me and almost certainly had no desire to know. I now pass the baton of navel-gazing on to the following peeps: All Mod Cons, Chungaiz, Mel, Clare , Dean, James & Danny (though this may not exactly be his sort of thing). Here’s hoping their things are more interesting than mine!
Birkin Super 7 image by The Pug Father on flickr