So. Johnny, Frida and I helped make this little film about today’s report on the (ever) rising cost of raising a child to the age of 21 in Britain – now at all time high of £277,266 according to the new research.
Do we look like zombies? Does the house look like a squat? Do I appear a soup of nervousness and apology? Apparently photo-realism is back in vogue…
UPDATE: I’ve just noticed the veeeeeery obviously homemade haircut Johnny is sporting in the opening picture. And I thought I was making progress with hairdressing…!
We apologise for the interruption to normal services… This isn’t about kids, really, or anything I’d usually blog about here. It’s about my friend Kieron.
Kieron is a journalist. A really fine, principled, journalist. When I went back to work for a big newspaper after Johnny was born, I fell into the habit of trying to cover every news story I could with him. Not just because he was so good at his job that he made me look good too, but because - in a very male, often competitive environment – he was kind and thoughtful too. He’s the sort of man who always stops to think about everyone involved in a story – from the people in power at the top to the people reaping the consequences at the very bottom. For him, decisions weren’t made just according to what we could get away with, legally, but also according to what was right, ethically.
He went freelance at the same at me, the same I started this blog. About a month ago, he accepted an assignment covering a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic. We saw him for supper a couple of nights before he left and he was excited. We knew not to expect any news of him for a good few weeks. What we didn’t expect was that the next we’d hear of him would be on the BBC News, in a report stating that the ship he’d been on had been seized by the Russians, towed at gunpoint to the northern city of Murmansk and that 30 people on board had been charged with piracy. Kieron was among them, even though he’s not even an activist, just a journalist covering a story.
Last week he was denied bail. He doesn’t look well in the photo that accompanied the news stories. He’s currently spending 23 hours a day in a cell with no hot water and one Russian inmate for company. They can’t speak each other’s language, he has lost his glasses, and Foreign Office staff who managed to gain access to him described him as “emotionally drained and confused.”
Kieron is not a pirate. To most British people, he’s a journalist. To readers of this blog who’ve been around for a while, he’s the guy who made this film of Johnny:
I was in a live debate on Woman’s Hour. I don’t think I was sick, though since I’ve been too cowardly to listen back to it on iPlayer, there’s every chance that I was and have simply wiped it from my memory as a self-preservation mechanism.
If you want to find out, I’m right at the end here (can’t tell you the exact time code since, as I said, I haven’t listened to it). Please don’t tell me if I was. Because in my own, warped memory, it was actually really fun – Broadcasting House; a professional studio with headphones and a soundboard; Jenni Murray… And radio. Who doesn’t love radio? You can be communicating with an audience live, yet still be in your pyjamas with three-day-unbrushed-hair. Bliss.