10/01/2015 - Origami on the Radio


I got a call from the Essex local radio station BBC Essex last Wednesday, to see if I could help them out with some Origami on their morning show next day.

This was to form part of their programme of interesting activities in the 17 weeks leading up to the General Election at the beginning of May.

The station had lots of other suggestions, ranging from learning a foreign language or musical instrument to growing potatoes. While I was there the listener phoned in to say he wanted to learn the ukulele, and Dave (the DJ) was being taught Italian ! Doing origami on the radio put me in mind of when I was a kid, and there was a ventriloquist on the radio ... how did that work ? Was he any good ? Nobody knows ...

Less than half a day is not much notice, but luckily I had the following two days booked off as holiday, so could attend, and it aligned nicely with one of my New Year resolutions, so I agreed.

The trip out to where the radio station is located in Chelmsford was uneventful, except the train I intended to catch was cancelled, and it was pouring with rain.

I arrived at the radio station in plenty of time to dry out, have a cup of coffee, run through what they wanted and discuss what I proposed to do. Gavin, the producer, was adamant he wanted me to demonstrate making a paper animal from A4 paper, which his listener would have to hand. The A4 idea was OK, but an A4 animal simple enough for the time available (about 10 minutes) that is worth doing in the time, would be a bit of a stretch. And I wanted to do something that everyone would be successful with, rather than fail and go away thinking Origami was beyond them.

So, after some discussion ( ... Gavin talking ... ) we settled for my original idea, of a model with a story and a twist - and I had already decided 'The Eccentric Sea Captain' would fit the bill admirably.

Briefly, the story revolves around an origami enthusiast who was a Sea Captain, convinced he could sail around the world in a paper ship.

The folding was videoed after the transmission by Gavin on his mobile phone (no expense spared here) and then posted on the station Facebook page.

Suffice it to say, the DJ Dave Monk was a star, and very good at putting me at ease. He followed my guidance and all went well. Just as I was about to leave, I was called back into the studio to answer some questions from Dave's listener to the show.

This reminded me of a BOS Convention I attended some time ago where I sat next to someone who was convinced they could 'do' Origami, but could not even fold a piece of paper in half accurately, however much you tried to help, and this in a class to learn a complex model.

It was a very interesting morning, and I'm glad I accepted the engagement, as I had not been to a radio station before. I didn't realise how laid back the whole process was !

My thanks to Gavin and Dave for their hospitality.



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