This is the time of year when the soap operas go crazy with the culmination of a year’s storylines; producing hours of televisual joy and misery to accompany the hangovers, indigestions and myriad leftover turkey recipes of their viewers. We scoff at the inevitable interrupted wedding in Eastenders, the predictable affair revelation in Corrie or the Martian invasion in Eldorado (soaps aren’t my strong suit to be honest) but, for our little family, this Christmas has certainly felt a little more ‘Hollyoaks’ than normal.
It was Elsa’s first, of course, which was as magical as fifty per cent of the baby cards that still adorn my living room suggested it would be. Of course she had no idea what was happening but for Jill and me it was an ideal opportunity to trial brand new traditions for our fledgling family; we had fresh pyjamas on the 24th followed by a relaxing Christmas morning, a quiet lunch and the family descending on us in the evening and it was all pretty much idyllic.
However the dark cloud in our Yuletide sky is my unemployment. Christmas Eve was my last Breakfast show on Viking FM; after two years, doubling the time slot’s market share through sheer bloody hard work, they have decided against renewing my contract. I don’t really understand why but then the nature of that kind of employment is that sometimes there doesn’t need to be a reason.
The timing was less than handy with my firstborn just weeks old but I fully realise that this is an occupational hazard; no one expects a job for life in radio (except Wogan of course). It was a show that I loved, was passionate about and was determined to push to even further heights in 2014 but I won’t get the opportunity now and, quite frankly, I am gutted. You can tell I’m growing into the Dad role; I’ve decided that I’m not angry with the decision makers, I’m just disappointed in them (Elsa better prepare herself for hearing variations of that in the future).
So there you are, festive agony and ecstasy. Just like Brookside. Sort of.
I’m trying to see the positives; there’s very little work around in January so I may need to write it off as a period of ‘resting’ to nick the actors’ euphemism. This means that I will have at least a month with my wife and daughter, I’ll be there to change Elsa’s nappy, to rock her to sleep, and to help her play with the baby gym (pretending that she’s enjoying it more than I am, yeah right); essentially everything else that I may otherwise miss by being out of the house for most of the day.
So through the festive gloom there is a slender chink of light. I’d love to be back on air and creating top-notch radio for Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire but I guess I’ll have to save my rubbish jokes for an audience of just two. I’m tying to see the opportunity from the crisis (“crisitunity” in the words of Homer Simpson) but whether Jill and Elsa will be sick of me by the end of the first week is a different story.