Each episode is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. In season 3 we talk to graduates about going back. But is it back to the beginning or back to the future? In this episode we meet 1990s Law graduate Martel Maxwell and chat about Disney movie moments, proving yourself and the changing face of Dundee.
Martel Maxwell is a Scottish journalist, writer, radio and television presenter. Since 2017, she has co-presented the property show Homes Under the Hammer.
Whether it is returning home after graduation, returning to Edinburgh after adventures elsewhere, or just returning to a place that felt like the past but turned out to be the future, season 3 of Multi Story Edinburgh explores how going back is never life in reverse.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling from freemusicarchive.org
Artwork: Vector created by vectorjuice / Freepik
Voiceover 00:11 This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season three, back to the beginning or Back to the Future.
Martel 00:24 I'm in the Perthshire hills. Controversially, it's got a Dundee postcode, so that's good because I've come back to my roots.
Voiceover 00:31 Martel Maxwell. 1990s Law graduate.
Martel 00:37 I decided to move back to Dundee and I moved around a lot. I've lived in Glasgow and Edinburgh, predominantly London, maybe for 15 years or so. But I always had the connection to Scotland. And actually, when I became freelance, I used to pretend to English bosses I lived in London, and Scottish bosses that I lived in Glasgow and I'd have a flat in each one and just jump on the train. It was just a few hours away. And I've always been a wee bit nomadic, and I like packing bags and going where the wind blows me.
I suppose what I didn't foresee is that the chap that I would fall in love with was my, I'd say school sweetheart, but he was the first boy I kissed when I was 13. I met him on the first day of school aged five. So I think a lot of in life depends on who you meet. If you meet someone and what happens.
So he's from Dundee, he lived in London with me for a couple of years, but we decided to go back up the road when I was really heavily pregnant, like two weeks away from giving birth. It was a bit of-- Do we live in Edinburgh? Do we stay in London? We looked into places in London, but you don't get much bang for your buck. And then we came back to to Dundee. And yeah, it was a homing instinct because it was-- and just to have this quality of life for the children or child we're about to have and I'm so glad we did.
But when we came up, it wasn't like we landed and got our dream house. We stayed in Jamie's sister's flat. She's lives in Australia, but she had a flat on the Perth Road, which is real students-ville, and we were there-- we thought would be there for six months. We were there for two years.
After school, there was maybe 10 Girls and 10 boys who were pals. And then over the years, the numbers diminish as people get really serious boyfriends, girlfriends, but there was a core group of us that would come back every Christmas. And it was a ritual that on Christmas Eve, our high school lot would meet in the Fish in Broughty Ferry for a few drinks on Christmas Eve, which meant that I always had a raging hangover for Christmas Day and could barely eat my turkey. But it was so much fun.
And then Jamie and I, we'd see each other once a year there but always another once or twice a year. And I loved it. We went to mutual friends' weddings a lot. And we were always at the singles table together. And he's like the pied piper. He's-- he's leading the songs and I just adored him, but not in that way. Not in that way. And if you told me-- one day, it just happened. We were at a music festival in London. He was-- he was at a stag do and I was there separately with another friend. And he just said I think we should be--, I think there's something more to us than friends. And that was that - we held hands and it was very kind of innocent. It felt like we were back in the playground.
Sometimes in life, something happens, and you look in that person's eyes, without meaning to sound like a Disney movie, but you look in that person's eyes and you see them totally differently and you realise you knew 5% of them. And there's this kind of vulnerable lovely side that you never knew. And it can happen. It can be the person that you've known forever.
Dundonians as a type are very-- I think they're very resilient. They've been through a lot of closures of mills and factories and-- and they bounce back. There's been the Michelin factory recently, there was Timex - it was the jute mill. So it was the world leader of jute mills and my gran worked in a jute mill and that's kind of like the underlay of carpets. So she got her pinky cut off in the jute mills. And then there were the Jute Barons, and then that moved to India. So Dundee has seen a lot of growth and a lot of decline. And I think it's made for a real resilience. And although people are very friendly, there's a very dry wit that's really, really funny. And there's, there's also we've got our own language, you know, people laugh at the line - you go into a pie shop or baker's and you say "I'll hae a peh an an ingin ane in aw" and it just sounds ridiculous, but that's "I'll have a pie and an onion one as well".
When I write sometimes I'll be stopped in the street. This guy came up to me not too long ago and said, "Hi, Martel it's Davey here. How's your back?" and I thought, 'I don't know who Davey is, who's Davey?' You know, I'm bad with names and memory, but who is Davey? And I realised he'd just been reading my column. So it's like it-- it opens up a dialogue and if I get an email from a reader I always reply because I'm so grateful that somebody would take the time to to send something.
Again, not meaning to sound like a Disney movie - there's a lot of people out there who deserve a lot more respect from-- medics and nurses and all these people, I think, yeah, I think I'm just lucky to do something I love but I think people just view you as you and you've got to prove yourself, don't you? But that's the same in all walks of life, you'll-- you have to prove yourself every time you meet someone.
Every turn, every corner will have a nice memory or fun memory. And then there'll be things that make you quite sad. Like, I'll be like, well, there's the Hawkhill Tavern, which is a pub my granddad drank in and I'd take him there occasionally for a pint, and he'd get fish and chips. And that's sad, you know, that's quite melancholy, because - and I wouldn't have it any other way - but you do see that, oh, that's the building were Fat Sam's was, where we used to party - four floors of fun, great fun. But it's now no longer that, things move on. And a lot of it for me is pubs, you know, I used to drink there when I came home from university, when I came from home from Edinburgh to meet my pals at the Parliamentary, it's not called the parliamentary and it, kind of dates you a bit.
But then you also look at the amazing transformations that are really great. Like V&A Dundee on the waterfront and transforming the whole place. And so yeah, I noticed that. I notice the personality of people, the dialect, the language that I really love. And also, I live up on the hills, and I see Dundee, and I see the River Tay, and sometimes I just catch myself and think that's an amazing view. But also, this is home for me. There's nothing wrong with saying, 'I'm coming home'. And actually, this is my home. This is Dundee. This is something that I'm really proud of. I like being a wee bit removed, just because life's fast, I'm away working a lot. So I like being 10 minutes out. But if I was gonna call somewhere home, why not the place that I grew up in and-- and I do have a lot of belonging to. And I just like the fact I still get to go to other places, it's nice to come back to somewhere.
I feel happy that I did try to live somewhere else. Because when I look back now to my life, and it's wiping bottoms and making cakes, and you know, trying to lose weight. It's just like, I'm a mum, I look back and I think I can't ever complain. I kind of did that - I was a showbiz reporter for 10 years in London, I kind of had fun, and I did that. Sometimes you move away for the sake of it. And sometimes you have everything you need where you're from, but sometimes you have to move away to realise that and then again, you get home birds, don't you, they don't want to move away, or, or might move away when they're 40 and emigrate to Australia. People do things in all different kinds of orders.
But there can be a wee bit of, yeah, a push - people feeling obliged to move away and with what's recently gone on, I think people appreciate space. I see it all the time on Homes Under the Hammer - people are choosing to live somewhere that gives them a bit more room, and looking for better quality of life and a bit of a calmer life.
We also ask our guests to tell us about a place - somewhere local, somewhere that kind of captures something important, something worth sharing.
I've tried to not make my place I would take a visitor to a pub because you know, it's just in my genes. Let's go to the pub. But I would take a visitor to the esplanade in Broughty Ferry. For me, it holds so many memories, but it's also beautiful. It's just lovely. You're on the River Tay, you're on the beach. You can see on one side you've got Broughty Fairy Castle, you can see for miles the other way. I'd walk past number 15 where I lived with my mum. I'd reminisce about the nightclub Buddies that was there, I'd see the little fairground where the fairground was and I fancied the guy when I was about 12 years old and embarrassed myself because all my coins fell out of my piggy bank on the waltzers and he used to push the waltzers.
And, and then, sorry to bring the pub into it, but it's only you know, a 15 minute brisk walk with the car, you'd be in the fish, where I'd go every Christmas Eve with my pals from the High School of Dundee and that's where I'd end up with a nice warm glass of red or Guinness. And sometimes you get Fiddler's who come in and do impromptu fiddling and it feels feels a bit like you're in Ireland. It feels awesome. So that's what I would do with with a stolen afternoon with a visitor.
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.