In the sixth and final episode of season six , guests Emily Aboud and Ed Patrick talk about shapeshifting, storytelling and the politics of saying it out loud.
Emily is a Trinidadian theatre director, writer and artistic director of Lagahoo Productions. As a Caribbean theatre maker, her work draws inspiration from the political community theatre she grew up making in Trinidad - a combination of music, movement, direct audience address and naturalism. Her most directing recent credits include BOGEYMAN (Edinburgh Fringe 2022), the award-winning SPLINTERED (Soho Theatre, also, writer), Pink Lemonade (Bush Theatre), Dolly (Park Theatre) and Chatham House Rules (Pleasance Theatre).
Ed is a comedian, author and NHS anaesthetist. As well as performing across the UK, Ed also hosts the Comedians' Surgery podcast where he speaks to other comedians about their health stories and experiences. His memoir Catch Your Breath: The Secret Life of a Sleepless Anaesthetist was published in 2021.
Warning: This episode occasionally contains strong language.
Who are we? Season 6 is about who we are as individuals, what motivates us and why we do the things we do? But as it is Sharing things, it is also about where we overlap, where our experiences help us better understand others and why we are never alone.
You can find more information on the Sharing things website.
Graphic images designed by Chris Behr. They are part of his Nice Things icon set.
Hannah 00:05 Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Sharing things. I'm Hannah, your host for Season Six and I'm excited to share the next uplifting conversation from members of our university community, exploring the little things in life that connect us. This episode features Ed, a comedian and NHS anaesthetist, and Emily, an arts director and writer.
Hannah: 00:29 Welcome to Sharing things. Thank you for joining us. So, I thought to sort of introduce yourselves to each other, we could have a little moment to talk about your first experience of Edinburgh since that's what connects both of you.
Emily 00:44 I came here in April 2012 to check out the uni to decide if I was going to study here or somewhere else. I remember being very cold. I'm from Trinidad. So obviously I was surprised but I was very surprised at how cold it was. And I remember I did like a uni tour by, you know, somebody doing a uni tour. Like I was in like wellies and like three jumpers and like a raincoat and this person just had like a hoodie, like an Edinburgh uni hoodie, and just walking around like getting completely drenched like la-di-da, this is this building, Appleton Tower is really ugly, this is the one. Mostly the rain, the horizontal rain, was the was the big learning experience for me.
Ed 01:25 Sounds like a match made in heaven this [laugh]. Similarly, I came up, I was looking at universities as well. And much to my parents' dismay, I was saying, I like the idea of Edinburgh. But they were like it's really far away. And I was like yeah, exactly. And then we arrived at me my mum and I don't think there's another train station where I've just come out and just been like oh my goodness, this is incredible. Normally in the UK, when you come out train stations is pretty grotty. Whereas Edinburgh is just beautiful. I just fell in love with the place from that and so did my mum as well. And then they were like, yep, you can come. It's been-- it's been a really special place as well. I've done lots of new and different things here along the way. So yeah, it was a start of a very important journey.
Hannah 02:12 Okay so, you immediately walked out the train station and fell in love with it, but it seems like you were a bit taken aback by the weather and what was it about Edinburgh that made you decide to stay here then?
Emily 02:24 It was mostly because of the Fringe. I mean, really, mostly the Fringe and then this sort of warped idea of what the UK could be. You know, growing up in Trinidad, you want the cobblestones you want-- like you think everything's paved with gold, and like history is so important. Obviously, my opinion has changed. And I'm a lot more angry about empire. But yeah, I mean it-- it-- I think it took me a while to warm up to Edinburgh. I think I was still upset I didn't get into Cambridge [laugh]. But Edinburgh just sort of grew on me a lot. And the Scots just felt like-- like the-- they wanted me there. And that's really nice. So yeah.
Hannah 03:04 Good. I'm glad you felt welcome.
Hannah 03:10 And now you're both back in Edinburgh because of the Fringe. So, I wonder what is it like being back?
Ed 03:16 So I was in Edinburgh not that long ago, actually, for a couple of reasons. Came up to see a friend we went to the British Open Golf at St Andrews, we have our little tournament-- British Open golf tournament, like best buddies sort of thing. We go camping. Anyway, did that. And it was up here for a book event as well. But the last time was up for Fringe properly. I think my last time I did a show was 20-- oh my goodness, it could have been 2018, could it? It must have been more than-- I don't know. But anyway, this is the first time I've been back for a while because of obviously everything that's been going on. And it's just been so lovely. So, I'm doing a Work in Progress show where I'm writing on the show each day, trying new things out. And it's just so nice to go to a show where my goal is when I walk in is to what new things can I do and I'm not thinking I need to smash this in front of this crowd. I need to have a good review I need it to be perfect. I'm like, what-- what can I try in this experimental and it's a really lovely place to be. And Edinburgh is very unique in the Fringe like that, because you get to do your show again and again and again, you can change things about it. So, it's just a wonderful experience that you don't get to do elsewhere. And Edinburgh has created that culture of having a huge festival going on for so long in such a huge size as well. People talk about whether it can be recreated elsewhere, but I think it'd be really difficult be-- to create what they do here where you literally can do a show every day and have people come and see it and it's just-- also the city is just so lovely and accessible as well. My brother described Edinburgh as like London without shit paths. And I think it's true, you know, you can walk anywhere and then it doesn't take far to go out either just to kind of see something else too. So yeah, it's just-- it's just so lovely being back and the bars are open until one which isn't the same down south.
Hannah 04:58 Have you had like a similar experience do you feel like?
Emily 05:03 Yeah, oh gosh, we were-- I came to Fringe. That's the last time I was here was French 2019, which was sort of my company's first show. And now we're here for the tricky second album. Show number two. Yeah, Fringe is-- Fringe is a weird one. I really, really love it. And I'm, I think it's-- I think it's incredible. But unfortunately, I'm not as optimistic about it. Because I feel like every time I come back, it becomes more expensive and more inaccessible and more difficult. And I just find it amazing. Because I've been in the industry, like nearly five years, maybe more, actually, I'm not really sure. And this is my fourth Fringe. And it's just actually, despite getting more support every time by different venues and funding bodies or whatever. It-- it--it feels as hard. So, I'm like, how is anyone emerging managing? But I mean, I love Edinburgh, I don't want to be not optimistic. I think the Fringe is incredible. But I feel like it's really weird to come back three years later from 2019 and be like, hmm, I'm just as stressed as before, despite having more money, more experience, like better team involved. It's just-- it's just crazy. Oh, maybe I'm just getting more tired more quickly [laugh].
Hannah 06:22 Emily, I'm gonna ask about your object first.
Emily 06:23 Sure.
Hannah 06:24 Because you said you have a story behind it.
Emily 06:27 I do. It's a great story. This is my school ring. So, it's actually not mine. It's my mum's school ring. So, I-- I went to Catholic state school in Trinidad and Tobago that my mum went to, and her mum went to and my dad's mum went to and my dad's sister went to and all my sisters went to, big old legacy there. And it’s called St. Joseph's Convent Port of Spain, I have a really weird connection with the school, obviously, just because I think it's fucking great. I think it's an incredible like, you don't have to pay. And it's really top education in the Caribbean. And you know, it's-- I'm really passionate about education in the Caribbean, obviously. And it was just really nice to go there and meet people from all walks of life in Trinidad and learn from them and learn with them. But this ring is particularly great because when I became head girl, which is hilarious, because I'm an atheist, and I'm gay. I didn't have a school ring that fit. And it was kind of like a thing that you needed. You needed a school ring, and mum just found her old one from-- she was also expelled for being a communist, by the way, like, I don't know why she sent me to this school. But I'm glad she did. But she had this school ring, and there's no way this ring would have fit my hand. It's interesting, because you can see that there's a big old gash here. So, what happened this ring is really old. She was wearing it as she was going to boarding school. And she got into a horrific car accident and broke her wrist. It was a bad car accident. I'm not gonna get into the details, but everyone survived. But granny barely did. And they had to cut-- cut off the ring. She'd broken her wrist. So, her hand was so swollen, but they just had to like cut it off. So now I've got my mum's ring that is literally fit-- like bent to my size because it's got a really handy little, I don't know what you'd call this, gap in it from the saw. So yeah, I've literally-- I put-- I wanted to became a head girl, I put it on and have not taken it off. So, god that's what 10 years that I have this stupid ring on my hand, this reminder of Catholicism that I hate. But um, yeah, connects me to my mum, and I suppose her mum, and Trinidad I guess, so I never take it off.
Hannah 06:29 That's so interesting. I like that there's a really complicated relationship behind it. And do you feel like it represents your mum more than the school? Or do you think of both?
Emily 08:45 I think-- I think it's like I'm really close with my family and especially my sisters and I find that because they all went there as well, and they wear the same ring and of course I met like-- I'd meet like-- all my friends are from there and I don't know it is just quite a nice status symbol, I guess, that I know that my sisters have a ring like this and my best friends have a ring like this and like I've been on the tube in London and some random fella like just must have heard me talk to my friend and then looked at my hand and saw my ring and was like a you went you went to Convent and I'm like yeah, I did. So, it's like this really stupid. I would say it's elitist but it is you know technically a state school so I'm hoping that it isn't but yeah, I suppose just like how it connects me to people that I like very much.
Hannah 09:32 Okay well Ed, I noticed you did not bring your object.
Ed 09:36 I have brought a virtual version of the object, so I was gonna bring a golf ball and then do the story but then I forgot. Well no, it was logistically-- I need to go somewhere else to get the ball and I didn't have it. But I did have my dog's ball which is in my-- just a tennis ball, which is in my room in Pollock where I'm staying. I just brought it with me, I don't-- maybe a bit of sentimental value I took it [laugh] she's really upset about it. Anyway, essentially, I was bringing a golf ball because when I was in Edinburgh, I used to live on Gillespie Crescent, which is down in Tollcross. And me and my friend I mentioned earlier he-- we went to the British Open and things like that, all of our fun about golf started there because we-- we were naff, we couldn't play and we went out, you know, they've got the 36 pitch and putt and we used to go out there with our really sort of naff like clubs, and we like commentate for each other. So, we'd walk out, I'm not joking, we'd go out onto the--- onto the Bruntsfield Links, and we'd be like "And the crowd go wild for Tom and Ed as they come for this major championship." And then we just hit these awful shots. But we-- we created this whole scene that we were in, you know, when you were a kid, that you would be playing these massive championships. So, we would always comment it, and then we'd start commentating on each other as we're about to take a shot. And it's like, "Oh, he's clearly nervous. He's clearly tensing this one." So it was, but what stemmed from that was something I've never done before. And we naturally just picked it up. And then it really became a focal point for us to, you know, meet up and think, like I said, so we meet every year, you know, we've kept that friendship going. And it's, you know, we've had some brilliant times along the way. So, I'm just thinking specifically the golf ball was-- was the time when we're playing a place called Nefyn & District, I think it's called and basically it's right on the coast. And every like hole is like over a cliff edge or something. It's really spectacular. It's a public access course. But the golf takes precedent and there were loads of people walking on the final hole, right. And now normally my shot's so bad, it goes over to the left, and I do want to hit anything then because there were people walking on that way. Whereas Tom is, I shouldn't be saying this [laugh] he’s normally good at-- anyway, he said, that's fine I'll hit mine and he hit-- because not-- everyone should have waited, he didn't. It was-- they didn't wait. So, you he hits ball. And it just went flying past this family. And the dad just turned round in came and start threatening him with a little plastic cricket bat that the kid had, so he has taken this cricket bat off his kids’ hands and he was like "I'm going to have you..." And it was just, we-- we were mortified, obviously at the time, and then we finished off and we went into the golf shop and said, oh, this happened. They were like, it's a golf course they should be waiting to see sort of thing. But it was just loads of things have just come from that. And it all started – and also actually I should-- it-- probably give one of my stories it was that when I was playing on the pitch and putt here, I hit a ball and it went-- and it went, you know, there's cars parked on either side. Yeah, went straight up in the air, and then landed ironically on a golf, which then just drove off. And then like, you know, I was sort of crouched down like this, and my mate was like what you're doing, they can see you because it's not like you can hide from it. But they didn't spot it. Yeah, but I guess if you're gonna park next to a golf course.
Hannah 12:42 That's interesting is the golf ball you had in mind-- was a specific golf ball?
Ed 12:46 It was a specific golf ball. And the story behind that golf ball was that it's something I just do, you know, if I've got, you know, a bit of time at the end of the day, I haven't played for ages. But you know, it's just nice to kind of get out escape from everyone. I'll just play on my own, you know, just kind of, and there was one time I was playing, it was about six or seven o'clock at night, and there was this par three hole. So, you know, it's about 200 yards. And I've never had a hole in one of my life, right. There's no one there. And I hit this ball and I saw it go. And I was like, that looks good. And it just disappeared. And I was like, please, please don't have gone in. There's no one here. There was literally no one here, I walked up to the green and there was no sign of it. I looked in the hole and the ball is in the hole. And I got a hole in one and it was no one around and I went back to the carpark, I went back to the clubhouse, and there was a girl looking up and I just said, look, I need to tell someone because there's no one here, but no one’s gonna believe me, but I just got a hole in one. And she went "I believe you [laugh]." So that was the specific golf ball I was gonna bring, so.
Hannah 13:46 That's very cool. I like that there's something quite poetic about your greatest moment happening when no one’s there to see it.
Ed 13:53 I think that's probably true, isn't it, for a lot of people [laugh].
Hannah 13:56 Up until very recently, I lived right on the Bruntsfield Links and would walk to a lot of people playing golf. I imagine that would have like-- being able to witness that would have made it much more interesting.
Ed 14:06 Yeah, and you know what I was actually-- we went there, when I came up a few weeks ago, we played on Links, I have to say, oh, it's so sad because it's really sort of burnt out and not really kind of-- it doesn't look like it's been looked after as well as it has done in previous years. A lot of the holes were coming apart. I guess that's due to sort of Council funding and things like that. But I mean, there's just like just a couple of weeks before the Fringe and I assume it gets worse during that as well. But it was a bit sad playing on it again, because we had all those memories, but, you know, half the holes didn't have flags in and things like that. And it was it was such a sort of, you know, it was never really about the playing. It was just about kind of being like with a friend and stuff and, you know, just always chat about things. But yeah, it was-- it was almost like, you know, sometimes you put a lot of-- a lot of importance into places and things and it just shows you that actually, you know, what's more important is obviously the people that you were with and the memories you create. It's not necessarily you know, those things might not be there. I forever sort of thing.
Hannah 15:05 I suppose you both probably have different roles that you play in your life. I know, Ed, specifically, I'm thinking of the fact that you work as an NHS anaesthetist and you're a comedian. And you're here in Edinburgh right now doing the comedian thing. But I was wondering, when-- maybe we could talk a little bit about those sorts of contrasting maybe conflicting parts of your-- your identity or your things that you do in life?
Ed 15:30 Yeah, I mean, it's been interesting couple of years, obviously, as well. So, I think my identity really came into focus during that. So, when all the live work disappeared, because of the pandemic, obviously, as an anaesthetist-- anaesthetists work in IC-- intensive care. And so, we were basically all pulled over to there. And I didn't realise at that point, I've always said, I do medicine and comedy, because it balances each other out. But I didn't realise quite how much I relied on the comedy and the art side of things to kind of keep me just there, basically. And I lost that. I lost that identity of that sense. So that kind of ying-yang of both of them. And that's when I started writing. I already started writing things down about anaesthetics, but I started writing more and more and more because it was my only outlet. And obviously, I've had a book come out, which is fantastic from it. But during that phase, you know, the things in the book that people have come to me afterwards and said, I didn't realise he felt like that. And to be honest, retrospectively, I didn't know either, but I was literally having to go into hospital do all these really tough shifts. And I felt like not only had I lost the arts identity, but I actually lost my identity as an anaesthetist. Because, as-- in anaesthetics you are-- anaesthetists are known for being cool, calm, collected, always there in an emergency. You know, we work across a broad range of things. So, you know, people having babies, caesarean sections, we would do the spinals epidurals, all sorts of operations, obviously, intensive care as well, called to A&E, working with children, helping them have scans or whatever. So, lots of things and suddenly, we were just focused into the pandemic ICU. And what happened in there was that everything that we normally do, I'm so used to doing something and seeing a positive result just wasn't happening, you know, people were so unwell that they would fall off a cliff edge, and not get back with whatever you did, someone's oxygen levels dropped, you give them oxygen wasn't coming up the same way as it went down. And various other things, too. I felt really, I'd lost my identity as anaesthetist at that point. Because anaesthetics is such a privileged thing, where you get to meet someone beforehand, someone who is, you know, quite anxious, obviously, generally, and you get to help them go through a journey. And it's really privileged thing to do, especially in the NHS, where you can spend time with one patient. So, you see them before, you're with them throughout, and then afterwards, as well. And to take someone on that journey, we're getting less and less of that in the NHS, it's all sort of, you know, services are cut. So, you can't have as much time but with anaesthetics, it has to be protected, but I just wasn't getting that with, you know, in ICU, and I wasn't getting to meet patients, because people were so unwell. So, I lost that identity of it, but also, I lost the art side of it, as well. So, it was quite a dark sort of place to be in and just trying to get through and obviously, various things happen. But when it all came back, I didn't realise quite how much I relied on comedy and performance, for me as a person. So, lots of people, you know, medicine will have something on the outside to kind of release. That, for me was my other side of the things. And when that came back, you know, I started to just realise how important it was and just what-- balanced and how it makes me feel a bit more-- more healthier and more happier.
Hannah 18:28 I definitely vouch for the fact that the anaesthetists’ role - with like connecting with the patient - is so important, because I remember I had surgery last year, and the anaesthetists were like my favourite people, because--
Ed 18:40 That's generally the case.
Hannah 18:42 Yeah, because like, I was very anxious, and they did an amazing job of just calming me down and keeping me sane.
Ed 18:47 We have good drugs.
Hannah 18:48 Good drugs as well [laugh]. Yeah, but what about you, Emily, do you? Can you relate to that? In a sense, is there parts of I know you did-- you did Mechanical Engineering?
Emily 18:57 Yeah, I was gonna bring that up. Yeah [laugh].
Hannah 19:00 And now you're in theatre. And is there any-- is that or any other part of your identity that you feel like contrast or balance each other or like.
Emily 19:08 Well, yes, I mean, the obvious thing is that I'm a nerd. And I did study Engineering here. And I don't regret it at all. I applied for Engineering fully knowing that I was going to be a theatre director.
Hannah 19:21 Oh, interesting.
Emily 19:22 It wasn't like a switch. I was just like, I'm most interested in studying this and I can do student theatre. And why would I pay so much money on a degree like a drama degree, which I just thought was reading books and writing essays so yeah, so I did-- I did Engineering here. I think that there's definitely an alternate reality that is very close to this one where I continued doing Engineering because I really did enjoy specifically like the research projects we did in my final year, but I just-- I just I feel like everyone thinks that arts and math or science is like these completely binary different things, but I-- I think all the time that math is art, or science is art or that they-- they're both kind of, I don't know, maybe-- maybe I'm lucky because my-- I think my brain thinks in a mathematical way, but I meet a lot of artists who are just like, oh, I fucking hated science and I just math wasn't for me. And I'm just like, but that's, that's what-- that's what art is. It's one plus one equals two, like, here's one thing, and here's another thing, and it's put them together and it creates something else. And I don't know I-- but again, this is speaking to somebody who's very good at math. So, if you get another director and they hated math, they'll freak out and be like, you're wrong. It's all about-- me and my dad have arguments about it all the time, because he's like, you can't quantify feelings. And I'm like, but you can dad, of course you can. Everything-- everything's ones and zeros and complex ones of neither ones or zeros like maths, very big and amazing. Not to say that the world is binary, obviously, it isn't. But math can attribute like, can-- can explain that as well. So yeah, it's kind of actually interesting, because that's why I named my company, my theatre company is called Lagahoo Productions, and a lagahoo is a Caribbean shapeshifter. It's like-- it's like our version of the werewolf. You know what, in 2018, when I started the company to bring our first show Splintered to Fringe, I chose that name one, because my dad is a poet and wrote a poem, wrote a book about the lagahoo who and I, you know, grew up around stories of this of this creature. But also, I just was really interested by the shapeshifting aspect of it and like the fact that you can actually be two things at once. Nothing is black and white apart from you know, some really horrible things are pretty obviously evil. And you know, Columbus was not a nice guy. There's there's no nuance for that for me. But yeah, I just I was really interested in-- in being allowed to be two things at once and-- and letting nuances occur and our first show was a cabaret, and it was a comedy. And I didn't want to-- to limit our company to just like, we do, we do queer comedy cabarets, because our next show is a horror about the Haitian Revolution. But that's, that's shapeshifting. So yeah, I don't know. I think-- I think everything's connected. And I understand that a lot of artists might disagree, but I think-- I think-- I think science is the best, I actually think science is the best, I think art is trying to be science, not the other way around.
Hannah 22:13 So I just want to know more about that. How is art trying to be science in your opinion?
Emily 22:19 I just, I think science is so big and beautiful. And we can't we don't know the scale of the universe, or the scale of a quark and a lepton. And like, you know, you go-- you can go so big, and you can go so small. And there's so many other animals and so many other-- like it just, I don't know, I love art. And I think art's great, but it's--it's once you realise that there are other animals, who have entire societies and ways of thinking and ways of loving each other. That's different from how humans do it. I feel like we're just arguing so much about how humans interact. But we forget, like the complete breadth of life, and like how trees communicate, and how mushrooms communicate, and all this stuff is just so big and beautiful and crazy. And here we are, like little homo sapiens, you know, doing our little two-hander about a couple that break up, but they've signed a lease for another three years. And you're just like, I mean, that's cool, well done. But like science is huge, and beautiful and amazing. And we're just, I mean, I'm, as an artist myself, just trying to like, pack that neatly into an hour-long show is-- I feel like I'm trying to make something as beautiful as a science into art, I guess. But I know people will disagree. So, I'm so sorry.
Hannah 23:37 Okay, I think that brings up maybe-- maybe an interesting point about storytelling, or trying to connect with people or like, I guess, broaden general understandings. So, I'm wondering if maybe, Ed, do you have any thoughts on like, what is your approach to making art telling stories, being a performer?
Ed 23:58 I think in not the too distant past, I've realised that I just, I do love telling stories. And I love the craft of telling a story as well, and probably quite appropriate if we're in a podcast, I’ll mention this as well, but I do love listening to Ira Glass, and his approach to storytelling and how he's obviously one of the pioneers of podcasts, essentially. And it's interesting, listening to his thoughts on, on how that's, that's created and how a story you know, doesn't matter how dull it is, as long as it's going somewhere, you know, you can take it. And I think when you think of, especially things like comedies, like a story as well, because in my show, at the moment, I'm telling a story, quite important story. And what I've realised is that there's a lot of power to tell a story. There's a different engagement. I remember when I first did this story at a preview, and I was like, I'm not sure how that's gonna go, I'm just gonna, you know, just get the words out and see what happens. And it was just a different type of engagement in people's eyes when you're telling a story. And people want to know what the end is, irrespective of what the story is like, what is they, they want to the conclusion. So, it's just a very powerful technique, I think to put things across, but also just a really enjoyable thing. And you can play so much in the story, you know, the start, middle, and end, you can do whatever you like. And I think I'm bringing that more and more in. The bits I've gotten in my sets at the moment that are, you know, stories I find most satisfying, because I can take the audience along with me in that journey. So, it's definitely something I'm cultivating more and more each day.
Hannah 25:32 Yeah, yeah. I really love that both of your objects had like, such wonderful stories behind them. There was a whole backdrop that you wrote into it. Yeah, how do you approach storytelling through Ed being comedian, you are writer-director, I wonder how is that different for you?
Emily 25:49 I just want to say that I hate writing. So, I'd rather not do it. I much prefer directing. Because I think I don't know I'm-- directing is more 3D for me, you know, getting to like play with the lights and the sounds and create atmospheres. But I've only-- I've only have only written two plays. But both of them have been the Lagahoo Productions' plays because we're trying to do historical retellings of Caribbean history. So, I have to write them because I just don't trust anyone to write a play that I'd want to direct. You know, I'm always really impressed with comedians and storytellers because I-- I think it requires so much bravery and honesty, whereas I don't really, whenever I want to tell a story it's mostly starting from a historical aspect, especially with my company, it's like, this is the core of it. This is essentially like, what could be a, you know, an A level history essay. And then how do we dramatise that into a story is more I suppose what I'm interested in or what I'm good at, I guess. Yeah, I read my relation to storytelling is-- is-- is just to get someone to just think about the world and their place in it. And I think with Lagahoo, with my company especially, I'm really, really passionate, really, really passionate about forgotten histories or intentionally forgotten histories like it is very obvious to me how shit the history curriculum in this country is. So, a lot of-- a lot of the work that we'll do with my company, which is you know, probably about 40% of the total work I do is a director I, you know, I usually get a script from somebody and be like, ah, right, I'll make this into a play. This is great. But you know, a lot of it is just trying to dramatise it, make interesting a very deliberate bit of history that the coloniser does not want the-- the rest of the country to know. They don't want you to know that, you know, there was a massive revolt of the enslaved and in a French colony that ended enslavement 40 years before Britain did. They don't want you to know that, they don't want you to know about the fact the Bengal famine is just-- so yeah, it's it's tricky, because it's like-- it's really hard to find comedy and anecdotes and-- and, like make the story interesting. Well, not interesting, but make it enjoyable, but also like keep-- keep the core of it, which is the politics of just seeing it out loud, I guess.
Hannah 28:17 Do you ever grapple with that as well, Ed? Do you ever think about-- you were talking about like telling a political story and incorporating comedy into it. Do you ever think about telling a comedic story, and incorporating something political or historical or something like that into it?
Ed 28:35 Yeah, I always try to pull it in but there's always as you're saying, trying to keep to the kernel of the story, or the reason of it is-- is getting the attention span and getting it all out then. Let me give you an example. So, for instance, NHS is like a bull, you know, you can approach it from any angle, and any specialty and there's always problems with it. Let's go from anaesthetics because that's me. We've got a huge backlog of operations that happened before the pandemic still got backlog, but they did a huge retirement boom with anaesthetists happening. So, we need anaesthetists coming through. I applied for my next stage of training of anaesthetics, as did 1100 other people, they gave 350 jobs that left seven or eight hundred out of a job, which will either-- they will either leave the country go somewhere else, leave anaesthetics, leave for a different specialty, or just leave medicine altogether. I've tried to put that in as succinct possible for you. But that still is quite a lot. And it's not a headline, and it's not grabbing enough. So, the art of what we're doing is trying to get stories and messages across that portray these problems and these situations and to highlight them in a way that it can be consumed, and meaningfully consumed as well. Because you know, you can google that story and find the old newspaper report, but you know, no one's really heard of that problem. But again, it's-- it's a whole bull, there's loads of different problems with that. So, yeah, if I can from my perspective, do my best to get these things across and say how important it is - because I mean part of the thing is, when I write the book, when I do the show as well as that, you know, people don't know about anaesthetics or what we do anaesthesia - so I thought if I can get that message out, but also get some of these important points out to, that will be great, but you're constantly grappling, how do I write the story so it can be consumed, but also how I can keep the attention of people as well.
Emily 30:17 It's hard. It's so hard. Everyone wants to have a laugh as well. And you just want to be like, no, everything's actually a bit worse than you thought. So how do you do that? What do you do?
Hannah 30:33 Your objects-- returning back to that. I was wondering if you could each choose a word to describe them if you can.
Ed 30:41 I take evergreen. Yeah, ball is evergreen, isn't it? In all situations, especially for Nelly, our little dog. There's no getting bored of the ball. And how great would it be to live to be simple so that that is a joy. Every second is a joy. And can-- like we are constantly looking for things to kind of entertainer us and things but actually the simplicity of something like that. And then also watching something so cute get so happy at that as well. It's just, I just want to be happy about a ball.
Emily 31:08 We can, we just-- we just should, just shut up. Just be happy about the ball, Emily, god. You know what? I'm gonna go with accidental. Accidental. Because I shouldn't love it as much as I do, and it was given-- it is cracked because of a car accident. So, it's accidental.
Hannah 31:29 It's accidental. Yeah, I like that. Those are both very good words. I like them. Cool. Okay, I think that's us. Thank you so much.
Hannah 31:45 Thank you for listening to Sharing things. Remember to subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode. And check out our website to learn more about the guests and even take a look at their objects. See you next time.
Kate 32:11 I hope you've enjoyed meeting members of our University of Edinburgh community. To connect with more join Platform One, our online meeting place for students, alumni and staff of the university. To find out more search Platform One Edinburgh.
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