I Was...

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Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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0201George Orwell's Pupil20150914

0201George Orwell's Pupil2015091420160625 (R4)

Andrew McGibbon presents the series that analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers - but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them, was taught by them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

In 1932, George Orwell was still known as Eric Blair and supporting himself by teaching in a private middle school run by tradesmen in semi rural Hayes, West London.

Geoffrey Stevens was one of his pupils during the year that saw him publish his first book - Down and Out in Paris and London - and also change his name from Eric Blair to George Orwell.

Geoffrey, now 96, remembers Orwell teaching him French - badly, Orwell's harsh classroom style and reliance on corporal punishment, his avuncular after school country walks to look for puss moth larva and collect marsh gas, and Orwell directing the school play which he wrote himself.

He recalls how Orwell was driven mad by the school owner's wife playing Baptist hymns on the piano late into the night, the curious role of the school parrot during mealtimes and Orwell coming round for tea with Geoffrey's mum and dad and giving him more homework as a result.

It's a fragment of time that reveals fascinating and mundane insights to George Orwell, a powerful sense of early thirties suburban London during the depression and the story of an underperforming pupil who went on to run two businesses and, at nearly 100, still walks 30 miles a week.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0201George Orwell's Pupil2015091420160625 (R4)

Andrew McGibbon presents the series that analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers - but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them, was taught by them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

In 1932, George Orwell was still known as Eric Blair and supporting himself by teaching in a private middle school run by tradesmen in semi rural Hayes, West London.

Geoffrey Stevens was one of his pupils during the year that saw him publish his first book - Down and Out in Paris and London - and also change his name from Eric Blair to George Orwell.

Geoffrey, now 96, remembers Orwell teaching him French - badly, Orwell's harsh classroom style and reliance on corporal punishment, his avuncular after school country walks to look for puss moth larva and collect marsh gas, and Orwell directing the school play which he wrote himself.

He recalls how Orwell was driven mad by the school owner's wife playing Baptist hymns on the piano late into the night, the curious role of the school parrot during mealtimes and Orwell coming round for tea with Geoffrey's mum and dad and giving him more homework as a result.

It's a fragment of time that reveals fascinating and mundane insights to George Orwell, a powerful sense of early thirties suburban London during the depression and the story of an underperforming pupil who went on to run two businesses and, at nearly 100, still walks 30 miles a week.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0201George Orwell's Pupil20150914

0201George Orwell's Pupil20150914

Andrew McGibbon returns with the series that analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers - but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them, was taught by them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

In 1932, George Orwell was still known as Eric Blair and supporting himself by teaching in a private middle school run by tradesmen in semi rural Hayes, West London.

Geoffrey Stevens was one of his pupils during the year that saw him publish his first book - Down and Out in Paris and London - and also change his name from Eric Blair to George Orwell.

Geoffrey, now 96, remembers Orwell teaching him French - badly, Orwell's harsh classroom style and reliance on corporal punishment, his avuncular after school country walks to look for puss moth larva and collect marsh gas, and Orwell directing the school play which he wrote himself.

He recalls how Orwell was driven mad by the school owner's wife playing Baptist hymns on the piano late into the night, the curious role of the school parrot during mealtimes and Orwell coming round for tea with Geoffrey's mum and dad and giving him more homework as a result.

It's a fragment of time that reveals fascinating and mundane insights to George Orwell, a powerful sense of early thirties suburban London during the depression and the story of an underperforming pupil who went on to run two businesses and, at nearly 100, still walks 30 miles a week.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0201George Orwell's Pupil20150914

Andrew McGibbon returns with the series that analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers - but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them, was taught by them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

In 1932, George Orwell was still known as Eric Blair and supporting himself by teaching in a private middle school run by tradesmen in semi rural Hayes, West London.

Geoffrey Stevens was one of his pupils during the year that saw him publish his first book - Down and Out in Paris and London - and also change his name from Eric Blair to George Orwell.

Geoffrey, now 96, remembers Orwell teaching him French - badly, Orwell's harsh classroom style and reliance on corporal punishment, his avuncular after school country walks to look for puss moth larva and collect marsh gas, and Orwell directing the school play which he wrote himself.

He recalls how Orwell was driven mad by the school owner's wife playing Baptist hymns on the piano late into the night, the curious role of the school parrot during mealtimes and Orwell coming round for tea with Geoffrey's mum and dad and giving him more homework as a result.

It's a fragment of time that reveals fascinating and mundane insights to George Orwell, a powerful sense of early thirties suburban London during the depression and the story of an underperforming pupil who went on to run two businesses and, at nearly 100, still walks 30 miles a week.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0202Chet Baker's Last Tour Manager20150921

0202Chet Baker's Last Tour Manager20150921

Chet Baker, the jazz trumpeter and singer came to prominence after he joined the Gerry Mulligan quartet in 1952 at the heart of the world's first piano-less jazz quartet and the originator of cool jazz. Using their instruments, (Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax and Chet Baker on trumpet, sometimes singing) and playing engaging, contrapuntal improvisations they made a startling breakthrough in cool jazz. Chet Baker, the singing, trumpet playing star was hatched.

When the elements of sex, jazz and cool combined they created the equivalent of an intellectual nuclear fusion. No one encapsulates that explosion better than the arrival on the jazz scene of Chet Baker.

Jim Coleman, owner of a hi fi store on New York's 2nd Avenue managed Chet's touring schedules for the last four years of his life. Chet was unable to play in certain American clubs as a result of his being criminalised by heroin addiction. He had been busted in Europe too.

Jim tells the story of how they met briefly across three time periods: once when Jim was thirteen and studying trumpet in Rome, when his sister Joan married Chet's bass player and when Jim opened his hi fi store. In the eighties Jim offered to manage Chet's difficult touring schedule. A moving and fascinating account of the final years of Chet Baker as they intertwined with the owner of a hi fi shop, as Chet tried to tour the US and Europe whilst in the fatal grip of heroin addiction.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0202Chet Baker's Last Tour Manager20150921

Chet Baker, the jazz trumpeter and singer came to prominence after he joined the Gerry Mulligan quartet in 1952 at the heart of the world's first piano-less jazz quartet and the originator of cool jazz. Using their instruments, (Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax and Chet Baker on trumpet, sometimes singing) and playing engaging, contrapuntal improvisations they made a startling breakthrough in cool jazz. Chet Baker, the singing, trumpet playing star was hatched.

When the elements of sex, jazz and cool combined they created the equivalent of an intellectual nuclear fusion. No one encapsulates that explosion better than the arrival on the jazz scene of Chet Baker.

Jim Coleman, owner of a hi fi store on New York's 2nd Avenue managed Chet's touring schedules for the last four years of his life. Chet was unable to play in certain American clubs as a result of his being criminalised by heroin addiction. He had been busted in Europe too.

Jim tells the story of how they met briefly across three time periods: once when Jim was thirteen and studying trumpet in Rome, when his sister Joan married Chet's bass player and when Jim opened his hi fi store. In the eighties Jim offered to manage Chet's difficult touring schedule. A moving and fascinating account of the final years of Chet Baker as they intertwined with the owner of a hi fi shop, as Chet tried to tour the US and Europe whilst in the fatal grip of heroin addiction.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.