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Music Therapy column: Follow your dreams

Michael Taylor (left) and Neil Summers.

Tune in from 9pm every Sunday on Tameside Radio 103.6FM to catch up with Michael Taylor and Neil Summers. In the meantime, read their latest Tameside Reporter column...

We stopped counting when it got to triple figures, but between us me and Neil have both done all kinds of different jobs. 

Neil could write a book about the range of different things he’s done. While I literally have used my experiences as a business journalist in the last 20 years to tell some stories about some of the muppets I used to run into on a semi-regular basis. 

So I know how much money there is in book publishing, unless of course you’re Joanna Rowling or Ken Follett. 

For both of us though, writing, creating and playing music on the radio is a source of immense joy, and it’s a real outlet for ideas and passions.

In the course of doing that, I think we’re both instinctively drawn to interesting people with unorthodox backgrounds, people who have tried a few different careers and embrace new opportunities regularly and often. 

Some people might refer to this type of character as a polymath, or if you’re being really grand, a renaissance man, or woman. 

Neil definitely met one of the most fascinating renaissance women of the north recently, Maxine Peake, as part of a series he does called ‘Getting the Measure of’ interviews for a Manchester clothing brand, Good Measure. 

The idea is to find another talent or passion that the interviewee has. In Maxine’s case, as well as being one of the greatest actors of her generation, she’s also involved in music alongside people like Johnny Marr, PINS and the Eccentronic Research Council (ERC).

On last week’s show, we played a brilliant song she did with ERC called Another Witch is Dead, from this project she did about the Pendle Witch trials, part of the north’s incredible folk history. What a talent.

For my part, I did a podcast interview with an old acquaintance, Victoria Mortimer, last month. 

It’s called The Unlikely Accountant. 

I was pretty humbled to be asked to step into the virtual studio, but it was fascinating. So many of her guests aren’t accountants but are people who’ve made brave and interesting career choices. 

She admits herself she only became a bean counter as it seemed like a good way to get to live in America one day. I think there’s a real sense that life is quite fragile and that where possible we should follow our passions and express ourselves more.

I tell my kids this all the time, follow your passions and your dreams.  In the last few years, I’ve met so many people who are retraining or have taken their lives in new directions. 

My wife has given up teaching and is working for a charity. I raised several glasses this week to our friend Michael Di Paola who got married to Jessica. As well as being a top bloke, he’s also making a go of his ‘netwalking’ enterprise Freshwalks and will no doubt take it to new heights, if you’ll excuse the pun. 

So, here’s to all the risk-takers, polymaths and the multi-talented of Tameside. Have a great week and like I said, dream big.

You can listen to Michael Taylor and Neil Summers on Music Therapy on Tameside Radio 103.6FM on Sunday evenings from 9pm to 11pm. Click here to subscribe and catch up on previous shows.

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