Written by Standard Issue


Getting to know you… Julia Raeside

If you’re a regular visitor to Standard Issue, you won’t need telling that we’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of contributors who we love dearly. We thought it was about time we let them introduce themselves properly. Everyone wave at Julia Raeside, please.

IMG_0687Name: Julia Raeside

Age: 40

Location: London

Official job title: Journalist and broadcaster

What was the first thing you wanted to be? A theatre director or a stage manager, because I lived near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford in my teens and got badly bitten by the theatrical bug.

When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? I think I’d always known; I just came to it a bit later than some. I used to write to newspapers when I was a kid and ask how to become a journalist, but then my head was turned by the excitement of live theatre, and then working in TV for a few years.

When I eventually came back to writing, thanks to an excellent friend called Ali Catterall who encouraged me to go for it, I felt a bit daft for not doing it sooner.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? I went to a lot of schools because we moved house a fair bit. But I did have one absolutely amazing teacher called Dr Sara Serpell who got me wildly enthused about Shakespeare (I wrote Hamlet on my school bag, don’t crowd me, fans) and encouraged me to write my first ever review for a competition. She’s the one I’d love to thank for setting me on the right course.

When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? I’ve just got my first ever London garden, so at the moment it’s tackling that because it is one big weed. I also love making (and drinking) cocktails and I’ve recently taken up yoga because I creak like an old door.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? I was chuffed to see my first proper TV review in The Guardian. And the first time I went on The Today Programme was pretty big for me too.

What was your favourite day at work? Probably writing that first review for a proper grown-up newspaper. I still felt like a kid bashing away at a Fisher Price typewriter. In fact I still feel like that most days.

What would you like to erase from your past? Apart from a few idiotic things I’ve blurted out and instantly regretted, not much really. And killing that owl. (I did not kill an owl.)

What brings you the most joy? The people I love being healthy and happy. Nothing else really matters.

What makes you angry? Cancer, the thoughtless cruelty of dim-bulb internet commenters, the current government.

Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Victoria Wood, Clive James, Douglas Adams, Caitlin Moran, Robert Rankin, Jim Shelley, Charlie Brooker, Victor Lewis-Smith, Nancy Banks-Smith… the list is quite long. Funny brains, basically.

“Unclench. Nothing good ever comes from trying to control things when you’re writing. Unless we’re talking about an urgent need to piddle when there’s no toilet in view.”

Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Victoria Wood. I was working at the Comedy Awards about 15 years ago, handing out wristbands for the after party, and she walked in.

All the things I’ve ever wanted to say to her got stuck behind the huge lump in my throat and I just muttered something about needing to put the band on her wrist and wishing her a good night. I managed a croaky thank you as she smiled and went on her way. I don’t know how I’ll get over her not being here anymore.

What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? If you’re still at school or college, write, start a blog, or a school paper, or write for one that already exists. Just write anything and everything you can and read what other people are writing too. Don’t sit and stare at a blank page. If you’re stuck for inspiration, review something. The more you get your thoughts down on paper/screen, the better you’ll get at expressing yourself.

How do you define success? Being able to make a living from the stupid shit in my head.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Unclench. Nothing good ever comes from trying to control things when you’re writing. Unless we’re talking about an urgent need to piddle when there’s no toilet in view.

young julia in a knitted jumperWhat’s your favourite photograph of yourself? (And can we see it?) I call this ‘Sarah Lund: the early years’ for obvious reasons.

Where did you go on your favourite holiday? We did a road trip around Wales recently and stayed in Portmeirion for a few days. It was like a magic fairy town and when all the daytrippers left for the night, we had it almost to ourselves.

Also, for a TV nerd, it was beyond cool to watch The Prisoner on the dedicated Prisoner channel they pipe into every cottage while actually looking out over the village, which is largely unchanged since the show was filmed there.

Who can’t you live without? My husband and son.

What can’t you live without? Oxygen, television, ice cubes for the cocktails, in that order.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Doing the London Marathon in 2011 in memory of my wonderful friend, Jerome O’Donohoe. Bringing up my son to be, so far, a really nice human.

Who is your favourite person? It’s a straight tie between my husband and son, impossible to choose.

Who’s your favourite animal? (picture PLEASE!) WHO is my favourite animal? In the anthropomorphic spirit of the question, I would have to say Paddington Bear.

Paddington BearWhich song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? The theme tune to Lovejoy, no question.

What are your favourite three articles in Standard Issue (written by other people)? Every one of Margaret Cabourn-Smith’s pieces on being a slattern, because they resonated strongly and she’s as funny as all fuck.

And Abi Burdess’s piece on wearing (or not wearing) makeup was superb. Her brain is bursting with ideas.

And I love Sarah Millican for writing that quite brilliant original Radio Times piece on her choice of dress for the Baftas. It’s what kicked off my interest in Standard Issue in the first place.

Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? Who is the nicest person you’ve worked with? To which I would reply emphatically and loudly, Richard Madeley. We intermittently do a Radio 2 show together and he really is the most sorted, smashing person to be around. Just endless fun to work with. CLANG. I nearly got to the end of this without dropping the one name I could drop. Sorry.

Julia is writing a book about television but you can’t buy it yet.


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Written by Standard Issue