Written by Standard Issue


Getting to know you… Susan Hanks

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. Say hello to Susan Hanks, why don’t you?


Photo by Andy Hollingworth.

Name: Susan Hanks

Age: 36

Location: Leek

Official job title: Presenter on Moorlands Radio Drivetime, weekdays 4-7pm. Part-time teaching assistant working with autistic children.

What was the first thing you wanted to be? A poet by day and dancer by night (ballet and tap – nothing to do with a pole or a corset)

When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? I used to pretend to be a ‘DJ’ in my room with a double tape deck, making up my own Jive Bunny-type mixes and talking into a make-do microphone (hairbrush/spoon/highlighter pen).

Radio always appealed to me but I never quite believed it was something I could do and get paid for. Although I’ve had to do a bit more than learn to press record, play and pause simultaneously.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Being embarrassed to be clever and hardworking. Eating my sandwiches in the library. Dreading walking down corridors. Learning that going to school in a middle-class area, when you’re from a working-class background, makes you an easy target. Subsequently learning that I will never judge anyone based on class, in or out of a classroom.

When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? I really enjoy ‘faffing’, which means I can spend hours in my apartment sorting and rearranging and doing odd jobs but not achieving very much.

I’m easily distracted by playing dress-up, painting my nails, food, wine and good serial killer documentaries. There are bad ones, y’know. My working life is so structured and rigid that my leisure time is loose and spent daydreaming.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? Jive Hunny – Volume 2 managed to get a smooth cut; you couldn’t hear any ‘pause’ sounds.

What was your favourite day at work? I was in my teaching role at school when I received the call to say I’d been offered my current radio job. I had to book an appointment to see the Head to ask if I could adjust my hours to enable me to accept it. She said yes. My team hugged me. Having their support was immense and felt like a real turning point in my life. Then we had cake.

“I cried in the final minutes of Chris Moyles’ last Radio 1 show. I knew that my breakfast buddy had gone and I had to start driving to a job where people didn’t call me ‘thingy’. Thankfully, I did.”

What would you like to erase from your past? My fashion sense circa 1992. No 12-year-old should have to wear a blouse from the BHS ‘Ladies’ section because she’s not catered for elsewhere. Plus, I had a frizzy fringe. That was totally my choice, unfortunately.

What brings you the most joy? Dogs. Any shape, colour, size or fragrance.

What makes you angry? LOADS. Noisy eaters, excessive throat clearing, unnecessary mouth noises, whistling, being ignored, bad manners, poor hygiene, shouting, being hungry, overuse of Minion pictures with quotes, people who talk down to the elderly, being told I’m ‘too picky’ (fuck off I’m allowed to be; if more people were there might be more happiness and less divorce), being told I probably can’t do something. I fucking well can.

Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Chris Moyles. He started with a passion for radio, learned his craft and worked his way up. In spite of media backlash, he remains consistent and has a devilish way of sticking his tongue in his cheek and getting away with much more than he should.

He was my mate in the morning for years when I was working as a supply teacher and driving to schools that couldn’t even be bothered to learn my name. I cried in the final minutes of his last Radio 1 show. I knew that my breakfast buddy had gone and I had to start driving to a job where people didn’t call me ‘thingy’. Thankfully, I did.

Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Yes. But I’m still waiting for someone who also makes me laugh and buys me flowers.

What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? Surround yourself with people that know you can do it, before you even realise that you can do it.

How do you define success? Smiling during working hours.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? You can grow up to be whatever you want to be, bab (My nan).

What’s your favourite photograph of yourself? This one.

Susan at the micWhere did you go on your favourite holiday? I honestly can’t pick. If there was sun, family or friends involved, dancing and cocktails then I’ve had a blast. Location not important.

Who can’t you live without? My sister. First and last person I text every day. She makes good-tasting food, even though the presentation is often a bit of a mess, and she’s always got my back. And a pudding.

What can’t you live without? Water. Not being sarcastic. I love swimming, bathing, walking by it and looking at it and hearing it (until it makes me want a wee).

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Choosing and keeping excellent friends.

GeorgieWho is your favourite person? Daniel Craig. God help that man if I learn he’s funny too.

Who’s your favourite animal? My sister’s dog, Georgie. She has so many antisocial behaviours, but I forget them all when she lifts her leg up so that I’ll tickle her armpit.

Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? Mr Blue Sky by ELO.

What are your favourite three articles at Standard Issue? A womb without a point of view by Mickey Noonan. This moved me and stayed with me. A brew with Lou: Marbles. I found this a comfort as someone who was new to living alone. And Annie Caulfield’s Glad Rags. I bloody love shoes. Glad it’s not just me who wants to lick them.

Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? What’s your favourite dinner? My mum’s Sunday roast: beef and Yorkshire puddings. It’s vital that you know this if we are going to have a future together, dear reader.


Susan Hanks presents drivetime 4-7pm weekdays on Moorlands Radio 103.7FM or online at www.MoorlandsRadio.co.uk

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Written by Standard Issue