A Radio Station, a Piper and a hangover

Conferences cam be relentless affairs. Sitting in a hall for the best part of seven hours, attempting to interpret arguments and counter arguments can all be very confusing and draining. Which is why socialising is an equally important part of post conference business.

On Friday night I met up with Simon, a former student member of my local Branch in Nottingham, who now works at Metro Radio, Newcastle’s main commercial station. At a time when local news content is under scrutiny, Metro and its owners Bauer show an admirable commitment to strong news provision. When Raul Moat went on the rampage and then into hiding, Metro provided as many – if not more updates – than its BBC counterpart. It’s one of many examples which rightly won the station a Sony award for News Team of the Year.

Oh hang on, socialising. Yes.

After a couple of beers in a fine local whose name escapes me, we head to the Tyneside Irish Centre, where one of the smaller Branches in the Union, South Shields, are hosting an evening of entertainment. And it doesn’t get more traditional than this. A fine fiddle player is accompanied by a guy on the Northumbrian Pipes, which sound more haunting and versatile than the Bagpipes. The proceedings are well oiled by plenty of Stout, and a beer which has been specially brewed for the conference. It’s a great night.

Saturday morning is always a chore at Conference, as it usually follows a fine night out before. The temptation to stay in bed is there, but this is no regular Saturday – because today, we’re going through the fine detail of the NUJ’s financial crisis.

Let the games begin.

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