It seems apt to give you something a little different this week – and I’ve been learning a little bit about the history of journalism. That may give you a clue! It’s still entirely creative but it’s a blast from the past in terms of history. This week I spoke to Darren Stride, who is 23 and is the head educator and creator of Blitz and Pieces Historical.
How did you get into your job?
After 20 years of collecting memorabilia from British social history from the past 100 years (specialising in WWI and WWII), I was asked to give a talk to my old school. Someone suggested I do this kind of talk for a living and so I advertised around and soon was being asked to give talks with my collection for local schools, residential homes and groups etc.
What do you like about your job?
I simply love meeting people of all ages, genders and personalities! And in my game, it is a real treat meeting people who recall some of the things I bring along and talk about and to listen to their stories and experiences is a real treat!
What are some of the challenges of your job?
It can at times be a real challenge for some people to listen to things from a more sensitive time in their lives. It is very important to keep their feelings in mind when talking about some subjects, especially when it comes to the stories of the bombings of WWII and similar to that.
Describe a typical day in your job.
On an average day of one of my talks usually begins first thing in the morning; I start by packing the chosen memorabilia that accompanies the chosen subject into the car.
Once I’ve got that sorted I usually iron my costume (usually a military uniform), then I have a shower, shave and tidy up of my hair (long hair and stubble is not a very impressive look in front of military veterans) and then begins the long process of putting on the uniform and equipment.
I then make my way to the venue and give my talk which normally ends after about an hour of talking. I then get offered a lovely cup of tea and little biccy (biscuit) and I begin to talk to the crowd individually about all kinds of things – from my collections origins, listening to their stories, to discussing my equipment and uniform in more detail and of course, answering questions!
I usually then head home and get an early night!
Any advice for people wanting to get into your sector?
To those wanting to get into the business of giving talks on a historic topic, I recommend you study, study, study! You never know what is going to be asked about your chosen topic!
Of course no one is going to gate you if you get it wrong but it is even better and more professional if you can answer their question!
I found another great way to educate myself on the topics was to get my uniform put together and join a local re-enactment group and join a local history group!
You can make new friends and get to know people who know the topic better than anyone else and what’s more is it’s great fun!