PILOT / by Karl Dixon

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others”
- Aristotle

You’ll have to forgive the grand opening, but I figure where better than to start than with the inventor of dramatic art himself? (Or at least the first person to be credited with teaching the dramatic art for any pedants out there. That's right I'm talking to you.)

I consider myself very lucky to be surrounded by countless inspiring and courageous individuals. I have a Mother who quit her job in order to fulfil a dream and go to university in her 40s and a Father who fought in the Falklands and guarded Rudolf Hess at Spandau Prison.  I know performers, musicians, academics, athletes, teachers and friends of all kinds who are each living their lives with courage, whether it be the courage to start a family, to relocate, to retrain or simply the courage to be consistently honest, kind and loving people.

This summer I took my own bald and (hopefully) courageous step; I left the loving embrace of full-time employment in exchange for the cold ambivalence of self-employment. Today I’m writing about it in my first ever blog post. Neither of these actions are particularly unique, they are steps many have made before me and many will make after me, but they are significant to me for two key reasons:

  1. They are both things I’ve wanted to do for years.
  2. They are both things I’m absolutely terrified of.

This combination of feelings is perhaps unsurprising - the latter that has hindered the former for a long long time - however thanks to an indescribably assured gut feeling I just knew that the time was right. Now, in my 27 and 3/4 years on Planet Earth I have learnt a few things; allow me to give you the highlights:

Lesson 1) don't get attached to head hair.

Lesson 2) seriously, don't do it.

Lesson 3) don't expect anything from Coventry City (a lesson the heroic Tony Mowbray is trying his hardest to rewrite).

Oh and

Lesson 4) YOUR GUT IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

Now my gut is always pretty confident about when I should visit the bathroom or the refrigerator, but every now and then it seems to have a sudden surge of wisdom and starts to nag my brain on a range of issues that it has no right to get involved in. And you know what? Every time I've followed it so far it's been proven right. It's informed me on such issues as career moves, romantic interests, study topics and story ideas with great success. In fact the only time it's been proven wrong was when it gave me the disastrous advice to start supporting Coventry City.

Once again I decided to follow my gut's impressive track record (a Sky Blue blip aside) and took its advice. I'm now a Freelance Video Editor & Director, ready to take whatever the industry throws at me. I'm also a blogger, ready to blog my bloggiest into the empty ether of the internet.

How is it going so far? Well suspicious readers might suspect that I can't be THAT busy if I've found time to start blogging (!). Happily this isn't the case and I've enjoyed a busy first 8 weeks of trading which has seen numerous jobs here in Manchester but has also taken me out to the such beauty spots as Blackpool, Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon. On top of this the coming months in the calendar are slowly starting to fill, reducing the likelihood that my family will be getting tins of baked beans as Christmas presents. I've even treated myself to a ticket to see Kneehigh Theatre's Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) at Manchester's new HOME Theatre tomorrow night.

So, self-employment and blogging might not be amongst the greatest or most gruelling adventures in the world, but they are the first of what will hopefully be many more small acts of bravery to come...


THIS WEEK...

(A brief roundup of the media I'm currently consuming).

...I’M WATCHING: 

House of Cards Season 1

I’d been meaning to get round to this for some time and am kicking myself for having taken this long! I love a good anti-hero and Frank Underwood is exactly that. Kevin Spacey instills in him an omnipotent quality that reduces almost everyone around him to unassuming pawns in his slowly evolving scheme. It’s utterly compelling to watch unfold and highly recommended.

...I’M LISTENING TO: 

Colt 45 - The Tide is Turning

One of my favourite albums of last year, the debut from the Cumbrian band has the perfect balance between melody, attitude and political discontent. Punky without being preachy, angry without being angsty it’s well worth a listen. Particularly the track “The Simple Things are Working”.

...I’M READING:

Carrying The Fire - Michael Collins

I’m only four chapters into this autobiograpy from the lesser-known of the three Apollo 11 astronauts so I can’t say too much about it, but already I suspect that it is going to keep me gripped. So far he has been able to give a real human insight into the mind-boggling responsibilities and challenges of a US Air Force Test Pilot and I can’t wait till his story reaches the Apollo 11 mission. I started this blog by talking about courage, well this man had that in spades.