Episode 20

Carol Jarvis talks about her extraordinary journey through Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Personal stories of inspiration from professional composers, songwriters and musicians.

In this episode, Gareth chats with trombone player Carol Jarvis about playing with the likes of Rita Ora and Seal, releasing new music and her extraordinary journey through Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

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Host: Gareth Davies

Produced by The Sound Boutique

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Transcript
Gareth:

Welcome to the music room.

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At this time in the music room.

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Carol: So that's what I used to do.

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I used to sight reading my lessons.

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And I think I didn't realize that

actually stood me really good stead

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for, being a session musician.

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I mean, turning up to sessions where

you don't get a chance to see any of the

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music before and you're there for sort

of six hours, sight reading everything.

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Gareth: Hello, and welcome to The

Music Room, the show where composers,

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songwriters, and musicians share

their stories of how they got

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started, as well as leaving useful

items and advice for others to find.

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Let's see what items we've had recently.

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A Roland MC 500 Mark II Micro

Composer on the track by Fred Carlin.

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That's a book.

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Uh, A Casio keyboard, a little black

book of people, but who's is who's?

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I hear you cry.

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There's an easy way to find out.

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Just head to musicroompodcast.

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uk and you can listen to all previous

episodes of the Music Room for free on me.

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That's 12, 044 minutes of content

for the delight of your ears.

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Yes, I added it up.

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And you are welcome.

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Today's guest has an

extraordinary tale to tell.

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So extraordinary, once trombone

player Carol Jarvis started talking

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about what she's been through,

I had to hear the whole story.

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And I'd like to issue

a trigger warning here.

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Carol's ordeal was life threatening

and involved a close call, so if you'd

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hear about that, perhaps skip the chat.

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Carol Jarvis, like I said, is

a trombone player on the move.

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She has new music out, she's just

off a series of dates with Rita Ora,

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and has played with loads of big

talent like Seal and Amy Winehouse.

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She's also an educator, a podcaster.

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I won't get into too much now but

stick around, it's a brilliant

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chat and I'm really grateful

to Carol for sharing her story.

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But before that, music stories.

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BBC Radio 2 has announced an exciting

new commission for autumn, Doctor

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Who at 60, a musical celebration, a

special concert to be held on Thursday

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the 28th of September 2023 at 2.

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30pm at BBC Hoddernot Hall in

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

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The two and a half hour concert will

feature the BBC National Orchestra

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of Wales and the BBC Singers.

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directed by Alistair King as they

celebrate the glorious musical

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sounds of Doctor Who in a special

60th anniversary celebration.

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The musical pieces include I am the

Doctor, Abigail's Song, This is Gallifrey,

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The Impossible Girl, I am a Good Man, The

Shepherd's Boy and the timeless Doctor Who

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theme as brilliantly imagined by composers

Murray Gold and Music Room Guest.

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In other news, the Tower Series 2 is

now on ITVX featuring marvellous music of

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previous Music Room guest, Nanita Desai.

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Nanita said,

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A pleasure to work with mammoth

screen and exec slash writer Patrick

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Harbinson, who execs one of my all

time favourite shows, Homeland.

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And that's all for Music Stories.

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Carol Jarvis is an in demand session

musician in the UK, a multi award winning

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trombonist, keyboard player, arranger,

orchestrator, and voiceover artist.

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She has toured, recorded, and worked

extensively with the likes of Sting,

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Queen, Seal, Rod Stewart, Amy Winehouse,

Bon Jovi, Ellie Goulding, and more,

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and appeared on many renowned TV

Harry Connick Jr., Michael Bublé,

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Taylor Swift, and so many more.

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She's a professor of music at Trinity

Laban Conservatoire of Music in London,

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and the Royal Northern College of Music

in Manchester, and is currently president

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of the International Trombone Festival.

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I mean, how?

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Let's get in there so I can ask.

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Carol Jarvis, welcome to the music room.

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Carol: Thank you very much.

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What a lovely room is.

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Gareth: Oh, as is yours, as is yours.

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Very nice.

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How are you today?

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You just did a gig over

the weekend with Rita Ora.

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Carol: Yeah, we did.

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Um, we're in Sweden and then Switzerland.

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and yeah, we've got quite

a few more dates to come.

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I'm exhausted to be honest.

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Gareth: Ah, well, thank you

ever so much for making time.

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It's very nice of and I'm

sure listeners will get a lot

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out of our discussion today.

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So, I mean, you do that a lot.

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You just up sticks and off you

go and go to gigs here and there.

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Carol: Yeah.

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I'm just kind of, I'm just

looking at the diary the next sort

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of, I think two, three months.

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And I think I've got at

least one flight a week.

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Um, and sometimes four.

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So it's kind of like,

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Gareth: No way.

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Wow.

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in your intro I mentioned your

session playing, your touring,

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your recording, your voiceovers.

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You're a professor, you're a president

of the International Trombone Festival.

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I mean, you must live your life

at a thousand miles an hour.

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Carol: Yeah.

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I think, I think I kind of always

have done, but I think that kind of

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stems from when I went through cancer.

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So I actually, um, I'm sure it

might come into the, into the

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conversation, but, I think when I was

told I had a limited amount of time

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left, I kind of sped everything up.

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Gareth: Oh, wow.

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And you haven't stopped.

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Carol: Yeah.

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Trying to just live my life as fast

as I could and as full as I could.

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Um, but I think during lockdown and

everything, everything slowed down and

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I really, really welcomed that break.

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It was really nice.

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But I was extremely busy,

but I was at home at least.

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But I think, yeah, it's, it's funny the

way you sort of freelance freelancing goes

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because you sort of, you say, you say yes

to the first thing that comes in because

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you haven't got too much in the diary, but

then, well, then the thing else comes in.

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Usually for me, it just clashes.

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So you have to say no.

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Um, but when it does fit, you're

like, well, yeah, I've got to do it.

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And then something else great

comes in and it just fits in.

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You're like, well, yeah,

I've got to do that as well.

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So then you're just like, my

God, when is my next time off?

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Gareth: It's absolutely the

freelancing way, isn't it?

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Say yes, and then figure it out.

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Afterwards.

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Carol: we used to have those

paper diaries and I just sort

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of say, yes, say, yes, say yes.

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And then look, turn over the page

once I've put the phone down again.

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Oh, we're going to make that work.

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Gareth: So two things, uh, we can

discuss in whichever order you

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like, you have new music out, you

know, in between touring and stuff.

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Uh, and you have a podcast on

the go exclusively for Spotify.

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So what should we start with?

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I mean, there's a lot there, isn't it?

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Carol: Yeah, they both sort of started

at the same time, but, um, well, they

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were decided to launch at the same time.

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But the music sort of all stemmed

from, um, lockdown, just a lockdown

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project that is finally coming out

years later, because I hit 10 years in

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remission, um, from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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And I thought, well, I wasn't

meant to hit day at all.

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So let's write music.

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Let's.

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Make a celebration outta this

because you, you never really

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get like, right, you're clear.

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You're never like,

that's it, it's all over.

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You never get told that.

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So you're just in remission.

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So that, and that kind of feels,

you're still connected to it in a way.

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Um, even, even though it remission

is, there's no cancer at all.

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But I still feel like the word remission

kind of still connects you to that story.

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So I'm not like through remission or

anything, do you know what I mean?

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So it's kind of

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like, 10 years in remission, I thought,

right, well, that's, a milestone to mark.

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So I thought, right, I'm gonna,

I'm gonna release some music.

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Um, most trombone players, um, they

tend to write either, well, release

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either classical or jazz albums.

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And I thought I want to

do something different.

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Oh,

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Gareth: Boy, it's, it's

so different, isn't it?

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I mean, I'd never, I mean,

it's joyous for a star.

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I mean, when you're talking about

celebrating milestones, it really is.

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You can't help but, smile

when you hear that music is

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Carol: I'm glad.

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Good.

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Gareth: and yeah, like you say,

very different because the lead

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instrument is a trombone for

essentially a dance track or dance

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Carol: I know.

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Yeah.

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And, and, and, and I thought, well, it

needs to be, it needs to be celebratory

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and needs to be at least uplift people.

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They need to make you smile.

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Um, and, uh, just been working with

my producer, George Holliday, and

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just, um, I think we've nailed it.

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I'm just, I've just really,

really been enjoying it.

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Really, really been enjoying it.

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I've got remixes in the pipeline.

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I've got another EP Um, so I, I mean,

it's funny how you write so many tracks

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and then sort of narrow down which

ones you want to actually release.

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So there's, there's loads sort of

sitting in the background, but yeah, the

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process has been absolutely brilliant.

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I love it.

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Gareth: Fantastic.

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And of course, You talk about the

Hodgkin's lymphoma, which I'm

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sure we're going to touch on that

when we go back in time as well.

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let's talk about your podcast.

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How did that come about?

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what is it?

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Tell us about it.

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Carol: So yeah, the team I'm sort of

working with, with sort of releasing

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the album because I've played on so many

albums and stuff as a session musician,

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but never really done the releasing.

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Process.

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And, uh, and since I had a CD come

out sort of 12 years ago, that

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was recorded when I had cancer.

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And it was just, um, to

raise money for charity.

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I didn't have really any

involvement in the, I've just

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turned up as a session musician.

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So this is the first time I've actually

been involved in how you release things.

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And since that first album,

everything's changed, there's no

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streaming and everything involved.

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Gareth: Right.

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Yeah.

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Carol: I literally didn't

know anything about it.

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So the team I've been working with,

we had the first meeting, they

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said, right, tell us all about you.

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And I said, hang on a minute,

you've got this crazy story

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to tell about your health.

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You work as a session musician,

you're a voiceover artist, you've done

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all sorts of charity work as well.

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Why don't you tie all of these avenues

together and release a podcast?

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I was like, Oh my God, that

completely makes sense.

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Cause I've done quite a bit of

TV presenting, radio presenting

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and stuff in the past as well.

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So I just thought, well, yeah,

that does totally make sense.

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But I did think, hang on a minute.

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I haven't got any time for

this, but now it's a great idea.

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Let's do it.

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Let's do it.

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So I've been, I've been

literally playing catch up.

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from the moment we said yes, so one

episode and then launch the podcast.

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So then I've been trying

to record everything.

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And yeah, just try and keep up with

two weeks, in between each episode.

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Um, but really the whole

first season is recorded.

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So, um, Yeah, I'm going to learn

my lesson by season two and make

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sure I've pre recorded all of it.

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Um, just wanted to release it all

at the same time as the album.

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So, and it's been amazing.

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So the first episode, I tell my

story, from start to finish, um,

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which is, it's, it's a lengthy story.

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So it takes about an hour just

to tell the complete story.

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And, um, I've been flying all over the

world, just, um, Well, especially in the

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last six or eight months or something,

telling this story to medical companies

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all over the world, from Mexico to Croatia

to Romania, just in the last few months.

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Because clinical trials, I went

through three of them and most medical

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professionals who work in the clinical

trial, supply or, uh, uh, marketing

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or whatever departments it is.

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They don't tend to meet anyone that has

actually been through a clinical trial.

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It's just all the data and the statistics

and the, it's just numbers on a screen.

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And there's no names to that

because it's got to be confidential.

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And so I'm going to these companies

and telling my story, to try and

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keep them doing what they're doing.

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Um, which is, which is amazing.

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It's really rewarding to me as well,

because it feels like I'm finally saying

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thank you to the people that have.

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I've been working on these drugs.

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So the podcast is basically about

overcoming something huge in your life.

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Um, so that was my story and I thought

I'd better tell my story first.

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And, um, the guests I've had so

far have been absolutely amazing.

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It's Sam Brown, who's, uh, I mean,

chart topping hit, but she lost

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her voice and it's never come back.

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Um, she's overcome that.

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And she's released another album

this year, using menadine and.

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Vocoders and things like that, um, without

a voice, which is just, it's unbelievable.

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And then, uh, uh, David Glennie, who

started to go deaf aged eight, but

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then carved out a international solo

percussionist career and still doing it.

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So, these people have got just

incredible stories, not just musicians

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I'm going to be speaking to, but

I'm starting with musicians because.

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That's who I know, um, but

yeah, it's overcoming these huge

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hurdles in your life, but still

continuing to be massive successes.

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Just incredible, really inspiring stories.

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Gareth: Yeah.

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And really inspiring people as well.

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I mean, yes, obviously Dame Evelyn

Glenny, her reputation precedes her.

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Sam Brown, obviously.

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I mean, what a voice to lose.

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Carol: Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Gareth: Amazing.

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Okay.

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Well, are you ready to go back in time?

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Let's, um, find out how it all began.

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So here we are back in time.

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Uh, Carol, how did it all start for you?

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How young were you when you first

became aware of music, your first

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music memories, uh, that sort of thing?

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Carol: Well, I've got an older

brother, um, who's two years older

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than me, um, and, uh, I think my

parents were always, encouraging that

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you try literally everything, which

I think any good parent should do.

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I mean, it all started with

sort of recording lessons at

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college and at school, I mean,

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and I think every child, 30 kids

in a classroom, all aged four

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or five, playing a recorder must

have been hell for those teachers.

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but I found it very easy.

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I remember that.

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And, uh, my, my brother started playing

the cello from, I think, age six, so, he

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couldn't even reach his feet on the, on

the ground when he was sat on the chair.

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So they had, I think, ice

cream boxes for his feet.

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While he was playing the

cello, which is amazing.

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So I mean, I started growing up straight

away with my brother playing the cello.

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And I remember trying a few

instruments here and there.

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I tried classical guitar.

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And I think I didn't have

any lessons on clarinet.

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But I had a clarinet

that I played around on.

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And, uh, it wasn't until a music test

aged 11 at school, where They sat all

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the kids in the, uh, in the hall, all

separate a little piece of paper and

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played a few notes and things on this

recording and say, right, if you can

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tell what's sharp and what's flat, and,

uh, it got quite difficult, I think.

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But I, I found it extremely easy and

the results came back saying, well,

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you can choose any instrument you like

because you've got a very good ear.

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You can, you can do it.

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I said, Oh, great.

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Okay, fine.

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Didn't really think much of it.

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But they said, We need an

oboe for the school orchestra.

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So, we'd like you to play the oboe.

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So, the end of that day, I went home, told

my parents, and I said, What's an oboe?

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They played me some more things,

and I just went, Ugh, I don't

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like the sound of that at all.

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And apparently, I just turned

around to my dad and said, What's

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the one with the slidey arm thing?

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And they found some recordings and I

think they played me all sorts of things

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like, some real comedy stuff, like from

George Chisholm, fast forward a few

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years, I ended up having a lesson from

George Chisholm, which was ridiculous.

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But yeah, they played me some recordings,

some sort of marching brass bands,

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um, big bands and stuff like that.

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And I went, yeah, that's it.

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That's what I want.

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Gareth: Well, you just totally

smitten from the word go

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Carol: Yeah.

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Yeah.

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My dad managed to get hold

of a, a cheap trombone.

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It was, I mean, it was, it was

bent, but it, but it worked.

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And, uh, he brought it home and, I

think managed to, it was like a book, a

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tuner day book in there about learning

the slide positions and, and all that.

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So I just took myself away and I, yeah, I,

I learned a scale before my first lesson.

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And, one of my, one of my good

friends, I'm still in touch with

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now, he was actually witnessing

my first ever trombone lesson.

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And, uh, he said most.

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Brass players in their first lesson

are taught how to produce a note,

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like buzzing, and I turned up

and played a scale, it was like,

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overachiever from the start, it's just,

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um,

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Gareth: I, well, I had, um, I used

to be a primary school teacher, so.

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I've been on the other side of that

kind of wider opportunities thing

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where, you know, every, I think it

was year, four, um, every child would,

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learn an instrument and I think in

this particular year they had a choice.

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And one of them was the corn it.

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So I thought, oh, I'll give the corn a go.

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And it was exactly like you say, you know,

I think I can just about produce a note.

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From that lesson, that was the, uh,

the, the, some of my experience.

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So yeah, amazing to turn

up and do a whole scale.

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That's,

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uh, you know, you, you

concentrate on how do you hold it?

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I mean, the trombone as well,

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Carol: know, I know,

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I

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Gareth: all sorts going

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Carol: loved it, yeah, I just loved it.

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I'm sure the teacher had to correct

a few things here and there, but.

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Yeah, and I just had cornet

teachers up until grade eight, I

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think it was because there weren't

any trombone players in the area.

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So I was learning from trumpet

and cornet method books with all

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the fingerings above the notes.

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So little did I know I was

actually learning the fingering

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for a brass instrument at the same

time as learning the trombone.

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So fast forward, when I got

to college, doing a doubling

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instrument on the euphonium, it

was just like, well, that's easy.

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Gareth: Wow.

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Okay.

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Carol: the valve.

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Yeah.

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Gareth: so you had a real

affinity for this stuff.

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Going back then to, you, you

just started learning trombone.

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You, you mentioned that, the powers

that be wanted you to play the

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oboe, uh, it would fit it nicely

into the orchestra or something.

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Did you then join, music groups,

orchestras, that kind of thing

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Carol: Yeah.

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So there was, um, I grew

up in Milton Keynes.

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Someone's got to come from Milton Keynes.

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That's me.

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Gareth: with all the roundabouts?

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Carol: All the roundabouts, they

all look slightly different though.

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Um, and, uh, yeah, so there were so

few trombone players in the area.

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I was basically put in

every group straight away.

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Gareth: Ah, okay.

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There's a pattern forming here,

Carol, doing everything all at once.

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Carol: Um, yeah, brass band,

orchestras, big bands, and Milton

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Key's music center service was

unbelievable back in those days.

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I remember every evening of

the week, apart from Sundays,

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there were rehearsals going on.

374

:

And then Saturday mornings was off

to the music center, but Saturday

375

:

morning started at eight o'clock

with musicianship and composition

376

:

right the way through to, I think it

was three o'clock in the afternoon.

377

:

So it wasn't like Saturday mornings.

378

:

It was all day Saturday, pretty much.

379

:

Um, and it was jam packed.

380

:

And I remember being put in an

orchestra for the first time.

381

:

And there was this bass clef

and I've been taught by cornet

382

:

teachers who are obviously teaching

in brass band and treble clef.

383

:

Um, from these cornet books.

384

:

So I get put in an

orchestra with bass clef.

385

:

I'm like, I haven't been

taught how to play that.

386

:

Here's the part.

387

:

Play it.

388

:

Okay.

389

:

So I had to teach myself bass clef.

390

:

And then there's obviously tenor

clef turns up in the orchestra.

391

:

Well, how do I play that?

392

:

Here's your part.

393

:

You're in the rehearsal.

394

:

Right.

395

:

Teach myself.

396

:

So I taught myself bass clef,

tenor clef, alto clef because my

397

:

lessons couldn't come quick enough.

398

:

Um, because I was in all the ensembles.

399

:

And I just loved it from the word go.

400

:

I was like classical jazz, um,

everything right from the start,

401

:

which was, I mean, fast forward to.

402

:

when I got offered a full time orchestral

position, I was like, actually,

403

:

I really like doing everything.

404

:

I don't think I can narrow it down and

just choose one because I've always done

405

:

a bit of everything and I still am doing

a bit of everything, which I just love.

406

:

Gareth: That's amazing.

407

:

It sounds like you have that rare thing

of having a good ear and being good at

408

:

sight reading as well, which I know a

lot of, a lot of, kids growing up with

409

:

music and certainly as adults as well.

410

:

I don't feel like I'm a particularly

good sight reader, but I have a good ear.

411

:

It's usually one or the other, isn't it?

412

:

Carol: Yeah, I think, I did rely

on my sight reading quite a lot

413

:

growing up because practicing

is never really something.

414

:

Um, it wasn't really, wants to do

415

:

it.

416

:

And it's the same as like

scales, site reading practice.

417

:

It's all something you're

going to be examined on.

418

:

So it's never exciting.

419

:

Whereas site reading, I just kind of

relied on because I didn't practice.

420

:

as much as I should have done.

421

:

So I used to turn up to my lesson,

trombone and piano, I used to turn up with

422

:

a piece of music, literally dug it out,

put it on the music stand and said, I've

423

:

been practicing this, completely lying.

424

:

And they said, Oh, okay, yeah,

let's, let's hear it then.

425

:

And then I sight read through it.

426

:

and then the teacher said,

Oh yeah, that was right.

427

:

Then let's work at this bit.

428

:

Let's work at that bit.

429

:

So that's what I used to do.

430

:

I used to sight reading my lessons.

431

:

Um, and sight reading bit

of Debussy on piano was, was

432

:

hard, but that's what I did.

433

:

And I got doing that.

434

:

And I think I didn't realize that

actually stood me really good stead

435

:

for, being a session musician.

436

:

I mean, turning up to sessions where

you don't get a chance to see any of the

437

:

music before and you're there for sort

of six hours, sight reading everything.

438

:

Gareth: Yeah.

439

:

Yeah.

440

:

And it sounds like you were almost

using the lessons as practice.

441

:

Carol: Yeah, absolutely.

442

:

Gareth: How do I improve on

this that I've just played?

443

:

Carol: Exactly.

444

:

Yeah, exactly.

445

:

Yeah.

446

:

Gareth: Oh, fantastic.

447

:

You mentioned the piano.

448

:

Carol: Yeah, so Buckinghamshire,

um, there were some County Music

449

:

Scholarships, and my brother, had got

a County Music Scholarship, and it

450

:

enables you to have free piano lessons.

451

:

So, uh, um, I remember going into

this County Music Scholarship

452

:

with recorder, classical guitar,

trombone, um, and juggling all

453

:

these instruments as a little kid.

454

:

And, uh, yeah, there was, uh,

there was all sorts of things.

455

:

I played this, this classical guitar

piece, And I made a mistake in the

456

:

middle of the, of the, uh, the audition

and I just stopped and went, sorry,

457

:

and then carried on my, my trombone

piece, I, I, I was just about to start

458

:

the piano introduction started and I

forgot to take the slide lock off.

459

:

So I went, um, I had to stop, sorry,

460

:

Gareth: Oh,

461

:

Carol: um, and I, I got

through the audition.

462

:

I thought, oh, this, I completely

just fluffed it completely.

463

:

Um, but I, I dunno who the examiners were.

464

:

They said just a little tip.

465

:

Don't say sorry, just carry on.

466

:

Okay.

467

:

But I got this, I got this, um,

Wisconsin Music Scholarship and

468

:

then I got free piano lessons.

469

:

Um, and I'm so glad I got the piano

lessons because, uh, I mean, any musician,

470

:

I think if you can play the piano as well,

it's just, it's all there in front of you.

471

:

And it's just, it helps everything.

472

:

So, so good to be able to play piano.

473

:

Gareth: Yeah.

474

:

It's great to put things

in context, isn't it?

475

:

You can work out

baselines and melodies and

476

:

Carol: Yeah, you can

477

:

see the thing there.

478

:

Gareth: yeah.

479

:

Yeah.

480

:

So after all your, teenage orchestral

music groups, did the Saturday

481

:

morning group go all the way through?

482

:

Carol: Yeah, it was constant.

483

:

Um, it was, I think it was

Monday night was choir.

484

:

Tuesday night was brass band and trumpet.

485

:

Wednesday was, uh, one of the

youth orchestras and brass quintet.

486

:

Thursday night was, um,

the other orchestra.

487

:

Friday night was, uh, I can't

remember which one it is now.

488

:

Um, I think it was the other brass band.

489

:

Was it big band?

490

:

And then Saturday morning was just, yeah,

just, just ensemble, ensemble, ensemble.

491

:

Lesson, lesson, lesson.

492

:

And we had musicianship classes,

composition classes, and I was taking

493

:

this huge keyboard in and learning

about, um, sort of arpeggiators and,

494

:

composing bass lines, chord sequences.

495

:

So I was learning all of that

when I was just a teenager.

496

:

And then, it was, yeah, learning grade

from, for grade eight, Cornet teacher

497

:

said, um, uh, we should probably

try and find a trombone teacher for

498

:

you to get you through grade eight.

499

:

Um, finally some sort of specialist and,

um, and this guy was absolutely amazing.

500

:

Pat Kenny.

501

:

He was touring with the Spice Girls and,

playing with, uh, like Suggs and, madness

502

:

and yeah, so I, I got a real feel for that

kind of thing and, and we'd be playing

503

:

through the grade eight repertoire.

504

:

So let's do a bit of jamming.

505

:

So he'd be playing the piano.

506

:

Um, get me to improvise along

and, so I got, I got such great

507

:

grounding from him as well.

508

:

Um, and then when it was time to sort of

audition for music colleges, I sort of

509

:

decided Guildhall was where I wanted to

go because they had the really well known

510

:

big band and uh, the jazz side of things

and the classical thing and composition,

511

:

I wanted to carry on with everything.

512

:

And I auditioned everywhere anyway,

the academy, college, Guildhall,

513

:

I think Birmingham and Manchester.

514

:

And I remember getting a place

everywhere and on the spot

515

:

Guildhall said, here is your place.

516

:

And they literally sort of pushed it

across the table to me in this interview.

517

:

And I pushed it straight back at them

and I said, I don't want to come here.

518

:

Gareth: Oh, why not?

519

:

Carol: I think it was like

half term or something.

520

:

So the building was deserted

and it was just like, I don't

521

:

get a feel in this place.

522

:

And I thought we'd just love this vibe.

523

:

I thought this was where I wanted to go.

524

:

But it was just.

525

:

Got instinct.

526

:

And I don't know whether that was the

right decision or the wrong decision,

527

:

but everything seems to have worked out.

528

:

Okay.

529

:

And the place that had the

atmosphere for me was the RNCM.

530

:

So I turned down Academy College.

531

:

The most people sort of gravitate

towards the London colleges, but

532

:

actually Manchester was drew me.

533

:

Um, and again, they had all the big

band and the classical side of things.

534

:

And actually, I think, I think it

really worked out for me because

535

:

right from my first year undergraduate,

I started freelancing with the Hallé

536

:

Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic,

which all the trombone students in

537

:

the years above me weren't yet doing.

538

:

So it was kind of like, Oh, I don't

really know what's going on here.

539

:

But, I think the standard in Manchester

at that time, there were some incredible

540

:

players, but there were other sort of

players that weren't right up there.

541

:

And I think I managed to sort of

overtake some of them quite quickly.

542

:

So I was sort of doing a lot

of freelance work in the area

543

:

and then big band work as well.

544

:

I started doing Blackpool Tower

Ballroom, from the age of 18.

545

:

And joined Andy Pryor's big band.

546

:

And my freelance work just got busier

and busier throughout my studies.

547

:

So by the time I got to my final year, I

actually had to say to the college, look,

548

:

I'm on trial with the Symphony, I'm on

trial with BBC National Orchestra Wales.

549

:

I haven't got time to be here, but

I'd like to do my final recital

550

:

and they completed it and they

said, yeah, we'll, we'll take care

551

:

of all of the ensembles and just

come back and do the final recital.

552

:

So I was, I was just freelancing

full time by my final year.

553

:

Which I, I, I mean, looking back

now, cause I teach at the RNCM, and

554

:

students are sort of just hoping for

that first gig and that first sort

555

:

of chance to get into the profession.

556

:

And so I just look back and

think how lucky I was to have.

557

:

Um, yeah, I had several people

that sort of took me under their

558

:

wing and saw something in me.

559

:

I gave me those opportunities.

560

:

So yeah,

561

:

Gareth: Do you think that came from

your trombone teacher you were saying,

562

:

he was playing the Spice Girls and,

uh, other artists and just showed you

563

:

this entirely other world to things.

564

:

Do you think that gave you the now

to, to go to college and go, right,

565

:

well, you know, let's get to it.

566

:

Carol: I think, yeah, I, I do think,

at the time I didn't realize I

567

:

was being really inspired by him.

568

:

but I think looking back, absolutely.

569

:

He had a PhD in the ombudsshaw.

570

:

Gareth: What

571

:

Carol: I know, I know,

572

:

Gareth: exist?

573

:

Carol: I know exactly.

574

:

I think you can choose anything to

do a PhD on as long as, the pitch and

575

:

you can say to people that, I mean,

I started looking to do a PhD myself.

576

:

But.

577

:

I'm not sure I've got time at the moment,

um, but, um, but he, he started, yeah,

578

:

he, he managed to do a complete PhD

and I thought, well, I, I'm, I'm in

579

:

really secure hands here with someone

who knows all about the embouchure,

580

:

uh, and the fact that he was, he'd

done the touring, the session, the, the

581

:

sessions, and he actually gave him my

first ever professional gig as well,

582

:

depping for him when I was 15 or 16.

583

:

So yeah, it's amazing that I sort

of gained that from him and then

584

:

I wanted to find a college where I

could carry on doing all of that.

585

:

Gareth: So, obviously you've

dived into the world of work and

586

:

freelancing and gigging and stuff.

587

:

Um, let's go back to

your cancer diagnosis.

588

:

What happened then?

589

:

Where, where were you in your life?

590

:

when that hit you?

591

:

Carol: pretty much just graduated.

592

:

my freelance career was literally

getting better and better and better.

593

:

And then throughout my illness,

my freelance career continued to

594

:

get better and better and better.

595

:

But I just found this lump in the left

hand side of my neck, um, because we, we

596

:

have loads of, uh, sort of lymph nodes all

around our necks, and it was just sort of

597

:

the base of my left hand side of my neck,

and the trombone you hold in the left, on

598

:

your left hand, the whole weight of the

instrument goes in your left arm, and I

599

:

think it's apparently the heaviest musical

instrument where you take all the weight

600

:

in one arm, and your right arm has got

to be completely free from the slide, so

601

:

I just thought, well, it's just muscles.

602

:

It's just muscles going wrong.

603

:

Um, and I was working

literally every single day.

604

:

I wasn't even taking a day

off, because I was loving it.

605

:

I was saying yes to everything

and just seven days a week,

606

:

without a doubt, just working.

607

:

And I remember this lump getting slightly

bigger and slightly more painful.

608

:

And so I thought, well, I'll go

see a physio because I remember

609

:

this great physio that the Halle,

members used to go and see.

610

:

Um, cause I hurt my neck at one point,

like the top of my spine or something.

611

:

So I went, went to see her, for

this little lump in my neck.

612

:

And she said, I'm not going to touch that.

613

:

Have you got a good GP?

614

:

And I said, not really, no.

615

:

Um, she said, well, if you've got a

friend nearby who, who's got a good GP

616

:

that, you know, I've said, yeah, actually

just not far away, but slightly out of.

617

:

Where I'm meant to have a GP, so, right,

well, can you change your address to

618

:

their address and go see their GP?

619

:

Yeah, yeah, I can do that.

620

:

I'm doing that.

621

:

And she said, yeah, do it, do it today.

622

:

Okay, yeah, okay, I'll do that.

623

:

So I managed to get this, uh, get

to see this other GP, and, uh, she

624

:

said, I'm not going to touch that.

625

:

I'm going to refer you to ear,

nose and throat department.

626

:

, and she got this red pen out

and wrote the word urgent.

627

:

So, okay.

628

:

Didn't think anything of it.

629

:

and, uh, and so, I, I, I just about to

start touring with the show, Chicago.

630

:

just around the UK and then going abroad.

631

:

Um, so, I was just about to head

into literally full time show,

632

:

and, uh, I got, I then got sent to

ear, nose and throat department.

633

:

They had a camera up my

nose and down my throat.

634

:

They couldn't find anything.

635

:

Um, they did a needle biopsy,

which was like a, um, syringe,

636

:

trying to go into the tumors.

637

:

Which we didn't know were tumors at

the time, um, to try and pull cells out

638

:

to find what the diagnosis would be.

639

:

Came back, um, weeks later and they said,

well, we haven't found any cancer cells.

640

:

So, we don't think it's cancer,

but we think it's most likely to be

641

:

HIV or Hepatitis B, C, or typhoid.

642

:

That was the list they gave me.

643

:

And I was like, oh my god, right?

644

:

Okay, I'm just in my early twenties.

645

:

Um, they said, so we're going

to have to take a node out and

646

:

get a definitive diagnosis.

647

:

So a few weeks later went in,

they took a little note out of

648

:

my neck, a general anesthetic.

649

:

And then a couple of weeks later

went back in for the results.

650

:

And I met the surgeon who I met in the

anesthetic room, and I wasn't really

651

:

expecting to meet a surgeon in an office.

652

:

I was thinking, don't you

just do like surgeon things?

653

:

And he came with a diagnosis.

654

:

Um, and he said, unfortunately, we

don't know if it's spread anywhere.

655

:

So we're going to have to send

you for a full body scan and,

656

:

uh, and then take it from there.

657

:

And, uh, yeah, so it's

just, yeah, ridiculous.

658

:

How have I got cancer

659

:

Gareth: Yeah.

660

:

Carol: went for a full full body scan

and then went for the appointment

661

:

then met my first oncologist.

662

:

And he said, unfortunately it has spread

and it's in between your lungs and it's

663

:

15 centimeters around between your lungs.

664

:

and he said, chemotherapy

starts on Tuesday.

665

:

Gareth: Wow.

666

:

Carol: my God.

667

:

The first thing I said

was, how would I not know?

668

:

But I've got this 15 centimeter

round tumor in between my lungs

669

:

when I'm a trombone player.

670

:

And apparently we use our lungs as

much as professionals people do.

671

:

That's literally the lung

capacity that we use.

672

:

And he said, you've got so much room

in there, you wouldn't have a clue.

673

:

Chemo starts on Tuesday.

674

:

And I said, well, well, well, well,

in my early twenties, how about saving

675

:

eggs, for, for future and later in life.

676

:

And he said, chemotherapy

starts on Tuesday.

677

:

So that was it, that that was the start

678

:

Gareth: Wow.

679

:

when they'd given you the, the initial,

it could be this, this, or this.

680

:

Did you then go off with Chicago and tour?

681

:

Or at that point, were you thinking, I

682

:

Carol: the tour had.

683

:

The tour hadn't just started

yet, so I got my diagnosis on

684

:

the first week of the tour.

685

:

I'd just started it Glasgow on the tour,

686

:

Gareth: oh, wow.

687

:

Carol: came home, um, got the

diagnosis and then, um, they said

688

:

chemotherapy's gonna be every

two weeks on the Tuesday morning.

689

:

And the, uh, the side effects,

from the dose on Tuesday

690

:

morning, last till about Sunday.

691

:

so you feel absolutely like death

from Tuesday to Sunday, but then

692

:

I had a week off from chemo.

693

:

So the tour manager actually said,

well, why don't you just come

694

:

and do the show every other week?

695

:

And I said, if I'm allowed to do that, I'd

love to, um, cause he can easily just get

696

:

someone else could be doing it full time.

697

:

but he chose to keep employing

me and I really needed that.

698

:

Um, that kept me going.

699

:

So it was just one week chemo, one week

touring, one week chemo, one week touring.

700

:

And that was how the, how it all started.

701

:

Gareth: That's incredible that you chose

to, uh, to, to dive in and, um, especially

702

:

with the tumor where it was as well.

703

:

Um, I think it, it speaks

to your resilience you

704

:

Carol: Well, I mean, by this time, um,

I'm in a tumor on the left hand side of

705

:

my neck had, um, it was, it was up to,

I can still feel the sort of scarring

706

:

from it, um, up to there and it went

right down to over my collarbone.

707

:

So it was a good, I don't

know how long that is,

708

:

Gareth: why are we,

709

:

Carol: but so it was big in the, in my

neck and it was big in between my lungs.

710

:

But yeah, it was kind of like.

711

:

In a way, I could segregate the

hospital stuff and then my life in a

712

:

way, I remember someone saying to me

at the very start, hang on a minute,

713

:

you've just been given this diagnosis.

714

:

And this guy said, if that was me, I'd

shut myself away for those six months of

715

:

chemo and just concentrate on doing that.

716

:

And I said, I absolutely couldn't do that.

717

:

There's no way I could just shut

myself away and just do chemo and

718

:

not have a life outside of that.

719

:

That would kill me.

720

:

so I think actually keeping that

going, touring and, having the

721

:

chemo and separating the two just

spurred me on, gave me energy

722

:

Gareth: And how long did

you have to have chemo?

723

:

Carol: while that, that

course was six months.

724

:

and, uh, I remember after the second

or third treatment, the lump in the

725

:

side of my neck seemed to have gone.

726

:

I was like, well, this is working.

727

:

This is amazing.

728

:

It might be making me

feel like absolute death.

729

:

I lost my hair within

the first few treatments.

730

:

but I can't feel the

lump anymore in my neck.

731

:

Obviously, you can't feel anything

between your lungs, so you've got no idea.

732

:

Um, but after the six months

of treatment, I had a scan.

733

:

And, uh, I remember the chemotherapy

nurse, once I got the results

734

:

from the oncologist, um, saying

that the treatment had failed.

735

:

the chemotherapy nurse gave me the

tightest hug and just said, I'm so sorry.

736

:

And we'd been, we'd been laughing and

bonding throughout all the, all the

737

:

treatments, but she was so serious.

738

:

It's okay.

739

:

He's just said, there's something

else we can try, but she

740

:

knew something that I didn't.

741

:

And that was my prognosis was really good.

742

:

In your early twenties, when you're

diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, your

743

:

prognosis from especially the primary

chemotherapy, it's really, really good.

744

:

once that's failed, it

starts taking a nosedive.

745

:

and then the next treatment that

chemotherapy failed, and then the

746

:

stem cell transplant that failed,

and then the radiotherapy failed,

747

:

and then the next treatment failed.

748

:

And it was fail, fail, fail, fail,

fail, constant back to back treatment.

749

:

and then come 2006, they then

said, we're afraid that you're

750

:

not going to terms with this.

751

:

and actually you're not going to survive

because we've exhausted all avenues.

752

:

we're going to send you to a

psychologist to help you get your

753

:

head around the fact that, yeah, you

need to get your affairs in order.

754

:

You need to go and write your will.

755

:

And, uh, they started telling me that

and I said, right, I don't understand,

756

:

I don't understand, I feel, I feel fine.

757

:

but there was this stubborn tumor in

between my lungs and, uh, yeah, it

758

:

was, it was horrible to be told that

they never said the word terminal.

759

:

They never said that, but they kept

telling me that I wasn't going to survive.

760

:

because we exhausted all avenues of

treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma.

761

:

Um, but they said, if you're willing,

we'll look out for some clinical trials.

762

:

And I said, well, yeah,

I've got no other choice.

763

:

Some people, and I know people who

have been on a very similar journey,

764

:

they've been battered so much by this

treatment, they then said, no, I'm done.

765

:

but I said, yeah, I've got no choice, of

course, I'll sign up to anything you find.

766

:

and they said, well, hopefully

something might come along and it

767

:

was literally like that, right?

768

:

Go away, go on tour with cancer and we'll

let you know if something else turns up.

769

:

And we had regular scans because, uh,

just as soon as the tumor sort of start

770

:

picking up a lot of speed again, because

I think all the treatments sort of

771

:

did a little bit, sort of stunted it

a little bit, but then it grows again.

772

:

but then when it started picking

up speed, they said, right, we need

773

:

to really find something quick.

774

:

And, uh, the first clinical trial

I went through, that failed.

775

:

but the specialist that I had was

just unbelievably retired now.

776

:

And he was one of the sort of top

two or three oncologists in Europe.

777

:

And he was bringing back all these,

these ideas and treatments and

778

:

things from all over the world, all

these conferences used to go to.

779

:

And, uh, after this first failed

clinical trial, he said, this is

780

:

actually really interesting though.

781

:

I said, okay, you

haven't just said failed.

782

:

You've said it's interesting because

you have responded a little bit to this

783

:

clinical trial and the way clinical trials

are going is it's, um, it's more directed

784

:

to your type of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

785

:

It's not just Hodgkin's lymphoma, um, it's

to do with the proteins that exist on your

786

:

tumors and the tumors were called, um, I

think, I think it was like CD30 positive.

787

:

I don't know what that means.

788

:

Um, but this clinical trial was anti CD30.

789

:

So I was like, well, that.

790

:

Matches that.

791

:

Um, and so they were, that,

that's the kind of thing they

792

:

need to, um, to find for me.

793

:

And he said, that's what

we're going to try and find.

794

:

So basically that the infusion goes

all around your system, but it only

795

:

releases the treatment on the tumors

because that's where the proteins exist.

796

:

They don't exist anywhere

else in the body.

797

:

So in theory, the treatment is then

a lot stronger right on the tumor

798

:

rather than regular chemotherapy, which

literally hits everything in your body.

799

:

So again, I went back on tour.

800

:

I was touring with Seal at that time.

801

:

and literally flying all over the world.

802

:

And Seal, bless him, he could have got

someone else again, employed someone

803

:

else that could be there all the time.

804

:

Um, but on days off, that was me

flying home for, scans or treatment

805

:

or flying back again for a blood

transfusion or whatever it was.

806

:

and then eventually there was a

second clinical trial came along.

807

:

Um, CHT25.

808

:

It's just got code names

before it's got a name.

809

:

Um, and,

810

:

uh,

811

:

Gareth: like compressors and things.

812

:

Carol: yeah, yeah, I know

it does actually, yeah.

813

:

Um, and this, this, uh, clinical

trial was happening in Perth in

814

:

Australia and in London in Hammersmith.

815

:

And there were just two of us in London

and I think three people in Perth.

816

:

That was it.

817

:

and so it just shows how, like, these

clinical trials just, it's just a

818

:

handful of people that might do it.

819

:

And I managed to get on

this clinical trial and, uh.

820

:

all they could tell me was,

uh, it's highly radioactive.

821

:

They couldn't really tell

me anything else about it.

822

:

And I was locked in a lead line

room for nine days and injected

823

:

with this highly radioactive drug.

824

:

And I've got a video on my phone,

um, because, uh, because this drug

825

:

was so radioactive, this syringe,

normal size syringe surrounded

826

:

in lead, but that had to be on a

trolley surrounded by a wall of lead.

827

:

And wheeled into my room.

828

:

It's just a tiny syringe.

829

:

So you know how lighter syringes, but

it's on a trolley surrounded by lead to

830

:

try and protect people from this drug.

831

:

And the people that wheeled it

in, connected it all up, set the

832

:

infusion going and then had to wait

outside and protect their own organs

833

:

from me behind the lead screen.

834

:

and so I was locked in this room for

nine days and a man with a Geiger

835

:

counter came to the doorway every

day, measuring my radioactivity.

836

:

Um, and I've got a video of him as well on

my phone because I just didn't believe it.

837

:

I just, I feel absolutely

fine what's going on.

838

:

and in the middle of that treatment,

I went for a nuclear scan.

839

:

and yeah, it's just, it is insane.

840

:

When I talk about it, I still think,

oh my God, this happened to me.

841

:

but yeah, I mean, eventually got

through that treatment, had a scan.

842

:

It failed.

843

:

and then I went on tour with Sting for.

844

:

I like, I was meant to stay two

meters away from people for the

845

:

next couple of months because my

radioactivity is still coming down.

846

:

And I went on tour with sting and, uh,

I was like, I've got to be on stage

847

:

now and I've got to sit next to people.

848

:

So I've got to tell everyone

around me, look, this is,

849

:

Gareth: I'm slightly radioactive.

850

:

Carol: um, and people like, yeah,

and then I came out in this, it

851

:

was straight after that tour, I

started coming out on this rash.

852

:

and you've got to report every tiny

thing to specialists because it could be.

853

:

Related to this drug that

you've just been through.

854

:

Um, and this rash got more and more

intense and it sort of started on my

855

:

tummy, but then spread upwards and then

spread downwards, down my legs, all

856

:

the way down my arms and just spread

outwards and to the, to the point where

857

:

I couldn't actually see my regular skin

color anywhere on my body through this

858

:

rash, it was solid and so, so painful.

859

:

and I went into hospital one day

to say, look, I need some help.

860

:

And I lifted my t shirt

to show them this rash.

861

:

And the specialist just went, oh shit, and

I went, okay, I don't want you to do that.

862

:

tell me what it is, what's happening.

863

:

And he said, we don't know.

864

:

This is a clinical trial.

865

:

This is experimental.

866

:

And he said, I guess you're kind

of being sunburnt from the inside

867

:

outwards and I hope it gets better.

868

:

And I this is going to go or if this is

going to get worse and worse and worse.

869

:

And it eats me away.

870

:

No, we've no idea.

871

:

I hope it gets better.

872

:

And that's it.

873

:

That's what happens with experimental

drugs is you are statistics, you're,

874

:

you're what you're, what you respond

is going to go down in some data

875

:

and they'll try and improve from it.

876

:

So it's, it's literally potluck,

whether you have a clinical trial,

877

:

that's going to really, really make a

difference or you're really, really.

878

:

Respond badly.

879

:

Um, that's what trials are for.

880

:

And then, um, another clinical

trial came along and I was like,

881

:

Well, I still, I'm still touring,

still okay, I've still got energy.

882

:

And, uh, this next clinical trial, they

said, the only statistics we've got so

883

:

far is people get sort of, um, tingling,

pins and needles in the hands and feet.

884

:

so yeah, I can cope with that.

885

:

That's fine.

886

:

Yeah.

887

:

So I signed up for this clinical

trial and I was back on tour with

888

:

And I signed up to six doses of this.

889

:

Um, this drug, and the pins and

needles in my hands and feet start to

890

:

get in sort of more and more painful.

891

:

and I've, my circulation has

never been fantastic ever since my

892

:

hands and feet, but that's fine.

893

:

but after the fourth dose, um, they wanted

me to have a scan to see how it was going.

894

:

So on a day off on tour,

thankfully, I was just in Europe.

895

:

Seal flew me home, um, had a scan

and then, uh, flew back straight

896

:

away the next morning to go

and rejoin the tour in France.

897

:

And, uh, I landed at seven o'clock, in the

morning in France, so six o'clock here.

898

:

and I got a phone call from a

specialist at six o'clock in

899

:

the morning, seven o'clock in

France saying, Carol, it's John.

900

:

Yeah.

901

:

You're in remission for the

first time in seven years.

902

:

Gareth: Wow.

903

:

Carol: I was like, what?

904

:

And this, and this is the same guy that

repeatedly for the last five years, last

905

:

five years, repeatedly told me that I

was going to die and to head around the

906

:

fact that I wasn't going to survive.

907

:

but then I knew I couldn't celebrate

because I knew that this is a

908

:

clinical trial, anything can happen.

909

:

It can grow back next week.

910

:

It could grow back today.

911

:

and then we've got to try

and find something else.

912

:

So once you get to remission, you've

got to kind of get it while it's gone

913

:

and get a bone marrow transplant.

914

:

so it had a stem cell transplant in the

past that was from my own stem cells.

915

:

Um, but this time they said we need to

find a donor, to find a better immune

916

:

system to replace your immune system.

917

:

So signed up for that as well.

918

:

So I had a month to decide whether

to go for this transplant or not.

919

:

And this is the crazy bit of a story.

920

:

Um,

921

:

so this is the crazy bit, So they

gave me a month to decide and they

922

:

said that if you leave the remission

like that, we think you'll probably

923

:

live for three years maximum.

924

:

If you go for the transplant.

925

:

And it works, you could live to

a ripe old age, but we need to

926

:

talk about the mortality rates.

927

:

It's a 30% survival

rate of this transplant.

928

:

We'll try and find a donor for you.

929

:

So, there's a month to decide.

930

:

They found two matches

out of 11 million people.

931

:

One was pregnant, so they couldn't

ask her, it was the wrong time.

932

:

And this German man, he said yes.

933

:

He was a perfect match.

934

:

So this month to decide, I literally

could have taken either decision.

935

:

I took myself right to every

possibility of each decision.

936

:

And I just decided I

don't want any regrets.

937

:

Even if I go for the live for three

years at the last little moment,

938

:

I don't want to regret having not

given the bone marrow transplant ago.

939

:

If I go for the bone marrow

transplant, it doesn't work then.

940

:

And they come and tell me, right.

941

:

Yeah, it's not worked.

942

:

You're, you're not going to survive,

you've got a day or two, I don't want

943

:

to regret having just given it a go.

944

:

So I signed up to it and I thought,

right, I'm going to give it my best shot.

945

:

And so they, you start intensive

chemo, you're shut in this, this

946

:

isolation room for, I think it was

about six weeks, just this room.

947

:

And, uh, they give you intensive

chemotherapy, which I'd had

948

:

in the past, um, so I knew how

horrific it was going to be.

949

:

On day, minus nine, day, minus eight, a

minus seven, minus six, minus five data

950

:

down to day zero and day minus nine,

my donor is over in Germany having some

951

:

injections to boost his blood count.

952

:

So he has maximum amount of cells to

donate day, minus eight, day, minus seven,

953

:

day, minus six, day zero is transplant

day where he is in hospital in Germany.

954

:

He has, and he's told me about it

because I've met him since, um,

955

:

he had a needle in one arm and.

956

:

Everything coming out in whizzing through

a machine and then everything they didn't

957

:

need went straight back in the other arm

and he went back to work that afternoon.

958

:

So, um, that's, I think that's 98%

of donating now is just like that.

959

:

Most people think it's gonna be painful

and no, no, no, that's the patient.

960

:

The patient, when you go through a bone

marrow biopsy, which I've had several

961

:

of when they drill into your hip bone.

962

:

That's the bit that hurts, but no,

the donating is, I mean, that's a

963

:

message that just people don't know.

964

:

He went back to work, these cells

go through some testing and they

965

:

go into a, an ice pack container

with a courier, a sand luggage on

966

:

a plane straight to my bedside.

967

:

And I've had intensive chemotherapy.

968

:

I feel like utter death by this point.

969

:

And before the cells arrived a team

of like, no, one's allowed into

970

:

my isolation room because it's got

to be, I've got no immune system.

971

:

So if anyone comes in with dust or

a cold or anything, it can kill me.

972

:

but this team of microbiologists

all came into my room, masked

973

:

aprons, gloves, a team of them.

974

:

And I was like, what's going on?

975

:

What is this?

976

:

And they said, we had a phone

call from the hospital in Germany.

977

:

And we're afraid that the

cells are contaminated.

978

:

And I said, what do you mean?

979

:

They're contaminated.

980

:

And they said there's a

chance of toxoplasmosis.

981

:

I said, well that's gonna kill me.

982

:

Hands down, 100% that is gonna kill me.

983

:

I'm not gonna have it.

984

:

I'm not having the infusion.

985

:

Right, I refuse, I'm

pulling out at this point.

986

:

And they said, well actually,

you've now got no immune system.

987

:

You're gonna have to have this infusion.

988

:

Because otherwise you're gonna die.

989

:

Because there's no one else.

990

:

That can save, you know, it's like,

Oh my God, and they will run some

991

:

tests when they arrive, but the tests

won't come back for two or three days.

992

:

So the cells arrived in this big syringe.

993

:

And I've got this Hickman line in

my, in my neck, coming up my chest.

994

:

And this nurse just connects it

up four o'clock that afternoon.

995

:

She slowly pushed it in.

996

:

And I'm wide awake watching this

happen, looking at the syringe,

997

:

thinking this is going to kill me.

998

:

Gareth: Wow.

999

:

Carol: And It was terrifying.

:

00:49:21,838 --> 00:49:23,908

That was the most terrifying moment.

:

00:49:24,488 --> 00:49:26,408

And I got, yeah, welling

up now just remembering it.

:

00:49:27,018 --> 00:49:30,708

Um, three days later, the

microbiologist came in and said

:

00:49:31,238 --> 00:49:32,408

the test came back negative.

:

00:49:32,468 --> 00:49:34,218

So I was like, oh my God.

:

00:49:34,218 --> 00:49:34,848

Oh my God.

:

00:49:35,548 --> 00:49:38,668

But I still had the, the

opposite, the 30% survival rate

:

00:49:39,013 --> 00:49:39,413

Gareth: Yeah.

:

00:49:39,978 --> 00:49:43,048

Carol: hanging over me, which

lasts for about the first year

:

00:49:43,048 --> 00:49:46,105

because the anti-rejection drugs

and it's real touch and go.

:

00:49:46,565 --> 00:49:48,215

and you're very, very, very weak.

:

00:49:48,820 --> 00:49:49,890

For at least a year.

:

00:49:50,526 --> 00:49:54,820

but yeah, after six weeks, my cell

count slowly came up from zero.

:

00:49:54,850 --> 00:49:55,790

They could open the door.

:

00:49:56,246 --> 00:50:00,246

I'd lost so much weight because I mean,

the intensive chemotherapy gives you

:

00:50:00,276 --> 00:50:03,236

ulcers and every part of your mouth

and all the way down your throat.

:

00:50:03,246 --> 00:50:04,666

So you can't eat anything.

:

00:50:05,616 --> 00:50:06,966

Um, apart from ice cream.

:

00:50:06,966 --> 00:50:07,772

That was it.

:

00:50:07,820 --> 00:50:08,460

there are bonuses.

:

00:50:08,500 --> 00:50:14,870

It was chocolate, but yeah, Eventually,

two years post transplant, I was

:

00:50:14,870 --> 00:50:16,410

allowed to find out who my donor was.

:

00:50:16,703 --> 00:50:21,083

and we both swapped details and I flew my

mum over to Berlin and went and meet him.

:

00:50:21,233 --> 00:50:23,673

And, uh, this complete

stranger who saved my life.

:

00:50:24,263 --> 00:50:24,923

Gareth: Wow.

:

00:50:26,043 --> 00:50:26,583

That's, I

:

00:50:26,673 --> 00:50:26,873

Carol: story.

:

00:50:27,073 --> 00:50:27,343

Sorry.

:

00:50:27,673 --> 00:50:30,743

Gareth: even, knowing the end

of the story for a minute there.

:

00:50:31,688 --> 00:50:36,561

You know, I can't even imagine,

what that moment must've felt like.

:

00:50:36,681 --> 00:50:41,144

It, you know, it's a, certainly some

perspective for listeners who might think,

:

00:50:41,324 --> 00:50:43,184

I'm feeling a little uninspired today.

:

00:50:43,194 --> 00:50:45,164

I can't think of a melody

or something, you know,

:

00:50:45,366 --> 00:50:46,326

Carol: Yeah, I mean, it's,

:

00:50:46,831 --> 00:50:47,831

Gareth: that's something else.

:

00:50:47,831 --> 00:50:50,021

It's a whole different league.

:

00:50:50,296 --> 00:50:52,456

Carol: it was, it was

just, it was ridiculous.

:

00:50:52,456 --> 00:50:57,126

I remember a speech I gave over

in Croatia back in October.

:

00:50:57,386 --> 00:51:01,426

And, uh, when I told that bit of

a story and I said that we think

:

00:51:01,776 --> 00:51:03,946

the cells are contaminated, I said,

well, that's going to kill me.

:

00:51:04,237 --> 00:51:07,247

There was a lady that came and

spoke to me afterwards saying she

:

00:51:07,247 --> 00:51:09,303

said she just she couldn't breathe.

:

00:51:09,313 --> 00:51:10,393

She was like holding her breath.

:

00:51:10,953 --> 00:51:13,346

Trying to wait and find

out what the outcome was.

:

00:51:13,346 --> 00:51:16,006

And I said, and then, Oh,

of course you survived.

:

00:51:16,426 --> 00:51:16,736

Of course.

:

00:51:16,896 --> 00:51:19,516

It's like, yeah, I am.

:

00:51:20,791 --> 00:51:24,691

Gareth: And so full circle back to

you releasing your EP, releasing your

:

00:51:24,721 --> 00:51:30,001

singles, um, and you know, talking

about celebrating the milestone of 10

:

00:51:30,001 --> 00:51:35,051

years in remission that now becomes

so much more meaningful, doesn't it?

:

00:51:35,511 --> 00:51:39,531

So I encourage everyone to go

and have a listen to what they

:

00:51:39,531 --> 00:51:41,291

called, uh, where can people find

:

00:51:41,536 --> 00:51:45,546

Carol: So, yeah, so the EP is

called, um, in my veins, it's

:

00:51:45,546 --> 00:51:47,016

all related to my journey.

:

00:51:47,016 --> 00:51:51,756

So in my veins is all about the treatment

being in my veins, the cancer being in

:

00:51:51,756 --> 00:51:54,576

my veins, the everything just going on.

:

00:51:54,636 --> 00:51:59,836

And I mean, post bone marrow transplant,

uh, I've now got my donor's DNA.

:

00:52:00,436 --> 00:52:03,106

And my blood type has changed

over to his blood type as well.

:

00:52:03,146 --> 00:52:05,346

But that's, it's full of

hope that first track.

:

00:52:05,536 --> 00:52:09,216

Um, and then the second track, um,

called radioactive is all about that,

:

00:52:09,336 --> 00:52:10,546

that clinical trial I went through.

:

00:52:10,856 --> 00:52:14,606

And there's some, um, sounds in that that

represent all the Geiger counter on the

:

00:52:15,366 --> 00:52:15,576

way.

:

00:52:16,651 --> 00:52:21,511

Um, there's a track called, um, the

risk is taken, which was me signing

:

00:52:21,511 --> 00:52:26,181

on a dotted line for the bone marrow

transplant and knowing the mortality

:

00:52:26,181 --> 00:52:28,071

rates and just going, right, here we go.

:

00:52:28,631 --> 00:52:30,281

So there's a load of

determination in that one.

:

00:52:30,761 --> 00:52:36,001

Um, and there's another track called

fusion, which is about the fusion

:

00:52:36,041 --> 00:52:42,101

of my donors DNA and my blood type

and just fusing into who I am now.

:

00:52:42,621 --> 00:52:43,061

And then there's a

:

00:52:43,181 --> 00:52:45,801

Gareth: Which is basically one

step away from a Marvel character.

:

00:52:45,861 --> 00:52:47,021

Let's, let's be honest.

:

00:52:47,111 --> 00:52:47,951

Carol: Yeah, exactly.

:

00:52:49,551 --> 00:52:50,041

Gareth: Amazing.

:

00:52:50,321 --> 00:52:53,161

Carol: then the, uh, the last

track is called, uh, moving on.

:

00:52:53,651 --> 00:53:00,131

Um, because once I got through everything

and, um, they said, it looks like you've

:

00:53:00,131 --> 00:53:03,131

got a future ahead of you weirdly.

:

00:53:03,201 --> 00:53:08,481

And this is what threw me completely was

I really couldn't cope with that mentally.

:

00:53:08,938 --> 00:53:14,298

I think I was kind of like, I thought

I was in denial when I was being told I

:

00:53:14,298 --> 00:53:19,758

was dying for such a long time, but that

psychologist, I think really did his job.

:

00:53:20,253 --> 00:53:24,253

And I'd got my head around the fact

that I was dying and that's why I was

:

00:53:24,263 --> 00:53:25,663

living at a million miles an hour.

:

00:53:26,573 --> 00:53:27,833

Because I didn't have much time left.

:

00:53:28,663 --> 00:53:33,463

Um, but then when you're told you've

got a future, psychologically,

:

00:53:33,573 --> 00:53:34,733

I was just in a mess.

:

00:53:35,213 --> 00:53:37,703

And I had about 18 months

of depression then.

:

00:53:37,973 --> 00:53:41,416

And, uh, actually was sent

back to the psychologist to

:

00:53:41,416 --> 00:53:42,906

undo everything that he'd done.

:

00:53:43,526 --> 00:53:46,076

And helped me not be afraid of the

future because I was terrified,

:

00:53:46,446 --> 00:53:48,216

literally terrified of the future.

:

00:53:48,803 --> 00:53:53,343

it's like being launched into outer

space and it's like, there you go.

:

00:53:53,963 --> 00:53:56,323

I was like, I can't cope with it.

:

00:53:56,803 --> 00:53:59,453

So moving on, um, it's about that.

:

00:53:59,913 --> 00:54:03,713

There was this one appointment with my

psychologist where he said, well, how did

:

00:54:03,713 --> 00:54:06,033

you live your life in the thick of this?

:

00:54:06,523 --> 00:54:07,663

How did you cope with it?

:

00:54:08,353 --> 00:54:11,173

And I said, well, I remember

in the transplant procedure.

:

00:54:11,753 --> 00:54:13,533

Which was the hardest moment.

:

00:54:14,623 --> 00:54:16,223

Um, there was a nurse came into me.

:

00:54:16,783 --> 00:54:18,493

They used to sit with me at

like two o'clock in the morning.

:

00:54:18,493 --> 00:54:20,913

I was just, everyone else was

asleep, but I'm a musician.

:

00:54:20,913 --> 00:54:22,513

Of course, I'm awake late.

:

00:54:22,533 --> 00:54:25,423

So nurses come and sit with you and chat.

:

00:54:25,869 --> 00:54:28,279

And she said, when it gets

really hard, just break it down

:

00:54:28,279 --> 00:54:31,079

to the, to a day at a time.

:

00:54:31,949 --> 00:54:35,376

And then she said, if that gets too

hard, break it down to an hour at a time.

:

00:54:36,059 --> 00:54:39,979

And if that is too difficult, just

try and get through the next minute.

:

00:54:40,506 --> 00:54:42,196

And I was literally doing that.

:

00:54:42,591 --> 00:54:47,011

I had to literally try and get through

the next minute because it was so hard.

:

00:54:47,578 --> 00:54:49,718

and so I had to just live

in the now and that was it.

:

00:54:50,468 --> 00:54:53,958

I said that to my psychologist and

he said, well, people struggle to

:

00:54:53,958 --> 00:54:56,428

live in the moment all their lives.

:

00:54:57,018 --> 00:54:59,648

So if you know how to do that,

just carry on doing that.

:

00:55:01,878 --> 00:55:05,061

And then everything literally just

started just coming back into place.

:

00:55:05,281 --> 00:55:07,717

And I think I still live in the now I do.

:

00:55:07,777 --> 00:55:09,874

I still don't really, I don't know.

:

00:55:09,974 --> 00:55:12,994

I don't know whether I've got any goals

and ambitions because I still sort of.

:

00:55:13,103 --> 00:55:13,693

Living in the now.

:

00:55:14,503 --> 00:55:14,843

Gareth: Good.

:

00:55:15,133 --> 00:55:15,583

Good.

:

00:55:15,783 --> 00:55:16,883

Long may it continue.

:

00:55:17,196 --> 00:55:18,716

Carol, you're an amazing human being.

:

00:55:18,756 --> 00:55:19,466

just amazing.

:

00:55:20,111 --> 00:55:21,121

What an inspiration.

:

00:55:21,436 --> 00:55:22,286

Carol: a long story, sorry.

:

00:55:22,691 --> 00:55:23,131

Gareth: No.

:

00:55:23,411 --> 00:55:23,651

Yeah.

:

00:55:23,651 --> 00:55:28,038

I wasn't expecting that, but

I'm so glad that you told it.

:

00:55:28,128 --> 00:55:30,348

Um, yeah, quite blown away by it.

:

00:55:30,415 --> 00:55:33,345

I mean, there's plenty of advice

in there for, for other people.

:

00:55:33,681 --> 00:55:37,495

but I do ask all of my guests for

an item and a piece of advice that,

:

00:55:37,905 --> 00:55:41,141

may have helped them, in their, in

their own musical journeys to leave

:

00:55:41,141 --> 00:55:47,601

in the, uh, the music room for others

to have an item that you could leave?

:

00:55:47,731 --> 00:55:50,081

Carol: Uh, couldn't live without

my trombones without a doubt.

:

00:55:50,481 --> 00:55:50,941

Um,

:

00:55:52,171 --> 00:55:57,421

I think, I think making a bit of a

little recording studio for yourself, I

:

00:55:57,421 --> 00:56:02,521

started off with just basic little gear

that slowly upgraded it mostly off eBay.

:

00:56:03,181 --> 00:56:07,401

And now really decent studio and a

nice little mobile studio as well.

:

00:56:07,881 --> 00:56:12,691

Um, which I use for my voiceovers

and podcasts now, on the road.

:

00:56:12,941 --> 00:56:18,038

So I think these days the music

industry is just changing so much and

:

00:56:18,038 --> 00:56:22,481

moving at such fast pace that I think

everyone needs to be really versatile

:

00:56:22,551 --> 00:56:24,491

and have, many strings to their bow.

:

00:56:24,491 --> 00:56:28,191

I mean, especially things like

lockdown, I suddenly became so

:

00:56:28,191 --> 00:56:29,981

busy because I had all the gear.

:

00:56:30,681 --> 00:56:33,041

Anyone who didn't, weren't as busy at all.

:

00:56:33,391 --> 00:56:37,565

Gareth: So you'd say, you know,

create, a creative space for yourself.

:

00:56:37,575 --> 00:56:38,215

Carol: Absolutely.

:

00:56:38,215 --> 00:56:38,555

Yeah.

:

00:56:38,675 --> 00:56:38,975

Yeah.

:

00:56:39,285 --> 00:56:42,425

And it's, and it's, it's just your

own little safe little space as well.

:

00:56:42,425 --> 00:56:43,265

You can be creative.

:

00:56:43,265 --> 00:56:44,265

You can be imaginative.

:

00:56:44,275 --> 00:56:46,375

You can do, and this is

where I've written my music.

:

00:56:46,425 --> 00:56:50,791

I think it's, as creatives, we need

to have a space to be creative.

:

00:56:51,641 --> 00:56:52,561

Gareth: Fantastic.

:

00:56:52,581 --> 00:56:55,691

Well, let's call it a creative space

that is going in the music room.

:

00:56:55,741 --> 00:56:58,841

There's a space going in the

music room for others to find.

:

00:56:59,011 --> 00:56:59,611

Carol: A big item.

:

00:57:00,021 --> 00:57:01,171

Gareth: yeah, a big item.

:

00:57:01,251 --> 00:57:02,591

Well, it can be as big as you want.

:

00:57:02,591 --> 00:57:02,861

Can't

:

00:57:02,901 --> 00:57:03,531

Carol: Yeah, exactly.

:

00:57:03,541 --> 00:57:04,571

It could be a little room if you want.

:

00:57:04,581 --> 00:57:06,486

Gareth: so what advice would

you like to leave in the

:

00:57:06,486 --> 00:57:08,166

music room for others to find?

:

00:57:08,620 --> 00:57:12,136

Carol: I think if it's a young

musician, it's to everything, because

:

00:57:12,166 --> 00:57:13,756

that's, that's stood me a good stead.

:

00:57:14,116 --> 00:57:17,026

And you've got to do that for several,

several years to get established.

:

00:57:17,686 --> 00:57:19,506

And now I know I can say the word no.

:

00:57:21,273 --> 00:57:26,108

I think, I think that is, Great advice,

even if it's like a gig that you're

:

00:57:26,128 --> 00:57:28,918

offered a big band gig and you've never

played in a big band in your life,

:

00:57:29,688 --> 00:57:32,138

but you're a young musician, you don't

know where life's going to take you,

:

00:57:32,138 --> 00:57:36,068

you don't know where that next big

break is going to go, you don't know

:

00:57:36,128 --> 00:57:39,518

who is going to be sat next to you

and going to offer you that next gig.

:

00:57:39,858 --> 00:57:40,798

So that's what I did.

:

00:57:40,928 --> 00:57:41,998

And it's literally.

:

00:57:42,603 --> 00:57:46,540

worked out really well for me, but

also, another bit of advice, which

:

00:57:46,540 --> 00:57:52,406

I'm trying to listen to myself now

is slow down, take time and breathe.

:

00:57:52,826 --> 00:57:53,786

Gareth: Fantastic.

:

00:57:53,816 --> 00:57:55,791

Well, that can go in

the music room for you.

:

00:57:56,831 --> 00:57:59,441

As I said, Carol Jarvis, you

are an amazing human being.

:

00:58:00,111 --> 00:58:03,961

Thank you for your story and thank

you for joining me in the music room.

:

00:58:04,181 --> 00:58:05,101

Carol: Thank you so much.

:

00:58:12,029 --> 00:58:14,459

Gareth: Thanks for listening to

the Music Room podcast today.

:

00:58:14,849 --> 00:58:17,789

If you'd like to know more about the

show or the community that surrounds

:

00:58:17,789 --> 00:58:20,053

it, head to music room.community.

:

00:58:20,353 --> 00:58:21,583

The link is in the show notes.

About the Podcast

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The Music Room
Personal stories of inspiration from professional composers, songwriters and musicians.

About your host

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Gareth Davies

Audio creator of music, podcasts, tales and rhymes. Toad & Friends (Warner Bros. Discovery) arriving in 2023.

Gareth is also the creator of The Music Room community, podcast and newsletter.

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Thank you to the wonderful listeners who have chosen to support this podcast.

With your continued support, we reinvest into the show and continue to make the best content that we can, whilst putting more time and effort into growing the audience to reach and help more people.
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Danny Brown $5
Saw your excellent post on Facebook, and happy to become a supporter!
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Anonymous £1
Thanks for making this podcast! I appreciate all the advice and useful items that guests leave, it’s helped me think about how I go about things.