The nice people at Virgin have been sending me more books to read. Can I just say that I love the nice people at Virgin, they have yet to send me a book that I haven't liked.
The most recent to land on my doormat was the autobiography of the BBC Radio 1 DJ, Jo Whiley, My World In Motion. I've always liked Jo Whiley, she comes across as a genuinely nice person who I'd like to have a cup of tea with. Her radio show, The Live Lounge, is particularly brilliant, where bands are given the opportunity to do covers of songs that are way outside their normal repertoire. So, for example, getting Will Young to cover Outkast's Hey Ya! giving the song a completely different feel. We have some of the Live Lounge albums here, and love them.
She is a mother of 4, very close to her family, deeply in love with her husband as well as being a very highly regarded DJ and passionate about live music and the summertime festivals, particularly Glastonbury. Her book is organised to reflect these different areas of her life so the chapters are headed: Sister, DJ, Wife, Festival Lover and Mother each coming with a play list to reflect that side of her life. I enjoyed this way of looking at a life, it reflects the multi-faceted side of her life as a working mother. Occasionally it made for repetitive reading, as obviously in real life these different areas are not mutually exclusive.
She writes best when writing about her true passions, music and family. The chapter on her sister, who suffers from Cri du Chat syndrome leaving her with severe learning difficulties was fascinating and she manages to portray the person who her sister actually is as opposed to purely being someone afflicted with a chromosonal disorder. Jo's passion for festivals also shines through, and I enjoyed her descriptions of trying to work at Glastonbury, her friendship with the (wonderful) John Peel and trying to do it all with small children in tow, somewhere in the mud.
Jo's been very successful in a very male dominated world and has also had 4 children and built a close and loving family. Reading about how she balances it all was interesting, although she is fortunate to have her parents available to help out with childcare, neatly avoiding the childcare angst that most other working mothers feel.
My one criticism of the book is that everyone seems so nice. Sure there are disagreements but there is always a valid reason for them. Everyone, and by this I mean all the most famous bands over the past 15 years or so, are lovely, charming and lots of fun. Surely there must have been more spats and catty bust ups? But probably not around Jo, she just seems too, well, nice for that to happen around her.
Worth a read? Definitely, if only to read the life story of someone who had a passion about something, and with an element of luck and a lot of talent has managed to combine her passion with a career and a family. Jo herself admits that she has been fortunate but I'm just thrilled to know that it is possible and it is a testiment of how her personality that I find myself thinking 'good for you Jo' rather than being consumed with jealousy at how she has managed to pull it all off.