Meet the Things Unseen Team – Paul Arnold

What does your role on Things Unseen involve?

I’m here to look after the team technically, and also to produce. So I support the team in their recording and editing, and take on our more complicated recordings. I mix our podcasts and programmes so they sound their best for broadcast. I’ll also be producing my own content, and have some ideas for the podcast I hope to get made.

How did you get to work on Things Unseen?
I came across the podcast when I was working for themedianet – a support group for Christians working in the media. I liked its approach, and the quality of what it was doing. So when a part-time role came up with the team I thought it was worth looking into.

What has been your most difficult assignment?
It’s early days yet, but the challenges right now are in getting our new studio home working well. The builders and technicians are here, and we are talking about the way things will work, and how to improve the sound of the studio. But the size and shape of it are good, and it has daylight, which is an added bonus!

What has been the hairiest moment in your programme and podcast-making career?
I’ve been at this a while, so inevitably you build up a collection of Days You Would Rather Not Have Had. Those are probably best forgotten, but I once did an interactive drama for children where the audience got to choose what would happen each day. And it was live on the radio. I tried to enjoy it but if truth be told the seat-of-the-pants nature of it was pretty stressful.

Which has been your favourite edition of Things Unseen and why?
I thought Allison Hillard’s interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s daughter, Katharine, was excellent. Katharine talked honestly and movingly about her struggles with depression, in a way that can only help to demystify and destigmatise it. When I make programmes, I tend to like to play with sound and music a lot, but this was an example of what radio does best – just someone sharing their story.

If you could take just one book to a desert island, what would it be?
I’m going to play this by the Desert Island Discs rules and assume the Bible is already there. After that it would have to be a classic and something good and long. Let’s go for JRR Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, it’s been a while since I read that.

And one piece of music?
I am tempted again to go for something epic. But I think I will have to come back to my favourite piece of music from my favourite composer – Brahms’ clarinet quintet. It’s just the right combination of head and heart. Plenty to delight the mind, but it can also move me to tears. I play the clarinet and my playing of this piece has also probably moved people to tears, but that’s a different story.

Which person – living or dead – do you most admire and why?
Again, for interest’s sake perhaps we should take Jesus as read, and go for another biblical character. Nathan the prophet had the tricky task of reprimanding King David. He decides to tell him a tale, and when David condemns the man in the story he finds he has condemned himself. Nathan shows great bravery and intelligence, and I named my son after him.

What would your perfect day be?
I wanted to mark a significant birthday a while back, so I got together with some friends to play music, and then we all enjoyed some great food, wine and conversation together. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you could choose any guest at all for Things Unseen, who would it be and why?
I once heard Rev Kate Bottley speak, now best known for being ‘the Gogglebox vicar’. She has a real knack of summarising complicated things in a way that’s understandable and memorable. She’d make a great guest.

Tell us a secret.
I once sang backing vocals for Screaming Lord Sutch.

Paul Arnold

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