It was the flier that fell out of the latest copy of Speaking Out that made me consider what contribution I could make to spreading the word(s) about the effect that stammering has on people's lives, using the obvious marketing value of The King's Speech as a platform. "Talk to your local radio" suggested Norbert at BSA. I knew people at BBC Radio York so after some "No I can'ts-Yes I can's" and a very large whisky, I picked up the phone (an instrument I hate) and offered to go on air.
As it happened Radio York were already planning to do a piece on The Kings's Speech, featuring Gareth Gates and Ed Balls (the King was of course the Duke of York), so I felt I was in good company! Three days to sweat before going into their Harrogate studio for the link to York and their morning programme. The 'waiting in the wings' was the worst bit coupled with having no idea as to the likely questions. Faced with 2 microphones (another instrument of hate), and an interviewer 25 miles away in York, it was a rather surreal experience which, once I'd realised that I was in charge (!), I quite enjoyed. I thought I didn't stammer much at all and was quite surprised how much more I had when I listened to the replay. At least I sounded genuine! I was actually quite relaxed throughout. 10 minutes later it was over.
I was very glad that I'd done it and have had many complimentary emails from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. The only question that nearly threw me was when I was asked about how the stammer affected my relations with girls as a teenager. My daughter, who was with me, put her head in her hands and muttered "too much information!"
John Hague, Harrogate
Extended version of item in the Spring 2011 issue of Speaking Out, page 5