Volume 2: 2021 of Working Hours is well underway and I’m hoping to post episode 1 before the end of the month. I only have 6 interviews in the bag at the moment, so I may have to publish the podcast irregularly this year as it might take me quite awhile to secure any new guests. 😦 If you are reading this and you are in Leeds or from Leeds and you have an opinion about work and you’re up for being on a podcast then go to my contact page right now, cheers!

I have a 50/50 gender balance in interviews and episodes so far but all my guests have been white and of similar-ish class. I know this is in no way representative of Leeds or Loiners or of a city the size and means of Leeds in the 21st century. Even though I am only a few episodes in I DO NOT want this year to again be represented just by a narrow sample. I need everyone from every community and background in Leeds. Obviously, if I have the interviews I’ll publish them. So, right now I’m more than happy to be inundated with guest offers. I need you Leeds. I don’t care if you listen to or like the show (in fact that’s probably better) I just need to hear from everyday people in everyday roles and to capture as much of the conformity and diversity, the general and particular that makes all that up.

I am very eager to hear and learn from you. What is work to you? What is it for? Where is it going? Why do you do it? What do you do? What have you done? What would you rather be doing?

I have a lot of aims with this podcast. I want to use it to meet people, I want interrogate my ideas and perceptions about work and working and I want to challenge my listeners ideas too. I want to create a broader discussion about work. I want to us to really think about what that idea means right now. I want us to examine where those ideas come from and where they lead us.

At this stage in the process I can’t currently speak or write about “work” with any authority outside of my own ideas and experiences but, as this project progresses (and it is a project, a historical and ethnographic one) as the dialogue broadens and our knowledge expands around this subject I’m hoping to glean valuable insights and ideally have some influence on how “work” is performed and thought of in future. That is not to say that capturing the present moment is any less important. The present, before it becomes past, is a valuable resource. The past is arguably our greatest resource.

I really think this is a valuable endeavour at a critical time. I mean, what a time to start doing this!! “Yeah, works going to change” I thought, “we’ll have to work differently in the future” I thought. “It’ll be interesting to capture some of that change” I thought, “the 2020s are going to be a key time and only see an acceleration of all the madness that we have seen accelerating since the start of this terrible century” I thought. Then 2020 started and I thought, “well, I can’t even do that anymore”. But, I was wrong and daft for there was video phone with pretty decent quality.

I also think that if the worst should happen then at least I’ll have chatted to some interesting characters in and from my home town and that’s not a bad thing. I have it all planned out, see! Meticulous! Flawless! Well, except the no money, no guests, no listeners thing – BUT EVERYTHING ELSE IS PERFECT! (I’m not stressed, you’re stressed!)

Oh! Yes, while I remember. I need feedback about everything – tone, music, aesthetic – the whole thing! I have no real idea how this is coming across to anyone. So, yeah. That would be good – unless it’s all bad and then that would be bad. Obviously.

Simon Treen, host, editor, creator and producer of Working Hours podcast.

Leeds, 2021

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