A naked podcast and zooming with Dame Evelyn Glennie - Julian Norton

Until fairly recently, the phenomenon of the podcast was something of which I was only vaguely aware.

Julian found a Zoom meeting with Dame Evelyn Glennie absorbing.
Julian found a Zoom meeting with Dame Evelyn Glennie absorbing.

However, just over a year ago, when meeting people in person or having a social gathering was still perfectly acceptable, my friend and collaborator Kate Fox suggested we record some of our theatre shows to turn them into podcasts under the racy title of The Naked Vet.

It was meant to be a funny name, with half a nod towards Jamie Oliver’s first cooking series and the other half of the nod to the occasions when I’ve removed layers of clothing to make a veterinary farm job more hygienic.

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And the audio format removed any scope for objectification, which was also good. But, like many things last year, they have ground to a halt. Instead, I’ve found myself as the guest in various virtual podcasts.

Continuing the naked theme, I was invited to join Kat and Jen, two stars from BBC Radio Sheffield. Their famously – or maybe infamously – candid podcasts are actually recorded naked, which initially seemed to be much less comfortable.

Obviously, this was unusual and weird, but accurate angling of the laptop and precise positioning of the table allowed the maintenance of some degree of modesty. Our hour-long chat was very funny and, by the end, it felt completely normal to be chatting to two strangers without clothes.

My next event was slightly warmer. I was chatting to the first and only Dame I have ever met. The lady in question was Dame Evelyn Glennie. Once again, in advance, I made sure my collection of Mr Men and Little Miss books were prominently arranged as a back drop to our Zoom meeting.

But this turned out to be totally irrelevant, because our chat kept me totally absorbed. Dame Evelyn is regarded as one of the world’s leading percussionists. It is impossible to do her justice in this short piece – the list of her achievements is almost endless.

What makes Evelyn’s success even more remarkable is that she is profoundly deaf and has described how she has honed her awareness of sound to such an extent that she considers her body to be a “resonating chamber”.

We covered lots of topics, including the importance of proper listening. I concurred and reflected upon the importance of this as a diagnostician, where listening to the owner’s description of a problem, as well as using our other senses to the full, is crucial.

I’ve also recorded another exciting podcast for Medic Mentor. They are the UK’s largest medical social enterprise and their aim is to widen access to medicine and veterinary medicine by providing information, courses and resources for potential medical and veterinary school applicants.

I was asked by a couple of vet students to help, by providing an accurate insight into the life of a veterinary surgeon. The veterinary medicine course is long, hard and expensive.

The job, at the other end, is incredibly rewarding but can also be challenging, often stressful and is typically poorly paid, so it is essential that potential students are fully aware of the downs as well as the ups of this amazing profession at an early stage.

It’s a great idea and I was glad to help because, as every sensible person knows, young people are the future.

■ Julian’s new book All Creatures: Heartwarming Tales from a Yorkshire Vet, is available now, published by Coronet, £16.99.