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November 06, 2012

Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/about/people/garethjenkins


The wizard of Oz 1939
If I only had the nerve: (L-R) Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Judy Garland and Bert Lahr (Image c/o Wikimedia Commons)

Have you ever taken part in an ice breaking exercise where you put a few facts about yourself in a hat, leaving your name off so you remain anonymous, and your colleagues take turns picking out the pieces of paper and before guessing who’s who? It’s more fun than it sounds and I’ve got more than my fair share of personal facts to drop in the hat. I’ve lived opposite a tiger (called Mike), I played the cowardly lion in a production of the Wizard of Oz at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry and I’ve been called upon by MTV to be an expert interviewee on al-Qaeda.

They’re all true. One of those items would be enough of an anecdote to get you through a party but I seem to collect stories like other people collect wine. I did a reasonable Bert Lahr impression and survived the tiger encounter (although it’s much less exciting when you know it was in a cage). Unfortunately, my knowledge of Middle Eastern politics is limited and is gained from Channel 4 News and The Observer. It turns out there’s another Gareth Jenkins and he’s also a journalist. He’s an expert on Middle Eastern politics and terrorism and, for obvious reasons, he tends to keep a low profile. Me? I’ve spent my career working with blue chip companies or interviewing celebrities about their favourite cheeses. I also like social media and the web and have a very snazzy website that anyone can find to contact me – including MTV.

It took some time to convince the TV researcher that I wasn’t the Gareth Jenkins she was looking for (it’s surprising difficult to demonstrate that you’re not an expert in a field, especially if the real expert is purposefully keeping a low profile). Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m also not the former head coach of the Welsh rugby team either.

Whilst the other Gareth Jenkins’ seemingly have exciting, international lives, I’m reasonably satisfied with mine and where I now find myself. I love writing, I’d say it’s my area of expertise, and it’s great to be working with academics who are just as passionate about the field they’re proficient in. Hopefully, in my time as the Knowledge Centre’s online writer I’ll write something eye catching so I’ll be able to say ‘Yes, I’m that Gareth Jenkins’ when MTV phones up again.


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