One of the nation’s best loved radio broadcasters tells his story.
Gerald Michael Anderson was born in Derry in 1944. He was educated by the Christian Brothers after which he worked as an apprentice tool-maker and a clerk in a shipping firm. In 1963, having taught himself the guitar Anderson moved to Manchester where he worked the clubs.
A tour of Scotland, England and Canada followed, with the showband The Chessmen. In 1972, whilst in Canada, Anderson joined a band called Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks. He then returned to Ireland where he gained a degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology and a postgraduate Diploma in Continuing Education.
Between 1978 and 1984 Anderson worked intermittently as a teacher, a social worker and editor of a community magazine. Occasional work for BBC Radio Foyle became full time in 1985 when he was offered his own daily show.
The broadcaster also works for BBC Television, Radio 2 and Radio 4. His various awards include the Gold Sony Award (1990) - Best Regional Broadcaster and Broadcaster of the Year at the Entertainment and Media Awards, 1991, 1992 and 1993. The semi-autiobiographical Surviving Stroke City, was published in 1989.
'The main entrance to the cathedral was directly below us and therefore out of sight. When a particular service called for the local bishop to enter in some splendour, we were required to sing the celebratory hymn ‘Ecce Sacerdos’, which I quickly realised was the bishop’s ‘signature’ tune.
'When it was time for his glorious entry, the worker-bee priest at the altar, seemingly involved in communication with the Higher One, was, in fact, informing the organist via a series of complicated hand signals (observed through the wing mirrors on the organ) of the progress of the bishop.
'When the proper psychological moment arrived to give the bishop’s entry maximum clout, a signal was made, the organ blared majestically, and we lustily sang our hearts out for the benefit of the fat prelate who strode airily down the aisle whilst the lumpen proletariat clamoured to clutch the hem of his raiment. In a flash I realised that this wasn’t religion at all. It was show business.'
(Extract from Surviving Stroke City by Gerry Anderson published by Hutchinson. Used by permission of The Random House Group Limited).
This autobiographical book goes on to chart Anderson’s adventures in showband land, his Rock n’ Roll years in America and his return to Ireland where he eventually finds his niche as one of the nation’s best loved radio broadcasters. Amidst the jokes and the deft wit Anderson asks some thought provoking questions about the North and the state we’re in.