How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 60.


I don’t like being called “sir”. In Britain, I’m called “sir” by barmen, shop assistants, removal men, taxi drivers and ticket collectors. In fact, most people I give money to call me “sir”. The message I get from them is that they don’t trust me. Think about it, we’re only super-formal with people we don’t trust. The more you trust someone, the more informal you are around them. We trust our friends more than we trust people in positions of authority. That’s why I liked living in Australia. Aussies are informal by nature.

In June 1995, I got hired to work on the air at 2GO on the New South Wales Central Coast. We moved there from where we lived in Mount Gambier, South Australia. The first part of our journey was a flight from Mount Gambier to Melbourne. A small regional airline ran one flight a day. The propeller plane we flew on only had eight seats but they sold nine tickets because one of the passengers sat in the co-pilots seat. There was no separation between the “cockpit” and the “cabin”.

The plane was so small that there was no need for an internal public address system. Just before take-off, the pilot turned around and with his arm resting on the back of his seat, he gave us a short safety announcement, weather report and estimated flight time. He turned to face the front again then, as if he’d just remembered something, he turned to face us again and said, “Oh, there’s an Eski  at the back there with some cans of beer and some sandwiches in. Beer and sandwiches are the same price, a dollar each. Just help yourself and leave the money in the Eski”.

That informality and trust is why Australians don’t called you “sir”, they call you “mate”.

Craic on!

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