I am trying to give something back in 2019.

To the people I follow on social media. Who brilliantly, but all too quietly – with occasional RTs of uncomfortable promotion – put new things out there for us to enjoy.

Lots of them give things away for free. Newspaper columns, late night recipes or simply time. Time they spend engaging with people who follow them. Sharing their views, ideas and hints. All for free. Unless it’s travel advice. Some of them draw a line at that.

So I am going to back Kickstarter funds. Buy the fruits of their labour. Attend events. RT the life out of ideas and ambitions. To try and engage beyond simply grabbing from the free buffet that is internet life.

For sometimes, the rewards are far greater.

I am thinking back to the time when I sat at the table of my favourite writer of food and life in a foreign city. Where I was too nervous to take a photo for evidence, but the memories need no filter.

Or when I drank that third bottle of wine on a Sunday night with my favourite academic and Radio 3 presenter. OK, so that’s a shallow pool of contenders, no deeper than the glass of Austrian red we toasted our night to, but still – such a person exists. Even if there was again no pictorial evidence of that encounter.

For someone who spends their life on Instagram, my restraint in the face of thoroughly decent people is commendable – or stupid!

So books will be bought, magazines will be backed and galleries will be full of my blank face. Unsure of what it is that I am looking at.

And the radio will play a “local” station from hundreds of miles away. Which might be the strangest example from this “sharing” experience. When I am up with the kids making pancakes on a Sunday morning (hangover or pretending to sleep permitting), I often tune in to listen to Sophie Law on BBC Radio Oxford.

This is an unlikely listen. 80s music, local features and the God slot just as the pancakes are cooking. Yet I followed Sophie on Instagram for ages before it clicked as to what she does. It was a simple picture thanking her guest in the studio for coming along.

So I tuned in. Continue to do so. To the point that this act of sharing made a really big impact, that words can’t do justice.

As we celebrated the boys birthday, a simple tweet to our favourite local radio presenter got him a shout out. His name broadcast across the airwaves to the millions* of listeners to the show. His smile was as wide as the pancake he was trying to eat whole. My heart full of joy at such wonderment.

I don’t necessarily want my name on the wall of your new premises, or in the back of your latest book. What I do want is to share you passions and, where possible, give something back beyond a sarcastic reply or an emoji based on the photo of your dinner.

If there is a glass of wine involved, then all the better.

* Actual audience figures not available at time of going to press

Make sure you listen to Dr John Gallagher’s History of the Tongue. So that he can get more radio and we can drink more wine.

Chris Written by:

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