podcaster AND creator of Beyond The Title Josh Barry reflects on FINDING HIS happy place.
“I’m Josh Barry; a podcaster with Cerebral Palsy and creator of the entertainment platform Beyond The Title (www.beyondthetitle.co.uk) where I interview significant figures from the world of entertainment. It’s my ambition to build a catalogue of influential voices at a particular moment in their successful careers to act as an audio time stamp of their reflections, hopes and analysis of life under the media spotlight.
Part of my role as interviewer is to create a safe space in which my subject feels comfortable to share their private insights and inner thoughts on how they became who they are. This is a role that I never take for granted and always treat with the utmost respect and reverence.
Therefore my ‘happy place’ is anywhere where I can obtain an insight from an accomplished figure who happens to be right at the very top of their game. It’s in these situations that I realise just how fortunate I am to obtain exclusive access to some of the most prolific figures in British entertainment. From Jimmy Tarbuck to the viral sensation Jackie Weaver, all of my subjects opt into the concept that despite being unable to lead the interview, I’ve created everything leading up to it. Negotiating with agents via email, conducting thorough research of the subject and composing questions with my nose on an iPad are all facets of the interview process which I can do independently and take pleasure in doing so. The voice of Beyond The Title might not be mine, yet I can still feel proud that every other element remains within solely my control and this gives me an enormous sense of achievement and fulfilment.
Sometimes I feel that my mind is totally different from my body and while my Cerebral Palsy makes me physically vulnerable, my mind is anything but.
Having a severe disability which confines me to a wheelchair remains something which I continue to struggle to come to terms with. Sometimes I feel that my mind is totally different from my body and while my Cerebral Palsy makes me physically vulnerable, my mind is anything but.
Fortunately I have found occupation and a sense of validation in my work as a writer and podcaster and despite not being able to offer me a financial income, the sense of achievement and fulfilment defies any salary or monetary value. Beyond The Title has been running since 2016 and has allowed me the opportunity to meet and interview some of my heroes from the world of entertainment. My LinkedIn profile might appear extremely thin on the ground and my business model leaves a lot to be desired. In fact when I’m surrounded by my able bodied friendship group and they’re bemoaning the working conditions which they experience, I know that there’s very little that I’m able to contribute. I don’t have a salary, I have absolutely no experience of the nine to five rat race.
But to me, this doesn’t matter because I have my dream job and when I’m sitting opposite one of my all time idols, everything else melts into insignificance. I’ve been very lucky that my disability is occasionally a useful tool in gaining access to opportunities which otherwise would be harder to obtain. To think, since 2016 I’ve been lucky enough to interview two hundred of Britain’s best loved faces which is something that fills me with an enormous sense of achievement. Who would ever have thought I would have a growing catalogue of celebrity insights from the late Barry Cryer to Jeremy Kyle via Leslie Ash and Shirley Ballas. In this sense, if you have a passion for something irrespective of the lifestyle implications that it may present, you must pursue it. Of course it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice but ultimately in the words of Sheryl Crow “if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad!”.
Beyond The Title remains my biggest achievement to date and I like to think it provides a “happy place” for significant figures to tell their stories in a safe environment.
Irrespective of the future of Beyond The Title, I remain hopeful that I can continue to challenge stereotypes and add to my growing repertoire of work. In doing this, I think I have found my happy place.”