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16 December 2017


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Bitterne Parker: Tim O’Riordan
Sunday, 23 November 2014 00:00


Tim pictured with a friend at BBC/Wikimedia Speakerthon

Tim O’Riordan was born in 1957 in a small town in Essex, has travelled the world and says he’s yet to find a finer place than Bitterne Park. He’s a graduate of Bournemouth Film School and came to Southampton in 1987 to work with a fellow graduate to set up City Eye Film and Video Workshop. After a brief stint running Lighthouse in Brighton, he returned to live in Bitterne Park, married local girl Christine Donovan, and got a job working in the media department at the University of Southampton. He currently trades as Zemedia video production, runs the Art Southampton web curation project and hosts the Couch Fest short film festival.


The Qs & the As

What’s your link with Bitterne Park?

I’m married to Christine Donovan, who was born and raised in Bitterne Park. I’ve lived here since we got together about 25 years ago, and we’ve raised our family here.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

I first came to Bitterne Park when I was helping to get City Eye going. We had an office in the old school at Northam (no longer standing) and had yet to make any connections with the TVS people over the road (also no longer there). So I came to Solent Video at Bullar Road (still there, I think) to see about getting a Umatic tape (defunct video format) transferred to VHS (another defunct video format) for a project we were working on.

The next time I came was to pick up Christine Donovan for our first date (to see Tom Waits in his film, Big Time, at the Gantry. The Gantry’s gone, but Tom’s still going).

How could the area be better?

Move Harbour Lights Cinema to the Triangle.

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

My late father in law, Frank Donovan, repaired or replaced most of the roofs in Bitterne Park between the early 60s and early 90s.

What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?

Good: The Art Gallery has the best collection south of London and Weston Shore is just lovely.

Not so good: We could do with more, better, and safer cycle routes across the city.

What’s your passion in life?

Making and showing videos.

How do you put bread on your table?

Making videos - and allied trades.

What has your career taught you?

In She Wore a Yellow Ribbon John Wayne says: “Never apologise, never explain. It’s a sign of weakness”, but he was playing a fictitious character in a film. As a video producer my job is to find out what people want to say and help them explain it in the best way possible, and that means continually evaluating and improving my skills, as well as the technology I use. So I’d say: “explain the best you can and apologise if it helps your explanation”.

What really gets your goat?

The troll living under Cobden Bridge.

Or, if someone has already done that [They haven't but hey, why not get the other thing off your chest too? Ed]: Apart from really important things like war, famine, disease, and injustice, what is really guaranteed to try my patience is the BBC reporting the UKIP, like they’re a real political party with coherent policies and a significant democratic mandate.

How do you relax?

I watch the MeadesShrine channel on YouTube.

Which is your favourite pub?

Bitterne Park was originally established as a ‘temperance estate’. Which is great if you’ve taken the pledge, but not so friendly to the drinking man or woman. I like the South Western Arms and the Junction in St Denys, but my favourite pub is not in Southampton. The Seven Stars in Bristol is just perfect as far as I’m concerned.

What are you drinking?

In the absence of a pub at the end my street, I’m currently slowly working through a bottle of Calvados.

What do you listen to?

My wife and children, my conscience, and my clients.

Can you recommend a really good read?

The Third Policeman – Flann O’Brian’s masterwork.

What’s a great day out?

Beach, bookshop, café, beach, cinema, pub, beach.

What scares you?

Farage with his finger on the button.

What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?

Improved empathy.

What’s on your ‘bucket list’?

I don’t really get the point of the ‘bucket list’. I have the very strong feeling that it would just turn out to be a series of ‘Peggy Lee moments’.

Tell us a joke

A man flying in a hot air balloon suddenly realizes he’s lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts to get directions, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says: "Yes. You're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."

"You must work in Information Technology," says the balloonist.

"I do" replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but it's of no use to anyone."

 The man below replies, "You must work in management."

 "I do," replies the balloonist, "But how'd you know?"*

 "Well", says the man, "you don’t know where you are or where you’re going, but you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault."

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

What is the best building in Bitterne Park?

 Thanks so much for taking part!

Couch Fest takes place in Bitterne Park on December 6

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind.

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

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