Robbie is #BecomingVisible
What does becoming visible mean to you?
Becoming visible to me means being a proud, young, autistic man that can show off his talents in different ways from doing quizzes to DJing and not be judged by people.
How did you get involved with get2gether?
Originally, I became a member, that was a good few years ago now. I thought that get2gether was really interesting and different, because there were so many people with different disabilities in one place – I really believe that every person is unique and I appreciated the diversity of the community.
I also thought that Karaoke Disco nights were great, as well as other events in the community. Then I started helping DJ Andy by helping out doing club nights and karaoke discos. I helped him with the lights and this way people started to get to know me and I gained in confidence as well as I gained experience with DJ Andy.
At the time I was just a bedroom DJ but when the COVID hit and the world had stopped – get2gether at home came along, I thought that was a good opportunity for me to offer my services, offer the quizzes and DJing to the community. And now , it’s been over a year since I joined the DJ team and it’s been absolutely phenomenal!
During the pandemic I became visible – before, I didn’t know a lot of people, and people didn’t know me.
Since I became a get2gether DJ it has opened my eyes, just looking at people differently. Becoming a DJ was one of my dreams – becoming a DJ at get2gether – I had always admired Stephan, Andy, and the work that they had done – that gave me the inspiration to give it a try and I was successful – it’s been absolutely fantastic. A lot of work goes into it, getting people’s requests, sounds checks, Dj meetings, music research, and performing is a big thing.
Doing a big finish is a big responsibility you are ending the night off for everybody – and you need to make it a good experience to capture the vibe of the night, to enjoy them being together, with friends, on zoom, it’s quite challenging, happy and fun – it’s been different on zoom myself and a DJ team were nervous at the beginning. We didn’t know how it will work with the sound, but eventually, we worked it out – this turned out to be one of the best options, DJing through the pandemic.
I would say that the most memorable night was the first night I was DJing for get2gether, and the Wild night in at the end – it was an honour to finish 2020 off for the get2gether members and capture key workes, and NHS. Looking back at it now I am happy that I have done it – if I hadn’t had put my ideas forward and I would have been in the same place.
I feel I had moved on and my confidence had grown with public speaking, I was nervous, and suffering from anxiety, it made a massive impact for me with public speaking and DJing for get2gether. This whole journey has completely changed that and has flipped my anxiety – I am not as nervous as I used to be.
I have noticed that sometime around September, I felt myself coming out of my shelf, as I said, before I was shy and nervous but now I am open and happy to speak to anybody!
This is awesome, Robbie, we are so happy to hear that! Being a DJ is not the only thing you are known for in the get2gether community. For a year now, since the beginning of the pandemic you have been a person behind Test Yourself Tuesday quizzes – do you want to tell us about that?
Yes, that is right. In the beginning, I felt uncomfortable hosting it – Lauren said she could ghost it so we started doing quizzes every week during the first lockdown, which was quite a lot of work, and now we do the quizzes with a theme every other week. What is good about those quizzes is that now there are opportunities for other members to host the quiz and who knows, it could even become their new thing!
That whole journey has been incredible – getting to know Lauren, as co-host, working alongside her has been amazing, we work together really well. We felt a lot of support from members, and the members wanting to get involved with the quizzes, so people started working with us to bring forward their ideas or certain topics – such as music quiz, or horrible histories quiz. I have to say that people are learning on the quizzes as well, some of them would not even think of the facts before.
It has been a big learning curve for me and the members – it could take about a week for me to make a quiz, with different facts, questions, answers, research, members’ input. It was amazing, those quizzes are a total buzz!
Looking back on the whole year, it feels like you are in a different place than a year ago. You also took forward some of your own personal projects, do you want to tell us a bit more about that?
I never thought this is going to happen to me. I never thought that I would be a DJ or making quizzes, and not just that, also working alongside amazing staff, volunteers and our memers – I feel like I am now part of the community!
As far as my personal projects, I have been part of the radio Saltire before, but since the pandemic started presenters can not get to studios – so my dad and me started doing our own radio station. We are doing it part time, and with a few months down the line, Rob Charles, a radio presenter, said he will be promoting the work that we do, and then we decided to launch our radio station in December 2020. It has taken right off!
We are called Sound Nation radio and we broadcast 5 days a week in the evenings, until we recruit more presenter – we are actively recruiting for presenter – we are hoping that in the future we will be able to go on the FM and broadcast further and wider.