I knew she lived in Wakefield before she retired in the late 1980s, but hadn’t a clue if she had stayed on in the town. I rang the cathedral administration, took a deep breath and explained exactly how I knew Joan and why I was searching for her. She plays Judy, an awkward, jobsworth registrar who is furious when she gets overlooked for promotion in favour of her nemesis: gregarious, chaotic working mother Kate, played by Ashley Jensen.If you’ve ever tried, you know this is no easy task. And today, my guest has spent over 20 years producing television for big names like Oprah Winfrey and Anderson Cooper. She knows the dos and don’ts of clear communication.
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You only live once.’She’s about to get her ears pierced for the second time in recent years, egged on by Tilly, having previously been too scared.
That’s the only needle she’ll tolerate though – cosmetic surgery is a big no.
Every crisis I’d had, from adolescence to adulthood, had been of my own making,' said Erwin James All my life I had been a liar, a thief and a cheat. For the best part of my second year at Wakefield, my conversations with Joan involved me reliving my childhood over and over while she offered some tentative interpretations of my ‘drivers’ and ‘triggers’; the factors which pre-empted my deviant and criminal behaviour.
Now I had to face the rest of my life as a convicted murderer, among the other category-A prisoners at Wakefield – serial killers and torturers, child abductors and notorious rapists. During one visit, Joan presented me with the complete documented account of my failed life. It was the first time I had ever seen it on paper – seven A4 pages. ‘Most of the people in this prison have been hurt and damaged at some point in their formative years and the rest of us have had to pay for it,’ Joan said What she meant was that now I had food, clothing, accommodation and a structured existence, I should choose more effectively.But when you’re multipassionate, or just have a lot of valuable things to say, effectively selling yourself in just a few words can feel near impossible. You only have seconds to get a producer, client, customer or boss’s attention — and keep it.And in order to do that, you’ve got to simplify your message.Joan Branton, the psychologist who helped Erwin change his life. Even though those choices were limited in prison, there were still plenty to be made.'Her manner gave me the impression that she was kind and considerate – everything I and the hard prison environment were not,' said Erwin When I told her I was in the so-called ‘engineering fabrication’ workshop, where I spent four hours a day filing down bits of metal and filling little boxes with the filings for, as far as I could tell, no discernible reason, she shook her head in mock puzzlement. ‘Being shuttled from pillar to post and then subjected to violence without solace or comfort was bound to have a detrimental effect on your development,’ Joan explained There were recollections aplenty of drunken revelry, almost all of which ended painfully, for me and others – but a jolly picnic with friends or loved ones? When I thought about it, there was no reason why I could not adopt her principles and learn to live a life that had meaning and purpose, a decent life, and maybe one day become ‘who I should have been’ – even in prison.‘I am quite a smiley person; I’m actually not stern enough.