The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker

6/28/2022

Janey Godley on kicking the "I'm fine" compulsion & being proud to be gallus

Season 8, Ep. 85
My guest today is the “queen of Scottish comedy”, Janey Godley. Janey has played Broadway, won loads of awards and written a bestselling memoir, Handstands in The Dark about her grim childhood. But you might know her for the viral VoiceOver videos she did of Nicola Sturgeon during lockdown. (If you haven’t seen them, check out her twitter.)Now Janey has turned her hand to fiction, with Nothing Left Unsaid, a moving but coffee-snortingly hilarious story of five single mums struggling to survive in 70s Glasgow. Think Big Little Lies set in 1970s Govan! I inhaled it in one sitting.Last November, Janey was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer - and covid, on the same day. Ever since, in true Janey style, she has shared her ups and downs on social media, on a mission to make sure everyone knows more about the signs of ovarian cancer than she did.Janey joined me from her home in Glasgow not long after what was hopefully her last chemo to talk about the shock of ovarian cancer, writing a love letter to her mammy Annie and the wee warrior women she grew up with, feeling like a hand grenade in the family, how she finally kicked the compulsion to say “I’m fine”, not wearing a wig to make anyone else feel comfortable and why she’ll always be proud to be gallus.You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including NOTHING LEFT UNSAID by Janey Godley, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
6/21/2022

Sabrina Pace-Humphreys on rural racism, alcoholism and the life-saving power of running

Season 8, Ep. 84
This week’s guest will make you wonder what you do with your time! Sabrina Pace-Humphreys is an award-winning business woman, a social justice activist, an ultra-runner, a mother of four and grandmother of three. (And as if that wasn't enough, right now, as of June 19th, she's running 268 miles along The Spine of the UK!) Not bad going for 44.But it is none of those things that led her to write her memoir, Black Sheep - a story of growing up Black, on the poverty line, in small town England. As a child, and the only Black person in that town, she experienced constant bullying, verbal and physical racist abuse. She didn’t know who she was, or where she belonged.Sabrina joined me to talk about why she’s decided it’s time to speak out about rural racism. The impact of growing up in a place where literally no-one looked like her and How she finally found the identity she craved. Sabrina is incredibly frank about burying herself in workaholism and alcoholism, her battles with anxiety, and how learning to run - after a lifetime of mocking runners! - saved her. If you’re looking for motivation to start running look no further. In fact, if you’re looking for motivation full stop, you’ve found it.You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including BLACK SHEEP by Sabrina Pace-Humphreys, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
6/16/2022

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Ruth Ozeki on why menopause is the new adolescence

Season 8, Ep. 83
Last night Ruth won the Women's Prize for her wonderful novel, The Book Of Form And Emptiness, so I thought I'd give this another listen. Here are the original show notes:My guest this week is a novelist, film-maker - and Zen Buddhist priest. Ruth Ozeki was born in Conneticut in the 1950s to a Japanese mother and, as she puts it, caucasian anthropologist father. Despite always wanting to write, she didn’t publish her first novel until she was 40, because, in part, she “didn’t feel entitled to”. She needn’t have worried. That novel, My Year Of Meats, won the Kiriyama Prize and the American Book Award, and her third A Tale For The Time Being, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2013. Her latest novel, The Book Of Form And Emptiness, looks destined to go the same way.But buddhism has informed Ruth’s life just as much as - if not more than - writing. She joined me to run the conversational gamut! We talked meditation, ageing, grief, living through the death of our parents, writing out her teenage mental health crises, why objects mean so much to us, the appeal of Marie Kondo, coming to terms with our ageing face and why menopause and adolescence have so much in common.• You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including The Book Of Form And Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
6/14/2022

Christie Watson on menopause, midlife and mischief

Season 8, Ep. 82
I’ve lost count of the number of women I’ve spoken to who were taken totally by surprise by perimenopause but, to date, none of them actually had medical training. Todays guest changes all that. Before she was an award winning writer, Christie watson was a nurse. She spent 20 years on children’s intensive care before her debut won the Costa first novel award and altered the trajectory of her life.Since then Christie has written two bestselling nursing memoirs, including the wonderful The Language of Kindness, and a second novel. Then, aged 42, perimenopause totally floored her. A single mum of two teenagers, she suddenly found herself a “blubbering snot crying wreck” in Sainsburys car park - a stranger, inside and out. Sound familiar?!I met Christie to talk about her memoir about that experience, Quilt On Fire, in a no-man’s land opposite the US embassy. As you do. We discussed being blindsided by menopause, grey pubic hairs, biblical bleeding, and the impact of unresolved trauma. Plus Being single in midlife and braving the dating shark tank, her own personal menopause club (lucky woman), having a vulva the size of Brazil, the joy of becoming visible to older women and why nobody really has their shit together. Oh and an unexpected use for frozen fish fingers.You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including QUILT ON FIRE by Christie Watson, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
6/7/2022

Sheila Hancock on sexism, classism and the double-edged sword of being seen as a "strong woman"

Season 8, Ep. 81
Today’s guest is nothing less than an acting legend. Although she probably wouldn’t have any truck with that. Dame Sheila Hancock is that rare thing – a successful actor with working class roots, an 89 year old who’s still beating off offers with a stick and a woman who refuses to be afraid to speak her mind.Sheila has done EVERYTHING from Shakespeare to sitcoms. A member of the National Theatre Company, she was the first woman to direct at the Olivier Theatre in her 50s and has been nominated for 6 Olivier Awards, written two novels and a loose trilogy of memoirs (the second of which was about her marriage to Morse and Sweeney legend, John Thaw). The third is Old Rage, which started out as a book about the wisdom and fulfilment of old age ended up…. not!Ninety next year, Sheila is taking less prisoners than ever. She joined me from her living room to talk education and inequality, corruption, climate change and Brexit, suffering from the empathy “disease” and why being seen as a strong woman is a double-edged sword. She also told me what it was like being a working class woman in TV in the 1970s, how she learnt the consequences of speaking out the hard way and why she’s no longer bothering to conceal her rage. Sheila Hancock for PM!You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including OLD RAGE by Sheila Hancock, Sheila's book recommendation, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
5/31/2022

Natalie Lee on breaking free of shame and finding sexual freedom

Season 8, Ep. 80
My guest today is a 42-year-old mum of two on a mission to kick sexual shame into touch. Natalie Lee was just like many of the rest of us. Not mad keen on her body, not as familiar with orgasm as she’d have liked to be and, by her own admission, a latecomer to masturbation. Hands up if that sounds familiar. (And don’t worry, no-one can see you!)That is until she had her daughters and realised that if she wanted them to grow up free of sexual shame, she needed to sort out her own first. After a long, hard look at herself, Natalie started her body- and sex-positive instagram account @stylemesunday and took her first semi-naked ‘this is my body, like it or lump it’ photo. Now, 110k followers later, she has shared her own journey to sexual freedom in Feeling Myself (clue’s in the name), in the hope it will help you start yours.Nat joined me in a full and frank (!) conversation about finding the confidence to end her marriage, how she overcame self-loathing, sexual experimentation, why it’s so important to talk to our children about sex (no matter how much they wish you wouldn’t!), embracing pansexuality and why the jeans don’t fit you, not the other way aroundYou can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Feeling Myself by Natalie Lee and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
5/24/2022

Amy Bloom on love, death, dignity – and tarot!

Season 8, Ep. 79
When you enter a relationship, you rarely consider how it might end. Let’s face it, how many of us would ever do anything if we crossed THAT bridge before we came to it.For today’s guest, writer and therapist Amy Bloom, THAT BRIDGE came all too soon when her husband Brian was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers and decided he would rather “die on his feet than live on his knees”. It was a decision that sent the couple on a journey from the East coast of America to Dignitas in Switzerland. Amy’s memoir In Love is the heartbreaking account of that journey. Butas the book’s title suggests this is also a tender, hopeful and passionate love letter to a man whose belief in human agency extended to his own death.CW: Just in case it doesn’t go without saying - in parts, this is not the easiest listen, Amy talks openly about the reality of an early dementia diagnosis, the right to die and living with her husband’s decision to do so.But ALSO the advantages of being older when you fall in love, why you should marry because of each other’s faults not in spite of them, why women often blow up their lives in their 50s plus her lifelong love of tarotYou can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including In Love by Amy Bloom, her book recommendation, Childhood, Youth, Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
5/17/2022

Minnie Driver on ageing, expectation and creased Brad Pitt!

Season 8, Ep. 77
My guest this week is one of the most enduring movie actresses of our (by which I mean my!) generation. Minnie Driver made her first film, Circle of Friends in 1995, and went on to follow that with a lead role in Stanley Tucci’s gorgeous ode to Italian food, Big Night, an Oscar nominated turn in Goodwill Hunting. And my personal favourite Grosse Point Blank.Now 52, with a 13yo son, Henry, and over fifty roles under her belt, Minnie is still “doing Hollywood” very much her own way. As well as two albums and a podcast (Minnie’s Questions), she’s now written a memoir, Managing Expectations, a book about how things not working out for her inevitably led to other things working out.Minnie joined me from her LA home to tell me why being called outspoken makes her want to punch walls, overcoming the curse of other people’s expectations (and her own!), why she always felt like a failure for not being married, how getting fired never feels any less unjust and embracing her vengeful streak! She also introduces me to the concept of is-ness, shares her big hair survival tips and has things to say about why Hollywood dudes can be creased, but women can’t!You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver, Minnie's book recommendation Send Nudes by Saba Sams and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.