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Banana Chat – meet Alasdair Hooper

My name is Alasdair Hooper. I am a journalist for Essex Live and I am the host of two podcasts – Humans of Chelmsford and SportSpiel. I never dreamed of being a journalist and I never imagined this was going to be my line of work. When I was four I wanted to be a bus driver then, when I was a teenager, I thought about being a lawyer. After a stint of work experience in a law firm I realised I hated the thought of being stuck in an office going through endless amounts of legislation. I fell into journalism while studying history and politics at the University of Dundee when I decided to work voluntarily as a football reporter for an organisation called Youth Football Scotland. It meant covering youth football every weekend in some of the worst weather conditions you could possibly imagine. 

That’s when it dawned on me that I wanted to be a journalist looking around for stuff and discovering new things.Thankfully at the age of 25 I am now working as a news reporter but my passion has always been about sport, which is why I and one of my best friends Will – who I did my journalism training with – started the SportSpiel podcast almost a year ago.While some may see sport as purely about results we see it differently – we see it for the way it has helped us and others.

Personally I have suffered from anxiety and depression – it really isn’t nice – and, while there is a lot of stuff that goes on inside my own head, one of the best medicines out there is sport. It helps mend your brain when times are tough and there are endless amounts of people who have the same story to tell.

We have interviewed a number of fantastic athletes on the podcast such as Katie Ormerod, Stef Reid and Sammi Kinghorn – who are successful sports people in their own right – but we always have the underlying message that sport is fantastic regardless of what discipline it is or what gender that athlete may be. 

Twitter handle: @adjhooper1992 

Facebook page: Alasdair Hooper – Journalist 

SportSpiel website: https://sportspielonline.com/ 

What is your favourite joke?
A man walks into a bar. Ouch. 

What makes you smile?
If I was being a professional I would say a cracking interview guest. Any other time I would say a cat, or several kittens. 

What is your favourite good news story?
People bouncing back from adversity and refusing to take no for an answer. 

What inspires you?
Getting to meet incredible people through my line of work. Some of their stories are unbelievable and I am always privileged that I get to be the one to tell them.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Chocolate would have zero calories

If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
I always liked Iron Man but I’m not sure having a tonne of money counts as a super power. My back-up option would be anything Spider-Man can do 

What is your favourite food?
Pesto chicken pasta with sliced tomatoes

What is your favourite drink?
Apple and raspberry juice. On a night out it’s whatever is cheapest…

If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
My phone just so I can play my music

If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
Kids should be given an opportunity to try any type of sport

Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know?
My first article to appear in a national newspaper was about an alleged drug dealer who hadn’t had a poo for 28 days – to see the full story please click here.

What is your favourite phrase or saying?
The odds are that we will probably be alright (that’s the chorus from the song Odds Are by the Barenaked Ladies)

What cause, project or event would you like to promote?
My dad and myself are both very fond of Kenya and have both done some promotional work for the Kenyan Wildlife Trust. Their main agenda is to protect East Africa’s predator populations

Who is your favourite music artist?
The Barenaked Ladies

Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
I have to say the answer that everyone goes to and that’s my parents who have been there through everything. However, I also have to give special mention to Robert Wilson and Robbie Forsyth at Youth Football Scotland who gave me – a student struggling with mental health and confidence – a chance even though they didn’t know it at the time. I also have to say thanks to all my friends that know what I went through and never judged. 

PJ’s or Not?

Hot or cold? Cold

Cat or dog? Cat. But if you’re offering me a dog I’m still taking the dog

Blue or pink? Blue

Tea or coffee? Tea

Glass half-empty or glass half-full? Half-full 

Pyjamas or not? PJ’s all the way

Night out or night in? Hell yes to a night out – just not too many in a week otherwise I get tired…

Pizza or pasta? Pasta

Biscuits or cake? Cake

Wine or beer? Beer. Or a fruit-based cocktail 

Football or rugby? Football, although I have to watch West Ham from behind the sofa

Cinema or theatre? Theatre 

Gym or TV? Primarily depends on how big a meal I ate…

Naughty or nice? Nice, of course

Silver or gold? Gold

Tent or hotel? Hotel with a comfy bed

Bath or shower? Shower in the morning, bath in the evening

Starter or pudding? All the puddings!

Sheets or duvet? Duvet

Love Island or Game of Thrones? Game of Thrones. I’ve only ever watched Love Island for 25 minutes

Finally, apple or banana?  Banana (I’m allergic to apples!)