Thanks for the memories Paul!
I’ve been in the media/publishing/marketing game for a long time and during my career I’ve come across a lot of interesting and talented people. Few however, have been quite like Paul Tierney.
Before I get onto Paul, let me give you a little background as to why I’m writing about him this week.
This week, Orange City Life is celebrating our 12th Birthday and when I was wondering what we could do to celebrate, I started thinking about the people who have helped us on our journey, and particularly those who have been with us a while and still are. I thought it would be nice to feature one of them rather than just talk about us and sing our own praises. There have been many over the years but right now, Paul Tierney has possibly been with us the longest, 10 years to the week in fact. That’s right, when I asked him if this was OK, he discovered it was 10 years to the week since he wrote his first column for us. That was on September 3, 2009 and it was titled “The Generation Gap”.
Paul Tierney is one of those people that we all know, who just doesn’t seem to fit the ‘normal’ mould. I don’t mean he isn’t normal, he’s just different to most people. I recognise this, possibly because I think I may be a similar type of “normal’ to Paul. That’s another story for another time.
Over those 10 years, I haven’t been close to Paul, but I’ve come to know a fair bit about him through his writing and our occasional coffees together. Let me give you a brief rundown of what I know.
He’s a teacher at Kinross Wolaroi School and he’s been there 30 years. He came to Orange in 1990 for a two year stint in the country and he’s still here. For enjoyment each week he writes a column for Orange City Life and he does a 2 hour show each Monday night on the local Community Radio station 107.5FM. He proudly declares he’s written 490 columns for us and done 290 radio shows on 107.5 and both give him the opportunity to say basically whatever he wants. Our readers and his radio audience often mention how much they enjoy Paul’s sense of humour and his take on all things “life”.
Paul’s current big passion is running, something he didn’t discover until he was 40. He now has 7 City2Surfs, 5 Mt Canobolas Volcanic Challenges, 6 half-marathons and about 80 Parkruns under his belt. If his body holds up, he still has a marathon on his bucket list. I said Paul was a funny sort of normal. To further demonstrate this, one of the favourite things he’s done in the last 10 years has been to compete in two Tough Mudder Challenges. You have to be a bit un-normal to do this, it’s a 20k obstacle course with trials including ice baths, electrocution, barbed wire crawls, giant monkey bars and swinging “leaps of faith”. If all that’s not enough, he also still plays football at 53 and claims to have no football skill or pedigree. Reality is starting to kick in each Sunday morning however, with a few aches and pains kicking up a level or two each week.
Paul is also a proud family man who still marvels at his 3 kids everyday. One is living his dream in the RAAF, one is playing hockey and studying in the USA and the youngest is about follow his passions of Music and Physics at UNI in the ACT. Paul is so very proud of them all, and it shows every time he mentions them.
I asked Paul where he gets his inspiration for his columns and if he had any favourites?
He says he’s a mathematician at heart, but he has a true love for the English language. He says he never gets writers block, not once and often he’ll jump out of the shower or stop the car to write an idea down that just came to him. I too, can relate to that.
As far as favourite columns over those 10 years, Paul says “The one about demanding my 5c change at McDonald’s stands out for dividing the readers. The one about not liking pork crackling (October 18th 2018) struck a chord with both crackling lovers and haters. The ones about family Christmases (I’ve written about 6 of them) are easy for people to relate to. Writing about Star Wars (October 1st, 2015 was the first one) and Loud Music (29th Sept 2009) doesn’t even require energy, it’s so easy. But perhaps my 2 all-time fave columns are (i) the one about Classic Lemons, the swimming pool game my youngest and I made up when we didn’t have a tennis ball for classic catches (Jan 14th 2016), and (ii) the one about leaving the Turkish Delight chocs until the end of the box because I was the only one who loved them (March 20th 2014).
By now I hope you realise how special Paul Tierney is to us and I also hope you have enjoyed hearing a little bit more about him. If you don’t already read his columns each week, use this as incentive to do so. He adds so much to our magazine and I know many readers enjoy his writing. I also know he will add some ‘feel good’ to your week each time you read his column or listen to his radio show.
Thanks for the memories Paul, may there be many more.
Photo by EdithMay Gowing