The novelist Francesca Marchiano has hit on a solution: write in a different language.Speaking about her first book, the Rules of the Wild, a love story based in Africa, she said: "I started off writing in Italian and I then got stuck. The Angel has now become a place where people go to meet each other, have picnics - I'm sure they will end up getting married there. I suppose lots of people do see Shearer as the Angel of the North, rather than the sculpture. The only thing is I'd have liked to have seen a shirt with sleeves That would have made it.
But I suppose it was too expensive."English love letters from AfricaALL ASPIRING writers know the frustration of writer's block. It was, of course, Gormley who brought us the Angel of the North, the huge, winged figure that dominates the skyline alongside the A1 at Gateshead and which last week was adorned with an outsize Alan Shearer shirt. I rather dreaded what he would have to say about it when I rang him, but he couldn't have been more relaxed."It's very charming," he told me. "It's like two worlds uniting - I've never heard so many people talking about art. It was a bit unfortunate when they asked me because I'd met one of the commissioning editors the day before and had been complaining about how I didn't like getting up in the morning to do breakfast shows." You could have fooled me.NO PRECIOUS artist is sculptor Antony Gormley. I used to lie to all my friends whenever they came round and tell them the television was being repaired."Via Plymouth Sound and BBC Radio Devon Petroc found his way to Hong Kong and the British Forces Broadcasting Service "I thought it would be really glamorous.
But the RAF base in Hong Kong is near the Chinese border and it was just like a scene from M*A*S*H - it's 36-degree heat and mosquitoes in a tin shed, with lots of Gurkha soldiers. I played pop music and did dedications - it was just like Smashie and Nicey."He has always been interested in music: "My mother was a church organist and we always listened to concerts on Radio 3. I remember sitting listening to the Proms with a brochure." Hence a return to London as part of Classic FM's launch team. "Classic FM really saw where there was an audience and they did a lot of live performances by talented young musicians. It was very exciting and I think when it started it really helped to shake up an area of radio that had maybe been allowed to stay the same for too long."I got this job because I'd been doing some work for In Tune [the Radio 3 drive-time programme] and at the time I was doing the breakfast show for BBC GMR. Similarly, we might use a tenor or bass aria but not a soprano aria It's a bit too much in your face when you are going to work.