Technical Production

3MBS has many technically skilled volunteers in its service, but none quite so laid-back as Paul Kelly. The Welshman with the Irish name.

Paul gives the appearance of being a reserved, unassuming gentleman of many talents. However, underneath is a ‘stand-up’ comic who delivers subtle one-liners for which many professional comedians would trade their inane writers.

Paul Kelly was born in Cogan, in what he describes as a purpose designed slum on the outskirts of Penarth, South Wales. This is where the River Taff joins the Bristol Channel with Cogan being famous for its docks and coal landing facilities. “The Taff makes the Yarra look like the Blue Nile. It’s the only place where I’ve ever seen coal float!”

Paul lived in a small terraced house with his parents, grandparents and grandfather, he shared a bedroom and bed with the latter. The house had gas lighting, one cold water tap in the kitchen and an outside toilet. The family had an enormous valve driven radio which was powered by a large wet cell battery under a table. Every fortnight a little man pushing a handcart would replace the battery.

The house where Paul spent his formative years in Bridge Street, Cogan is now the headquarters of the Welsh Language Service of Al-Jazeera.

In 1956 the family moved to the wilds of North Devon where Paul spent five years avoiding school and cow droppings.

In 1959 he obtained his first record player and first record, Red River Rock by Johnny and the Hurricanes. Later he discovered there was more to music than rock n’ roll and turned to Ray Conniff which taught him that some music swings. This lead to his interest in jazz.

In 1961 the ‘cow droppings’ problem was solved when Paul moved to Hong Kong, joined a rock band as a drummer and played in some interesting venues including the Hilton Hotel, the Island Ferries and several bars in the Wanchai area which was the home of the US Navy’s ‘R and R’area. He later traded in his drum kit and bought a car.

Round about this time he discovered classical music thanks to his old mate Ray Conniff who interpreted the music of Tchaikovsky in a very interesting manner.

In 1970 he emigrated to Australia on the ten pound scheme and at the first Australian stop, Perth, hopped off the ship and accepted a position with the State Government issuing water bills.

In 2003 Paul volunteered his services to 3MBS. “I took up digital editing in an attempt to right some of the early wrongs, expanded the use of software into other programmes, became involved in outside broadcasting and all in all am having a great time, wish you were here.”

Paul’s very laid-back manner makes it all sound so easy, in fact much of his work is quite intricate.

Paul Kelly is a man with whom one has an instant rapport and it’s extremely rare for him to lose his cool. This is the sort of volunteer 3MBS welcomes with open arms. As for once living in the now Al-Jazeera headquarters, maybe one should look for the plaque reading “Paul Kelly slept here!”