Bryn Frere-Smith

One in a million.

I spent the past three months of lockdown living by the sea. Each day, come rain, wind, or snow, I’ve taken my coffee down to the beach for a morning stroll to clear my head, make space for the new day and watch the waves roll in and roll out. There’s something about the constancy …

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The Perils of Indifference

I was recently asked to record a 1-minute acceptance speech for an online award ceremony. Sadly, it was made clear to me that this was a requirement made of each of the five nominees and couldn’t be taken as an indication of future glory. I found it surprisingly difficult to pen the 60 second epilogue, that stands …

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Choices

I was once admonished by a Business Coach for my frequent use of the word ‘can’t’ during one of our sessions. “Remove it from your vocabulary!”, I was told. “There is no cant. You simply choose to or choose not to.” Can’t had become the default answer to any uncomfortable challenge that was put my way. “I can’t …

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Race Matters

I chose to study Religious Education as one of my GCSE’s at high school, partly because I liked the kind, motherly nature of Mrs Stewart, but mainly because I knew it was one of my best chances of getting an A. And I was right. I can’t say, however, that I remember much from that …

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Birthdays

It’s my birthday this week and I am turning 34. 34! It’s funny isn’t it, you spend most of your childhood wanting to be older, to be allowed on the bigger ride at the theme park, to watch a higher age movie at the cinema, to learn to drive, to get served in a pub, …

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Grief

A couple of years ago, I started an online course on the issues of global terrorism with St Andrews University. My job at the time involved sitting in a hotel corridor, looking after a Middle Eastern dignitary, who was visiting the capital for an indefinite period. The days turned into weeks, which soon became months …

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Borders

Few topics have the capacity to create more contention than the issue of immigration. The mere mention of it loads a room with an uncomfortable air of fear, anger, bitterness and upset. It has, wrongly, become a subject which ‘polite society’ now collectively avoids, in fear of ruining a perfectly good dinner party. Borders, however, …

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The year of the Bear

I have never been very good at keeping things short. If someone asks me to give a ten-minute talk, I will always do over fifteen and if I’m asked to keep it under 500 words, I’ll usually write double. This characteristic spills over to my buying habits too. My wardrobe and fridge will attest to …

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Boy’s don’t cry.

Well it’s true, isn’t it? At least in the UK it is, where centuries of patriarchal programming has instilled upon us British men an inherited predisposition to stifle one’s emotions. Whether it’s the fallout from our stiff-upper-lip wartime conditioning or a deeply entrenched view from generations of Fathers explaining to their sons that crying is for …

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