Ten questions with Bob Melling | Research Lead
Posted on 24th March 2020 at 17:24
Hi, I’m Bob. Yes, I know you probably just read that in Rowan Atkinson’s voice - I’m talking to you, Mike! 80s sitcoms aside, I’m a final year History student at Keele University, meaning my student status is soon to expire! And believe me, I’m desperately clutching onto every single second as a student.
I’m also the Research Lead here at Mondrem, meaning it’s my job to pick up all the good stuff and turn it into content. I like to see myself as a bit of a word chef. I pick the best bits, throw them into a big pot and try and make something from them.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
Storytelling. Mondrem have a beautiful story and I love working with Kate to tell that story. My English teacher once told fifteen-year-old Bob that he wrote like he had just swallowed a Thesaurus and was regurgitating words from it back onto the page. I don’t think it was meant to be a complement, but it reinforced my status as a logophile. And it’s why I love what I do for Mondrem. I get to collect all the raw snippets of information and transform them into stories.
How do you like to start and end your day?
Toast and lots of it. This is washed down by either green tea or a milky coffee (got to be Kenco). And while I’m making/eating/drinking my way through the morning, I listen to podcasts. Namely the Intelligence on Economist Radio for my current affairs fix, but I also enjoy the Totally Football Show among others.
I like to finish the day with Netflix. Whether it’s the gun-toting madness of Tiger King or the white-knuckle ride of Breaking Bad, I love the escapism of a brilliant TV series.
Who inspires you?
This is a difficult question, but the first person that pops into mind is Sir Tom Finney – Preston North End and England legend. The wizard on the wing, Sir Tom was not just a brilliant footballer, but a gentleman. I was lucky enough to meet him on several occasions. A starry-eyed schoolboy I was in awe of his character. The football he signed for me is still occupying a precious position on my bedroom shelf.
I think football has lost the gentleness and humility that Sir Tom brought to the game and it deeply hurt the city of Preston when we lost our favourite son. I don’t really like what football stands for today, but the legacy of Sir Tom does live on and I hope that football can one day return to its humble roots.
Why are Public Services important to you?
Imagine a world without them. You can’t, can you? Public services are the bedrock of society. My brother has a learning disability and visual impairment; he depends on public bodies for support. I’ve seen the detriment caused when those public bodies have failed him. But, I’ve also seen the joy that they can provide – and should. My Mum works for the Department for Work and Pensions and administers an invaluable service to claimants who are often vulnerable and in need of financial support. I know about the strains that the system is under and the importance of getting decisions right every time.
Public services are not trivial. They make up the foundations of our society and if those foundations are not cared for, the structures on top will begin to crumble.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Castle Neuschwanstein, the Palace of Versailles, Times Square – I’ve been lucky enough to see some incredible things, but I can’t think of anything better than a Tuesday night spent under the floodlights of Deepdale. Butter pie in one hand, programme in the other, watching Preston North End under the floodlights is unparalleled. From last minute winners to pitch invasions, Deepdale holds some of my most sacred memories. And what makes it even better, is that I have shared these memories with three generations of my family.
What’s one piece of advice everyone needs to hear?
I’m pretty rubbish when it comes to remembering advice; my Dad will certainly attest to this. But if there was one piece of advice I’d like to share, it would be this - “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” This is something Mondrem hold close and it’s a phrase I often call upon.
What’s the best music concert you’ve ever attended?
Another toughie. I’ve seen a real variety of bands, from the Grimethorpe Colliery Band to 80s ravers Happy Mondays. I’d like to make myself sound sophisticated by telling you it was the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, but really the award for ‘best concert’ belongs to an artist I’ve now seen seven times - Manchester’s favourite parka monkey, Liam Fray. The Courteeners frontman performed a solo gig at Keele Students’ Union and it was immense. A mixture of crowd-rousing anthems and subtle guitar melodies. There’s nothing I love more than bouncing up and down on a beer-soaked floor to my favourite indie classics.
What are you passionate about?
Music has always been a considerable part of my life. Playing in brass bands for over ten years has been transformative. Contesting in Blackpool Winter Gardens the highlight, playing carols in the local bowling club the low point. A shy, awkward schoolboy, music allowed me to be expressive. Graded exams and competitions gave me a newfound confidence and resilience. When you’re centre stage with a bright spotlight beaming down on you, there’s no place to hide.
The confidence forged during my time brass banding is something I carry with me everyday. Just like music has been the light in my life, I want to help others find the light in theirs. This is definitely the approach I take to working at Mondrem.
How would you describe your Mondrem experience in one word? Why?
Joyous. Working with such a supportive team who truly value what they do has been wonderful. And writing their stories has been a joyous task. Mondrem are a foot off the ground company who embrace difference and find imperfection beautiful. They don’t speak in massaged platitudes, instead opting for honesty encrusted in layers of humour. I feel as though I’ve been given the license to be expressive and when I’ve needed it, an arm has been put around my shoulder.
Share this post: