53 episodes

In Crisis What Crisis? Andy Coulson, former newspaper editor, Downing Street Communications Director and inmate of HMP Belmarsh, talks to embattled, shamed, courageous, ruined, resilient, unlucky (and lucky) survivors of crisis. Some names will be familiar, some less so. But they will talk honestly, with humour and in the hope that they have valuable lessons to share at a time when crisis has become the new normal. Crisis What Crisis? is all about frank, authentic and useful storytelling.

Crisis What Crisis‪?‬ Andy Coulson

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.2 • 10 Ratings

In Crisis What Crisis? Andy Coulson, former newspaper editor, Downing Street Communications Director and inmate of HMP Belmarsh, talks to embattled, shamed, courageous, ruined, resilient, unlucky (and lucky) survivors of crisis. Some names will be familiar, some less so. But they will talk honestly, with humour and in the hope that they have valuable lessons to share at a time when crisis has become the new normal. Crisis What Crisis? is all about frank, authentic and useful storytelling.

    42. Virginia Buckingham on 9/11, the unbearable burden of blame and moving forward

    42. Virginia Buckingham on 9/11, the unbearable burden of blame and moving forward

    To kick off this new series I’m joined by Ginny Buckingham – the quietly spoken, devoted mum-of-two who for a period of her life faced the frankly unfathomable trauma of being publicly blamed for thousands of deaths.
    Ginny was the boss of Boston’s Logan Airport where, on the morning of September 11th 2001, a group of terrorists boarded American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, airliners that of course very soon after take-off, they would hijack and later fly into New York’s World Trade Centre.
    Ginny led a daunting, frankly unprecedented crisis management operation at Logan but within 48hours of the attacks, the blame game began.
    It was wrongly claimed that the terrorists had targeted Logan because of its weak security systems and links to Boston politics.
    There were angry demands for Ginny to resign and, as one newspaper put it – ‘atone’ for the massacre. Her political bosses – as so often happens in crisis – saw the opportunity for a scapegoat. Blame, as Ginny puts it, gave them the opportunity to get control of an uncontrollable situation.
    Six weeks after the attacks, she was forced to resign but faced years of continued accusations and a personal legal claim from the wife of a 9/11 victim. As the second anniversary of the atrocity approached, Ginny sat alone in her car and considered suicide.
    This is a conversation about blame, the psychological impact of public scandal, guilt and recovery. Of how when crisis, politics and media collide, those in the crosshairs can find themselves in the most brutal of positions.
    In her book On My Watch (and indeed during this pod), Ginny stresses time and again that her difficulties are nothing as compared to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and the families they left behind.
    But hers is a story of how public crisis can so often create powerful tides of misplaced retribution and blame that wreak havoc on those unfortunate enough to be in the way. That even after she was very publicly exonerated by the 9/11 commission, the psychological damage, continued, demonstrating I think, that crisis can have a very long, unseen but very damaging tail.
    Ginny hopes that by telling her story, our leaders might think twice before reaching for the scapegoat button when trouble comes – and I hope she’s right. Huge thanks to her for joining us and I hope you find this podcast useful.

    Host – Andy Coulson
    Producer – Louise Difford

    ‘On My Watch’ – Memoir by Virginia Buckingham – https://amzn.to/3RJ8pGO

    Full transcript and links available at: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/virginia-buckingham-on-9-11-the-unbearable-burden-of-blame-and-moving-forward/

    Ginny's Crisis Cures:
    1 – Make a room in your home a haven for you during crisis and while you’re healing. I have a sitting room in the corner of my house that has my candles and my artwork and my books – that’s where I curl up in the corner, take a breath and say, “Okay. Go at this again tomorrow.”
    2 – Find a purpose outside of yourself and your current situation to devote yourself to. In my case I was very lucky that I had two little children to take care of and devote myself to outside of what was happening. But whether it’s parenting or taking care of your dog or your neighbour – it gives purpose and meaning to your day to day.
    3 – Do good with something bad. In my case, I took my story and I put it in a book and I put it out in the world. So don’t just let the bad things sit. Take advantage of the crisis and do good with it.

    Ginny's Crisis Track: Bruce Springsteen ‘The Rising’

    • 1 hr 4 min
    43. Andrew Marr on his stroke, survival and squeezing the juice out of every day

    43. Andrew Marr on his stroke, survival and squeezing the juice out of every day

    My guest today, I am thrilled to say, is one of Britain’s best broadcasters – the brilliant Andrew Marr. Perhaps best known for his Sunday morning politics show, which he recently left after more than 20 years, Andrew is a true polymath – a man who can not only present but who writes prolifically, is a talented painter and who has forgotten more than most of us have learnt about Britain’s history.
    Andrew is also a survivor – in 2013 he suffered a catastrophic stroke that his wife and children were told would claim his life. He defied his doctors, of course, although has been left with permanent paralysis on his left side. Then four years ago Andrew was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He batted that challenge away with determination and self-deprecation. This is not a man to wallow in his own troubles, I can tell you. But he has analysed and made sense of those crises and talks to me in this podcast about them in a way that is both fascinating and I think valuable. He says, “After the stroke, my life became a long list of can’ts... Can’t run, can’t cycle, can’t swim, can’t ski. I decided instead to concentrate on the cans. And I now try to squeeze the juice out of every day.” Brilliant.
    This is a compelling episode with a truly compelling guest. My thanks to him and I hope you enjoy it.

    Andrew’s Crisis Cures:
    1 – A good malt whisky calms me down. Half and half with water, looking into the middle distance. Brings the blood pressure down and pulls everything into perspective.
    2 – Music – I listen to a lot of classical and piano music, more and more as I get older. I like to walk around Regents Park with headphones on almost certainly listening to either Beethoven or my new discovery – Haydn’s piano sonatas, which are heart-stoppingly beautiful
    3 –The sky – Get outside in all weathers and be surrounded by nature.

    Full transcript available at: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/andrew-marr-on-his-stroke-survival-and-squeezing-the-juice-out-of-every-day/

    Links:
    Tonight with Andrew Marr: https://www.globalplayer.com/podcasts/42KuSx/
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/marrshow?lang=en
    Elizabethans – https://amzn.to/3Ud6AUm

    Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: https://ampl.ink/qp6bm
    Some Velvet Morning Website: www.somevelvetmorning.co.uk
    Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: https://open.spotify.com/track/5OX9XgJufFz9g63o2Dv2i5?si=b2f9397c92084682

    Host – Andy Coulson
    Producer – Louise Difford

    Full transcript available here: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/andrew-marr-on-his-stroke-survival-and-squeezing-the-juice-out-of-every-day/

    • 1 hr
    44. William Hague on managing global crisis, the art of resigning and the pursuit of happiness

    44. William Hague on managing global crisis, the art of resigning and the pursuit of happiness

    My guest today is the former Foreign Secretary William Hague. As someone who has been ‘in the room’ as the decision maker at so many moments of political drama, Lord Hague has an incredibly valuable voice to add to this conversation that we’re having about crisis. From his challenging time as Conservative Party leader, the wilderness years out of frontline politics, the four he spent as Foreign Secretary - and now as businessman and commentator - William has a unique perspective on what makes a crisis and how those in public life should approach managing them. Threaded throughout our discussion on Ukraine, Brexit, political resignations and why being Prime Minister is not the route to happiness, William gives us the Hague formula for crisis management. It is, perhaps as you might expect, pretty no-nonsense. Interestingly, William thinks his keep calm, keep perspective approach is out of kilter with the modern world of instant decision making and instant judgements. I suspect, after listening to him you’ll think, like me, that it’s exactly what the bonkers world of politics needs right now. William and I worked quite closely together more than a decade ago and this conversation also reminded me just how reasonable a bloke he is.  God knows we could do with a bit of that. I hope you enjoy this conversation and thanks so much for listening.

    William's Crisis Cures: 
    1 – Nature – The Japanese like forest bathing – it’s not a bad idea.. when in trouble go and walk amongst the trees, the plants and wild animals – it gives you a different perspective.  Certainly a calmer one.
    2 – History – Often you can see things in better perspective if you can remember how terrible things were before for the previous generation.  Don’t feel so sorry for yourself when you consider those aged 20 in the 1940’s going off to war.
    3 – Exercise – When I was in the Foreign office I used to say ‘I can do without sleep or food, but I can’t do without my exercise.’  I have to have a run or a swim in the morning. When I’m in big trouble I need even more of that because I think it gives you an energy and a self-confidence and again, a sense of perspective and some time to think.

    Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: https://ampl.ink/qp6bm 
    Some Velvet Morning Website: www.somevelvetmorning.co.uk
    Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: https://open.spotify.com/track/5OX9XgJufFz9g63o2Dv2i5?si=b2f9397c92084682

    Host– Andy Coulson
    Producer – Louise Difford

    Full episode transcript available at: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/william-hague-on-managing-global-crisis-the-art-of-resigning-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness/

    • 1 hr 2 min
    45. Dr Nate Zinsser on how to develop the confidence to survive crisis

    45. Dr Nate Zinsser on how to develop the confidence to survive crisis

    In this episode I’m joined by the world-renowned performance psychologist, Dr Nate Zinsser. Dr Zinsser (or Dr Z as he’s known) - is the Director of the Performance Psychology Programme at West Point, the US Army’s famous officer training facility. In that role he prepares new and experienced soldiers for the mental stresses of battle. He also works for the FBI and is a top US sports psychologist, helping to guide a number of NFL and Olympic athletes to glory.

    Dr Z’s new book, The Confident Mind – a Battle Tested Guide for Unshakable Performance - is packed with useful, practical tips on how to discover and maintain your confidence. Dr Z’s approach is far from the world of positive thinking fluff, that publishers seem to love these days. His formula is brutally frank, down to earth, and doable. In this chat Dr Z talks us through his confidence framework. And along the way he explains how the recently jailed Boris Becker can turn his downfall into a positive. He also delivers a compelling message to the men and women fighting the war in Ukraine.

    There really are some gems to remember here. Like - “There’s a big difference between positive thinking and effective thinking” and “Crisis is an opportunity to get to a better life, not to just get back the life you had” and my personal favourite “Bitterness is not a clean burning fuel … it will always leave a residue.” Some great stuff here. My thanks to Dr Z and I hope you find it as useful as I did!

    Dr Z's crisis cures:
    1 – Start by not categorising your situation as a crisis in the first place! I try to be as rational and as careful about how I think about the problem. My response is always to stop. Breathe. Hold back the emotion – be as objective as possible. Ramp down the alarm bells and see this as a situation that’s going to require a considerable input of a particular type of energy. I don’t want to be telling myself that I’m in a crisis.

    2 – Define the situation appropriately – are you in a situation that means the world is going to end or one that you just wouldn’t choose to be in? Remember you have agency and capability.

    3 – Decide to act. Remember, you are the leader, and you make the decisions when it counts.

    LINKS:
    Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Nathaniel.Zinsser
    LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nate-zinsser-35349010/
    Twitter: (@DocZinsser)
    Website: www.NateZinsser.com
    Book: https://amzn.to/3BjrPv3


    Host - Andy Coulson
    Producer - Louise Difford

    Full transcript available at: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/dr-nate-zinsser-on-how-to-develop-the-confidence-to-survive-crisis/

    • 59 min
    46. James Timpson on almost losing it all, the UK’s prison crisis and the underrated power of kindness

    46. James Timpson on almost losing it all, the UK’s prison crisis and the underrated power of kindness

    My guest this today is James Timpson OBE – the inspiring and successful businessman whose family-run company boasts over two thousand Timpsons, Snappy Snaps and other high street brands. In this conversation you’ll hear how the impact of lockdown almost took the company down. As he said, “half of me thought, this is a business experiment to see if we can survive - the other half thought, if we’re going to go down, we might as well go down in style sticking to our values.”

    You’ll also hear about his loving but somewhat unconventional upbringing in a home that over the years was a refuge to some 90 foster children. An environment he says, that could go from “calm to chaos in a matter of seconds.” It’s clear that this early exposure to crisis in its’ rawest form is where Timpson’s culture of kindness was born. It also led to James’s other great passion in life – the rehabilitation of ex-offenders. James is Chairman of the Prison Reform Trust. But he also walks the talk in his business life. Timpson’s programme of recruiting former prisoners is one of Britain’s most progressive and successful re-employment initiatives. But as James says, it’s only when he sees a reformed ex-offender become the CEO of a well-known public company that he will begin to believe we are truly changing our attitude towards criminal justice.

    So this conversation is an inspiring one and I think demonstrates how a little kindness and generosity of spirit toward those in crisis, can go a very, very long way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    James' Crisis Cures:

    1 - Breathing – learning how to breathe. I try hard to be calm and thoughtful. My mind’s too busy to meditate.

    2 - Physical exercise – we’re a Peloton family. 45 minutes on that trying to beat my target. I always feel better after that.

    3 – Car rallies with the kids or music festivals. When you’re dancing or in a car – nothing seems to worry you.

    LINKS:

    https://prisonreformtrust.org.uk/


    Host – Andy Coulson
    Producer – Louise Difford

    Full transcript available at: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/james-timpson-on-almost-losing-it-all-the-uks-prison-crisis-and-the-underrated-power-of-kindness/

    • 1 hr 5 min
    47. Richard Clemmow on the terror of brain cancer, fighting for time and the desperate need for a new approach

    47. Richard Clemmow on the terror of brain cancer, fighting for time and the desperate need for a new approach

    My guest for this episode is the journalist, documentary maker and radio script writer, Richard Clemmow. Richard and I are both trustees of Our Brain Bank, a charity which supports people affected by Glioblastoma – one of the most complex and aggressive brain cancers. GBM is a cancer which sadly we both have a very personal connection with. I became a trustee after my family lost my sister Deb almost four years ago after she was diagnosed with a GBM.
    Richard was married to the pioneering TV executive Jana Bennett. As Director General at the BBC, Jana reached higher office than any woman before her. She transformed the corporation’s science coverage, creating Walking With Dinosaurs and later overseeing the introduction of the iPlayer. Jana also sadly died of a GBM earlier this year – she was just 66 years old, leaving Richard and their two children completely devastated.
    In this podcast, Richard and I talk about our shared experiences with GBM, for which treatment has not developed significantly in the last couple of decades. We discuss why that is, the shocking lack of information that is available to GBM patients and their families and why OBB is so determined to shine a bright light on this terrible, terrible disease.
    Richard talks with power, clarity and in incredibly moving detail about Jana’s determination and courage. But this is also a story about his courage as he effectively played detective to try and prolong his wife’s life by finding new treatments.
    As this episode becomes available, I should be crossing the finish line having cycled from Land’s End to John O’ Groats in aid of OBB. So, if you feel moved by what you hear, Richard and I would be grateful if you would support our efforts by clicking on the fundraising link below. Huge thanks if you do and in any event thanks for listening.

    Richard’s Crisis Cures:
    1. I think that’s really important – understanding the situation you’re in, to the best of your ability and therefore knowing your options and where you might go. It makes you feel more empowered.
    2. The right kind of music will do it for me. Mozart’s Requiem or Beethoven’s String Quartet. Also Harvest Moon by Neil Young – that’s the song that got Jana through the first 9-hour surgery when she was awake while the surgeon was digging into her head.
    3. Hiking in the mountains – that would be my third.

    Links:
    Support Andy Coulson, raising funds for Our Brain Bank on the LEJOG ride – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-coulson10
    Our Brain Bank – https://ourbrainbank.org/uk/

    Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: https://ampl.ink/qp6bm
    Some Velvet Morning Website: www.somevelvetmorning.co.uk
    Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: https://open.spotify.com/track/5OX9XgJufFz9g63o2Dv2i5?si=b2f9397c92084682

    Host– Andy Coulson
    Producer – Louise Difford

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

MarthaWilkie ,

Episode 47 on brain cancer is moving and wise

Really thoughtful, touching, and brutally honest episode on glioblastoma, the worst type of brain cancer.

LindseyLaine ,

Honesty and crisis cures- great podcast

Andy and his guests are bitingly honest in looking back at times of crisis in their lives. My favorite content is the end of each episode when each guest is asked for their 3 “crisis cures”- as guidance and help for everyone now trying to survival a global pandemic crisis of our own.

SJ Weho ,

Great podcast!

So many people make success look easy and effortless. Not Andy and his guests. They harness the power of failure and resilience to show how both can be a driving force that ultimately lead to a fresh perspective on life, and how both can be used to turn negative events around into positive forces in life.

You Might Also Like

The Political Party
BBC Radio 4
Goalhanger Podcasts
LBC
The Times
LBC