Emotional ties: LBC presenter James O’Brien on meaningful gifts and his weekend wheels
From a treasured ted to midlife kicks, LBC presenter James O’Brien reveals the little things that mean everything to him
LBC presenter James O’Brien with his cavapoo Polly
I missed out on the petrolhead gene, but I’ve always loved bikes. I bought this from a shop near my home. Pashley, a Stratford-upon-Avon company, makes its bicycles by hand. My daughters [Elizabeth and Sophia, 12 and ten] and I love to cycle along the Thames at weekends.
This sign was a Father’s Day gift from Elizabeth and Sophia. They’re at an age where they’re both amused and embarrassed by the fact that I’m on the radio. It lights up and is a nod to their burgeoning knowledge of what I do for a living.
Ted was given to my parents by our neighbours. He needs to be patched up at the teddy bear hospital; his arm is falling off and he’s lost an eye. My children slept with him and I did, too – at boarding school, when home comforts were thin on the ground.
Elizabeth and Sophia gave me these vintage typewriter key cufflinks – one with each of their initials. If I have to do something nerve-racking, I wear these as a reminder of what really matters. I give them a little touch and everything slips into perspective.
Since becoming a father, I’ve been wearing quite sober trainers, but back in the 90s, I had a pair of red Fila high-tops, a ponytail and a fake Manchester accent. I saw these and thought, ‘They can be my midlife crisis.’ I may get my wife a matching pair!
My dad Jim, who died six years ago, was my role model. Journalistically, he was my inspiration. This picture of him [left] was taken when he worked at the Sheffield Telegraph. His talent was the ability to put people at ease – anyone would talk to him.
The Catcher in the Rye is my favourite book. My wife Lucy gave me this early edition. It’s the nicest present anyone has ever bought me. Presents weren’t a big thing in my family – this was my introduction to how brilliant it is to be given a lovely gift.
I got into music when I lived in Manchester after school. This Stone Roses album is the most seminal one of the past 30 years, in my opinion. Elizabeth has developed a passion for vinyl, so I bought her this – we share it and listen to it together.
- James’s new book, How To Be Right… In a World Gone Wrong, £12.99, is published in hardback by WH Allen. To order a copy for £10.39 until 2 December, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; P&P is free on orders over £15