“It was just so amazing to be part of that story…to breathe in that Irishness and be part of it.”
If I had to describe Mick Ord in one word, that singular utterance would be “calm”.
The man exudes a strangely Buddhist serenity that belies the fact he has worked in one of the most stress-filled environments man has managed to create for himself.
It’s a curious profession, more a curse than a calling. You hear it all the time: how media, mainstream or otherwise, is somehow part of a powergame conspiracy, feeding alternative facts and deepfakery to pursue an agenda on behalf of the elite. Or the state. Or another state. Or globalists. Or the man.
Does anyone remember when “the man” was the problem?
As a media professional you are the enemy of every side. Both an agent of demons and a necessary evil, a devil we all have to sup with.
You get the picture.
Calm is not a term associated with Mick Ord’s trade: it’s all 24 hour news, clickbait and doorstopping. The classic image of a journalist is either wiry and hyperactive, a rat sniffing hungrily for stories among garbage, or porcine and alcoholic – bloated and bleary with everything he’s downed to fill that hole where his heart should be. A jaded shell.
Certainly not this softly-spoken, quick-humoured and wide-eyed enthusiast for life. Not this..this…
I mean the man’s been to Northern Ireland. He’s seen tragedy. He’s watched Everton.
But this calm is neither a mask nor a God-given defence. It has been a choice. To find that your parents aren’t your parents. That none of you growing up together had a familial connection (“four kids and three of them had Irish mothers”), and later – when you do finally find your mother – to discover that she can’t see you save for from a distance and as a stranger on a New York Street. All these things could easily turn a man bitter at his lot, and yet Mick Ord has chosen the other path.
Instead there is joy at discovering his Towey forebears – alive and dead – in Knock. There is hilarity at the brief prospect that he might have been Icelandic. There is a growing sense of fulfilment and belonging as he discovers more of the past that might have been his, and recognises the decisions that were made to give him the life he has now.
Not all adoptive stories are as fortunate as Mick’s. Reunion can just as easily bring disillusion as it can closure. The Birth Information and Tracing Act, passed last year in Ireland, will doubtless open as many wounds as it salves. But an hour spent in his company, passing as gently as raft upon a river, reminds us that our Diaspora stories are not all chaos, estrangement and rebellion.
They can also be calm.
Mick Ord calm.
The Plastic Podcasts: Mick Ord
Misadventures In Music – podcast with Mick Ord and Ian Prowse
The Baltic Triangle – podcast with Mick Ord and business leaders in Liverpool