Readers may be familiar with Ian Rutter's voice from his Life Stories programme on Talk Radio Europe. Classical music fans may also have heard him presenting his show on The Wireless Radio; an internet-based radio station.
Ian, 55, and his partner Andrew, live in the Lecrín Valley in Granada province and since they moved there in 2016 they have been extremely busy.
It's hard to know where to start with what Ian does. Andrew quite rightly describes him as an “entrepreneur” and that is probably the best way to sum him up. Ian himself will say he's a “Jack of all trades” and admits that he likes to “dabble” in as many things that interest him as possible.
Ian was born in Germany and as a child lived in Cyprus, England, and Northern Ireland as his father was a pilot in the RAF. He went to university in London, where he studied Architecture and later on spent time in Kent, although he says that he has “an affinity with Suffolk” and loves East Anglia as that's where his parents eventually settled.
Interestingly, Ian never really followed architecture as a career, although he has used his creative talents to other ends over the years. He admits that he really wanted to be an actor but that his father would never have supported such a career choice.
“Acting had to be funded privately and my dad wouldn't have paid for me,” he explains, adding that he has done quite a lot of acting, but “on a small scale”.
Ian worked as an estate agent during the 1980s in London. “I loved it - it was a licence to print money,” he admits, adding, “but then the market collapsed.” He moved to Kent with his former partner and two young children, where he opened a shop, and then went into the travel business. He went on to obtain a web design certificate and spent 10 years as a director of two digital marketing companies. Ian later moved back to London where he was able to put his business expertise to use in the charity sector, working first for Age UK and then for LGBT charity, Stonewall.
It was with Age UK that Ian got his first radio gig. The charity had just launched a radio station and he was invited to present a classical music programme on a voluntary basis. This led to his programme on The Wireless Radio, 'Classical on The Wireless' and he has had the opportunity to interview some leading names in classical music, including Andrea Bocelli.
He approached TRE soon after moving to Spain and was offered the Life Stories programme after submitting a pilot interview with his friend and neighbour in the Lecrín Valley, the artist, Roberta Gordon-Smith.
Ian says of the radio programme that it's given him “a fast track to a network of people here” and taken him to parts of Andalucía he “would never otherwise have seen”, which has helped him and Andrew to settle here. He also says he's “fascinated” by the stories behind people's decisions to move to this part of Spain and has met some “incredibly interesting people”.
Ian and Andrew were already familiar with southern Spain through Ian's work in the travel sector. He would visit Andalucía regularly, renting villas, but confesses that he had “never had any desire to live here”. However, he discovered the space and beauty of inland Spain and tentatively suggested the idea of moving here for a year to Andrew “to see if we would like it”, he explains, adding, “Fortunately Andrew said yes.” He says he waited for someone to tell them “not to be ridiculous” but says that nobody did and within two weeks of moving here the couple knew they wouldn't be going back to the UK.
Another feather to Ian's bow is the TEFL qualification he did before coming to Spain, so that he could teach English as a foreign language, which he now does, part time in a private language school in Granada. He has also done a number of voice-overs for companies in Spain as well as for a Unesco project.
Both Ian and Andrew are artistic and are using their time in Spain to get back to doing what they love, after the frenetic lifestyle of London. Ian is also finding time to paint, another of his passions, and sometimes exhibits at the El Casino gallery in Salobreña, owned by Roberta. The couple see themselves staying in Granada province.