Monday, November 09, 2009

Heave on - to Euston

Saturday 7 November

I forgot to mention that yesterday, while at the gym, I received a missed call on my mobile from 07973100194. Being wary not to call back numbers I don’t recognise I Googled the number. I looked at one web forum and many of the contributors seemed to suggest that this number was either being used by Orange, a company pretending to work for Orange or scamsters. Either way you should ignore any calls from this number and, if you do answer it, don't give them any information whatsoever. The number of calls being received from this number has increased drastically since people starting noting interest in the iPhone. It puts me off using Orange but I'll delve a bit further. I hate aggressive sales like this. Some people were getting repeated calls but, so far, I’ve only had one.

It’s always concerned me that you can only contact such a major communications company as Orange by snail mail. I wrote several letters to them on an issue I had with dodgy texts and I never got one reply. I also don’t like the way they try and make their dolphin, elephant, aardvark and duck-billed playtus contracts sound like Pay As You Go.

Felicity wrote a short story called “Fantastic Charlotte”. She read it to me and when she finished I said, as any parent would do, “Very good, darling”. To which she responded, “Yes, but it needs an ending!” Brilliant.

Did some more work on my HBA entries and pottered about until the brilliant “The Thick of It”. However, while watching the extra bits on the BBC’s Interactive red Button, I made the fatal mistake of lying down on the settee and promptly fell asleep.

Sunday 8 November

A lie-in of sorts. I watch “Match of the Day”, taped from Saturday night (so I can skip through the studio analysis and just watch the “action”), while the girls have breakfast Normally they go to church but today K and D are heading off to the shops. I go to church religiously, once a year at Christmas. Even the lure of a Kinder egg wasn’t enough to persuade Flick to join the ladies–who-like-to-shop.

Flick went to a fancy dress birthday party yesterday, as a cat, and won a Rugrats DVD in one of the games. The fact that she was the only one who bothered to enter this particular dancing contest didn’t matter – she’d won! She spent the morning watching all 8 episodes from the DVD. Normally she doesn’t get to watch so much telly but I had a load of stuff to do in the study and she was happy enough. A win-win situation.

I put my radio show playlist up on this blog, the Jocknroll blog and my Facebook page before heading off to the radio station early. I’m going via Toys R Us at the Chapel Retail Park on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy to see if I can get a Playmobil advent calendar. I’m met with chaos. It seems Christmas shopping has now started in earnest, with all the dithering knuckle-dragging pedestrians and equally clueless drivers turning a potentially stressful afternoon into a living, breathing, mong-infested nightmare. The car park seems relatively small for the size of the place and all those people who can’t walk the length of themselves are circling round and round and round trying to get a spot nearest the store they‘re heading for. I give up on this idea and park at the furthest end of the car park, outside B&Q. It’s not exactly a big Retail Park and you could easily walk from one end to the other in under 5 minutes.

My trawl round a mobbed Toys R Us is fruitless. They have Playmobil but no advent calendars. Argos doesn’t have Playmobil either. After a cursory glance round PC World - a shop I dislike - to look at Mac Books and Windows 7, I head back to the car and leave through the alternative, quieter exit.

I pop into Asda to see if they have Playmobil and leave instead with Men’s Health and some Lucozade. I head off to the station and get there before Graham has even started his show. He does the 3 until 5 slot and plays a lot of stuff that you wouldn’t normally hear on the radio. Decent rocky, folky, bluesy stuff but not averse to the occasional bit of pop. It’s not my cup of tea but whatever floats your boat. He does play the occasional track that makes me wander from my studio to enquire, “What was that?” Today he opened with a great Canned Heat track. He begins the second half of the show with an hour-long interview with The Bee Gees that he recorded three weeks ago. I’m impressed. I like him and we have some good banter together.

The chairman points out that the entry I sent him for the Speech category at the awards needs tweaking at the start and finish and there’s an overlapping bit after a minute. I listen to it and see exactly what he means. Sometimes when you’ve spent so long working that you can easily miss something. It’s good to get fresh ears on it. I’ll sort the problems when I get home.

With the proposed Speech entry sorted I need to re-do the Specialist Music entry. Some of the Andrew Collins interview features on my specialist Music entry and I need to take it all out, with the exception of the conversation about Joe Meek and The Honeycombs. I’ve got a couple of ideas for additions from today’s show. I need to emphasise the mod/soul element of the show more.

The show doesn’t start well. The first record is supposed to be “One Fine Day” by The Chiffons but I play The Ronettes “You Bet I Would” by mistake. As it’s the first track I play, straight out of the news, it doesn’t get introduced so the listener doesn’t know it’s the wrong track. However, I know and I’m pissed off. I put far too much pressure on myself to do the perfect show and I end up making at least one error per show. I want to do a consistent show but not a consistently error-strewn one.

One thing that really annoys me is when I’m doing my show is when someone just walks into the studio unannounced or without so much as a knock on the door. Some presenters don’t mind it but I do. I find it off-putting. Graham and I respect each other’s boundaries and I try not to overstay my welcome in his studio when he’s on air.

Disaster struck during the second half of my show. For some reason I left my mic open and, for reasons I won’t go into, I swore. I don’t know if the sound of the record masked it or if it went out on the air but it wasn’t deliberate. I was concerned enough to scan my recorded show when I got home. I haven’t heard anything yet but I’ll need to give it another closer listen tonight. If it went out it’ll probably mean a suspension, which, in the run-up to my St.Andrews’s Day Jocknroll show and my four Christmas specials, would be a sickener.

The rest of the show passed in a blur as I beat myself up over the cock-up. Luckily I had Felicity to cheer me up when I got home. She had used some plastic bricks to make a train platform and a train. She said her train had 18 carriages. I said, “That’s a long train”, to which she replied, “Yes, it’s the London train!” From the mouths of babes…

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