Steve Yabsley was always the loveliest, funniest boy at BBC Radio Bristol. He’s invited me to chat on his show on Monday 16th April. In fact he seemed dead pleased to hear from me, which cheered me up no end and I’m really looking forward to seeing him and checking out who’s still there after all this time. It’s sixteen years since I worked in the place….I used to present a programme called Weekend West and before that, The Wild West Show – natural history in the West Country. See what they did there? Actually, I still think it was a pretty good name.
Being interviewed. It’s an odd business. It’s ages since I was on that end of things. It’s weird, I’d forgotten. They, the presenter or journalist , have an agenda. So have you. Those agendas are totally different. The trick is, to give them what they want while retaining your dignity. It’s harder than it sounds. They often want personal stuff about your family. You have to resist.
They want you to dig the dirt. What’s John Humphrys really like? Do you all get along together, you Radio 4 bods, huddled around microphones at the crack of dawn? Or do you, (please, please tell us that you do) absolutely HATE each other.
And, by far the most common question anyone ever asks is “What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on air?”
That sounds like a good question, I know it does, but it’s the one I dread. If you really tell the world about the worst thing that has ever happened to you on air, you’re going to have to relive every toe curling, blood curdling, excruciating moment of it. No thanks.
Actually, one of the worst things I ever did was on Radio Bristol I think. We’ve all heard about the records the BBC has banned over the years. Every radio station had its own list of forbidden tracks. I managed to play George Michael’s I Want Your Sex, (firmly on the DON’T Play List) in the middle of the day. It was an accident. I was attempting to play the other side of the record (it was records then). By the time George was in full throttle, telling us exacting what he wanted and why, it was, I decided, already too late. To stop the record and play something else would have, I figured, just made the whole thing worse by emphasising it. Who listens to the words of songs anyway, I reasoned.
It’s a very, very long song and George’s diction is excellent.
That was one of the longest five minutes of my life.
Tune into Steve Yabsley’s show on Radio Bristol, at midday on Monday to find out what he decides to ask me.