Thursday, 30 April 2009

Memorable career-related incidents so far

In no particular order:

1) Presenting a paper on media outreach to a conference of rocket scientists at the 2nd Appleton Space Conference at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory alongside (and at the behest of) Alex James from Blur.

2) Being asked to cover for Richard Bacon whilst he was off on honeymoon. Three weeks straight presenting on 5 live - everything I had been working towards for 10 years of my career. Shame it didn't lead to anything more regular.

3) Interviewing Nick Cave at the premiere of The Proposition. You should never meet your heroes, but he was everything I wanted him to be - self-possessed, wary, polite, funny and swaying in a charmingly deranged way.

4) Working as a runner on Ricky Gervais' show on Xfm before The Office was even thought of. Nine months of telling people the man was a comedy genius and then 3 years later, everyone suddenly agreeing.

5) Being paid to watch Radiohead and Morrissey at the V Festival in Chelmsford in 2006. Also blagging tickets to see the Pixies in Chelmsford in 2004. Still probably my favourite ever gig.

6) Being asked if I wanted to start reporting for London Tonight and subsequently, Five News, in the space of 4 months.

7) Being elected Chair of the Student Radio Association and persuading Matthew Bannister to launch the Radio 1 Student Radio Awards.

8) Being invited by The Queen to a "reception for the media and arts" at Windsor Castle in 1999 (presumably because I was Chair of the SRA, but I never found out how or why). I arrived on the train with George Martin and walked up to the castle two yards behind him too tongue-tied to speak.

This theme continued as I found myself in close proximity to Dawn French, Michael Caine, Joanna Lumley, Joan Collins, Shirley Bassey, Wendy Richards and Kenneth Branagh, among others.

Eventually rescued from staring at the wall by Thomas Prag - a radio industry exec who introduced me to other radio execs Trevor Dann and Richard Park. As they were being polite to me, we were interrupted by a nice middle-aged lady who chatted to us for bit about Radio 4 and then disappeared. Turns out it was Princess Alexandra.

As I was leaving I walked through the newly-restored St George's Chapel and turned around for one last look. Booker Prize winner Ben Okri clapped me on the shoulder and said "That's right - take it all in. What a night." before wandering off, chuckling to himself.

8) Being asked if I wanted a job in London by PR and music mogul Shabs Jobanputra. My first real, and best ever boss (except, of course, for my current ones) and an absolute visionary.

9) Hanging around with a Radio 1 microphone "backstage" at a North London venue whilst waiting for a Pete Doherty interview. After watching various people fiddling with small wraps of silver paper, Mr Doherty staggered out of the toilet and I was granted an audience. He told me he was leaving The Libertines for good, which was news to The Libertines. Hard to believe now that this was a big story at the time.

10) Watching Harry Hill and Al Murray's Pub Internationale gig at the Neptune theatre in Liverpool, interviewing them backstage for my student radio station and then taking them to meet their friends at the Casablancas night club, as I was the only person present who knew where it was. I interviewed Al Murray at the This Morning studios several years later and he still remembered how dodgy Casablancas was.

11) Pitching and producing a well-received London Tonight piece by Bad Science columnist Ben Goldacre on the MMR vaccine.

12) In the first few days of working at Television Centre in 2001 Paul Weller politely held a door open for me. Never more in my life have I more felt like Wayne and Garth backstage at an Aerosmith gig.

13) Staging a guerilla gig with Mercury-nominated ace violinist Seth Lakeman at Glastonbury. We actually pulled together a decent-sized crowd and it seemed to generally enhance the Glastonbury experience for everyone present. And we got a decent TV news package out of it.

14) Approaching John Barnes at the height of his godlike powers (alright they were slightly on the wane) in a bar in Liverpool and persuading him to promise to drop by our student radio station and do an interview on an anti-racism campaign he was fronting. 2 days later, bless him, he turned up.

15) Watching a band called Coldplay perform second on the bill to 200 people above a pub in Oxford. To be fair the secret was already out by that stage, but it still felt like we were witnessing the start of something big.

16) Writing a sitcom called "Touched" with Bex Palmer. It took weeks. Feedback from BBC broadly supportive, changes suggested, none made. Sitcom now in attic.

1 comment:

  1. word for word, i could & would include your (second) no. 8 in my own list. if I could be arsed to write one of course.
    good reading that.