Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Radio Gaga

As I didn't realise that Southern Counties only keep their programmes up for 24 hours, and Pierre L kindly asked if I'd report how it went, here I am, reporting how it went.

I don't know if anyone out there has ever done a radio interview, but the few times I've done it, I've always found it weirdly surreal. One of the themes of Strictly Love is that you should dance like no one is looking. Well, when I'm doing radio I always talk like no one is listening, because actually it feels as if no one is.

SCR is based in Brighton which is a bit of a schlep for me, but luckily they have a studio at Guildford University. I've been there once before talking about the marathon book a couple of years ago, so I knew where to go, which is always a bonus when you're feeling a tad nervous (as I was).

I was supposed to be doing some work before I went, but couldn't settle to it. Spouse then rang me to ask me to bring in his digital radio as the one in his surgery was broken. Thinking I had plenty of time, I said, yes of course, then somehow it was five to eleven and I had to be in Guildford at eleven twenty. So I did a mad dash to the surgery, dropped off the radio and drove like a lunatic to Guildford, managing to arrive about ten minutes before I was due on. Nothing like cutting it fine...

Now here's where it got seriously wierd. I rang the doorbell and someone came out, and I suddenly realised that of course the production person who'd set it up was also in Brighton so no one here probably knew I was coming. After establishing which show I was on, I was shown into a little box, where there was a desk with two mics set up and a telephone. Damn I was in one of these ghastly self operating studios. Like I said in my previous post, my last experience of such a studio involved me being cut off in mid flow and missing the end of the programme.

I was told to put on the headphones and wait for further instructions. Feeling a little like I was about to face the firing squad, I did so, extremely grateful that I had been so late. It would have been horrendous to sit there for twenty minutes...

Eventually the friendly production lady said hello to me through my earphones and told me to wait till the end of the next song when Gordon Astley would speak to me.

What? That was it? I still had no idea what questions I was going to be asked, and I was panicking about how far I should sit from the mic - it said your mouth should be four to six inches away, but spatial awareness have I none, so I just hazarded a guess.

The next song was Love of the Common People by Paul Young. Have you any idea how long that song is? Nope, me neither. It went on, and on, an on....

When it finally finished, they played the theme tune for Strictly Come Dancing (big thumbs up from me in Guildford. Great great pr, linking my book indelibly with SCD in the minds of the viewers. Thank you Gordon Astley!)

I was expecting some questions about SCD, but instead Gordon asked me about what inspired the book - going to salsa classes initially, but thanks to my canny editor I changed it to ballroom dancing. I realised later I never got round to telling him the other inspiration which was Spouse's miserable experience with the nutty patient who complained about him (probably just as well, really with Spouse listening).

I got a fair amount of ribbing about my suggestion that if you're a single bloke going dancing is a great way to meet women as Gordon felt this suggested a predatory kind of behaviour, which I don't think it necessarily is. He clearly wanted me to say that Rob who starts off as a bit of a lothario gets his comeuppance, but as Rob is my favourite character I wasn't going to do that to him. In fact I'd say he goes on a bit of a journey - well I hope so anyway.

We talked about the research I'd done (missed a trick there because I forgot to say I've blogged all that on the strictly blog), and Gordon was curious as to whether anyone could learn to dance from reading the book (which was a GREAT opportunity to say if you're in Tesco's you can pick up a copy with a free learn to dance book). I don't think I could possibly claim that, but I hope the enthusiasm and love I have of dance has worked its way into the story, and that if you like dancing it will encourage you to go out there and dance like no one's looking yourself (though I can't guarantee it will bring you success in the romantic field, I do write fiction after all...)

After that Gordon wrapped it up with another mention of SCD and Strictly Love (oh how we love Gordon), and that was er - it. Friendly production lady said thank you, I said thank you, I put my coat on and in half an hour I was home.

I do know at least three people who did in fact listen, but for all I know they were the only three...

Still all grist to the mill, and it can't do any harm.

But rather a funny way to spend a morning nonetheless.

With many thanks to Gordon Astley and the team at SCR


Anonymous said...

oh crap, they only keep it for 24 hours. Sorry about that, didn't manage to get round to listening. Was completely washed out yesterday after 48 hours in which I had prepared for 6 yr old party,slept, gone to work, done 6 yr old party, gone to college, slept, gone to work, taken son to hospital for cast removal at the trauma unit (trauma being the operative word) & collapsed in a heap...

So thanks for the post. Next time eh.

Good luck with your photoop tomorrow. Looking forward to the sight of how I might look with a makeover.

Mad Twinxxxx

pierre l said...

That's a great description -- thank you. I normally get into work at around 9:30, so I used to listen to Gordon Astley most mornings. Now he starts at 10:00 so I can't. I used to dislike local radio, but I discovered SCR when I started a job near Weybridge, and really like all their presenters.
It must have been a frightening experience, with no-one nearby to explain things, or re-assure you. But you appear to have got through it very well, and I hope lots of people will buy your book as a result. I certainly shall.
Well done, and thanks again.

Jane Henry said...

I must admit I assumed it would be on for longer.

Pierre l that is very kind of you! The sitting on your own thing was a bit unnerving, but luckily I have done it before, and Gordon Astley was very easy to talk to. Last time I went in I had Sally James and Fred Marden and they were great too. But I got to meet them so it was easier.

pierre l said...

Yes, they do keep some of the other programs for a week. I was listening to Fred Marden this morning and he does sound like a nice, easy going, person. I don't think I've come across Sally James yet.

Jane Henry said...

Fred Marden was astonishing actually. He cut it sooo fine, dashing out of the room when a record was on and sliding into his seat and seguing neatly into his piece just as it finished. Was very impressed! Sally James used to be on Tiswas a thousand years ago and I liked her very much.