Gremlin City

So there I was running in the sunshine having a think and chewing on my bee pollen when the Wandsworth Council gardener made me laugh so much I nearly tripped over his hose.
I ran back through Battersea Square just in case he had another one up his sleeve.
I had a shallow bath with loads of baby bubbles, packed my linen bag and left in time to get into the studio so I could listen to Steve my producer give me all my ideas – and then off I went to the third floor to trail the show.
After a greeny lunch with a smattering of cous cous I took my bag and bits up to the studio to set about Thursday’s extravaganza.
Today, though the gremlins were in…..

We have precisely 45 seconds to to a change over. James O’Brien gathers up his cuttings as I clutter the desk with my bag, headphone case, pint of water, cardigan, lists, newspapers, sacred space spray, guest books, purse and other assorted detritus.
I pull out James’ headphones from the socket in front of our big swivel chair, whack in my very expensive Sennheiser ones, then worry for a couple of seconds in case my batteries have died. I change them weekly otherwise your voices dissappear mid senten……
The engineer says
‘Ok Jeni 20 seconds’ I whip out the 13.00 script that dear Steve has written, just enough words to fill 35 seconds, its called a TALK UP, I put on my headphones, left ear covered right ear left naked, and off I go.
Today instead of pulling out the one o’clock bulletin from my sheaf of papers I pulled out the 14.00 blurb.
I very confidently gave out all the wrong information.
When I asked Clive, the engineer, whether it was okay he said ‘Yes only it’s 1.o’clock not 2.o’clock’….
That was the first boo boo.
I apologised to our listeners then set about ‘churning’ the first topic.
‘Call’ said Steve in my ear.
I looked to my left, the screen with the callers names on, was blank.
I hunched my shoulders, opened my arms to indicate panic then screamed silently that I didn’t have anything on my screen.
Steve leant forward into his mik and said:
very clearly into my ear-hole. It wasn’t an admonishment it was the name of our first caller and bloomin good she was too.
Boo boo number three had the gremlins dancing a jig all over the screen to my right.
No e-mails.
Not a one.
I always read out as many e-mails as I can.
By 1.30 are printer is normally working hell for leather.
NOT TODAY – said with an upward inflection and a bit of incredulity thrown in…
The e-mail machine had broken – all our e-mails were flying around somewhere in cyberspace, what they werent doing was coming to Latimer Road.
Steve worked like a demon to fix it, but the Gremlins played until the last hour.
We were like the proverbial aquatic birds, serenely sitting atop the lake whilst our little webbed feet were paddling like buggery under the water.
It was the first time the Gremlins had paid us a visit, and like all broadcasting accidents, it’s never as bad as you think and its always a terrifc learning curve. Luckily the phone lines were busy so we had plenty of people to talk to.
My dear friend from Philadelphia e-mailed only I didn’t get it – pooh.
I know that because all your missives arrived sometime later and I read them all.
Those dastardly little tweebles had better look out tomorrow because if they decide to pay a visit I am going to kick A$$!!
It was a very touching show, actually, LBC’s listeners are so generous.
I have to admit to a quiet tear in the corner after a first-time-caller shared her story that she had never shared with anybody before.
I am beginning to see quite how important this speech radio thingy is, I didn’t really understand quite how much until today.
So to all of you, who bother to call in and share your vulnerability a sincere thank you to you.
I also talked to the delicious Anthony Worral Thompson about LARD, 100 grms of lard contains 99 grms of fat.
It is a lot, I know, but Wozza said once in a while to make a Yorkshire puddding, for instance, or a brilliant stew, you’re allowed, and anyway when you go out for a nosh you are allowed to have a blow out. I am now perfectly at liberty to call one of my favourite chefs LARDY BOY.
I’m wearing my jim jam bottoms, a dreadful khaki acrylic sweater that my father gave me just before he died, and no slippers as my feet are too warm.
I am meant to be going out to a wrap party at 11.o’clock tonight but I don’t know whether I’ll have the energy.
Maybe I need a bit more bee pollen.
buzz buzz.

3 thoughts on “Gremlin City”

  1. Hi Jen
    What a wonderful show you had today.
    I listen every afternoon and like you was truly touched by the lady that rang in share her story for the first time with you. I too had a tear in my eye.
    I love listening to you – you show such empathy to your callers, and I can easily understand why someone would choose to confide in you. Funny isnt it how people choose to tell their story on the radio – it does feel like you are having a conversation with a good friend – forgetting about the thousands of people who are listening!
    You really are getting the nack of this speech radio thingy !
    I have to ask – what is the bee pollen for ? and does it work ?
    Listen to you tomorrow

  2. It snowed here today. We never get snow! I’m chuffed. I woke up to a white world, my garden, my village and even my room by the window. (I sleep with the window wide open, it’s my age, don’tcha know….)
    Hope it snowed for you all too! It’s quite a novelty here.

  3. now listen here Barnett, well i decided that i could get your attention better calling you by yer surname rather than juicy jeni or similar cos i know that you are a busy girl but having watched that joke of a show that replaced you Parker Bowles my arse i just had to try and find out what you are up to only to discover you are trapped in a southern softy radio station my god what a waste…jen you are seriously missed on the telly come back as soon as possible lots of love from me and my missus ,Wallasey Wirral

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