Curling tongs and Anita Roddick

I had a horrible journey from London to Nottingham this morning, with driving snow in my face most of the way. I really must get a new windscreen fitted. It would be so much warmer for one thing and besides the snow goggles leave red marks around my eyes.

In the old days I would have mixed up my journey with 5Live and Radio 2 from 6.15 to 8.00 and then moved on to podcasts from Jonathon Ross, the News Quiz or Stop Hammertime.  But now Chris Evans is on breakfast on Radio 2 I stayed with him for the whole journey.

Well that’s not quite true. I started at 6.15 with Sarah Kennedy. I always like to listen to Sarah. Her stories from the newspapers are priceless. I  like to listen and try to  work out what she’s on about.   I love Sarah’s show, I think she has a great warmth, but she does sometimes react to the stories rather than relay them.  Having presented the early breakfast show for some time, she also seems permanently jet lagged, so following her thread  can be a bit like listening to the boy in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.  Both tell you what they think has happened and you have to read between the lines and work out what has really happened.

A long term listener, I can particularly recommend early summer when the hay fever plays havoc with her eyes and her ability to read.

I once did a seven month stint presenting a country music breakfast show from a radio station in Wembley.  Don’t ask why, it paid well OK?  Sarah Kennedy would accompany me on my journey from my Docklands flat to Wembley, along the way giving me the lowdown on the stories in the papers.  On one occasion she revealed an unusual piece of tennis news.  Amazingly it seemed Anita Roddick had won the French Open tournament.

I nearly crashed the car.  Sarah’s voice sounded a little unsure. It didn’t seem very likely. The founder of the Body Shop winning a tennis tournament?  She paused and then said, ‘that can’t be right, but no that’s what it says here, Anita Roddick has won the French Open tennis!’

I was shouting ‘Andy Roddick’ at my car radio, but she obviously couldn’t hear me.

Anyone back to now. Three, two, one, you’re back in the room.

Sarah saw me safely around the north circular road, before Chris took over as I hit the M1.  As the arctic conditions kicked in around Luton, Chris was enthusing about the Winter Olympics. Like me and half of the Twitterati, he’d been blown away by the phenomenon that is Ski Cross, but he’d also been glued to the curling.

He was hampered by his description of the noble art of curling, by not knowing what to call a game. Was it a match of curling, an end, or something else?

The beauty of the interweb means that any question posed by a radio presenter is usually answered by email before the next record on the turntable has finished spinning.  It’s probably not vinyl any more, some of the modern studios, I believe, now have cassette decks.

Anyway whatever media they use, by the time the hit parade song had finished, someone had emailed in with the answer. A game in curling is called a tong. As Chris read it out, I thought that doesn’t sound right. Quick as a flash, Lynn Bowles pointed out the obvious gag about curling tongs.

It doesn’t take long for the long term jet lag to kick in.  I’ve spent three and a half years of my life presenting breakfast shows, over three spells. They were the happiest years of my life, but also the most gruelling. I liked going to the Grosvenor to pick up the awards, but I also remember the days of waking up on a sofa, having dribbled out of the corner of my mouth not knowing if it was four in the morning or four in the afternoon.

Chris couldn’t believe he’d been caught out by the curling tongs gag. I shouted ‘Andy Roddick’ at my car radio, just for old times sake.

Jem   22th Feb 2010  The frozen wastelands of Nottingham