Well I never.
First of all, I never thought I would end up listening to Radio 4, like my mother used to. It started with the odd foray on to BBC Radio 2; getting bored with the repetitive nature of the music on BBC Radio 1, both the songs and the similarities between them. What noise I thought, remembering my parents referring to what I listened to as a teenager as “noise”.
Then I became a regular to BBC Radio 2. I was entertained by the variety; the variety of music types and styles; the fact that different artists really did sound different; the different presenters, DJs and their differing views. There was even occasionally a bit of chat, but never too much to bother me, and here was the other thing you see, for the presenters on BBC Radio 1 seemed to become increasingly less literate and less articulate as time went by. And as time went by, increasingly that seemed to bother me.
So I went further. I delved deeper, exploring the airwaves as I imagine Livingstone must have explored Africa; on my own, marvelling at the shear variety out there. Eventually I started to long for something engaging to listen to; the odd bit of chat on BBC Radio 2 acting only as a fisherman’s bright, effervescent lure in the dead of night. I found Question Time, and was promptly hauled in to BBC Radio 4 and even Radio 5 (when it’s not football of course).
And I never. Well I never. Thought I’d be on BBC Radio 4 myself, that is. Until I walked in to the store one day with my trusty broom, having just enjoyed a lovely cuppa & a perfectly toasted hot cross bun liberally dressed with real butter (thank you Mrs A) to find two gentlemen standing in reception chatting with our store manager, Sonia Pirie.
The conversation went something like this: (Sonia) “Ah! This is Atticus, our maintenance chap.” (Me) “Oh, hello! How do you do”. Blank stares. I looked at the gents. They looked at me. I looked at Sonia. She looked at me, grinning, then at the gents, then back at me. (Me) “Sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met?” We shook hands, as Sonia introduced Gerald (“this is the sound technician”) and Pradeep (“and this is Pradeep… Singh…”). I smiled politely as I started to worry that this was someone I ought to know. I am terrible with popular culture – we had Christopher Biggins turn up one day and I hadn’t a Scooby who he was; Erin O’Connor walked in one day and the boys were tripping over themselves. I had no idea who she was.
My favourite was Tim McInnerny. He arrived wearing a hat and scarf, complete with sun specs poor chap – must get spotted a lot. He sat down, and after a while took off his scarf. A little while later, his hat came off. Finally, nervously, he removed his sun specs. I remember thinking “this is odd, wearing all that gear in here in September” but it wasn’t until afterwards that my team told me who he was.
So you see, I had no idea who Pradeep was. And so I had to be told. In front of Pradeep. Which was slightly embarrassing, more for me than for him I imagine.
And, well, I never! Here was this famous comedian doing a show for BBC Radio 4 all about the word Box. And as we sell storage boxes, and cardboard boxes, and plastic boxes, he wanted to talk to us about our boxes! So Pradeep interviewed Sonia in front of some storage units, while I attempted to slip by unnoticed down the corridors. I wasn’t so lucky; they cornered me down a dead-end and, with microphone shoved under my nose, questions flowing, I suddenly thought “crikey I’m going to be on BBC Radio 4, Mrs Atticus will never get over it” as a cold sweat hit my forehead. After the interview they kindly told me the material was great, but I knew they didn’t really want old Mr Atticus! Thankfully, they did keep the interview with Sonia who did a great job talking about boxes. What a star.
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