Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Close encounters of the sad kind Part 1 (1983-1990)

Commenting on my last post Picklesmum's reminisced about how she met Tom Baker, (the then encumbent Doctor Who) at Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery. This got me thinking about my own claims to fame and what a random list it entails.

My brush with celebrities began in my youth on a hot summers day in the early eighties, when my friend and I ventured off to Barry Island to see the Radio 1 Roadshow fronted by DJ Peter Powell. I can't remember which bands played that day but I remember that PP got so close I was able to get a photo of his ear. I am pleased to say that my photographic composition has improved since that day.

Having got the bug for live radio, I was daring enough to dial in on a late-evening Radio 1 show with Janice Long and guests discussing fashion. I haven't got the faintest memory of what I said as my heart beat far too quickly with nervous energy for me to have any conscious awareness of what was really going on. The only thing that I remember was that I called myself Anne, which is my middle name, because I didn't want to get in trouble if my mother's friends heard the broadcast.

In 1985, I managed to orchestrate a day at BBC Radio Wales, which included sitting in on a live broadcast with naughty novelist and artist Molly Parkin. She gave me a tour of the building and I peered into the studio where Dave Lee Travis was presenting his Radio 1 show. His hair was grey all over, not anywhere like his usual TOTP look featuring black hair with a silver streak. Strange, he did not look amused at my appearance either. However I think that had something to do with my unannounced arrival rather than my sense of fashion.

Having arrived in Nottingham to do my degree in 1986, I heard that Keith Chegwin was visiting to do an outside broadcast for some sad Saturday evening program. A group of fellow students and I trekked off to Holme Pierrepont and after the broadcast I managed to get the icon of 1980s cheese to give me his autograph (a trait that I never shook off from my childhood holidays at Butlins). With no autograph book to hand, he happily signed my five pound note. Later that night, I accidentally gave that note to my then boyfriend, who spent it at the bar. So somewhere still in circulation could be a 1980s style £5 note with Keith Chegwin's autograph! If you ever come across it, please send it back!

In 1989 I was lucky enough to work at a new educational establishment in the heart of Nottingham's inner city. When we opened our doors to the students the BBC cameras were on-site to cover serious footage of this fantastic flagship college. They wanted to see our fabulous all singing all dancing library management system. Sadly the only components we had were a computer monitor and a lightpen. So I am ashamed to admit that I allowed the BBC cameraman to film me for a national news broadcast *PRETENDING* to issue books out to the students. That was both the debut and swan song of my acting career. The following day a local librarian rang my boss to find out what amazing software we were using....the answer was of course "Vapourware." My integrity has improved vastly since! My mugshot was also splashed over the front page of The Telegraph as part of a staff group photo.

The following year the college had its official opening. There was a big hush-hush over who was actually going to open the college and it was only on the day that it was announced at the staff meeting it was going to be Margaret Thatcher. She arrived with her entourage and I was in the unenviable position of videoing her tour around the college for the "official college video". I know she was pretty important, but she just kept getting in the way of my video camera and I had quite an editing job to do to remove the scenes that just showed her back!


Ruby in Bury said...

I LOVE this post!

Those long forgotten names - Peter Powell, Janice Long, brought back memories of my bedroom in the house we lived in in the early eighties, when I used to listen to Radio 1 on a small red transistor radio.

Brilliantly told 21stCM, I felt like I was there. I didn't know you'd had such a close encounter with Mags Thatcher. All things considered, you were probably best off only filming her back :-D

21st Century Mummy said...

Those were the days eh Rubes. You could hear what people were singing back in the 80s.

BTW - After we left the gallery the other evening I drove home to Motorhead playing on Radio 1. Took me right back to the village disco when all the girls sat back in their chairs and the boys got up to rock!

Oh no - I forgot to mention the two Ronnies waving at me and my mother from their big car as they drove out from our village after filming the Welsh Voice Choir scene for their sketch series about women taking over the world.

Look out for Part 2, The 1990s!

Baba said...

OMG - these 2 blogs are fab, I'm so impressed - it does take you back doesn't it!! I had the fortune (or misfortune??) of being in the audience with my friends for a live edition of the Saturday morning kids show "On The Waterfront" (circa 1984) and saw Belinda Carlisle and Tiffany singing live (badly). Its amazing that you mentioned Barry Island actually because me and hubbie Baba were talking about you last night wondering if you have watched the "Gavin & Stacey" series....Stacey is from Barry and we want to know if you have any recollection of it or if you think the series is authentic? Either way it is hilarious and brilliantly written / cast so hope you have seen it....

Jo Beaufoix said...

See, I should have read this one first and then I'd have known why you were in Notts.

Margaret Thatcher, eughww. I think you got her best side.

(Can you tell I wasn't a fan?)

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Baba - oh I can tell you some tales about Barry Island. I've seen a few of the Gavin & Stacey episodes. They are hilarious and yes...that is the culture down that neck of the woods. On the Waterfront eh? I always did wonder how kids got into the audiences of those shows! xxx

Jo - you are so right! ;-D