Crikey, what a busy few days it’s been around here – I’m exhausted (although feeling much better for having spent most of the day tucked up in bed).
After my interview with the lovely Mirror lady on Monday, I spent the day not doing too much thanks to strangely wavering energy levels. However, we were starting to get wind of the rumour that Professor Liam Donaldson, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, was to announce his intention to push for an Opt-Out system of organ donation in his speech on the current state of the NHS.
For more on Opt-Out, click here.
Indeed, by Monday evening, two members of the Live Life Then Give Life campaign had either been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live (Jen) or been booked for silly-o’clock in the morning on GM:TV (Emily – “friend of the show”).
I woke on Tuesday morning and stumbled into the lounge to flip through my recording of GM:TV (as if I’m going to be up to watch her at 6.20 in the morning – I love her, but not that much…) and catch her 2 (yes, two, she’s THAT important) appearances on the show – well, technically two shows, as they switch presenters halfway through.
Calm and collected as ever – in fact, more calm and collected than the presenter at one point, who looked like he was about to jump up and hug her – Emily talked through all her experiences and the tale of her transplant, which I think she now has lodged away in a part of her brain which runs on autopilot when someone says “So, you waited two years for a Transplant, then what happened…?”.
Then, no sooner had I caught up with our little missy’s escapades than I had 5 Live on the phone wondering if I’d go on their show in 20 minutes to discuss what Liam Donaldson had just said about Organ Donation.
Now, being the intelligent, media-savvy gent that I am, having graciously bitten their hand off to get on the show, I thought I’d use my 20 minutes for research and go and check what Prof D (as I like to call him) had said.
What 5 Live had failed to tell me was that he had LITERALLY JUST SAID IT. Like, as they were talking to me, he was talking. The upshot being, NOWHERE, not even the newswires had ANY of the text of his speech, nor did anyone appear to be showing any coverage of it.
Reassured that he had, in fact, called for the Opt-Out system to be introduced, I jumped onto Matthew Bannister’s phone-in show (but as an invited guest, you understand, not just Joe Public calling in from his car on the M6…) to put across the perspective of someone awaiting transplant.
Which I did. It was fun. I was quite good.
And so the day moved on and I sat about and read a bit an watched telly a bit and ate some food and did other sitting-about-type things with not a care in the world (almost).
Until just before 6pm when I get a call from a very jolly sounding young guy at the BBC saying, “My you’ve been busy today, I see you did 5 Live earlier,”. I didn’t have much of a response other than to say, “Er, yes.”
“Would you be free to do News 24 at 9 o’clock from Northampton? We’ll send a car.”
Well, clearly, being the media-monkey that I am, I nearly fell out of my chair, but it turned out I was sitting on the sofa, so I just sort of fell sideways onto more cushions, which is a lot more pleasant than falling off a chair. And less painful.
Strangely, though, I didn’t bite his hand off this time. I asked for 10 minutes to make a couple of phone calls before I confirmed it with him.
You see, I was wondering to myself whether or not this was a sensible idea. 9pm is quite late and Northampton is more than half-an-hour away. That meant that at the best guess I’d be out of the house until at least 10pm, and I know that my chest often starts playing up in the evenings.
Was it sensible to go gallivanting off of an evening, when I’d ad a rocky couple of days anyway and didn’t know how my chest would react? Should I be letting my thirst for stardom over-rule my sensible medical head?
So I phoned Mum, because she always agrees with me and I knew she’d tell me that it wasn’t a good plan and that I was being a very sensible boy staying at home, even though it felt a bit deflating. I got her on her mobile in Tesco, where I could hardly hear her. I managed to get through and explain the situation.
“Brilliant – you should absolutely go! It’ll be brilliant and you’ve got nothing to do tomorrow so you can stay in bed all day.”
Right. That rather changed the perspective on things. So, my angel and devil still warring on my shoulders, I spoke to Jolly BBC Guy again and accepted his offer, arranged the car to get me at 8.15 and sat and waited.
When you’ve done as many radio interviews as I have now, both in the studio and on the phone, both live and pre-recorded, you tend to get a small smattering of nerves which remind you you’re doing something cool but don’t get in the way. When you do TV pre-records like I’ve done a couple of times, there’s no nerves, because you know you can keep going over and over the same thing until you’re happy with what you’ve said.
When you’re doing LIVE TV – for the FIRST TIME – on the BBC…. Well, that’s a whole ‘nother bucket of kippers.
And when you’ve got 2 hours to sit and wait and work yourself up, that’s an even larger vat of cod.
Suffice to say that by the time I was perched precariously on a semi-stool in front of a lonely looking video camera in the corner of the main office at BBC Radio Northampton, listening to News 24 down an ear-piece far too large for my ear, waiting for the presenters to talk to me, I thought I was going to throw up. And I was thinking how stupid I’d look to the gallery of TV Directors and Producers watching my video feed if I just leant forward and spewed on my feet.
Still, I managed not to, which is nice, and I turned out to be reasonably coherent in the interview. I only know that because I watched it back when I got home. The adrenaline rush was so huge that I can hardly remember any of the interview itself from being live and have no idea what I actually said.
All I do remember is stumbling through my last answer after my ear-piece pinged out of my ear halfway through, leaving me with my mouth moving and words coming out whilst my brain is busy screaming, “I hope they don’t ask me any more questions because I’m not going to be able to hear a thing!”. Turns out that my mouth is pretty good when left to it’s own devices, because I somehow continued to make sense and moments later heard an ever-so-faint “Thanks for coming on” somewhere vaguely in the region of my left ear and I thankfully realised the interview was over.
For what it’s worth, it was 10.30pm by the time I got in and I’ve slept through a lot of today, or sat in bed reading, but it was definitely worth it. I loved doing it and am still totally addicted to the media. I think it may have inflated my ego a little much, though, because far too many people have been far too complimentary about it.
Still, just to inflate myself a little bit more, the feature piece on me in the Mirror is going in tomorrow (Thursday 19th July), so I’ll get to see that, too.
If you’re going to check it out, be warned that being a tabloid piece, and being part of the One in a Million campaign that the Mirror is running, it’s likely to focus a lot on the negative side of things. I’ve not seen it, so I don’t know for sure, but from previous experience I’m sure it’s going to be a heart-string tugger, so if you’re feeling fragile, steer clear.
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- Nope, we got nada!