Saturday, 14 July 2012


This afternoon I'm on BBC Radio Leicester as a guest of Damien St John. Damien (photo above) hosts a weekly panel show, broadcast live from 1200-1400, discussing news stories from the past seven days. Rather like "Mock The Week", but with fewer jokes.

The other guests today are Rob Gee (stand up comic, performance poet and former psychiatric nurse) and Suzanne Curley (a local woman taking Media Studies at the University of Aberystwyth). None of us know who'll be in the studio until we turn up ten minutes before the show goes on air. I know Rob, but haven't met Suzanne before.

The day before the show we each receive an email from Damien (photo above), briefing us on the topics we're most likely to cover. While it doesn't tempt me to do much research, it allows the chance for reflection - and a little discussion with one or two of my friends and colleagues. Here are the topics and Damien's briefing about them:

Slowhand Officers at Heathrow immigration were heckled by a crowd after they waited two hours to enter the UK. What's happened to our patience and our tolerance? Have you ever gone further than a tut or a sigh when faced with a queue or a problem? Are you worried about delays during the Olympics? What's your plan?
Milking It Farmers marched on Westminster this week against a proposed price cut to milk. Would you be prepared to subsidise British business with higher prices? Does it matter if we don't support "local" produce? What would happen if all the milk dried up? Would you drink synthetic milk if it was cheaper?
Space Oddity Newly declassified MoD documents reveal Britain's reported UFO sightings... Are we being watched by other beings? What would be the best way to take over this planet? Why do we have such a fascination (or fear) of alien life? When do you think we'll make "first contact" with a different race?
Paint it Gold The Rolling Stones this week celebrated their golden anniversary, 50 years since they started making music. You have 60 seconds to tell me why they are the greatest British band and why - If not, tell me why not and which band ARE the greatest. (you will be against the clock!). [I've never been much of a fan of the Stones, so I plump for a score draw between the Kinks and the Who.]
Tech a Look at Me Now The O2 mobile network crashed this week and the BBC website had a problem too... Are we too reliant on technology? Should we allow more of it into our lives like biometrics or are you a traditionalist who believes in keys, paper and letters? What positives can someone take from losing their mobile signal for 24 hours? Were customers right to get angry?
Fox in the City Leicester City are back in pre-season training having lost a lot of big-name players... Come up with a few well-known songs to play at the end of the show, think along the theme of "beginnings", "starting again" or "something new". [Despite my lack of fervour for the Rolling Stones, I suggest "Start It Up" - though Damien doesn't pick it.]
Lonely Boy A New York man felt alone in the big city and started giving his number to strangers... What has caused so many of us to become isolated and frustrated? Are cries for help too often confused for pathetic attention-seeking? What would it take to make everyone feel better? What's the last TRUE emotion you felt and what caused it? [unfortunately, we don't get round to this one]

There's nothing particularly "faithsy" about my contribution (though Damien states my job title and names my employer several times during the show), so I've not saved or transcribed any of the broadcast. I'd like to think that I make good use of my discernment, intelligence and wit throughout. It's fun and I'd welcome the opportunity to do this again sometime.

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