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Wednesday 1st October 2008

Andrew Collings and a few other people have drawn attention to this embarrassing interview in which Les Ross puts both his own feet and a few other people's feet in his mouth chatting to Hardeep Singh Kohli. Hardeep, perhaps, takes offence rather quickly at Les's line of enquiry, but Les does come in rather rudely right from the start, thinking he's funny with his rubbish and cliched opinions. And then gets himself into all sorts of problems with ethnic issues and becomes properly offensive. And I rather admire Hardeep for just bringing the whole thing to an end. There have been many, many radio interviews where I have been talking to people who know nothing about me and are just filling time and have left my dignity teetering on the edge of the abyss. And I've just gritted my teeth and carried on. But if someone is insulting you or your intelligence, then surely you have the right and indeed the duty to draw proceedings to an end.
A man, improbably called, Barry Beatmaster, draws Collings idiotic fans' attention to an even more cringe-worthy interview conducted by the notorious George Lamb, who was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to the legendary Ray Davies. He chose to use this opportunity to ask Davies a load of stupid fatuous questions of the "complete this sentence" or "spell this word" variety. For a minute or so, Davies hides his annoyance and gamely has a go at responding, but not surprisingly when he realises that 6Music are going to waste his time and this wonderful opportunity to actually ask some real questions, he bows out with some dignity by pretending the phone line is too bad for him to be able to hear what's going on. He would have been well within his rights to say "What the fuck are you doing? Do you have any idea who I am? You have five minutes to talk to one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th Century and this is how you choose to fill it - are you a cretin?" But he doesn't do that. He quietly takes his leave.
Another broadcaster might have felt embarrassed by this turn of events, possibly apologised, but surely had the decency to simply pretend that they hadn't been able to get Davies back, but Lamb, filled with self-importance, clearly thinking he has more talent than the writer of "Waterloo Sunset", decides instead to deride him. As if the whole debacle was Davies' fault. It is one of the most genuinely offensive pieces of radio I have ever heard and if the BBC had any fibre, the controller of the station should have called Lamb into his office the very minute the show was over and given him his P45. Instead he seems to be getting festooned with awards. Ah well. Perhaps he is right to be furious with someone for having the audacity to think that his dumb questions were a waste of time.
Hopefully I did a bit better interviewing the brilliant Jon Ronson this morning, for a Radio 4 series I am doing about (amongst other things) Workaholism, Procrastination and Laziness. Jon was talking about his workaholism (or at least his difficulty in relaxing and leaving his work behind him) and the way that, even on holiday, he always has to do two hours of work, which he achieves by getting up very early while his wife and son are still asleep. Given that I still write Warming Up on holiday I could empathise. In fact it made me realise to what extent work is always on my mind, even if I am a bit lazier and prone to procrastinate than the apparently driven Ronson.
As if to prove the point I then headed home to try and write a treatment for a comedy drama, before heading off to the BBC to do more script-editing work and then came home to fire off some emails about the links I have to write tomorrow for another TV show.
This is though, quite an extraordinary week. Though I wouldn't mind if I had more weeks like this one. It's good to be forced to be at certain places at certain times for different projects and makes me more likely to try and squeeze my own stuff into the available time, rather than sitting at home, aimlessly surfing the net (which is useful stuff for the laziness and procrastination episodes). I have no idea why they chose me for this job.

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