Wednesday, 2 May 2012

ABIDE WITH ME: in the radio studio . . .

The writing of this book has brought me many new experiences.  And today brought another - my first radio interview.

TIME 107.5 is a local commercial radio station covering the London borough I live in - Havering - and the surrounding London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, and Redbridge.

After a particularly horrendous morning of getting the kids out to school - and I'm looking at you, Charlie ;) - I arrived at the radio station at ten o'clock - half an hour before the time I was given.  I'd played all the possible questions I might be asked in my head, sorted out some plausible answers, and was ready to go.

Receptionist: 'Hello, can I help you?'

Me: 'Err . . . I've got a radio interview at half past ten.  My name's Ian Ayris.'

<blank look from receptionist>

Receptionist calls out to unshaven man at a desk the other side of the office

Receptionist: 'Ian Harris?

<Unshaven man returns blank look>

Me: 'Ayris . . . '

Awkward silence ensues.

Me: 'It was arranged with Julia.'

<Smiles on faces all round>

Receptionist: 'Ah, you mean the newsdesk?  Please take a seat.'

I sat down on a nearby low leather settee as the unshaven man entered the corner of the office where the radio studio was situated to present his morning show.

Moments later Julia comes out of the news studio, and tells me we might as well make a start now.  My blank/terrified look leads her to clarify the interview will be pre-recorded.  I sort of felt relieved at that, thinking I'd be able to re-record everything if I fell apart at any point.  But I quickly banished this voice to the backwoods of my psyche where it now resides and put a big old smile on my face looking forward to yet another new challenge.

I'd pictured in my head a studio like off the telly - headphones, swivel chairs, desk, plastic coffee cups everywhere, a window going the length of one wall with a producer sitting behind it making exhasperated faces and hand signals. But the newsdesk studio it was tiny.  Broom cupboard tiny.  But there was a computer on a desk - for levels, apparently - a microphone hanging from what I imagined to be the ceiling, and a couple of chairs.  Julia asked me what the book was about, and I told her.  I remember being pretty coherent, though not entirely.  But Julia seemed happy, so we began.

The way it would work was I was to stand up facing forward and talk directly into this silver thing inside the microphone, whilst Julia stood by my side asking questions. Sort of like a rubbing your stomach patting your head, sort of thing.

Julia was lovely throughout, and I answered her questions as best I could.  I know I could have been clearer.  I know there were things I missed out.  Aferwards, I raised some concerns about my hesitant pauses.  Julia said not to worry as the piece would be editied - including her own voice being removed completely.  It sounds like rather than an interview, the piece might almost end up sounding like an informercial for ABIDE WITH ME, read by someone sounding like Arthur Mullard on speed. 

Fantastic :)

As I was leaving the studio, Julia told me how interesting the book sounded, and said she couldn't wait to read it.  Which was nice.

It wasn't till I was on the train coming home at about eleven o'clock, I realised I had forgotten to say in the interview that the book was not only available from Romford Waterstones - the only place I mentioned in the interview - but also available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.  I also had no idea when the interview would go out.  I had a dozen or so friends sitting round the radio in different parts of the country waiting for a half past ten interview with me that never materialised.  Me - disorganised and chaotic?  I've never heard the like.

A quick email to Julia confirmed the interview will be aired tomorrow (3/5/12) 'during the news' - I imagine that will be either the morning or lunchtime news - and she kindly said she would add the Amazon information to the end of the interview as well.  

I'm hoping to Darren at Caffeine Nights is able to get the interview recorded with his clever bits and pieces, and that I can post it on the blog tomorrow for those that miss it.

For those who want to listen in tomorrow, the online link to TIME 107.5 is: the blog.

Have a great day, everyone, and thank you so much for your continued support.

All the best,


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