Thursday, 19 July 2012

SAINT FM 94.7 Radio Appearance . . .

Was always going to be something of an experience, my first radio appearance . . . 

And it all started off so well. 

My dad picked me up from Romford at about quarter past five - an hour and three quarters for ostensibly the forty five minute journey to the SAINT FM 94.7 radio studio. I got my bag, quickly logged onto the station's website and noted down the postcode to plug into the Sat Nav, and we were on our way. 


I hate being late, late for anything. Something of a phobia I've got. I put it down to being a twin, the youngest one, you know, seeing Stu flying on out and me still there, thinking I'd missed the boat, as it were.

But we weren't going to be late - surely.

I remember a message from Sarah (the presenter of the show) telling me to meet her in some school where the radio station broadcast from. I looked on the map I'd printed off, and there it was 'St Peter's School'.

Me and my dad made the journey in double quick time, found St Peter's School, and pulled up. And in the school grounds, we saw this:


We were thirty minutes early. Plenty of time. My dad wished me luck. I got out to stretch my legs and hung about outside the 'studio' waiting for Sarah. But Sarah didn't come. At about ten to seven a bloke came out of what I thought to be the studio, and sort of waved to me, then turned round and locked the door. Bit worrying, that. Then he came over and asked me if I was okay. 'Waiting for Sarah,' I said. 'I'm a guest on her show.' 'Sarah?' he said, clearly having no idea who I was talking about. He took me into the school where Saint FM was being broadcast from. 'Don't worry, ' he said. 'We'll sort it out'. But I wasn't worried. All material, see. My life in microcosm. The bloke ascertained from the DJ in the school that Sarah was at the other Saint FM studio, thirty minutes away in Maldon. 

Bugger, I thought. Thirty minutes.

My dad made it in ten.

A different school, a different studio.

But we made it.

Sarah, bless her, nearly fell of her chair when I stumbled in. 

I'd missed the first two of the three songs I was asked by Sarah to select - BORN TO RUN by Bruce Springsteen, and VICTORIA by The Kinks, but to be in the studio as the third song - UP AROUND THE BEND by The Creedence Clearwater Revival - blasted out was fantastic. Put me right at ease, it did.

Sarah told me some of the questions she would be asking, plus some of the songs she would be playing, and realised this would be the most enormous fun.  And it was.

As in most things I dive into, I just made it up as I went along, waiting for the time when I would be reading a much cleaned up extract from ABIDE WITH ME. The extract I chose was going to take about three minutes to read.

During one of the songs - something by the incredibly talented Olly Murs, I think, Sarah took a couple of photos:



I had nothing prepared as far as answers were concerned so doggedly carried on making the stuff up as I went along. And there were Tweets and questions from the likes of Carol and Bob Bridgestock, and the genius that is Sir Paul Brazill. I had people messaging on FB telling me how much they were enjoying the show. I tell you what, it was an absolute privilege sitting there, knowing people were taking the trouble to have tuned in and sit there listening. From Canada to Poland, and little old Romford. 

Fantastic, it was.

Thank you.

And then came the moment for me to read an extract from the book. ABIDE WITH ME being written in the first person, in the East End vernacular, reading it into the microphone, I really felt the words - almost for the first time. It was almost as if I had become John. The picture Sarah took of me reading the extract sort of shows the intensity with which the whole experience held me:


I hope the reading came across okay. I really, really enjoyed doing it, even though I stumbled a couple of times. Bloody amateur, eh.

A couple more questions, a couple more songs, and before I knew it, the whole thing was over.

Another incredible experience on this journey, precipitated by the writing of a book I thought would never see the light of day, it being all sweary and all.

Thanks to all that listened last night, and tweeted and messaged all those encouraging words. And thank you to Sarah for being such a delightful host.

So there we go, my first radio interview.

To listen to the broadcast in full, click here
(might take a few seconds to load up)

This writing lark, eh. Mad.

Best wishes,



  1. I once missed a radio show because of the clocks going forward. I was in a taxi travelling from East Dulwich to near Holborn when I twigged. I just got out of the taxi on Walworth Road and went to the pub!That was a paying gig , too!

    1. Sounds like a short story right there, mate. In the last three years, I've turned up at work the wrong time every time they move the bloody clocks. Just can't get it right. Thanks so much for Tweeting in to the show, mate. Sarah was very impressed :)

  2. Well done Ian.
    I once agreed to meet someone at a TrustHouse Forte (Remember them?) hotel near Liverpool. Trouble was,it hadn't been built! Just went home. No mobile phones in those days.
    Glad you're back in the swing Ian.
    Best Wishes,

    1. Cheers, Harry.

      Yep. All better now. Still got to have a blood test, but haven't got round to it yet.

      And TrustHouse Forte's - I remember them. I used to have a mate who's dad was a cocktail waiter in one just down the road from here - I think it's a garage now.

      Arranging a meeting at a hotel that hasn't been built sure tops my story. You must be able to work that one into a book somewhere, mate. Surely :)

  3. Just had something like this happen, Ian. Just finished the Antioch Writers' Workshop in Ohio last Friday and thought I was scheduled to address the Indiana Romance Writers group on Sunday... and when I woke up Sunday, found an email in my box (hadn't had time to go over them during my week in Ohio) that I'd missed my appearance--that it was on Saturday! That was the toughest email I've ever had to write to explain why I'd been a no-show... but the hostess was the most gracious person ever and even invited me to come down in October. When I go, I'm afraid I won't be able to look anyone in the eyes...

    1. Nightmare, Les. Least it wasn't a workshop on writing serial killers or how to write a whack scene in three easy steps. . . Could have been so much worse :)

      Cheers for popping by, mate. Loving the book. One of those where to read is to learn, and you don't get many of them to the pound, as we say round these parts.

  4. Great song selection. I'm glad you pulled the radio interview off. I'd have effed it up, no doubt

    1. Thank you, Charles. Gutted not to be in the studio for Born to Run and Victoria, but hearing CCR belting out was a dream come true :)

  5. You did good, mate. Though it must have been hard for you to de-cuss one of the best chapters in the book. Oh well such is the state of public appearences. That lady is a kind of a, um, bubbley sort isn't she? Enjoyed it a lot.

    1. HI, I hope when you say 'bubbly' you mean it in a good way? :O)
      Sarah, Writer's Block Presenter

    2. AJ - Cheers, mate. You've been like a rock to me these last couple of years. Couldn't have done it without you, mate :)

      And Sarah - AJ being the consumate gentleman, bubbly would undoubtedly be meant in the most complimentary fashion. I suppose the circles I move in, literature wise, 'bubbly' is quite a rare commodity :) Hope you're keeping well :)

  6. Fantastic!
    So glad to see you are getting the exposure your work deserves.
    Grace x

    1. Thank you, Grace. Much appreciated :)

      Hope you're keeping well. Lovely to hear from you :)