OMG, as the yoof says, if they (the BBC top brass of course) could see me now .. all alone in a BBC studio, sitting at a BBC computer, eating a BBC tuna melt. They’re very trusting these BBC people — I reckon if I twiddled enough of the hundreds of knobs in the vicinity, I could get on air somewhere.
Not that I want to. My voice is starting to go a bit already, having done breakfast telly and then 19 local and regional radio interviews, all in the interests of publicicing a book which, if my twitter friends are anything to go by, is not in all the right places yet and has already sold out on Amazon …. Grrrrrr, market economics my foot!.
These mass interviews are organised by something called BBC GNS, and it works like this – you (or in this case the publisher) tell GNS that you’re available on such and such a date between x and y o’clock. They send out an advisory to the dozens of local stations who come back to say if they want you or not. Then you pitch up in the studio and a nice man called Pete links you up one by one to all the stations who got through first.
It’s amazing what you learn along the way … I didn’t know Anne Diamond was on Radio Berkshire. What’s more, she sounded like she had read the book (the same could be said for some though not all — and I can always tell when they’re busking it, no names no packdrill.)
Great to hear Ed Doolan on Radio WM still going strong. He asked me to go back on for a full hour in the studio. Happy to. Ed is something of a Midlands institution, and he also – I don’t know if I ever told him this – was one of TB’s favourite interviewers.
Fred Macauley at Radio Scotland is one of mine – I’ve probably just ruined a career there. He has a lovely languid style, and manages to ask needling questions without making you feel needled. Down at the other end of the country, Radio Cornwall was ruined by the admission of the producer that she was a Blackburn fan, and she couldn’t resist taunting me about Burnley’s relegation and Rovers’ double over us. On air … I wonder if I can get into BBC personnel on this computer?
Most of the interviews focused on fairly obvious questions – why now, what’s new, TB-GB, what do I think of the coalition, Question Time row, etc – but I was surprised just how many mentioned Adam Boulton’s on-air meltdown when he and I were talking to Jeremy Thompson a few weeks back.
One of them, I can’t remember which, said something to the effect that ‘everyone’ was aware of it … but that can’t be right. Not many will have seen it live I wouldn’t have thought. For obvious reasons I don’t think Sky have shown it since. I’m not sure it made the Beeb or ITV, though it has been replayed to me once or twice in interviews since. And though it has been a bit of a hit on YouTube, I think we are still talking hundreds of thousands rather than millions.
One of the themes of my interviews, and indeed the book, is that I became a controversial figure in part because I was the one dealing with the media for TB at a time the media age became a reality, and with it the media became obsessed with itself, so that writing and talking about me the whole time was a way of discussing themselves. The focus on the Boulton spat is part of that really.
On Breakfast Time this morning, in the light of Boulton apparently apologising, or at least expressing regret for his meltdown, I was asked if I would like to say something similar. Like what? LIke I apologise for being there when big Adam loses the plot? What an odd question.
I did enjoy Bernie at BBC Northampton – first because he said he loved my novel, All In The Mind, but second because he said he was the founder of ‘slap-a-journo-for-Christmas’. An entertainer by trade, he said he really didn’t like what modern journalism had become. I ended up having to defend the media! I must be going native. Time to finish the tuna melt, get out of there, and get home.
But first, and finally for today, I have a meeting with Richard Bacon on Five Live. I’ve not seen him since election night, when he interviewed me at Labour HQ, just before I had an on-air spat with …. oh no …. Adam Boulton …
Anything could happen now …
*** Buy The Blair Years and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.
As for Prelude to Power, go to Amazon if you like. I’ve stopped looking, because I’m worried my temper won’t take the ‘temporarily out of stock’ sign that was there every time I looked yesterday. Waterstone’s shoppers continue to let me know if you can’t find. Have been assured gremlins are sorted.