Thursday, July 15, 2010


My new buddy Phil heard it. If anyone else I know did then I don't know yet. I got this message on face book, it just said 'Meeja tart' or Media tart for those of you who don't understand phonetics. Yes. I'm a media tart. I succumbed to the slightly pointless exercise of contacting a radio station and relating a story. It appears I gave Jon Inverdale and his crew a bit of a laugh.

And that was essentially it, but while congratulating myself on my unexpected radio appearance, something struck me; well, actually a couple of things struck me. The first was that Jon Inverdale or his producer had edited me; except if adding to the story is editing then I was obviously doing something wrong for years. I can agree with all the derogatory and unflattering things my friends will say about my former boss, the one who owned a comics magazine, but I think he was actually quite an ethical journalist. He taught me the Joe Friday approach to journalism - just the facts, ma'am. Now, I could put on two hats - the news editor and the gossip columnist (who is allowed a lot more subjective creativity), but one thing you stuck pretty rigid with was contributions from readers. You didn't change their words; you maybe tidied up their copy, but you didn't embellish the contribution or try to put yourself in their shoes. This is essentially what happened to me on Radio 5 today.

Jon Inverdale was hosting R5's Open golf coverage and to fill in the vast areas of nothing much happening at all and to get some audience interaction he threw out a question to the listeners - their horror story golf rounds. I'd just finished checking whatever it is I check in the morning, opened an email and sent this:

This is more of a tragedy than a horror story. I've never been a particularly good golfer, normally hacking round in the 90s and the best round I've ever achieved was 88. Back in 1996, on a lovely sunny Saturday morning, we teed off and I subsequently bogeyed the first two holes - pretty much par for the course for me, but on the third, a par 3, I put the ball less than a foot from the pin and birdied it. I went on to birdie the 4th, 8th 9th, 12th, and 13th, before dropping another at the 15th before getting it back at the 16th. I was heading for at least a 68, 20 shots better than I had ever played. At the tee of the par 3, 17th, I hit a peach of a drive and left the ball less than a foot from the pin. Another birdie was on the cards. I turned to my playing companion and we high fived. At that moment, a nerve in my back went twang (it was sciatica) and I doubled up in agony and unable to even putt to try and get another birdie. As a result, I've only played 3 full rounds of golf since.

This is slightly paraphrased as I didn't save the email I sent. When it made it to the radio a number of little things were changed, including me slipping a disc and having to be carried off the course. I'm sure he added these little bits to dramatise the story a bit more, but he actually changed my words and this isn't the first time this has happened to me.

A few years ago, I gave an interview to Time Out magazine about... ahem... comics... By the time I got the magazine a few weeks later, there were loads of quotes from me that I didn't actually say. Fortunately for me, nothing that was 'misquoted' amounted to a hill of beans, but its a little off, don't you think?

Still, it's now my 4th time (written only) on Radio 5Live. The first two were 606 emails, the third was during the General Election to the Tony Livesey show and that was the fourth. it goes with my 6 radio appearances and 23 newspaper clippings!


I either discover bands a couple of years before anyone else has ever heard of them or before they become huge, or I fail to spot something everyone else is going on about. The latter applies to Florence and the Machine, who are a band that I've avoided like the plague because I figured because everyone else likes them they must be shit. I was wrong. Florence Welch has a brilliant voice and the album Lungs has rather taken me by surprise.

The same cannot be said for School of Seven Bells. I was crowing about this band before Radio 6 Music found them. This is mainly because as a fan of The Secret Machines, I was gutted to hear that co-founder Ben Curtis had left to form this new band with a couple of twins. But, I made friends with the band on MySpace (back in the days...) and was profoundly impressed by their 21st century Cocteau twins stylee. So, I bought Alpinisms, their d├ębut album, long before it was album of the week for anyone and that's why I can't recommend Disconnect From Desire enough; it's a little more immediate than the first album, but don't let that put you off.


So, I took a couple of days off to concentrate on watching the Open Golf. I managed to sit on the PC until midday listening to it on the radio. Went down to the lounge to watch it for the first time in HD and promptly fell asleep about 12.30 only to wake up at 2.15...

I'd like to say its a one-off, but i know the same thing will probably happen tomorrow afternoon. My day will go something like this: get up, watch golf, have some lunch, maybe prepare the dinner, watch some more golf, meet Phil for a couple of pints, walk the dogs, get home, watch the golf, fall asleep, be woken up by the sound of a hungry wife, feel completely washed out for the rest of the evening. I should maybe not do that.

I have developed a habit of falling asleep in front of TV. It started with documentaries - any documentary, whether I was interested or not. If I lasted 20 minutes, it was a good day. Then it started to happen during films, especially ones that were crap. Then it happened at the cinema and I decided I'd never go to the cinema again to see a film that could do that (it was a Star Wars film, the 5th one with the dancing Yoda). Then it started to happen during football matches and then programmes I classed myself a big fan of. There are times now that I only have to look at the TV and I start yawning. But, last year it started in front of the computer. I'd suddenly wake up with my chin on my chest and amazed to see it was 3am. I can be in the middle of something really important and then

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