“When was the last time you blogged?”
It seemed quite a personal question. I could feel myself becoming defensive.
“Recently…” I replied, trying to sound nonchalant.
I didn’t particularly fancy sharing the ins and outs of my blogging habits with this bare acquaintance. So I decided to nip the conversation in the bud before it got into how much roughage I consume each day and my thoughts on adding super-foods to my diet.
“I blog when I can, it’s just I’ve been a little bit…”
“Constipated?” she interrupted.
In the words of Frankie Howerd: “How very dare you!”
Sadly, the above only existed as a thought. In reality I grimaced and looked to make an exit.
“Busy,” I stammered. “I’ve been busy.”
This is, in my opinion, the ultimate irony of that rare breed who blog about their parenting experiences: We’re frequently far too busy parenting to have time to blog about parenting.
Yes, I’m aware there are many super-bloggers out there who managed to blog daily, they have my admiration and yes, compared to them I may seem a little constipated.
Then again, life is not a competition. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s only a competition if you allow it to be.
I was busy not blogging last weekend, when the phone rang. An unfamiliar number, I answered in the full expectation of having to hang up on someone asking me about my PPI.
“Hello Sir, I’d like to talk to you about your PPI…”
“That’s a very delicate subject matter from someone I’ve never met,” I’d reply. “How do I even know that you’re a Urologist? For the record my PPI is fully functional! Good evening!”
Rather than an argument with a cold caller, I found myself talking to a producer from BBC Breakfast. It’s funny, ‘Producer’ used to be my own job title, when I worked in telly, but, even so, it still conjures up images of Ronnie Corbett’s chair monologues… If you don’t know what I’m taking about Google the phrase ‘Ronnie Corbett Chair Monologue’ before you do anything else – you won’t regret it.
The producer in question had read my recent piece about Mother’s Day and wanted me to appear on BBC Breakfast the next day (Mother’s Day itself) to discuss my experiences. I was happy to oblige, thinking that a quick chat on the telly would certainly silence those concerned with my blogging constipation…
I’ve always found there is something slightly, artificial about breakfast TV presenters (with the exception of the BBC Breakfast folk, who are all lovely, obviously). It’s difficult to put your finger on, but something about them seems not quite like the rest of us. Getting up that Sunday morning, it suddenly occurred to me why breakfast show folk appear so odd – they must appear cheery even at ungodly hours.
I, on the other hand (as I sat in taxi that took me to the studio) felt like death. I’d been up half the night with the young ‘un and his chest infection – leaving me feeling like I’d a major hangover but with none of the pleasures of the night before to even out the experience.
My brush with fame was to take place at the Exeter offices of BBC Devon. From these far from exotic surroundings (sat in a glorified cupboard) I was to link in with show. It was only when I was seated, mic’d and framed for the piece that my stomach sank. I spent the next 30 minutes, looking at 4 monitors each displaying my features as we waiting for the allotted time. Under the harsh lighting (without makeup) I looked like crap. There’s no other way of looking at it, I looked like someone who’d just completed a sleep deprivation marathon. I have never seen myself look so old, tired or haggard.
If I’m honest, I spent quite some time during that half hour praying that (somehow) this could magically become a radio interview.
I’m not a religious man. I hold religion alongside Pilates, quinoa and the work of Michael McIntyre – fine if you get enjoyment from them but please don’t try to get me involved.
Yet this Sunday, as I sat looking like I’d just escaped from an underground prison, my prayers were answered. Just as I was due to talk to Naga and the other residents of the hallowed sofa, there was an act of God.
The sound went down.
No matter how many buttons they pressed and dials they twiddled there was nothing for it, the main studio couldn’t hear me and I was dropped from the item.
That’s show-business folks!
One minute I was about to go national as Britain’s tiredest looking man, the next I was a fella sat in a cupboard who’d had a wasted journey.
Having worked in TV, I knew that it was just one of those things. Gremlins in the machine as they say. I was a little disappointed, I had actually told people I was going to appear, but not massively so.
Then, just as I was leaving there came a shout. The sound had come back. So, I took off my coat and sat down again. I’d missed the live show, but the team wanted an off the cuff piece to camera about my experiences – which I delivered in a confused and garbled manner. If you’d like to see what I said click here.
Not my finest hour by any stretch of the imagination.
Ironically the video did quite well online, so a fair chunk of people got to see my at my worst.
So there we are, with BBC Breakfast I managed to, almost, have a moment in the limelight. And how do I feel? Well, looking back at the video, I’d much rather talk to strangers about the frequency of my blogging…
That’s life eh?
The Out Of Depth Dad