Dream jobs are hard to come by. Look at lovely Tony Blackburn. When he was a small lad, he dreamt of being a milkman. Up at 3, out, delivering bottles and creams and yoghurts. A merry soul with a kind smile and maybe the odd joke along his route. But fate played a cruel hand and he became a disc jockey. Which is probably just as well as no one has a milkman anymore and he would be alone, unemployed and unskilled by now and probably ending his days in a dark basement with a shotgun in his mouth. Fortunately he is on Radio Two. Which I know for a fact is on the fourth floor.
I myself have done the odd bit of 'jocking'. In 1972 David Hamilton took two weeks off to have his hair done, and I was invited to fill in. Now people do say that sitting in a comfortable room taking records out of sleeves and putting them on a record player, playing them, muttering in between some incoherent rubbish and then playing another record does not constitute hard work. But it does. I am not the only one who thought that, as the Producer, Pat Bennington agreed that the programme was 'bloody hard work'. Bennington left after the first three days citing a religious conversion, and was replaced by the more progressive Geoff Lyons. We had some fun on that show, I can tell you. People would ring in, and almost all of them could not believe what they were hearing. David came back after just six days and was amazed at what I had done. I still remember him sitting there, his head in his hands, looking at the show listening figures and wondering how he was going to equal them.
I did offer my services a couple more times but they said that once was enough, and on reflection that's true. They don't want to give their audience too much of a good thing, and then the audience gets spoiled and expects good things all the time and when the good things are not as good as the audience wants then they get all noisy and animated and demand their money back from frightened box office staff.
This did lead to a brief spell on City Radio. For those who don't know, the millionaire Hors Gorvitz started a commercial radio station, and I was on the line up. In his autobiography I am flattered to be referred to as 'someone who made us all look good'. One in the eye for those bodkins at Radio Two I think. I was to present the Overnight Express. A mixture of music and entertainment with the odd phone in. I decided not to do the average phone in, this was a chance to really push the envelope, to move things into a new arena. The subjects I covered were areas untouched by other presenters. Apostrophies. Pottery. Mowers. The show was an overwhelming success, garnering much media attention, esp after that man from Hastings said what he did about the Queen.