Friday 14th December, 2018
I got to bed at midnight. My alarm went off at 5am. I was out the door at 5.30am and on a coach bound for London at 6am. Why? Well I was one of a very select group of listeners to Lauren Laverne’s show who were invited to join her at BBC Radio 6’s all day Christmas Party. You had to email in why you should be invited and my sparkly red jumpsuit of joy swung me an invite. Having been both a Bio-Rythym’er and a Memory Taper on the show and an irregular (damn work getting in the way) listener down the years I was excited about being chosen.
I got to take a guest and so of course I asked Ian to come along. Ian had texted into Lauren’s show to say he didn’t have a gig buddy and I responded saying I’d happily join him any time he was in Bristol. Lauren put us together on twitter and we did indeed meet at a gig not long after! That we got to go to this super special recording together and, spoiler alert, meet Lauren, was thrilling. La Laverne is so damn lovely and GORJUS it just shouldn’t be allowed.
While we were waiting in the corridor somewhere in the bowels of Maida Vale I was touched by Keavney, said hello to Mary Anne, gawped at Marconi and Liz Kershaw, admired Giles Peterson’s jumper and had to stop myself from dancing with excited joy at simply being there. Oh and Lamaq smiled at me in the street outside, as did Amy Lame as I walked past her on the way out. I am such a 6 Music whore. I’ve been a listener guest on every single daytime show plus a couple of the weekend ones. The Chain on RadMac is the only feature I’ve not been on! I have to be a tiny bit disappointed that I didn’t get to meet the Hawk, but then a girl can’t have it all. I wish I’d met Elizabeth Alker too as I am a big fan of her Radio 3 shows. I was also too chicken to go say hello to Nemone who had done my Bio Rhythm segment, but I did wave at her and she waved back.
I WAS IN MAIDA VALE WATCHING LAUREN LAVERNE BROADCAST LIVE! There, that may capture a little bit of my excitement. Ahem.
The live guests were Hot 8 Brass Band who I had been so excited about seeing earlier in the year. That gig turned into a disaster, where I left the venue in panicked tears due to anxiety and missed them. It was bloody wonderful to get to hear them play live, even if it was only a couple of tracks. What tracks they were though! Never thought I’d be grooving to Joy Division but there you are. On a balcony wearing a very sparkly dress, trying not to kick a microphone with 20 others while a radio audience listened in. It was quite a surreal way to spend a Friday morning I think you’ll agree.
Erol Alkan (musician and producer extraordinaire) was also a guest and he had bought with him, among others, Andy Bell from Ride. I had a little chat with him afterwards, he didn’t know me, but did of course know Memphis Tom. Given that 6 Music and Ride were both pretty instrumental in bringing me and Tom together you can imagine how hard it was for me to not be sharing it with him. And not just because he flew back to South Carolina 2 days earlier.
I was ok all the time I was at the show, I was with Ian, Paddy (who we got chatting to in the queue outside) and the other listeners. Plus of course Lauren who is gracious (she pretended to know who I was and everything), modest (“oh stop it”) and beautiful. Like luminous level. Also tall and totally rocking a sequin dress/leather jacket combo in a way I can only dream of. Fair to say I fangirled pretty hard.
After it was all over and I had to leave and was out in the very cold street alone again the pain hit. I wanted so badly to talk to Tom, to let him know all of the above, to have him share in the enjoyment and my happiness. That I couldn’t hurt and still hurts now. Music bought us together and I’ve been struggling with reverting back to having these adventures alone again. I guess it’s all part of accepting the ending of love. This is hard for me to write as I know he is likely to read it. I’m sorry, Tom. I miss you.
Ian had to head back to work (booooooo) and all I really wanted was to find somewhere quiet (yeah I know, as if in central London on a Friday lunchtime near Christmas) and have a damn good sob. What I did was head to Soho Radio to see my chum James Maynell who has a show there on Friday afternoons. Tom had introduced me to Soho Radio and James this year, we had said hello back in July when Alan McGee was a guest and I got to chat to him live on air (another surreal Friday in my life).
James put me on the spot again and I ended up on air again (damn you, James!) and when Tom, who was listening back home tweeted in I burst into tears and demanded cuddles. Now let me tell you that James and Josie give good cuddle. They should be available on prescription. They are good folk and the show is called Soho Garage and goes out on Friday afternoons 2-4, you can listen online live or via soundcloud afterwards. Check it out.
It had been a very full day, involving 2 radio stations, a lot of music and wonderful people who were doing their damndest to make me smile. They succeed and I had a fantastic time. I wish I could be this close to music, creativity and the things I’m passionate about more often. Working in the NHS and being a single parent are pretty stressful things, not always a lot of joy or brightness to be found. Music and radio bring light into the darkness, they make us feel less alone and more hopeful. Keep shining brightly BBC Radio 6 Music and Soho Radio. I needed you more than ever today. I think we will all need you more than ever in the months to come. To steal Lauren’s phrase, lots of love to you all.