Christmas Eve tea is a big event in the Herring family calendar, but a few weeks ago the producer of the Andrew Collings show asked my if I would like to deputise on the show today as Andrew was going to be away. I loved hosting the show the last time I did it and was aware that if I could do it again and do a good job it would be another small step closer to getting my own show on 6Music. But I was being asked to choose between my career and my family and on Christmas Eve of all days. To me there was no choice I did the show. Fuck my family. They are all idiots. There are only nine of them as well, whereas the Andrew Collings show gets almost thirteen listeners over the course of its three hour broadcast. You do the math. Ematics.
I havent got where I am today by putting my family first. And thats why I am nearly 40 and live alone, unmarried with no kids and no-one who loves me. But at least I occasionally get to present a show on 6Music and get asked to appear on Never Mind the Fullstops. I have no doubt that I have made the right choice and nothing will convince me otherwise. Ultimately my family will all die, but the Andrew Collings shows will live forever.
I had considered frightening Jude the producer by explaining my dilemma at the top of the show and then saying What am I doing? I should be at home with my family! before getting up to leave, but I only made a half-hearted attempt. She already knew that I was delighted to be here.
I had forgotten how much fun it is to do the whole show. What could be better than making a living chatting about rubbish and then playing some records? And the show has a loyal band of listeners who send in funny texts and emails which its my job to read out and take the piss out of. At one point I had to read out an apology from one listener to another who was actually her flat mate. They live in the same house and yet here they were utilising a national radio station to send messages to one another. What an amazing service the BBC offers and I am pleased to be a part of it. I have to confess its sometimes not as much fun as it is with Andrew, as there is no-one to bounce off of or try to offend or make giggle, but in the best moments I still managed to take an idea and run with it. I was still a little bit nervous at the start, but things quickly calmed down and though in places I was a little ramshackle and unprofessional, I hope it was enjoyably so. I enjoyed it at least. And if you missed it and youre reading this this week, you can listen again here
Lucy Porter did rather too well filling in my regular paper review spot. She was at least twice as good as Russell Howard had been on the last show I fronted
. We pulled some crackers I had stolen from the 6Music offices and one of the presents was one of these little plastic fishes that you put on your hand and it tells you if you are fickle or contemptuous or if you have very hot hands. I turned out to be in love which is a ludicrous notion. As this blog clearly demonstrates I hate the world and am incapable of affection for another living being. But the little plastic fish is wise and unchallengeable and in some parts of the world is worshipped as a God, so it must be true. Maybe my battered heart is capable of love after all. Though I think I might be in love with a tiny sliver of plastic in the shape of a fish. Id like to see the wedding ceremony. At least the fish would be able to tell if my intentions were honest.
As you can imagine all this visual activity made for great radio. I also put two fingers up to the evil 6Music bosses by allowing people to text in and request their own music. Screw the 6Music playlist. It was Christmas Eve and I decided to play what I wanted. The fat cats wanted me to play the entire back catalogue of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but I threw out their dictate and played other stuff instead. Provided the bands hadnt been on the previous shows. I may be a rebel, but you have to respect certain rules or the world will descend into anarchy.
Anyway, it was much more fun than eating meringues and quiche with my ridiculous kin.
After the show I headed home and packed up my car with the wonderful gifts that I had got out of the hamper for my family and drove back to Cheddar. I was giving a lift to my oldest friend Phil, who I met at Middle School and have now known for over thirty years. That just doesnt seem possible. It was good to have his company. The journey passed quickly. But then those thirty years have gone by pretty sharpish as well. Phil hasnt changed a bit. He still looks eight years old, due to a rare genetic condition. Its a shame for him really, though at least he still gets to go on bouncy castles. I am glad we are still friends. I think if I met the 8 year old Phil now I might have little in common with him, but somehow weve managed to stay friends for three decades even though we have changed and grown (in my case).
It was good to see my family too if truth be told. But this is my blog and no place for veracity. I hate the world and have no family. I was hatched from a pod in a laboratory. But I go and see the pod every Christmas and give it some marmalade from my hamper. Its only right. That is the message of Christmas.