9 August 2009

"Todd Rundgren at 8.15am?"

What a top weekend. My cousin got married on Saturday and it was a smashing wedding. They got the weather they needed and everything went like clockwork.

I was hungover for the occasion as the evening before I had hosted the latest Nerd Night, our bi-monthly gathering of radio types to eat, drink and swap gossip of mass destruction while also discussing jingles and prefade buttons in as crashingly a dull manner as it sounds. Hull welcomed these highly respected media professionals into its bosom for the evening and a fine time was had by all, as ever.

Charles Nove and I are in the pic, with Charles demonstrating the plastered-on smile that all practised celebs perfect in their opening weeks of notoriety.

Now, if you know Hull at all, you'll be aware that the city splits in half as far as nightlife choices are concerned. The new town has the trendy bars, pikeys in Ben Sherman shirts and by the night's close, many thousands of separate DNA samples floating along the road guttering in the form of vomit, blood and urine.

The old town is where the smarter, quieter and more sophisticated pubs and bars are housed, within the arcane buildings of our ancient city. This was, naturally, our destination for the evening's revelry, initally in a pub called the Manchester Arms and then on to a restaurant called Cooks Endeavour.

The arrival of the great Martin Kelner led to a conversation about Radio Aire in Leeds, the original line-up of which he was part when it launched in 1981. Only the fiercest of radio anoraks could duly rattle through the programme schedule of said station in said year. Now I like radio and am capable of mildly nerdish facts but the launch line-up of a radio station in a city where I didn't live (at a time when I was still at primary school) was not one of them. However, Simon Hirst was quick off the mark, going through every name, what they did next and the way their personal ID jingle sounded. It comes naturally to him. And yet he is three years younger than me and grew up in Barnsley, so should have heard (of) Radio Aire in 1981 at least as much (ie, as little) as I did.

Upon decamp to the restaurant, BBC Radio Tees breakfast host John Foster's mobile rang just as we were being shown to our table. His ringtone was the theme of Good Morning Britain, which led to long conversations about the merit (both as presenter and symbol of lust) of Kathy Tayler, a hostess in the later 80s on that settee whose woodenness with a camera was alleviated by her decorative qualities. Especially when she had just come back all tanned after a stint on Holiday '88.

From this, there was a discussion about whether Carol Dooley (TV-am weather person of sizeable specs from that era, having done the Mayo forecasts previously) preceded Sybil Ruscoe as the breakfast weather bintage for Mayo or succeeded her (it was the former), and this allowed us to then mention Ja(c)k(k)i(e) Brambles, Ruscoe's eventual successor. Are you keeping up? It was all a bit scattergun, but it eventually led to discussion of the differing ways Adrian John and Gary King would approach the 5am pips when on Radio 1 early show duty, in the days when the station was still closing down at night and re-opening the next morning (for what it's worth, one used to sing the jingle under the pips and the other used to wish the pips good morning). Inevitably, this finally led on to the discussion all semi-nerdish DJs have at some point in their careers; the thrill and enjoyment of waking up at 4.55am to listen to the station's daily launch with a stack of back-to-back jingles.

Ahhhhhhh. I know, this doesn't appear to be a thrill a minute. But to us, oooh... it is thrilling, exciting, mesmeric, mouthwatering stuff. This is why Alex labelled it Nerd Night on his show and the name stuck.

The food was excellent and then it was on to my favourite old town pub, Ye Olde Black Boy, for more ale and more discussion about anything relating to the industry, and perhaps just a little not relating so. Our pal Daryl Denham turned up at this point and before long was at the badly tuned piano and leading us all in a chorus of Ain't No Pleasing You. Naturally, only Hirsty knew the words.

Wandering the cobbled streets after the pub chucked out, we stopped at a burger van so that a handful of the more gluttonous partygoers could top up the meal and the liquor with a slab of circular flesh of dubious origin. As we walked, a local girl managed to get her heels stuck between the cobbles, making her lurch headlong into the arses of some our party who were walking in front of her. There was a brief pause as we wondered what to say about this evident bit of indecent assault on the male form, and also to check the inebriated lass was okay. Charles came up with the best line:

"It's okay. We're doctors!"

There was a pause while the alcohol-marinated brain of this female took in the information and she considered a droll and lucid response.

"Doctors my f**king arse!"

Charles was quick.

"Well, that's not my speciality, but...."

The voice of the balls had spoken, and when he speaks, millions listen. Or, in this case, fifteen laugh.

On we shall go, probably to Blackpool next. I'm then thinking of asking my good friend Callum, as frequent a contributor to this blog as anyone, to take us round Brighton at Christmas. He now has a chance to refuse in front of all of us...


Callum said...

Given that the only places I've had a drink in Brighton for the past five or so years have been my dad's local pub, my dad's house, the pub at Withdean Stadium and the place I hired for my wedding, I may no longer be the most authoritative guide to Brighton's nightlife. I'll think about giving it a go -- but it won't be as much fun as going round Hastings with Alex Lester.

David Easson said...

In the great world of the Simon Mayo breakfast show (and I speak as a man who begged his parents to take him to see Mayo and co at the Bude Radio 1 roadshow - getting there at 9am, thus forcing us to listen to the whole of the Golden Hour while sat on the tarmac of the beach car park) where exactly did Diane Oxberry fit in? I actually don't recall Jakkccqqi Brambles with Mayo, but remember feeling very happy for Diane when she got her big TV break on The 8.15 From Manchester. Who wouldn't want to work with Ross King? (in many ways the male Jakkqqccii Brambles)

JM said...

I do recall myself and Martin Emery quizzing Gary King at the end of the table at the London 08 event on who it was the had the honour of playing out the throat-clearing jingle reel. He clarified with some regret that it was the duty engineer who backtimed it to the pips every morning.

It moves me somewhat that I've gone from listening to it at the age of 14, to conversing with one of the people who used to be there to do it and for him to find it a perfectly natural line of enquiry that he was only too happy to field.

I wonder if in another generation some bright-eyed youth will be asking me just how the commentators knew which game to cross to and will thrill at being told it was because I was bellowing "go to fucking White Hart Lane or I will fade you out you bald bastard" down the talkback.*

* OK I may actually just think that.

Matthew Rudd said...

David - the Brambles did R1 earlies after Adrian John left, then stuck around to be travel and weather bint for Mayo when Sybil went to that evening news programme.

Dianne, ah Dianne, took over when Ja(c)k(k)i(e) was given lunchtimes after Gary Davies shifted to weekends, probably around 1991. She'd previously been the Brambles stand-in while working as a member of Steve Wright's posse.

Callum - we'd need two decent pubs either side of a good restaurant, that's all! Even I know where the Premier Inn is...

Chris A Tye said...

In the early days of radio Aire, I could get this station on the really old radio I got given from my Uncle John. The jingle.. "3-6-2..Radio Airrrrre!" sticks, and there was a guy who used to be on radion Humberside, his name escapes me. I remember the station advertised on Yorkshire TV (the studios are still next door, if I remember) and that's why I hunted it down. I know of no-one else in Hull who is aware of this station.

Callum said...

Christ, I'd forgotten about the 8.15 from Manchester. Whatever happened to Charlotte Hindle?

(I've just Googled it and been reminded that its theme tune was commissioned from Inspiral Carpets, and it included re-runs of Rentaghost. Brilliant.)

Kolley Kibber said...

Hmm...I might also be able to make some Brighton suggestions. Remind me nearer the time.

Matthew Rudd said...

ISBW, that's a most kind offer. Perhaps you should liaise with Callum once we've decided for certain that we'll come to Brighton...