A Hell of a Day!
I finished a booking in South London on Tuesday night and before travelling back down to Portsmouth, I had to take a 2 hour drive up to Hertfordshire to pick up my dog from my parents house, they had been looking after her whilst I’d been away for a month, performing in Dubai. I arrived at my parents house just after midnight, had a bite to eat and was due to set off for the 3 hours journey back home at about 1.30am.
Just before I was due to leave, I received a phone call from an unknown number. Curious about the mysterious caller’s identity at this time of the morning, I answered, it was the BBC. Apparently George Bush’s watch had just been stolen in broad daylight on film! Could I come the BBC and talk about the watch steal and my opinion on the Bush incident, it would be live on BBC News 24. I of course said yes, when you would like me to come, thinking some time late tomorrow.
To which they unexpected replied we’ll send a car for you at 5am!
I agreed, although I had a wash kit in the car, I didn’t have a decent change of clothes, so spent the rest of the night washing my shirt and underwear and pressing my shirt, and researching the Bush incident on You Tube.
After not a wink of sleep, the car arrived, 15 minutes late and off I went, very tired getting hungry and dressed in my performance suit from the night before, I thought I’d be back in no time to pick up the dog and car and make my way home. How wrong I was!
The car got stuck in traffic, there was a road closure at Seven Sisters. I arrived at the studio an hour late and had missed my slot! They didn’t want to waste my journey, so put me on a slot on Radio 4. (the interview will be on my website soon). It went really well. I was back in the car on my way home with a piping hot coffee in no time.
20 minutes into the journey the phone rang. It was BBC News 24 again. They really liked the interview and wanted to find time to fit me in on the show at a later time. So the car turned around, hit a curb and my by now cold coffee spilt all over my suit!!
I got back to the studio, managed to clean some of my suit in the toilets. The make-up girl did her thing and I eventually did the interview. Fortunately I was behind a desk so the coffee stains didn’t show, I talked, gave my opinion (or the opinion they wanted me to give!) and stole a watch a few times (video on the website very soon).
I was very pleased that I had not now wasted my journey, I got back in the car and started the return journey …again. By now I was incredibly tired and fell asleep in the car within seconds.
The phone rang again. Once more it was the BBC. The BBC World News had got wind of me and was wondering if I was still in the studios? I turned around and went back.
The interview went live at 10.30, with no chance of covering my jacket this time, I did the interview in just a shirt. I loaned the newsreader my watch this time as he wasn’t wearing one. I again talked about the Bush incident, said what they wanted me to say and stole the watch.
It was great coverage going out all over the world, with friend from Dubai later phoning me after seeing it.
On the way out, the phone rang again. CBS News had seen me, could I come and do their evening show? I had a booking in the evening and had to go home to get changed, what do I do? Yes I’ll do it. I would buy a new suit. This is all great publicity! The kind money can’t buy! But I had to be out of the studios by 6pm to get to my booking. They’d let me know if that was suitable.
Off I go again. In the car for the third time, now incredibly hungry and only just awake, the phone rings again! This time The Daily Mail had seen me. They wanted to do a feature! ….Great! ….Today! …*$!*!. I managed to persuade them to do it tomorrow. Off I go. At least I can sleep in the car to my parents.
“You’ll have to direct me says the driver” …bang goes my sleep! I get back. The phone rings again. It’s the reporter from The Daily Mail who’s doing the story. “They changed their mind, the story has to be ready to go tomorrow and has to be finished by 6pm today. That means that I need to see you, take pictures, do the interview all by 3pm.” It’s now 12.30!
Back in the car, dog in tow, I’m off to meet the reporter …5 minutes from the BBC Studios!! Can I stay awake for the drive? 3 Red Bulls should do the job. I’m there by 2.30. The photographer does his bit, the reporter and I hit it off and talk for an hour. Turns out the story is a supplemental feature, one of 6 possible for tomorrow’s paper.
All goes well and I leave happy but tired. At last I can eat. I stuff my face at the nearest petrol station and wonder if CBS News will phone back. Now off to buy a suit, I have a performance in a few hours in Croydon. Can I make it? New suit looks good, CBS phone, they want me in the studios later, could I cancel the booking? I apologise and explain the finer points of professionalism, I feel relieved. I clean up at the local leisure centre and arrive to perform on time.
Adrenaline soon kicks in and I have a great night, a little shaky from the 12 coffees and 6 Red Bulls that day, but I seem to be on fire!
Luckily the adrenaline lasts the journey home and I don’t fall asleep, I eventually get to my bed a little after 1am …exhausted! I wake up in the morning to find an email from the reporter, the story made it. It beat the other 6 features and I have the whole of page 15 to myself!! The whole day had been a great, but hard work, whoever would have thought that George Bush could cause so much suffering!!
© Dave Bonsall, June 2007