ON THE ROPES (2)
They asked me to write for it, but I didn't have the confidence,
I thought no, as me Dad always used to say when I was up in
the room doing my thing, "How's your typing going boy?"
..and I must have believed that because
I thought, I'll be the receptionist and do little bits and
pieces, that led on to being on the staff and that was that;
but I was the receptionist initially at the NME, yeah.
And then you went into radio, GLR?
Yeah. No, no, I think I did television before GLR. I did
the Six-O-Clock Show, which again came from the punk rock
That was in London?
Yeah, yeah, exactly
....because Janet Street Porter
saw me, offered us this little show called Twentieth Century
Box which again went out in London, gave me £75 a week
for it, "Money in the bin" and that led onto the
Six-O-Clock Show and then radio, which was the GLR show, which
probably is still the best thing I ever did; that little show,
just local radio, paying £30/£40 for the three-hour
show, but that was all I was getting, thirty quid a week
Six-O-Clock Show had finished
. It's the only time
I've ever been broke and I didn't have any effect on me at
all. I don't come from a background that covets money or suspects
that you can be anything other than broke, but it came as
a shock when bailiffs knocked on the door in I think 80
Literally. I'd done telly for six years, six/seven years
by then and I literally had bailiffs knocking on the door
saying, "Ever heard of three letters called V.A.and T?"
"Nope!" "Have you seen your tax returns?"
"Ah, no other people do that, I'm a Rock-N-Roller"
and they gave me like two hours or they where going to come
back and take everything away; and I was living in a terraced
house, unpaid for, in Deptford, two kids and they were going
to take our stuff away and a brother-in-law borrowed me the
money and I thought I'd better go to work, because I've always
because I can do things, it's a
bit of a Swiss-Army knife in so far as media goes. I can write,
I can do telly, I can do radio, so it never bothered us and
I never sought work out. I never had an Agent, never did,
did pretty soon after that though, I thought I'd better go
to work and that began the whole era of doing everything:-
Daz adverts, Mars adverts, Game shows, I did everything for
like four or five years and the bailiff's never going to knock
on my door again John, that's for sure. If he does I shall
send him away with a flea in his ear and a cheque!
Now, do everything and operating on a National scene that
included Radio 5 where you were enormously successful?
Yeah and my shows, I was asked to do a quiz show called Sportscall,
which I thought, yeah, Okay, you know as they say. I work
best when I'm given a disciplined structure that I can then
corrupt. Nobody wants haywire at first that's how I work best.
So I was given this game show and I could adlib like crazy
and it was good and then this fella came in and said "Do
you want to come back after the football and do a sports phone-in?"
He said it's exactly 606, it wasn't a name for it. I said,
sure, yeah. It was a great radio show, but initially it took
calls about chess and all sorts of things and I just performed,
it was just a big old broadside, which is what I do best and
fortunately on the very first show, Andy Townsend the Chelsea
player rang in, because now of course it's passé and
anyone can do it, where I was asking about, do you know for
a fact that referees are bent, you know, it's a nice red rag
.and Andy Townsend rang in and said "I've
just worked with one this afternoon", and the Mirror
picked up on this - a Chelsea player rang in and accused the
referee of being bent - and then 606 just took off because
A - I was really good at it and I did used to come straight
from football matches to doing it; but then when Five Live
took over from Radio Five, all of a sudden the rules changed
a bit - they were dependent on a few contracts from the football
- they couldn't afford maverick shows that may effect the
connections and that's when I started finding they didn't
want me to work with a friend of mine through the glass, who
knew how I worked and knows how far I'll go and that and where
I'm going with stuff and they stated putting their own Producers
in and that's when I stared getting into trouble I think.
to the above
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