It’s just like the old days. By which I mean the old days of me taking endless grabs off the 6 Music studio webcam as if I’ve only just discovered how to do it, and running them ad nauseum on my blog. Though I broke my own two-year duck by filling in for George Lamb two Fridays ago on Goth Day and presenting Genial Jon Richardson’s regular show last Sunday, today was the official comeback of Collings & Herrin to 6 Music (the link is to the iPlayer, where we’ll be available for seven days): myself and Richard Herring the professional comedian, co-hosting. (In the official billings it described us as “broadcaster Andrew Collins and comedian Richard Herring” and promised a “one-off show”, which bodes well for our future career.) We had tons of fun for three hours, protected from Sachsgate-style scandal and censure by the professionalism of my hands on the desk, ever alert to the possibility that Radio Richard might slip into Podcast Richard mode and cross one of the many new lines drawn around acceptable BBC etiquette by the Daily Mail and other interested parties. We were allowed to play Confrontation Song from the first Not The Nine O’Clock News album, which had been passed by “compliance” (which I imagine is a man who looks like Kenneth Branagh in The Boat That Rocked with greased down hair and a toothbrush moustache, stamping pieces of paper with a rubber stamp), and from it gleaned that it was acceptable to use the words “diarrhoea”, “bleeders” and “toss”. We spent much of the show reading out euphemisms from listeners, which was a nice way of avoiding explicit words, although every phrase and songtitle sounded like a euphemism once we’d broached the subject, including “Barry Norman’s pickled onions,” which Richard mischievously ran with.
Producer Adam was always there to help us avoid choppy waters. (He’s the one on the left in the pic above.) We didn’t want to get him into trouble. There was a potentially sticky moment when a listener asked if it was OK to fantasise about a schoolgirl dressed as a 40-year-old woman, at which I interjected “an 18-year-old schoolgirl,” like the professional that I am. It was just like the old days, when Richard was a guest on my 6 Music show, and he would tease me by treading close to controversy, knowing that I would leap in and either stop him or play a record. At one point in today’s show, I said, “I’m going to have to stop you there …” and @unloveablesteve on Twitter accused me – lightheartedly – of playing the boss man. I suppose whoever has the controls (or “con” as they say on submarines) has the power, but it was not my show, it was our show. The geography of the studio says otherwise, I admit.
In this picture, “Northampton Jon”, Richard and Adam are sampling my homemade chocolate biscotti, live on air, and experiencing all the moisture being absorbed from their bodies, before enjoying the surprisingly nice aftertaste.
Thanks to Adam and Jon for helping to oil these three (in fact, six) hours of radio – and Genial Jon for being away for two weeks – and to Michael Ball for letting Richard and I squeeze into the tiny lift with him and to breathe his showbiz air on the way out of the building. Now there’s a professional broadcaster.