Five Seconds of Fame

I keep listening out for the doorbell, I keep looking out of the window, but the street is empty. The postman, greengrocer, Amazon delivery and Co Op groceries have all been, but They never come. Another day when a long pole, with a microphone on one end and a television interviewer at the other end, has not appeared at my front door.

How do they choose all these citizens who keep showing up on the news and breakfast television? I am not talking about science experts, political commentators, journalists and doctors, but ordinary people who sit in their living rooms unashamed of their ghastly wallpaper and awful fashion sense. Out of millions and millions of us how do they get chosen to be interviewed for several minutes in a segment that will be repeated endlessly on the main news and on News 24.

If they happen to have recovered from Covid they obviously have a head start over the rest of us, but it’s not just people pondering on pandemics, I have always been ignored. Every general election, the long years of Brexit, no one knocks on my door or stops me while I’m out shopping for my opinion. Though I would flee in the opposite direction if I did see cameras; too windswept, wrong clothes for television…

But if a reporter did call on me at home they might not get away; all those years of stored up opinions.

 ‘Yes we need more lockdown not less, gatherings of more than two people forbidden, identity cards, everyone to stay inside their own postcodes, disposable BBQs should be banned, litter bugs should be tasered on the spot, private motor vehicles confiscated, air travel banned… it was so nice during the first few weeks of lockdown…. Perhaps you and the cameraman would like to buy one of my books, I just happen to have a box full… or buy all my books…

Maybe a little bribery would secure their release…

Everyone is filmed at home now so if you haven’t had the chance to appear on television you can always pretend. Facetime with your boring family could become one of Alan Bennet’s brilliant Talking Heads – which are perfect for isolated actors and have just been remade.

Or dust off your bookshelves and pontificate late at night on tomorrow’s newspaper headlines.

In the kitchen you can have your own masterchef celebrity banquet bake off.

‘What are you making?’

‘Bangers and Mash, it could all go horribly wrong… I’m just going to test the potatoes, okay, this is the moment when it could really go wrong, I could end up with third degree burns, I need to strain the potatoes now… make sure the camera lens doesn’t steam up…  yes the sausages all free range, they were running  around in a Hampshire field yesterday… oh oh is that the smoke alarm, I forgot to check the sausages…

Perhaps it would be better to stay in the garden. Gardening programmes are so popular now for peaceful healthy escapism and you can even send in videos of yourself and your delightful children giving a guided tour of your fantastic / unusual / beautiful / bountiful garden. Gardener’s World receives thousands of them, so you might not get chosen unless you have turned your bathroom into a tropical paradise, installed a waterfall in your living room, or turned a six foot sunless concrete square by your back door into the Garden of Eden.

Perhaps it’s best if I don’t film my garden; putting carefully cropped selected flowers on Instagram is my limit. Though if the people with poles do turn up tomorrow I could give them my views on new major projects injecting money into the economy; have all the motorways turned into cycle routes and gardens…

Have you ever invited television cameras into your home?

Silly Saturday – Baz the Bad Blogger

In the first and last of my series of author interviews my guest is Baz the Bad Blogger who was happy to answer my questions as nobody else wanted him on their blog.

Welcome Baz, thanks for coming along.

It was a hell of a journey, I hope I’m going to get lots of book sales out of this.

Er, well it’s more a case of meeting lots of other interesting readers and writers. How did you come to start blogging?

THEY said it was a good way to sell my book.

What do you like to write about in your blogs?


Tell us about your new novel.

It is a dystopian fantasy set in an unnamed capital city. The government has been taken over by zombies and androids, but no one can tell the difference as none of them have any personality.

That must have made character development rather difficult.

I decided not to bother with character development.

So do you consider the plot line to be important?

I guess so, I just go for dead straight…

Moving on, what advice would you give to other bloggers?

When I started I wrote very long blogs so everyone would think I was highly intelligent.

And did they?

I don’t know, I never had any comments, so I decided to make my posts brief. I recommend two sentences at most, as no one reads past the first two lines anyway…

My second piece of advice is to have lots of pictures of fluffy kittens or cute puppies. I haven’t got any pets, but I found a dead rat in the back yard one rainy morning and he looked quite photogenic once he had been blow dried.

Your blog certainly has a unique style.  How many followers do you have now?

Umm… one, Tidetables something or other.

We had to cut the interview short as Baz had somewhere more interesting to be, but you can find out more about him and his novel ‘I Zomboid’ at his author page.

Baz has changed his cover photo…

Friday Flash Fiction – Rambling Radio

‘…and when the light turns green Marcia, that’s your signal to speak, here’s your script.’

‘Script? I don’t need a script, surely the idea is to chat.’

‘Yes, but you do need to know what items you are linking. While the music is playing you can muse on what you might say next, but when a report is being read you need to concentrate so you can comment.’

‘Multi tasking, I know all about that…’

Theme music fades

‘Yes, yes I’m ready…

Good afternoon, it’s Marcia Graham taking you up to Drivetime with news and views and the sort of music you like … and my first guest is a man who plans to unicycle around the world. Join us after the break.’

Marcia clasped the headphones with a pained expression on her face. ‘Why do we need a break already, it’s only a few minutes since the last advertisements. Oh not this excruciating one, I can’t stand it when I’m in the kitchen, let alone having it blasted into my ears… Are you the unicycle man, not quite what I’d imagined, still, I suppose you will lose plenty of weight on your travels, whoops, amber light, get ready…

and this afternoon I’m talking to…

can’t read this small writing

…Free Wheeler?’

‘Freddie, my mother was a Queen fan, quite funny really, you know, I Like To Ride My Bicycle…’

‘But you’re riding a UNIcycle… what did give you the idea to unicycle around the world?’

‘I was bullied at school, Freddie No Wheels, my parents wouldn’t buy me a bike…’



Half an hour later

‘Thank goodness we’ve got rid of him; this show needs intelligent guests, I see myself as a cross between Joan Bakewell and Melvyn Bragg. No, I’m the same age as her actually. Who chooses this music, I can’t stand flutes, we don’t want to send the listeners off to sleep… ooh amber light…

and here is the news read by Peter Grimes…

unfortunate name, who decides the order of the news items, are we really interested, would we care if the operation wasn’t a success?’

The producer sighed and wondered how his radio station came to be involved in DRIP, Deferred Retirement In-house retraining Programme.