|Live and silent...thanks to me|
To the studio. Fi Glover wasn't there, and some bloke whose name I can't remember was standing in. He briefed us - we'd start by talking about my book, and then move on to a general chat about the sporting events of the weekend. Fine. The countdown - then the host introduced all of us. I was still terrified. He turned to me and announced my book to the world. "I haven't read the book," he said glibly, then added something like, "but presumably these are stories very much rooted in actual experience."
That was my cue. Was that an actual question? Was I supposed to agree with it? Say something like "Yes, they are" and see what he said next? Of course, looking back, it was a chance for me to promote myself by banging on about my vast experience of the football world, and how that had inspired me to write football-based fiction. At that second, though, my mind was a complete blank. National BBC Radio 5 Live experienced a five-second silence. It felt like five minutes, and I can still see the host's increasingly desperate face, waiting for me not to screw up his show in the very first minute. And here I was, the nervous debutant appearing in front of a huge and expectant crowd, and I'd clumsily conceded a penalty just 30 seconds in.
|What's this about? "Er,|
I don't really know."
The BBC never asked me back (though like Jim and Sue, they promised that they would). Tim gave me the tape, but I've never listened to it, and I don't even know where it is. Even if I wanted to hear me get into my stroppy stride taking on these titans of the established fourth estate, I could never face hearing again that five-second silence at the start of the show. And wishing that I had interrupted the sentence, "I haven't read the book..." with a full-on northern roar of, "Well then you're not doing your fookin' job very well, are you lad?" That's how you generate publicity.