Friday, 16 January 2009

Ooh err - get her!

Apparently I'm going to be debating the US versus the UK - which is best? on BBC Radio 5 Live next Tuesday. (I'm on the UK side.) I say "apparently" because knowing my luck, something will happen to get it bumped from the schedule. Like another plane landing in New York's Hudson river. I wonder if they remember that it's Obama's big day? Or is this their way of acknowledging it? Anyway, it's on the Richard Bacon Show but Richard Madeley is sitting in for him. I have to go down to the BBC equivalent studios at Navy Pier in Chicago and be on live. None of the old hiding-in-the-closet over the phone stuff***

Anyway, we will be covering an array of topics both serious and humourous. I have to have a good think about it and e-mail the producer my points. Obviously I have a lot of my own opinions, and I will be dipping into the realm of hard-facts, which I don't often force myself to do. However, if there are any points you'd like me to squeeze in on your behalf, please feel free to leave them here. Now remember, I'm doing the pro-UK part because that's what they asked me to do. I'm a PR hussy and would just as willingly have done the pro-US part, so let's not get all serious and start slinging mud.

*** The first ever live radio interview I did almost turned into a complete disaster. It was for a radio show in California with an expat host called Rosie Chalmers. She rang me a few days before, we discussed what we would discuss, and how long it would run etc. They then left me hanging for a few days and called me about 15 minutes before I went "live". My mother was visiting at the time, and I had a part-time babysitter, both of whom were in the house. Cue then toddler, alias Velcro boy, to start crying for me and preferring me above all others. I was on hold, waiting for my interview to start and running all over the house to get away from him, hissing at the other two responsible adults to take him away.

I hit upon the idea of locking myself in middle child's bedroom as it's bang in the middle of the house and almost sound-proof. I was perched on the edge of his bunk-bed, notes in hand, when next door's bloody builders started with the loudest chain saw on the planet Arrgg. The room wasn't that sound-proof. Off I ran into the Queenager's bedroom, tripping over jeans, hair brushes, lost shoes and violins. Her room looks out onto the street which isn't exactly quiet; loud fire engines and noisy street cleaners are frequent visitors. Where to go, where to go? Ah yes, her walk-in closet. Brilliant. So about ten seconds before I was cued in, I'm sitting on a ten inch high foot stool in a badly-lit, claustrophobic closet full of forgotten lunch bags and smelly socks. And yes, Rosie asked me where I was, and I foolishly told her, revealing the unprepared amateur that I was. It raised a chuckle though.

Not that anyone will be listening in as it's scheduled for midnight GMT, but no ringing in with "clever" comments if you do. Actually, you can "Listen later" if you go to the web site (see above.)


  1. Good luck with that I am sure you will be a hit.....just no hiding in the closet this time!!

    Gill in Canada

  2. That is SO cool! I can't wait to hear you on the Radio here! Good luck and I'm sure you'll be great!

  3. Ohhhh, how exciting!! I'll make sure I get to listen to it.
    I think one of the big differences between the UK & USA is time off work. My maternity leave in England would be months & months long - here my boss pulls his face at 6 weeks. If I take more than 5 days off in a row he has a coniption. Just WHAT is it about not having time off over here?? I certainly don't think there's a better work ethic or more productivity - so what is it?

  4. Wow. I'll definitely tune in. It'll be educative for me too, as we swap continents in May.

    As for another plane landing in the Hudson, well you know what they say about lightning never striking twice in the same place...

  5. I'm sure I could do either POV as well--when speaking to Americans I extol the virtues of my European existence but when at home in the UK and queried on all things America I can be quite sympathetic and even critical. Part of that "neither one place nor the other" phenomenon that goes with having lived in more than one country. I'll be keen to hear how this goes if I don't manage to catch it on the radio!

  6. Best of luck! If it's on live at midnight, I won't be listening, but I'll have a listen later, at a more civilized hour.

  7. What fun! I'm quite often awake at midnight so I will try to listen in :)

  8. mum, but you are far too good-looking and sexy to be on radio? Demand a TV interview - do you hear me?

    Anyway, Madely gets on my wick (so, which male doesn't?) the way he is always interrupting people, especially his wife, and finishing their sentences for them. You put him in his place the first time he tries that on with you, baby. x

  9. I'm very impressed. Hope it goes extremely well and don't forget to mention marmite Lx

  10. this is exciting and i'm going to listen in live.
    pro UK vs. US
    coronation street and eastenders of course.
    no brainer!
    no soaps in N.America could compete.
    oh and licorice allsorts.
    Good Luck.

  11. Thanks for all the input. I will strive to have my say and not let old Richie interrupt me.
    As for TV - a bit too much work, although I never turn it down! You have to get there early so they can make you up, and then it takes about a week to get the stuff off. The first thing I did, they kept shooting the host (so to speak) from behind me. The front of my hair looked great, but had I known about the camera angle, I would have made a bit more effort with the back. The second time, I got caught out with an ugly pair of shoes as I thought they would just shoot me from the waist up. The host ended up asking me to stand up and demonstrate a curtsey! (Don't ask.)
    At least with radio, I don't have to suck my cheeks in and remember to smile all the time.

  12. Don't forget your toilet issues with the gappy doors , superb UK chocolate & why are our accents so cute?

    Good luck it's nice to know someone famous!

  13. Wow! All the very best of luck!
    I will definately listen to it on the website next week!

    My Tip:
    Television comedies/sitcoms: without a shadow of a doubt us Brits beat the Americans hands-down for our humour and quality comedy shows!
    Here in Brazil the market is highly influenced by the U.S. so all the cable and satellite T.V. channels show mostly American programmes... (hell for a Brit abroad) and so any special British series, films or programmes that I want I have to get my Dad to buy the Dvd's for me in London and send to me here... i.e: Little Britain!

  14. Hey, how exciting! Will definitely listen.

    I like Pam's point. Everyone here seems to put in hours and hours, and have almost no holiday, but are they really more productive? And 6 weeks maternity leave? Do they not know what a 6 week old baby is like? Elementary school is 7 hours a day, instead of 6, but that just means children are more tired and less able to learn. Chill out, Americans!

    What about the much-famed British reserve? How we wait to be introduced, even if that means spending half an evening either in the ladies or getting ourselves drinks/food. I think the American ability to go up to someone and say "Hi, I'm Richard. I'm a friend of x and y. Nice to meet you." is very liberating.

    And as Daffodilly says, you must mention the gappy toilet doors.

  15. Good luck with that, should be interesting. But, midnight?! I'll have to do the 'listen again' thing on the bbc website.

  16. I'll be listening - maybe even in 'real time'. You're brave - especially for going up in front of a crowd of high schoolers. Enjoy your teen's fashion advice while you've got it. My daughter passed through the teen years, left home and now thinks I always look 'fine'.
    The kiss of fashion death.

  17. You're in luck, expatmum. Richard Bacon is a wally of the highest order. Richard Madeley will be fine. Can't wait to hear the show.

  18. l wish l had a cupboard big enough, the one at work has me in trouble enough but,l know the feeling...

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