Every week, someone from my cinema toddles down the quay to the headquarters of the local radio station, to promote the latest releases and announce competitions and such. This week, it was my turn.
The people who usually would do it were off or away or summat, and I was asked to step up and take one for the team. Being a raging egotist, I saw the opportunity to self-promote AND hear the sound of my own voice being transmitted un-bidden into homes, cars and workplaces all around the area, so I agreed to make my radio debut.
I was told it was a pre-record, so I didn't need to worry about saying any bad words on air, and would be brief enough to only take about ten minutes out of my working day.
I ambled down to the station, and was surprised at the rising anxiety in my chest. I can do this, right? I've done acting and singing and all that sort of stuff in front of people, so this should be easy peasy, shouldn't it?
For some reason, it felt more like a job-interview than any of the showing-off things I have done for fun.
I walked into the lobby of the radio station and introduced myself. The receptionist told me to wait and asked if I wanted a drink. I had water.
I sat on a couch and looked around the small room. The station is contained in what must be an old warehouse or mill or summat; old stone walls and low ceilings, in a terrace that looks like a bunch of drunks leaning on each other. If you took one of them out, the rest would simply fall over into the space.
The receptionist tried to make small talk : "Where's this good weather we're supposed to be having?"
All I could muster was an exaggerated laugh and "It fluctuates."
It fluctuates? Who talks like that?
I hoped I could become slightly more coherent by the time I had a microphone in my mush.
The five minutes I had been told to wait was becoming more like ten.
I became acutely aware of my heart-rate. I was nervous. That shouldn't happen. It wasn't as if I had any investment in the outcome of this short interview, it was just a promotion for a cinema chain that happens to pay my wages. What do I care how it comes out?
So why was my heart pounding like a happy hardcore beat?
After about half an hour of this coronary cacophony, a bloke came into the reception and told me to follow him through to the studio. As I did so, I began to experience flashbacks to a school trip to the radio station where we recorded some advertisements or summat for our media studies class. I followed the DJ into the exact same studio I was messing about in all those years ago, and I wondered at how little the place had progressed in the interim decade. Then I wondered how that reflected on me.
I asked the DJ how this would work. He told me to just tell him a little bit about the new releases, and keep it short because the slot's only about a minute.
A minute? I had a fucking epic dissertation on the shortcomings of "Streetdance 3D" and the failed effort of "Prince of Persia" prepared! I had cue cards and flip-charts and skits planned! Not really, of course, but I expected a little more than this:
"And we've got [TheUnwashedMass] from [The Cinema] with us to tell us about this week's new releases. What's coming out this week, then?"
"Er... Prince of Persia and Streetdance 3D".
"Prince of Persia. What's that about?"
"Um... Jake Gyllenhaal waving a sword about and jumping off stuff."
"Uh... It's got some dancers off the telly in it."
"Thanks a lot! Bye!"
The conversation may not have been as brief as that, but it certainly felt like it. The whole ordeal was over in about thirty seconds.
I left the building, lit up a fag (incase you're American, that doesn't mean I shot a homosexual) and wandered back to work. Next time I'll try and wheedle myself an entire show. Next time.