UK Radio8’s Philadelphia presenter Jamie Theakston and I fly out
from Heathrow tomorrow. I leave work later than usual after preparing a
200-page biography on all the artists for Jamie and his co-host for the
event, Paula Abdul (only confirmed today). The rest of the evening is
spent sitting around while my wife Lynn packs for me. I say my goodbyes
to my six-year-old son Alex (who doesn’t want daddy to go) and my
six-month-old daughter Isla (who’s daddy?) because it’s an early start
tomorrow. Finally get to bed at 11.30pm.
Although our flight is not until 11.30am, I hit the road just before
7am, leaving plenty of time to drive to the airport because of the
roadworks around the Terminal Five site, which can sometimes add two
hours to the journey.
Annoyingly, I arrive at 7.50. At Terminal Four I try to waste time
with an unwanted/unneeded panini and coffee. When Jamie arrives at
9.40, hot from the Heart 106.2 breakfast show, we make our way to
check-in. He’s in business, I’m in cattle. No room for an upgrade. Bang
goes my idea of briefing him on the flight.
I arrive in
Philadelphia with a sore bum, 10 minutes before an almighty electrical
storm. My thoughts are with my colleagues Bruce and Pete who came out
ahead of us and are cowering in a tent near the huge, power-hungry
Decide not to take up an invitation to Will Smith’s party
because we’re too knackered. Plan to get an early night but the idea is
scuppered when I have to greet and entertain Paula Abdul. In bed by 1am
US time – that’s 6am in the UK.
It’s here! I meet our technical director Bruce in the hotel lobby at
6.30am and we trek down to the Museum of Art in a bus meant to be for
host Will Smith (staying in our hotel).
The bus driver still has no idea we are nothing to do with him. The
ISDN lines were still not working at 11 last night, so time is tight.
Thanks to a guy at Clear Channel (who rents us his ISDN unit), we
finally get linked to London 45 minutes before our transmission time of
8pm in the UK.
turns up, sits down, greets her adoring public (she does that very
well), disappears off to blag her way into the celebrity area and get
$7,000 of freebies and pops back now and again. But she still gets some
of the best interviews so I’ll let her off (Stevie Wonder in his
Due to the overrun of the London event, our
five-hour show from Philly on 200 UK commercial radio stations is now
cut to one hour, of which 15 minutes is of my mate Jono Coleman’s gig
in Canada. But we still work our butts off sending audio back to London
for use in the show there. For your information, we couldn’t see or
hear a single note of the concert as the mayhem backstage meant
resources were, shall we say, scarce!
Once we are off air, we
pack up and go back to the hotel for a late dinner. Jamie and I go out
for a night on the tiles with our reporter Tony. The evening ends with
a drink with a rather drunk Graham Norton. In bed (mine, not his) at
Wake at 8.30am despite hoping to kip until at least 10. Spend the
morning having room service breakfast, re-editing interviews and
writing scripts for the Heart breakfast show with Jamie (in New York)
and Harriet Scott (in London) tomorrow morning. Interrupt the men’s
tennis final for my counterpart in the UK with a long-distance call to
go over the final details.
Climb into a propeller-driven plane late afternoon to fly to New
York. When I get to the hotel I do a quick phone interview for my mate
at Worthing radio station Splash FM and organise dinner with a friend
downtown. Then more drinks with Jamie. We meet my friend in Tribeca and
I go off for dinner and Jamie goes back for some sleep. I get back to
the hotel at 11.30, just in time to pick up my bag and go to the ABC
studios on Central Park to broadcast the breakfast show back to London
(1-4am US). The wonders of technology allow each half of the team
either side of the Atlantic to produce a successful Live8 special.
get back to the hotel at 4.30am, only to realise I have left my coat at
ABC with my passport in the pocket. Off I go again. Finally get to bed
Alarm goes off 70 minutes later at 6am. To say I am tired is an
understatement. Go to JFK airport and check in – this time I get
upgraded. Hurrah! Flight is good, although half of it is flat out in
the land of nod. Get home after another trouble- free drive at 10.30pm.
Wife is waiting with a cup of tea – just what I need. I decide that the
office can wait until Wednesday as I’m on my last legs and I’ll have
the house to myself tomorrow.
A teething Isla keeps us up most of the night. I get up at 8am to help with the school run. Back home and in bed by 9.15.
Dead to the world until the phone rings at 1.30. Golf lesson with
Alex late afternoon, then back for dinner with the family and bed. I
love my bed!
A 4am start as I want to get to my real place of work, Heart 106.2
(at least until I go freelance in September), to prepare some audio for
today’s 2012 Olympics decision. This takes several hours, but luckily
we win and all my efforts have not gone to waste.
Get my first freelance booking – back at Heart filling in for myself until a replacement is found!
boss thanks me for what I did at the weekend and I’m already having to
remind myself that I was at Live8, I’ve got so much going round in my
head. I then realise I’ve got the school fete this Saturday and the
British Grand Prix to go to on Sunday. There’s no rest for the wicked,
but I wouldn’t have it any other way.