Monday, 14 September 2009

Our Big Breakfast Adventure 1994



In 1994 I had written an article for Record Collector on the subject of the stranger side of my record collection. Back in the days of my well spent youth when you could happily wile away a whole Saturday record hunting up in London part of the fun was not just finding something really good but also maybe something really bad as well. (And by bad I don’t mean bad but actually genius). If it was cheap enough, and by cheap I mean 50p or at most a pound, who could resist buying an oddity or two when luck brought these strangely wonderful items before your gaze. Be it an Arthur Mullard or Rusty Goffe single, a John Wayne or Uri Geller album or a double album of the monotonous drone of a Wind Harp placed a top a hill and then recorded, maybe a selection of number poems put out by the British Arts Council, then I was your man.
Anyway the article led to an interview in the Sunday Telegraph (which I scanned and posted up here a while back). And a few days after that came out I had a phone call one unsuspecting evening about eight asking if I fancied going on the Big Breakfast the very next morning to talk about my weird collection. This was in the day when the Channel Four breakfast show was at the height of its popularity. Chris Evans and Paula Yates hosted the show and it really was flavour of the moment with a large and devoted audience. One of its most fervent devotees was my daughter Amelia who would have been eleven at the time. That girl, like her father ,was not what you would call a morning person and yet for the past few months or so she had been dragging herself from her warm bed a good couple of hours before she had to just to watch the show every morning before school. By the time of the phone call she was already in bed asleep. I was in two minds whether to except this unexpected invitation or not. The idea of appearing live early next morning in front of however million viewers, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking and all that, did not really immediately appeal as you might well understand. I could easily die the proverbial death, completely dry up on camera and be basically useless. On the plus side the absurdity of my situation was not lost on me. If you’re going to have you’re inevitable Wharholian fifteen minutes of, then why not make it a silly one. I was still dithering but thought to ask if I could bring Amelia and my son Andrew along with me and when they said "yes of course", and my fate was sealed.
That night there were a few more calls to work out how it was to go and the occasional bike courier at the door to pick up various records so they could record them for playing the next morning as part of the interview. A chauffeur driven car arrived at five the next morning to pick us up and take us across London down to the Big Breakfast house in Teddington. Andrew who was two years older had been still up when the phone first rang so he knew exactly where we were off to in this strange car at such an ungodly hour. Amelia we kept completely in the dark. Just woke her up and told her to get washed and dressed because we had to go somewhere now. She was sleepy and baffled by all this and at one point she protested that she was going to miss Big Breakfast because of this. We smiled and said nothing and I suspect she thought it was all just a joke until the car arrived and whisked the three of us away to our mysterious destination. The look on her face as we pulled into the Big Breakfast house was worth everything. We were ushered into the legendary sitting room where most of the show took place and I set up a display of some of my choice albums around and behind the sofa a good hour or so before I was due to be interviewed, so we got to watch all that was going on.
Though on the telly at home it looked nearly all live a good fifty percent of the show was nothing such, just made to look as it was. Chris Evans would link to the next segment stand up as if he was going into the next room then turn at the door and sit back down again while on the monitors we could see him walking into the next room to spend ten minutes chatting to someone about something or learning how to make a holographic pancake, that type of nonsense. There was a lot of this filmed to look live sections (though I had no such luxury for my part) and during these off air moments Chris spent a quite a bit of time chatting with Amelia which she enjoyed. Paula Yates breezed through a couple of times and at one point Richard E Grant came and sat down next to Amelia. She looked up at him with disbelief in her eyes, her favourite film at that time was (no not Withnail and I she was a child for heavens sake) Francis Ford Coppella’s Dracula. Yes it was the doctor from Dracula sitting next to her.
Anyway if was all strange fun and then it came to my moment in the spotlight which you certainly don't need me to chunter on about especially when we can do this less painfully using the wonder of screen grabs and captions......
Myself and the television presenter Mr Christopher Evans on the sofa.
Look at the obscene time 7:45 in the morning..my god what was i thinking...


Evans holds up a Jimmy Tarbuck album (the Liverpool comedian legendary for bullying Paul McCartney at school and other things) Great cover but a boring straight singer type album within.


I explain that my copy of this Uri Geller album is very rare because it's hard to find a copy that isn't warped
Mr. Spock presents Music From Outerspace..need i say more?
Moving on to the lets hear some of them section we open with a big gun: Balsara and his Singing Sitars unique interpretation of These Boots Are Made For Walking
Next up the news reader Reginald Bosanquet's classic Dance With Me gets the pulses racing..
Finally Arthur Mullard's classic redition of Yesterday or as he sings it Yusturday brings the house down (but maybe not in a good way
A double Mullurd whammy as Evans holds up both Mullurd Of London and Mullard and Bakers Band On The Trot
Note the Rusty Goffe album cover behind Chris Evan's shoulder as we draw to a close. Obviously I can hardly stand to watch the video of this, its faintly embarassing to see myself on home vidoes let only on TV but everybody says that i carried it off really well...though fuck knows how....normally i can barely grunt at that time of the morning
Finally as a cherry on our cake half an hour later Amelia and Andrew were handed shades and ask to sing the jingle for the Sunny Side Up quiz section.
So that was it, we stayed till the end and then had some breakfast in the nearby canteen and then we got driven home again. Amelia arriving half an hour late for school was asked by her teacher why she was late."Because I was on the Big Breakfast." she explained and the whole class squealed with delight.

4 comments:

shockpop said...

Wonderful story my friend! Thanks for sharing, it made my day :D

valis said...

Hilarious! I can well imagine Amelia's face! (..and her classmates reaction to why she was late!)

Two Ton Ted from Teddington said...

The house wasn't in Teddington. It was in Bow, E3.

Anonymous said...

Gaby Roslin obviously made an impact!