Wednesday 14 December 2011


After breakfast and once I had returned from taking the car home, Simon (one of my Groomsmen) and I went for a walk along the riverbank and we chatted about this and that; mainly how we had been friends for such a long time and how pleased he was to see me so happy after all these years. I also started to feel a little odd.

The ceremony wasn't until about 4pm so we had plenty of time to kill. However, Best Men were needed to do Best Men-related things. This meant lanterns and candles and battery powered candles and their placing, so I was left to fend for myself

I had checked out of my garret from the previous night so took up residence in Simon's room where I tried to avoid seeing the Dark Lady who was only next door as I gather it is bad luck.

The time dragged. I began to feel weirder. Up to this point (apart from the stress of the day before, trying to get everything and everybody in the right place) I had been very relaxed about the whole wedding thing.

I was beginning to get all emotional. I have always been a big weeper. Music can reduce me to tears very easily, as can film and TV. Being a contrary wise character I am generally unmoved by the mawkish and sentimental. However, if I have had a couple of drinks and start to read the obituaries in the local paper where well-meaning folk have ordered up one of those off-the-peg verses to illustrate the loss of a loved one, you know the sort of thing:

"I sit and wonder every day
Why the Lord chose to call you away
I think he saw you needed rest
He only takes the very best"

…I do start to wobble. Yet along with many I also find myself wanting to snigger. This apparently is a common thing at funerals where emotions are heightened.
This, however, was to be a day of celebration and I - at the grand old age of 55 - had found my soul mate; the woman of my dreams, the person I wanted to spend the rest of my days with.

I still felt very odd. Sitting in the hotel room listening to people scurrying back and forth wondering at what time I should change. The time hung heavy.

Luckily guests started to arrive from further afield. Nerd Night DJ's began to arrive from the north of England. Janice Long arrived with partner Paul and Dr Strangelove looking sharp in a new suit (the elegantly-tailored whistle hiding the full horror of his terrible legs!) We stood in the bar and I drank water. If I was going to weep I didn't want it to be made worse by having had a drink or two. Also I may get dehydrated so it seemed sensible to top up.

I was looking forward to being a husband and a Stepfather. I had no doubts about that but I still felt a bit like a condemned man. Maybe it was the waiting?

Neale James, the photographer, provided a welcome respite as he had been rushing around photographing all and sundry and arrived to take a few pictures of me as I squeezed myself into my finery. He also expertly pinned my buttonhole to my jacket as my sausage fingers had ceased to work.

At last it was time and in the gathering gloom we made the short walk to Rye Town Hall. I now began to panic as one very important guest had still to arrive. Without her this would blow a massive hole in the proceedings. I hoped the Dark Lady hadn't got wind of this. Simon hadn't seen them nor had Clive. As is the law I had to go and meet the Registrar and Glenda, who was going to conduct the ceremony in an anteroom.

I was now feeling very, very weird.

At first there seemed to be a problem with my names. I have rather a lot and not all of them are "Christian" or "given" names. I have an extra one: "Phillips". It isn't a double-barrelled name. it is a name my paternal Grandfather took as a thanks to the parents of a friend of his whom he lived with after falling out with his Dad. We pretty nearly have all have it including my Father and my Sister. Registrar, who was American, was finding it hard to grasp due to the paperwork that had come from the Hastings office. When I had applied for the licence months ago they weren't sure what to do with the name or where to place it on the forms. This was foxing them. So not only was I feeling very strange, a vital component of the ceremony was still in transit and I feared the thing wouldn't go ahead because of an intractable problem with one of my names.

All was eventually agreed and as I was doing a bit of signing off official documents I saw a smiling Simon give me the thumbs up from the doorway: the missing member had arrived.

With a few minutes to kill before the start and whilst the DL was being grilled in the antechamber I sauntered into the hall. It was packed with our friends and relatives. I began to fill up. We had spent weeks deciding on some background music for the event to be played before and after the ceremony and every song meant something to us. Every so often, when there was a lull in the conversation, I would just make out a few bars of a tune or song. This made me fill up even more! My Sister came over to buck me up a bit and our Witness, Susan the Finance (don't hate her she's not a banker), who introduced us in the first place also came over and told me in no uncertain terms to "hold it together".

This was awful. I was going to breakdown and howl all the way through my own wedding. If things got much worse I would start moaning and gnashing and wailing. It wouldn't be a day of joy, it would look like a Middle Eastern funeral!

We took our positions. Glenda, me, standing at the front, everyone else stood up and then Jimmy Durante struck up "Make Someone happy".

My eyes began to mist up...oh no, I was going...where was my hankie?....."MAN UP!" I can hear you screaming at your screen. This was terrible! How was I going to get through the next thirty minutes???? Perhaps now was the time for strategic fainting as we have discussed on the show so many times over the years.

Then the doors opened and I saw her...The Dark Lady


She stood taking in the scene. She looked fantastic and the dress was amazing and perfect; I was the world’s luckiest man without a doubt. An audible gasp was heard around the room as she walked slowly down the aisle behind her beautiful daughter, Ella, who was the prefect bridesmaid. On the arm of her, son Jamie, who was doing "giving away" duty as her Father was sadly long gone. I suddenly felt very calm and immensely proud. Everything was going to be just fine.

Glenda was brilliant and put everyone at their ease and we didn't have to worry about remembering what to say at what time. I was obviously so keen to make DL mine that I leapt in with "I do" slightly earlier than I should have and the DL got her own name wrong! We were relaxing into now and enjoying it as we stood at the front. There were a few damp eyes but everyone seemed to be having a good time. During the vows the emotion hit me again so the ones we had written for each other came out in a strangled gasp from me. And the official ones had me doing the laughing at funeral bit. One particularly long one and I had to ask Glenda to repeat as I said, "I'm sorry I have short term memory problems"!

We had had laughter and love and the serious side and then it was time for our special guest. The one who I worried wouldn't arrive in time.

When the Dark Lady and I first met, one of the many things we found in common was our love of music. Riffling through her iPod I found a song that I loved and had featured on the show before as part of "Lester’s Library" some time ago, as well as other tunes performed or written by this artist.

She had come to the song and the singer via the soundtrack to the film, My Sister’s Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz.

I refer, of course, to Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home" performed by Edwina Hayes.

A few months back I had contacted Edwina and asked if she would do us the honour of singing at our wedding. To our delight, she agreed.

The effect was astonishing, the whole atmosphere changed as she began to sing. We were suddenly aware that as the lyrics and the melody hit home every single person in that room burst into tears! (You can see a video, not from the wedding, here).

We mopped up and when the sniffling had halted we carried on with Annie, DL's "Best Woman", doing a terrific job of reading the lyrics of "I Want To Grow Old With You" by Adam Sandler from the film, The Wedding Singer. Google it, it’s lovely.

With that we were married. I suddenly had a wonderful wife and two lovely step children. I was a very lucky man. We left to the applause and cheers of the audience to the strains of "Bring me Sunshine" by Morecombe and Wise. It suddenly occurred to me: I didn't feel weird any longer!

Tuesday 13 December 2011


Dark Lady and the friends who had arrived the day before and had been enjoying things on sticks and drinks gradually one by one drifted off to bed, leaving me with my Groomsmen, Clive and Simon. Eventually they too flagged and I was left on my own. What to do. To have another drink? Followed by another and eventually be found face down on the bar at 6am?

No. I headed for my hotel which was a few streets away. I had booked months ago and when I arrived had been greeted with the words, "Do you want the good or the bad news"? Considering the stresses of the previous few hours I opted for the bad news first with the warning that I had had a day of bad news so bad had actually better mean good rather than bad and the good should be a lot gooder than good!

The hotelier looked at me baffled.

"We've double booked your room"


"The good news is we have upgraded you"

He proceeded to grab a candle (artistic licence here) and we began to climb the stairs.

Up and up we went treads creaking followed after several flights by joints creaking until eventually we arrived in the attic. Helpful pieces of rope hung from the rafters so you didn’t hit your head on the beams, although if a gust of wind had blown out your candle you would think you were being attacked by very heavy cobwebs. Just think of the size of the spider that could knit that, arachnophobes!!

I was shown into my "upgraded" room. It was clean and comfortable and had a double bed. It was also very small. Not all the bulbs worked and they had had to create a shower room by boxing off the corner of the room. There was a bewildering array of switches, some of which worked the shower. others did the hot water and some even did the lights.

Still wide awake I tried the TV. The satellite reception was poor and so channels kept freezing of pixellating. In the end I managed to find a documentary on Lionel Richie and watched that until about 2am. Then thinking of my friends and family struggling to sleep in a haunted hotel I switched off the light at the fifteenth attempt after starting the shower and boiling the kettle accidentally and readied myself for a calm and dreamless sleep to awake refreshed ready for the big day.


A storm had sprung up sometime between "Hello" and "Dancing on the Ceiling". I was in the attic. The rain drummed on the roof. It lashed the tiny draughty window, the building groaned and shuddered and in between heroic gusts it had woken people all over the hotel. So what do people who wake up in the middle of the night do? They go to the loo. They may opt for a relaxing bath and they certainly want to avail themselves of the complimentary tea and coffee making facilities.

This all requires water. Where does that come from? Yes, well done amateur plumbers; it comes from the cold water tank which generally is placed in the, er, attic - in this case directly outside my room with the pipes embedded in the wall behind the bed.

“This is rather noisy”, he said. Ever the champion of understatement.

A few short hours later and a lengthy cramped shower I met my friends for breakfast at the Mermaid who were also hosting the reception. They had done a fine job laying a large table for a dozen or so. This also enabled the guests from various sides of the aisle to get to know each other. There were a lot of mutual friends there but apart from the Dark Lady who of course for wedding etiquette reasons was nowhere to be seen before the ceremony, no one had met my Best Men: Simon from school and Clive from college. General pleasantries were exchanged until someone asked Clive what he did for a living....

There then followed the most surreal breakfast conversation with the two ushers, Theo and Hannah’s eyes getting rounder and rounder as the tales began to tumble out.

Clive is the mastermind behind Bill Shipton creater of SPLOSH. This is probably best described as “erotic slapstick”, a sexual genre which has become so well known over the years that it has many websites which are worldwide in their reach. It was even featured in an episode of Belle de Jour: Diary of a Call Girl starring Billie Piper and film maker John Waters is a fan.

The waitresses hurried in and out bringing fabulous fry-ups and more coffee as tales flew back and forth across the table in front of a rapt audience.

"The Americans call it WAM which stands for Wet and Messy. We, however, invented it all 20 or so years ago.”

"More coffee, Sir?"

"Thank you"

"Custard in the knickers is fine but jelly chafes"

"Who's for the full English with two poached eggs?"

"Over here"

"So the TV company said to me at this point is this where we'll get the punter to have sex with the cake? I told them in no uncertain terms; it’s not like that. We don't have intercourse with foodstuffs. It is erotic. It is funny. It is slapstick. It isn't hard core pornography!"

"Orange juice?"

"Our audience regularly vote the cake fight in the film The Great Race the best example of Sploshing.”

Nicola - who is a very big cheese in the advertising world - was rapt. She is also a businesswoman and was quizzing him about download statistics and prices. It was heartwarming to see both sides get on so well and a testament to our friends that they were so easy with one another.

After breakfast I had time to kill which actually meant taking my car back to Hastings to stick it in the garage and check on my family who had been there overnight.

Clive, Simon and Nisha then started on the arduous task of getting ready to dress the Town Hall and add various important bits (mainly lanterns candles and electric candles) to the Tudor Room where the reception was going to be held.

I was then left wait.......

Monday 12 December 2011


Just back from the Honeymoon and a fabulous time has been had with my new wife. When I say "new" I also mean "first". Never been in this position before. Somehow despite having been in relationships with some terrific women over the years never really felt that they were "the one". When the Dark Lady came along I was toast very quickly so just over a year ago whilst watching the skating at Bryant Park in New York I popped the question. Thankfully she said yes burst into tears and spilled coffee down her front.

The plans had been made the day was nearly upon us just a few last minute things to do before the very very big day. Was I nervous? No. Was I tense? No...ACTUALLY THAT IS A LIE YES VERY TENSE!!!!!!

Would we manage to get it all done and would it go smoothly?

On the Friday there was to be a lot of too-ing and fro-ing from London and Hastings with guests arriving from as far afield as Chicago to take part in the happy event.

DL had been organising with some help from me seating plans. Menu. Decorations with all the colours matching and a lengthy document explaining who had to be doing what where with whom at a particular time. A bit like "Cluedo" but with hopefully fewer murders.

The idea behind the list was to smooth the path of the day so that Bride and Groom could enjoy it without enormous worry that things wouldn't happen when they were supposed to. As one of my Best Men remarked upon receiving the sealed orders.

"This is excellent I don't have to worry too much about my part in proceedings as most of the information seems to be about the placing of the candles. Traditional and battery powered. We'd hired a lot of artificial candles as the Town Hall in Rye is a spectacular old building and if it burned down we'd never be able to show our faces in town again.

One Bride was so concerned about her big day and things going wrong that she forgot one vital thing: To enjoy it and had a horrible wedding as a result.

Little problems began to surface. My family was going to be crammed in to my house so beds had to be made up including a sofa bed that I had bought. My poor Auntie Daphne drew that particular short straw. I rushed around the house on the Thursday afternoon and the Friday tidying and making up beds. When I say making up beds that is when the first brain failure occurred. I can't put Duvet's on without crawling inside the cover. Purple faced and sweating I looked around for pillows. Erm I had the pillow cases and the sheets and the duvet covers and the beds but not nearly enough pillows so had to rush up to ASDA to buy some more. Just as the first members of my family arrived.

Another and rather more important problem had occurred as well. Being greedy and having so many lovely friends that in many cases go back to school and College days I was unable to choose a single Best Man. So I was lucky in that two friends agreed to do the job. Clive who I have known since about 1975 and Simon AKA "Libido Boy" who has been a wonderful friends since we were 14. He drives Clive doesn't so he agreed to hurry down from his home in Leicester in order to help me move stuff to and from the venue the ancient Mermaid Inn in Rye. East Sussex.

Everything had to be in place as a few of the guests were turning up for things on sticks and a few drinks about 7pm on the Friday.

The plan was Simon would help me deliver everything to the Mermaid. Drop my suitcase off at the hotel where I was staying that night. Park his car in the car park next to that of the Dark Lady. My car would be left at home so on the Sunday bright and early DL would drive me in her car to the airport for the Honeymoon. Leaving Simon, Clive and the DL's friend and helper Nisha to clear up.

As the Friday wore on I began to receive increasingly agitated phone calls from Simon. He was still more than 100 miles away and it was approaching 5pm. He had bought a new Sat Nav which had decided to show him the scenic route with the most congestion on the pretext of removing him from the motorways and main roads and its allied congestion.

I then had to leave my family at home whilst I made several journey's to and from Rye in my car containing lanterns and candles and jackets and suitcases and gifts for the Groomsmen. The Bridesmaid and others.

I was a husk by the time I arrived for the drinks at the Mermaid just as Simon arrived with a worried look on his face after a journey that had taken him nearly 7 hours.

By the time we had had a couple of pints and some chips in the Lounge that had been reserved for us. Everything seemed a lot rosier. Although the Dark Ladys' daughter Ella wasn't quite so keen when she discovered that the Mermaid has the reputation of being one of the most haunted buildings in the UK. Still this wasn't going to bother me as I was staying some place else. It would be a quiet untroubled night for me.

Or would it????

Wednesday 30 November 2011


Another day of fetching and carrying. Dark Lady has been buzzing around doing last minutes bits of paperwork. Various administrative tasks have been completed including the final draft of our vows.

"What is mine is mine and what is yours is also mine" was rejected by the DL at an early stage.

"Yow oyes am loike limpid poowels"

This too was rejected for some reason. I was only trying to get back to my Black Country roots.

Vows are tricky as they have to mean something without making you want to hoot with derisive laughter. Or gnaw an arm off with embarrassment. Hopefully we will have avoided that.

Whilst I understand the sentiments behind "I Will Always Love You" or "Angels" being played at weddings and funerals my battle-hardened cynicism would have me on my knees slapping the floor with the flat of my hand whilst howling with uncontrollable mirth.

We are both big weepers so we may just sit there snivelling like babies.

I have not thought about my speech yet. I have a list of people to thank so have had a few thoughts that I need to process before I sit down and make a few notes.

Much advice has been given about speeches. Books have been written and people offer speech-writing services. I think the best way to go is to formulate in your head and have the odd note to point you in the right direction. Writing every word down it will sound rather false and halting and not sound natural at all, rather like those harrowing, trembling and emotional statements to the press that are made by the victim’s family after the verdict has been handed down in the trial of the alleged murderer.

As we have mentioned on the show many times over the years, "Strategic fainting" is always a last ditch option. When all else fails and things are crowding in on you…


Best story came from a lovely friend of ours who, at her wedding, the groom was so overcome with emotion that when he rose to his feet to make his speech no words would come out. He wept tears of happiness for himself and his lovely new bride and sat down again to thunderous applause without managing to utter a single syllable.

Now that could be a cunning plan!

May I just add my thanks to you for all your good wishes. Dark Lady and I are genuinely very touched by all the warmth and kindness you have shown, particularly with your long-suffering selves having had to endure me banging on about it every morning for weeks on end.

Tim Smith in charge for the next 6 shows and I'll be back on Monday 12th. Incidentally, he is now engaged as well! Better remind him that he should be setting a date!

You will still be able to follow me on Twitter (go here) and on Facebook (here). Plus, if it all gets too much and you are craving the sound of my voice, then why not treat yourself to an Oddcast (visit here).

Tuesday 29 November 2011


Had the car cleaned yesterday by a nice Nepalese chap. It is now pristine as he waxed it and vacuumed inside and out as well as doing the "shuts"!

I think they mean the edges of the doors etc. Every occupation has its jargon to give it a professional air and to make the person feel part of an exclusive club. I know how this feels every morning as I send “tone” and “prefade” my “jingles” on “OS2”.

This is about as far as I get with radio jargon. Dr Strangelove, with his more recent commercial radio background than mine, can talk at length about "dry sweepers”, “donuts" and "rolling crunches". No idea what this means but a casual ear on the opposition tells me these terms serve to suck the life out of it and render it bland and anodyne.

Now the car was pristine (apart from the stone chips, the kerbed alloys and the big scratch on the door where my Dad’s old bike fell against it) it was time to load it up with weddingy stuff and head out. I was so busy thinking about my speech I realised that I had forgotten to turn onto the M25. So by the time I had retraced my steps I had added an extra 20 miles to my journey. I was also very tired so stopped at the Services for a snooze.

An hour and a stiff neck later I was on my way once more.

Destination reached and car unloaded, I turned round and headed back. This time in daylight.

Rich pickings for the 2011/12 Truckwriting season. In a few miles I saw two RTNH's and one "Ride the Night Horse" on trucks. The word is out and I drove rest of the way with a broad grin on my face.

Then more chores. Although the Dark Lady is doing the lion’s share, I have a few things to do which included buying and delivering a train ticket to a friend who works in a swanky advertising agency.

I even got to have a quick look round. There were all sorts of creative types hard at work, every one of them on a laptop. There were other parts to their office including a room full of amps and guitars (maybe to make jingles) and a pool table (no idea why that was there). However, my favourite room was small and dimly lit and the Walls were papered with pictures of camels. Apparently they help the creative process. I am going to insist that Dr Strangelove sources one. Alive, dead and stuffed or a cardboard cut-out. Check out the programme and see if we sound more creative,

Monday 28 November 2011


Travelling weekend and one of cold and disappointments.

Drove from London to the Midlands in order to catch up with my Dad for the final time before the wedding. He was in fine form and a lot more relaxed than when I saw him last as - after a lot of soul searching - he has decided to pack in driving. At 85 he thought his reflexes were getting a little slow and frankly didn't want to run anyone over.

His Bus pass, his legs, his hot squeeze, June, and my sister will take up the slack.

He now walks down the supermarket with a rucksack and strides back with it full of groceries so he is getting plenty of exercise and saving money into the bargain.

Went to collect the jackets that I have had made for the wedding and the waistcoat.

The first jacket was made and is excellent. The waistcoat didn't have any pockets for my watch so had to be altered. There was a problem with the lining on the second jacket which is a bright colour to match the waistcoat. It didn't sit right to they had to send it back to be re-made. Then there was a flood at the sorting office as they tried to post it too me and so it was lost for over a week.

They then found it and offered to drive to London to deliver it. “No need,” I said, as I was going to be in the vicinity at the weekend.

When I arrived at the shop the smiling man told me there was a "problem".

Seems they had been pressing the jacket and the new lining had torn so they had replaced it with a black one!

"If I wanted a black lining I would have asked for one" I raged.

"Why didn't you phone and tell me?"

"We didn't want you to go ballistic whilst you were driving here"

Nice of them to think of my safety!!

They now have until this Wednesday to deliver the jacket with a new red lining to London or they will be in terrible trouble. Not sure what I will do but it will be bad tempered.

Then it was to the NEC in Birmingham for the Flying Show. Entrance was £6 but parking was £8. Grrrrrr!

In the ticket queue, middle-aged blokes were discussing flying and their experiences.

"What do you fly?" asked the chap behind me to another guy

"RANS Microlight"

"Nasty noisy smelly things. I’m A GLIDER PILOT!" he smugged.


I loathe this one-upmanship and us-against-them type "banter", just as the Group A pilots refer to "rag and tube" and lawnmower engines on flex-wing microlights; Microlight pilots often refer to the Cessna's etc that the Group A guys fly as "Spamcans"

I gave him the full force of my Paddington Bear 'Hard stare'. However, he was so busy enjoying his rapier-like put down that it bounced of his thick self-satisfied hide.

The flying show was really a chance to catch up with my former instructor, Steve Wilkes, and various flying chums and they were out in force. Just as well really as the show itself was very sparse indeed with only a few planes on show. Plenty of leaflets to be had, but very little hardware to ogle.

Then off home to discover the boiler had failed. Brrrrrrrr!

With my impending nuptials there comes responsibility so Sunday it was up early and drove to London to watch the Dark Stepson play football. It was held on a windswept icy pitch in Enfield along with other teams playing round and about. Important match as his team which was second from bottom of the league were playing the bottom of the league team.

Dark Lady was already there and we bumped into Nicola whose lad was on the other team. So we huddled for warmth and tried to remember which side to cheer on.

The Dark Stepson played very well, I thought, with some excellent headers. However, when the final whistle went they lost 1-0. This meant that despite some great chances they left the field the losers in more ways than one. They then swapped places with the team they had just lost to at the bottom of the league. Never understood sport and this whole competitive thing. All that effort in the freezing cold and you go home dejected.

Still, a hot bath and restorative Fajita's and he was restored to his normal sunny self.

Just before bedtime we decided to check on the second of the two large lanterns we had bought for the ceremony. We wanted candles on sticks but the only ones we could find were too small and so I pointed out to the Dark Lady they would look like the "Henge" in the film, This is Spinal Tap.

So we ordered a couple of huge lanterns off the internet. First one arrived, the second one was "still on the van". Just as well we checked it as it was broken. Left DL frantically trying to sort it out and went to bed.

Everything is nearly sorted for the big day. We both have lists of things to do.

Hers is down to about 60 items, she tells me.

My list has one item on it. It reads:


Thursday 24 November 2011


The countdown has started in earnest to the big day. Chris Evans kindly wished us well on his breakfast show the other morning.

We've ordered the flowers. The cake has been tasted and ordered. The room is booked. The invitations have been sent out and the replies have arrived. The seating plan has been done. The legal bits have been done. Vows written and rehearsed without sniggering or nausea. We have run through the order of service and are now praying the weather is kind and everything goes according to the plans.

All this for a very low key and informal wedding. Am I nervous? No. I am slightly tense as I want everything to go according to plan as I want to see the Dark Lady's face as she enters the room and sees me in my finery. I have been teasing her that I'll be wearing a suit of lights like a matador. However after "discussions" that idea has been shelved.

Instead I have ordered two jackets in different styles and a waistcoat. The fitting took place some weeks ago and the first jacket arrived without problem.

The second one had to be sent back as the lining wasn't fitted to the tailor’s satisfaction. The waistcoat was a perfect fit but unfortunately they had omitted the pockets as requested for my watch!

All has now been rectified and I was told they would be arriving last week. The deadline came and went. As I mentioned in a previous blog, seems there was a flood in the sorting office and the label was washed off the parcel.

A call to the shop and they promised it would arrive on Monday.

This became Thursday of last week. By Monday patience was wearing rather thin and seems they had lost the parcel at the Post office once more. So the manager of the store had to go and find it.

Wednesday and I was assured they had found it and had returned it to the shop to press it once more before the manager offered to drive from Birmingham to London to personally deliver it. I am up in the Midlands this weekend so I'll be stopping by the Tailors so I can try it on and pick it up in person.

If there’s a further cock-up I shall probably be rather testy with them!

Dark Lady is busy doing the Wedding favours and had run out of ribbon so I was dispatched to a haberdashers to buy metres of the stuff which had to be a certain colour and a certain width. Not sure what it is all about but I'm sure the end result will look like her fabulous!

There is a big file at her house which contains all the vital information including swatches of fabric for her dress. I have been avoiding it like the plague for two reasons. There are a load of bills in there which we are splitting 50/50 as is only fair. So far she has paid for most things. At the last tally it seems she has shelled out several thousand quid and my share had been the insurance which worked out at £55.

The other and more important reason for me staying away is that there are pictures in there and fabric from the dress. If I were to see that before the event there would be hell to pay: massive disappointment and the inevitable superstitions would kick in.

If the file is ever opened I retreat to the far end of the room in case my eye falls upon something it shouldn't.

I am sure this aversion therapy could be used either in defence or medicine. Just how, I am puzzling.

Wednesday 23 November 2011


Called to a central London venue Tuesday evening for a glass of wine and some things on sticks, this was the annual Radio 2 austerity beano. In this day and age we don't do parties like we did years ago.

It consisted of a pep talk by The Controller, a review of the year gone by including a fleeting glimpse of yours truly on stage in Hyde Park for our festival in a day bellowing, er, "BELLOWHEAD".

Fleeting maybe but this is a distinct improvement on last year when I didn't feature at all. This is a remarkable improvement on the view the then controller held when I first arrived at 2 24 years ago. There used to be a presenters lunch which I wasn't invited to as night time guys weren't deemed important enough.

Lewis, the Head of Talent (love that title, my ego is swelling as I type), gave a run down of some of the main events of the year and announced David Jacobs is now back at work after a spell in hospital. This got a rousing cheer as he is not only a legendary broadcaster but one of the nicest and most genuine people it has been my good fortune to meet in this business which can be peppered with back stabbing and two facedness ( if that is a word).

Lewis also announced my impending nuptials which also raised a cheer which was heart-warming.

Robert was up next who, as Head of station sound, is a very senior figure who used to be my assistant years ago when I was a producer. He gave a run down of some of the events and specials you will be hearing in 2012. I can't tell you as the info is top secret, but I will say you are in for a treat next year.

Then a team photo. Being the shortest apart from Jamie Cullum (who unfortunately couldn't make it),Janice Long, Craig Charles and Trevor Nelson, we worked our way to the front.

After that we mingled and chatted for about an hour until we all dispersed.

Due to the hours we keep this is about the only time we get to meet and chat. So it was good to catch up with Ken Bruce and Chris Evans as well as Claudia Winkleman, Lynn parsons and meet Ryan Tubridy for the first time as well as Zoe Ball. She's very tall!

Hailed a cab and driver asked me if I had been to a party. The season has started apparently for the Christmas parties. He had just been ferrying doormen to a mobile phone company party in south London.

"They need bouncers at an office party?"

"Yeah. Last year, apparently, the Slough branch had a fight with the staff from the Lewisham branch!”

Tuesday 22 November 2011


As I mentioned on the show this morning, it has been a few days of sweet destruction.

Not entirely sure why this happens. Perhaps if I was a scientist I would be involved in enormous in-depth costly research as to why it happens.

Everything can be going along seemingly swimmingly and then one damp Thursday afternoon it can all come suddenly crashing down.

The first inkling I had was last week when I fished my underwear from the washing machine and noticed two or three pairs of undercrackers had holes in them. They had seemed perfectly OK when I wore them, then suddenly they were dusters.

One day the draw was full of perfectly serviceable pants. The next they were rags.

There is the urban myth of the perfect car which you have probably heard.

If you have ever owned a car you will know they can be massively temperamental. Just as one bit has been replaced, another part wears out. The story goes that a boffin…

…realising that the company that builds the perfect car would clean up in the cut throat motor market, set to design just such a machine. Just imagine what this would do to TOP GEAR and Jeremy Clarkson?

"I'm driving the PERRFEECTT CAARR. I can't think of anything to complain about at AALLLL".

In fact if the car was designed by a gay, vegetarian, non-smoking Frenchman, poor old Jezza would just explode as all his prejudices came home to roost.

So the story went that having identified which bits wore out and at what rate. They strengthened this bit. They shaved a few microns off that bit. They re-routed that bit and twiddled some other parts until they had created the perfect car.

Off they drove for months of intensive road testing. Up hill and down dale they sped. Over bumpy surfaces in freezing conditions. Across baking deserts in sand storms. Hell they even braved the M25 in the rush hour.

All worked perfectly and the boffins were pleased.

One damp Thursday afternoon one of the boffins decided to take the prototype for a spin.

Just outside Mansfield he hit a small bump in the road and heard an ominous sound as every single part on the car wore out simultaneously and he found himself sitting the road clutching a steering wheel as all around him lay the remains of the perfect car.

Back to my story. So, after the great underpants failure I decided it would be a good idea to listen to some tunes ready for "Lester's Library". Clutching an armful of likely CD's I headed for the CD player. Every single one I inserted it refused to play. There would be some rattling some whirring the odd clonk and then the display would declare triumphantly.


So looks like Santa is going to have to get me a new one or it could be a rather silent household and it would make my job rather harder.

So that's two bad things in the falling apart area. What was going to be the third?

Sudden unexpected and catastrophic trouser failure.

I was at the Dark Lady's house doing a few "Man chores", which generally means eating the contents of the fridge and watching TV. I had been to visit her elderly mother to collect her old and rather overcomplicated microwave oven to replace it with a simpler easier to understand one. I carried the box into the house intending to put it in the shed for safe keeping. As I crouched down (not bent) to undo the bottom bolt on the back door, there was an horrendous rending sound and a draught.

A few months ago in the sales I had espied a pair of "designer" jeans reduced to the price of an ordinary pair so they were tried on and snapped up. DL really liked them and told me how good they looked on me. (I have told you before: this woman is a total saint).


So much for that "bargain". With no replacements handy I had to shuffle like a bent and elderly person onto a bus full of schoolchildren whilst trying to keep everything out of sight and scuttle back to my place to change into a replacement pair.

I may have to steer clear of bargain "designer" clothing. Still had my "wardrobe malfunction" occurred on US TV I would doubtless have had an angry mob marching on my house with lighted torches. Having said that, splitting his trousers on stage in Luton and subsequently being banned from TV and a theatre chain as a result didn't do a lot for P.J Proby's career either.