CliveDecember 6, 2011
At the BBC, they fill silences. At 9am we’re all laughing at anecdotes that haven’t been spoken. It is done meticulously and efficiently. Now and then, an air of reverence descends, some mention of an impending celebrity, before a return, to the great chatter, that relieves us of the responsibility of our selves, and our situation.
And this is OFF the air.
Day in, day out, this is done, for us, the listeners. Even though we’ll never hear it. It is a service, and this morning, I am a novice joining in…
“I haven’t had a penguin for ages”
“Yeah man, I tried my first jaffa cake today…”
– I don’t really want to talk about this. I want to ask you about something that you might care about. Would that be rude? Is there a reason we’re not doing that?
– Well, we’re here to work. It’s an adventure for you, but it’s just another day for us. This is the easiest way for it to function. You’ll see.
The inside of Broadcast House feels to me like a cross between a school canteen and the War Room. It’s excellent. Very dry. Picked clean of gags.
Clive Anderson has spent a lifetime facilitating and accommodating his guests’ interpretation and projection of what they hope we consider to be themselves. I know this to be the case. Because even I, the voiceless and grubby sax player in the far corner of the room, feel constricted by an idea of what I hope I might be considered to be, by those multitudes I’ll never meet nor speak to.
There is a fantastical and terrifying tension, silent, thick in the room, and that is our ideas of ourselves. My intended ‘me’. There are invitations to this sort of thing everywhere. It’s all over the place, not just in broadcast studios. We’re distracted from one another by ourselves.
Changing poses, Clive is like Thunderbirds on speed. He has the mannerisms of a genial and very intelligent popcorn machine. As a kid, I’d imagined, that beneath that desk, whilst talking so absurdly fast, he must be sat, running on the spot. And he IS! When he gets excited, his little legs go like the clappers.
Is it yoga? Is it dance?
No – It’s radio!
He knows his work well enough to forget himself entirely. For that, Clive, I commend you. You are an example to us all.
Loose Ends, BBC 4, 3rd December 2011, with Clive Anderson, Jimmy Osmond, Mark Forsyth, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Charlie Brooker, and music from Liz Green, and Blood Orange.