The Churchillian Interview



If you enjoyed listening to my interview with Suzi Quatro, you can thank Winston Churchill.

Have you ever had one of those days when there’s one big thing that you need to accomplish but everything that happens that day seems to be working against you? I had one of those days a few weeks ago.

I’d arranged to interview Suzi Quatro for my new show for America called ‘London Calling’. She’d invited me to record it at her home in the middle of the Essex countryside. It was a Monday, so I got up at my normal weekday wake-up time of 3:50am. From 6am to 9am weekdays, I present the Breakfast Show on BOBfm. When the show finished that day at 9, I discovered that I had loads of production work to do and it all had to be finished that day. I wasn’t sure if I’d get it all done by 1pm, which I’d calculated was the latest I could set off for Suzi’s house because I was meeting her at 3pm and needed time to stop somewhere for lunch on the way.

I worked my bum off and got it all done and hit the road bang on 1pm thinking that I’d got through the most stressful part of my day, I was wrong. About halfway between BOBfm and Suzi’s house, not far from London Stansted Airport, I stopped at Burger King in what looked like a service area off a roundabout that must have connected to a major road. I say that because I was following the satnav on my phone and I was on a minor road when I stumbled on this place.

Sitting on a high stool facing the window, I ate my King Fish meal from its cardboard and paper containers and rested my elbows on the countertop in front of me. This was the first time I’d done anything close to relaxation since 3:50 that morning when my alarm had gone off. I could have gone through my list of questions for Suzi or checked email on my phone, but I found myself just staring up at the planes that were making their final approach into Stansted.

After half an hour I was back on the road. About ten miles shy of Suzi’s house, I looked over to the passenger seat and noticed it was empty. I did a double take because that’s where my bag should be and my bag contained my large Blue Yeti condenser microphone and the Macbook computer that I was going to record the interview on!

I’d taken my bag into the Burger King because I didn’t want to leave it in the car in case the car got broken into at the service area. I realized, I’D LEFT IT THERE!

I stopped, did a three point turn and headed back down the windy road I was on. I don’t know how to make a satnav take you back the exact way you came but I was confident I could remember, I was wrong, I got hopelessly lost. I called my wife, Julie and she said, “Are you lost?”, I said “No, worse!” The pause after I said that before she replied, “Ok”, let me know that she thought I’d had an accident! All I wanted her to do was find a Burger King near Stansted and text me the post code. I calmed her down but I was still panicking. Julie was in the supermarket at the time and it would be a while before she could get home and go on the computer. It looked like I’d lost the interview and over a thousand pounds worth of kit.

Then, with time and ideas running out, staring up at the sky for inspiration, I saw a plane. It looked like it was coming in to land. It was on my right hand side and was coming towards me. When I was the Burger King, the planes had been on my right hand side but were heading away from me. Based on what the flight path looked like, I realized I needed to be on the other side of the landing planes flight path, so I took a turning from a roundabout that put me in that general direction and orientation. After a mile or so, I saw a sign for “Services”, followed it and found the Burger King.

I parked, raced up to the counter and told them I’d left my bag there. The girl in the paper hat said it had been handed into lost property at the hotel opposite. I thanked her and ran to the reception where a snotty woman asked me to describe the bag and sign a release form. She produced the bag from a room at the back and with no time to spare, I ran back to the car and with no time to check, presumed by the weight of the bag that the computer and microphone were still inside.

I’m still amazed the entire area wasn’t cordoned off with police tape. I had left a very suspicious package containing a laptop, some wires and a large microphone that was the size and shape of a mortar shell, in a window seat under the final approach to a London airport.

On the way to Suzi’s house for the second time, I got stuck behind a slow moving lorry and while I was swearing at the back of it, the clamp holding my phone to a heater vent on the dashboard gave up and my phone fell into the foot well. I heard the satnav voice say, “Take the next turning on the left”. I made the turn which was a tiny lane and after about a mile, I came to a dead end.

It was now six minutes to three. I picked the phone up from the floor and called Suzi Quatro and told her I was close but had gone down a dead end. She didn’t seem to be aware of any dead ends locally. I described where I was based on no decent landmarks other than a big tree and a metal fence but she couldn’t help.

I doubled back and continued on the road I’d turned off, then I saw a sign with the name of the road Suzi’s house is on. A few hundred yards up that road was the entrance to her driveway. I arrived, exactly on time at 3pm.

The interview went great, Suzi was terrific. I left her house at around 4:30pm and because of the evening traffic, I got home at about 7pm and went straight to bed because I had to be up at 3:50am again the next day to present the Breakfast Show again on BOBfm.

The next morning, I opened my email and found a message from Suzi. She said she had a documentary special coming out soon and was worried about over-exposure. She didn’t want me to use any of the interview. I felt like I’d gone down another dead end.

I could have given up but I’d got this far, it was worth going a bit further, so I edited and produced up the hour long interview and sent it to Suzi and the producer of the documentary. The producer replied saying it was fine and Suzi emailed saying she had no problem with me broadcasting it.

So after all that, there was a happy ending. I managed to record the interview, get it on the air and I didn’t lose my expensive microphone and computer.

What’s Winston Churchill got to do with all of this? Well it was Churchill that said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”

Craic on!

If you haven’t heard my chat with Suzi Quatro yet, you can check it out here;

Listen to the latest Mack Nuggets at;

If you enjoyed this Craic, please click “like” and tweet a link. If you’d like to talk to me about it, call me on +44 1438 422106 between 6am and 9am (UK time) this week on BOB fm.



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