Broadcasting House was lit up in the night sky and truly looked impressive.
In half an hour, BBC London’s Barking At The Moon show would begin so in I went and asked at the desk where to go. “Oh BBC London, that’s not in here, go out the door and second left down the walkway”. Let me tell, you Egton Wing entrance is a little less impressive but soon I was up on the second floor drinking a cup of coffee staring at a lifesize cardboard mannequin covered in sweets (yes sweets, humbugs, toffees, Love Hearts etc) and at the top was a photo of the grinning face of Danny Baker. I had arrived at BBC London.
I was shortly to be joined by journalist Alice Hart-Davis, who had come in to talk about her skin care products and Alfie, her Jack Russell. As we talked, Alice admitted she wasn’t overly familiar with the show but knew that the first words she would say would be “Woof, Woof.” Out came Alice’s phone, “I’m going to tweet about meeting you”. In an instance, my website address has turned up on 3744 of her followers twitter feeds.
The show starts with presenters Anna and Jo, woof-woofing each other before saying hello their dogs Molly (Miniature Bull Terrier) and Matilda (Bulldog) and asking them about their day before cracking up. Back outside, Alice had turned her chair around to look at the TV screen showing the goings-on in the studio. Suddenly, she looks a little worried. A minute later, Alice has gone in and I attempt to read all about that nice man John Terry on the back of the Mirror, but give up when Marie Sawle, from Billy and Margot turns up. Marie is there to promote her new range of doggie ice-cream and has brought some samples in. Molly and Matilda are in for a treat.
Alice exits and I’m am ushered in while Elvis’s “Hound Dog” plays over the air. Now seated, I take a quick snap of Jo across the desk which causes much amusement and look around for Molly and Matilda who are down by Anna’s feet next to me. Should I get up and take a picture? I daren’t move. I know nothing of radio studio etiquette. Jo and Anna read out emails and Facebook entries from devoted listeners. Jo even manages a Mockney accent for one of the messages read out, which Jo finds very funny because Anna is quite posh.
It doesn’t start well. If only I’d known that Jo would refer to a picture of mine that I just couldn’t recall, then I may not have frozen like I did. I’ve had 41 years to practise talking. Why choose now to forget everything? I didn’t manage to finish my first sentence…I rambled, some tumbleweed flew by and I was eventually rescued by Molly making a noise. Ah, my own buttock-clenching moment.
What followed was a blur. A repeated listen this morning has told me that the following conversation happened -‘photographing particular breeds, how the blog works, Tilly the dog I freed up from the nasty barbed wire, packs of dogs, where I dog walk and my way of working, photo sessions, Jo’s general trust of male dog walkers and observations on absent-minded dog walkers, Barney, headphones, having another dog, dog mating – Anna pointed out it might be considered “mean” to only allow Barney one go (she’s got a point), Shiba Inu, light levels in the woods, the hopscotch dog, FoGH, important points when photographing dogs, Uggie the dog in The Artist, plugging the website.’
Annnnnd relax. 13 mins 22 secs of terrifying enjoyment.
In all this time, Anna and Jo were complimenting me on what I do and the images they were looking at on the blog and for that I must thank them. They have a fantastic show and I now appreciate how good broadcasters really make it sound easy.
While Johnny Harper’s “Little Doggie” played over the air, Jo and Anna got down on the floor for a picture with Molly and Matilda. With this done, I said my goodbyes, left the studio and back outside drank three cups of water. Bit of advice for anyone in the same position…take some in with you.
Making my way back to the tube station, I picked up a text from my wife, “Stage struck. You did really well though.”