Saturday, 25 February 2006

How It's Done

It all started in a very civilised manner. RS had expressed an interest in joining Slightly and myself at the recording Any Questions?. After phone the venue, he had been told that seats were still available and he was therefore able to indeed join in the fun.

Although the show is live and broadcast at 8pm, we had to be there by 7.15pm at the latest. As planned, we left our questions in the box provided to that effect at the entrance and took seats somewhere towards the centre of the hall. The audience was made of a strange mixture of posh middle age people, older excentric looking English people (if you know the type) and a surprising number of gay couples. As a warm up, we were treated to a Q&A session with Mark Damazer, controller of BBC Radio4 who prefaced this session with reading extracts of a Guardian article about a swearing parrot which was being re-educated by being made to listen to Radio 4. The questions he was asked seem to be fairly unoriginal and consistent with what listeners seem to be usually moaning about, to all of which he managed fairly eloquently to avoid giving any proper answers. Questions included something about the use of "ahead of" rather than "before" on air or a question (and a show of hands) about the controvercy surrounding the removal of the UK Theme. A piece of music apparently broadcast at some ungoldy hour of the morning.

The members of the audience whose questions had been selected were then called up and invited by Anne Peacock, the producer, to sit on the front row. My question was not selected but there was indeed, as we had expected, one similar to Slighlty's. It was time to welcome the panel and to try a warm up question (about republicans having to kneel in front of the Queen; something Germaine Greer apparently did this week).

At 8pm, a feed of the live broadcast went on in the hall and we all listened to the news before the show started. Although it was quite interested, it was slightly disappointing as the Greer and Tebbit did not seem willing to confront each other directly. I, like Slightly, had several worrying moments when we found ourselves agreeing with Tebbit! The only truely remarquable piece of non-sense he managed to come up with, was to say that Hitler and the nazis were actually left wing rather than right wing. Perhaps he is placing himself as the reference for what is actually right wing?

Click here to read the transcript of the programme.

Once the programme was finished, I suggested we adjourned to Wong Key but Slightly was feeling like being a wimp and, saying he was tired, decided to go home, leaving RS and myself to to take a bus to the West End. It was a pleasant evening and after dinner, we went to The Yard, where, as we should have expected, we found a group of Chorus members. In this instance a few members of the infamous Small Group, who had had a gig in Hammersmith as part of LGBT History Month and were drinking off the evening. They were already a little gone by the time we arrived (so to speak). RS and I managed to keep more or less to ourselves.

Near closing time, however, we were called over, to take part in a very animated conversation they were having, accompanied with many illustrative gestures and which, it has to be said, brought the evening to a rather sordid ending after its lofty start. This prompted RS and me, once we had manage to abscond, to wonder about what common interests we usually managed to find with other members of the Chorus and more generally what holds the so-called "gay community" together, if anything.

They were comparing the different ways in which people go about wiping their bottom...

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