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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Saturday, 21 March 2009

Hobnobbing with the stars (well, being a 'hanger-on' anyway!)

I've been working in 'the media' for over ten years, now; on many occasions I've been within metres of a household name - be they a film-star, pop musician or radio presenter - but much of the time I'm supposed to be doing my job, and they're at one of the radio stations I help look after, doing theirs.

Rolf Harris and me - 10th March 2009!A couple of Wednesdays ago, though, I heard that Rolf Harris was in the building over the road from my office, being interviewed for a show to be broadcast the next week. He's long been a hero of mine - his career has spanned four decades, and everyone I know who has encountered him (one of whom was even privileged enough to sit next to him on a plane journey!) has said he's a charming and friendly man.

So how could I turn down an opportunity to meet one of my childhood heroes - just a shame I didn't know sooner, otherwise he could have signed my small collection of records he's made!

As it was, though, he agreed to my request for a 'Rolfaroo' - a work of art in itself, and a testament to his patience and willingness to do such a thing for his fans!

Rolfaroo! By Rolf Harris 10th March 2009

Just a week later, I had the opportunity to go to an event organised by The Radio Academy - a celebration of Radio Comedy. One of my most vivid childhood memories is of having tea while listening to Radio 4's half-past six comedy programmes - Just A Minute (in its glorious days when Kenneth Williams was a regular panel member) and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (which is coming back - yay!), and when I first got my own radio, I used to listen to The News Huddlines and other late-night comedy offerings with a headphone in bed.

Steve Punt, Jon Holmes and Barry Cryer at the Radio Academy's Celebration of Radio Comedy, 18th March 2009This event, therefore, was one I really felt drawn to attend, and I saw Jon Holmes (from out of off of the Now Show and a very amusing Saturday afternoon 6Music radio show) interview his fellow comedians Barry Cryer and Steve Punt to choose the pieces of radio comedy that most influenced them before and during their career. The event was in aid of Red Nose Day, hence their accessories in the photo to the left! (click for a bit bigger)

Before the show, I was making my acquaintance with the folks who were sitting around me, and ended up discussing radio comedy with a journalist from The Radio Magazine who turned out to be a former Radio 1 DJ - Adrian Juste - who used to play comedy clip shows on a Saturday lunchtime. It was effectively his format that is now used for those countless 'compilation' radio comedy shows presented by the likes of Arthur Smith and Jeff Green, and it certainly took me back to hear his voice - and even more of a surprise to see him in person.

The week came to an eventful end, too. As I've mentioned countless times, I am a big fan of Twitter - even to the point of writing a long blog entry about it! I discovered, through some 'retweetings' that turned up on my timeline, that Jason Bradbury from Five's The Gadget Show had arranged a 'Flashmob' to take place on Friday Lunchtime at Somerset House, just north of Waterloo Bridge. Since it's just twenty minutes walk from my office, I thought I'd pop down and see what was going on, especially since the last few days have been very springlike and sunny - it's definitely good to get out and about over lunchtime!

When I finally found the event (it was in the quad in the middle of the building) I joined the couple of hundred other participants - most who had responded to the call from Twitter, but a few who had heard about it from Facebook; it was amusing to see that they'd been split into two groups, and Jason and a bald lady were entertaining their respective audiences with a display of break dancing!

It turns out that the lady was none other than Gail Porter - something of a surprise! Everyone had a great time, and there are plenty of photos of the event on-line, including some in my gallery. To close, then, a couple of my favourite pics of the day. I should mention that Jason, too, is a wonderfully amenable man, signing autographs and posing for photos - it turns out - for half an hour straight after the performance, before he had the chance to go for a drink of water... what a star!

Jason Bradbury whipping up the crowd of Tweeters to an excited frenzy
The amazing no-headed breakdancer!
Me and the man Bradbury...

Posted by james at March 21, 2009 9:08 PM

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