… I was going to London anyway for two Very Important Meetings. I’d sorted the childcare logistics (no small task), got a notebook and some nice sharp pencils, pulled the straw from my hair and donned my smart non-yokel outfits. Sorted!
Then, on the train, a mobile rings. And lo! It’s the BBC asking if I can do the Jeremy Vine show that very day to talk about how barmy children’s birthday parties have become, following a survey carried out by Tesco into how much people spend on party bags. Now, as it happens, the publicist had been trying to get me on for ages, all to no avail. Yet deep in the heart of the BBC there lurks a celestial creature that probably looks something like this:
I’m only speculating, mind. I’m prepared to accept that, maybe, The Divine Being wears clothes, at least to the office, instead of being bathed in radiance. Work with me here – it’s an analogy.
Anyway, TDB must have seen the report on the survey, made the link with the book, suggested I might possibly have something to say on the matter, and the rest is – er – fairly recent history. All in a pother, I cancelled the second VIM and after the first VIM (mentioned below) rushed off to Broadcasting House, trying to think of something intelligent to say. Gosh! That was hard work.
So, I arrived and was wafted through security and up in the lift to a waiting area where I sat opposite a very tall man the sight of whom, for some reason, chilled the very marrow of my bones.
Clue: imagine him with big teeth and a cloak.
As well as very tall, he’s frankly very dishy (I know!) and very nice. I can vouch for that because I went down in the lift with him afterwards!!! Oh the thrill.
I digress (and I’m getting ahead of myself). Anyway, after a long enough wait for me to start getting very nervous, I was ushered in to meet the other tall, rather scary man who also turned out to be very nice. Yes – Jeremy Vine his very self!
This photo doesn’t do him justice AT ALL, but he was wearing earphones (as was I) so this is the closest I can come to how he really truly looked at the time. (Can I just say, Jeremy, you should get some more photos done) He has this way of looking at you that very clever people sometimes do that makes you feel like a mophead, and he talks very fast, but he’s really fab!
Anyway, in the course of the interview, there was a call from a very posh-sounding woman who runs an upscale party organising company and, basically, what she said was this: childhood is far too short, children grow up so fast, (so far, so uncontentious) therefore it’s quite appropriate for parents to spend a fortune on their kids’ birthday parties to make them really special (uh oh), like one she arranged for some seven year old girls, who got to dress up in designer clothes, were made-up, taught to walk like models, did a catwalk show, had their photos taken and got to keep the clothes afterwards. (Bleeeuurgh!)
That’s really preserving childhood! Anyway, Mr Vine looked every bit as aghast as I felt at this nauseating prospect, and we shook our heads in horrified wonder.
Where was she when I was researching the book?
I’m told I came over ok – although I can’t bring myself to listen to the digital version online. Just too embarrassing to hear yourself being a mophead on primetime radio!