After a very late night last night, due to a number of factors, I ended up getting to bed after 2am. Then I was up at 5.30am to head over to BBC Southern Counties Radio, in Guildford, to be the 'special' studio guest between 07.20 and 08.30.
[The Wife says I'm 'special', but I thought that was only because I have to hold her hand when crossing the road...]
Anyway, this was triggered off because Ottershaw Players won a NODA Accolade for Drama at the Southern Region AGM on 16th July, for last Christmas's production of A Christmas Carol. As the group's Press Officer I was asked to go into the studio to talk about the award and the group and to contribute with pithy comments about the front pages and showbiz gossip from the newspapers.
I did feel a little ambushed:
"You have some newspaper front pages there, Peter", says the host, Ed Douglas.
"Errr, erm, yes". I say. There's a pile of newspapers laying in front of me. The one on top is The Sun. Oh, great!
"So what's the headline?"
My heart drops as I read it out. I can't remember what it is now, but they were basically calling for a particular Islamic cleric to be thrown out of the country. So, I read the headline out, and give a 20-second summary of the story.
"What do you think about that?", asks mine host.
Now, what can I say to that? This being BBC local radio, in Surrey (average listener age, 50-something), I assume that the expected answer is "too right - kick 'im out. Scum". But I refuse to take that line out of principle. I've got no idea if this cleric is preaching hatred, or whether it's the usual tabloid tactics of misrepresenting someone's viewpoint in order to sell papers. Maybe, I can use the opportunity to say something pithy, pertinent, witty and cutting. Yes, that's it; I'll defuse the situation with my rapier-sharp humour:
"Well, maybe he's said bad things, maybe he hasn't. I'm sure that justice will prevail in the end."
That's the sound of my ambitions of ever being a satirical pundit dropping through the floor. Now I'll never be invited to guest host Have I Got News For You...
I did get to plug our forthcoming Christmas show (The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking, 30th Nov - 3rd Dec, tickets £10/£8) and mentioned our award, and it was great fun (more so than I expected). But I don't think the team from Week Ending are quaking in their boots right now.