London. Weekend. Television.


While the United Kingdom decides between two parties that suck, here’s a quick rundown of two other parties that sucked, for one reason or another. Today’s party unpolitical broadcast:

London. Weekend. Television.

I had been invited to the birthday party of the girlfriend of an old university friend. She was now one of the BBC’s top producers and the entire party was full of television people.

I didn’t impress anyone there by smoking weed in the garden. A cameraman from Channel 4 mocked me, saying “Oh god, I remember weed and getting stoned. What are you, a student or something?”

I also didn’t impress a Sound guy (by which I mean- he worked in audio; in actual fact, far from being ‘sound’, he was a bit up himself) of East Asian descent by asking, quite innocently, where his family were from. He took this as me being racist but I was honestly just curious: having recently returned to the UK from East Asia, I thought he looked Thai or something.

“It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at!” he insisted.

“Yeah, yeah sure. I know that. I don’t mean to be rude,” I said. Satisfied I wasn’t some neo-nazi, he told me his family were from Malaysia but he was born in Bromley.

A few drinks later and I was chatting to my friend’s girlfriend. We hadn’t really known each other at university as she had studied TV and I theatre, though she remembered me.

I made a few bon mots, winning her round a little, before asking whether there might be any work in the industry.

“Well, I can get you a job as Runner on Richard and Judy, if you want,” she said. “Give me a call in the week.”

“Excellent. I love Richard and Judy,” I lied.

Emboldened by this, and by a few more beers, I grew too cocky.

A group had gathered to hear my tales of misadventure. Gratifyingly, they were laughing in the right places and clearly recognising just how awesome I actually was.

“Tell me something,” I said, on a roll, “Now I have your attention.”

“Yes, yes?” they asked, leaning in eagerly.

“Why IS there so much shit on TV these days?”

I thought they’d laugh.

Instead, there was a stunned silence.

Someone switched off the music.

Oops, I thought.

Finally, my friend’s girlfriend replied, in a voice that made my testicles retract. “That’s a good question, Rick,” she said. “And maybe you’re exactly the sort of person we need in the industry. To tell us exactly where we’re going wrong.”

Had a pin been dropped then, the whole house would have heard it.

Eventually, someone coughed in an embarrassed way.

“Err,” said my friend. “Perhaps you could have phrased that a bit more diplomatically, Rick.”

“Goodness me, is that the time?” I said. “Really must be off.”

When I rang the BBC Producer the next week, she didn’t pick the phone up. I left a message but she didn’t get back to me either.

My big TV break was broken beyond repair.

A month later she had dumped my friend also.

“You really wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway,” he said when we met up again post-split. “They’re all a bunch of wankers.”




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