Midnight at the Oasis

Posted by Jeni in LBC | 19 July 2007

Firstly, I must tell you, Dave, that I have no comment to make about you know what.

Secondly, to my beaux in Brighton, the secret to attracting men seductively in the dance hall is to lounge against the wall, moving gently to the music and then whip out an Exchange and Mart and start talking about twin carbs and two in one oil. I find it works for me. Not!

And thirdly, to Mr. Engstrom in Swedenland: It is not polite to talk about horse wee as horse P*. We don't like that in good old England, and as for your suggestion that I should be plastering the cottage with yoghurt... yoghurt creates moss, as any gardener will tell you, and anyway, the only yoghurt I have tops my blueberries, raspberries and strawberries for breakfast. P'raps you could join us sometime.

Well, today has been one of those scrappy kind of affairs.

B walked the dog, cleaned the kitchen, took the cloth off the kitchen table to expose the lovely blonde wood, threw out all the shoes that didn't match and then buggered off to Soho to hear a band in Brewer Street.

I drove into London town.

It was hot enough for me to unzip my back window and take the roof down. I can only get the window half open. I have tried rubbing candle wax over the teeth but it still sticks in the middle. I called my garage who informed me that a brand new roof and zip would cost me a thousand pounds. So now I unzip the zip to where it unzips to and carefully lower the lid. The plastic window bends just a little, but not seriously enough for me to be spending my hard earned cash on a scrap of plastic and rainproof roofing material. The trouble with my little car is that when it's hot the blower throws out warm air so the lid has to come off.

I stopped off for petrol in Earls Court and then had this dreadful old lady presentiment. I must keep my bag near me in case somebody dips their arm over the window and nicks me smalls-change.

So I drove with my bag stuffed under my right arm, my silver bangles jangling and my hair blowing in the warm breeze. For ten minutes I felt like I was in Malibou. That was until I got to Shepherds Bush roundabout. LA, it ain't.

Got to LBC and had a very short, meaty meeting with Lucy the producer and Chris the Studio Manager. Radio folk are not like television folk (although the ones on GFL were wonderful). They are warm and listen well. They should do as it's their medium.

On the way home the news broke about the BBC and all its naughty quiz calls. The MT, the top dog from Auntie was interviewed on the 5.00 clock news. My irritation level soared. He hummed, haahed and faltered, made a clear statement then started hesitating again. Trying to explain his mission to explain nearly had me driving into the hard shoulder at Pratts Bottom.

And all this sanctimonious stuff about fake phone calls and bogus letters. I have never met a Fleet Street editor, or television producer, in all my forty years in the business, who hasn't given a kick start to a topic. I know that economics - making a quick buck - is the name of the game but finally somebody is realising that children who are still wet behind their earpieces cannot, just because they have watched it, make good TV without real work experience. The really good thing that has come out of this nonsense is that young folk will be trained.

When the unions were smashed back in the 80's the writing was on the wall. Too many stations with too much rubbish and not enough money to go round, churning out programmes commissioned and made by inexperienced todgers who think they know everything because they got a diploma in Onanism from the University of Phucket.

I know award-winning camera operators who are digging up gardens, decorating or mini-cabbing, just to keep food on the table, whilst inexperienced brown tongues are climbing up the greasy pole. Opinionated, me?

Anyway, the radiowallahs and me decided on some ideas for next week and off I went.

I nipped into the flat, picked up the electricity bill and B's bits then drove home like the clappers to deliver her red platforms so she could strut her stuff in W1.

On the way, at Gypsy Hill, I looked to my right and there, across the road, was my first ever boyfriend carrying a bag of melons. I was stuck in traffic, so he crossed over to me and we talked. I drove and he ran alongside me until I got up enough speed to shake him off. No, he's lovely. He's an arty photographer with four sons and a very good sense of humour. I called him at ten and we grumped about age and the cosmic joke.

After dropping the kid off at the station, I arrived home, took off all my clothes - avert those eyes please - and settled down for Corrie.

I'm finding it a bit of a struggle at the minute. The characters are not my type, the writing is not so good any more and the storylines aren't gripping, but as drugs go, it's better than trytophan.

Then I fielded calls from Hamburg, Totnes, Brighton, and Penge. I tried to watch Robson Green on '3' and Trevor Eve on '1'. Neither of them got a look in as I was making connecting calls like and old stenographer from Maine.

I ate some kind of healthy fruity biscuit whilst on the phone to Crystal Palace and then took Jackson out for his midnight wee. (See Bjorn not p*.... we Brits don't like that word.)

I am all alone in the country. No light pollution where I am so the sky at night is a reminder of just how insignificant we are.

This morning I received a wonderful email from a writing friend who talked about procrastination. She is setting up a newsletter and writing a book called 'Procrastinators Anonymous'. We all suffer from it. Some of us wait until it is exactly 1.01 on the last Monday of the month before we start the diet. Or wash the labels of whisky bottles before sitting down to write the first chapter. Or smoke or drink or talk on the telephone or eat or cry or sleep. But my writing role model said we should start each day with morning pages - an old trick created for all by Julia Cameron in her seminal book 'The Artist's Way'. It's a 12 week course in getting you back in touch with who you are. I was given mine, as a 45th birthday present, by Romy Baskerville, who is now older than me and singing in 'Mary Poppins' in the West End. Her career revived out of nowhere. She feeds the birds every night and lives in Hastings.

So this morning I took my purple felt tip pen and wrote three sides of A4. The trick is not to read it back, not to make judgements. It can moan. It can list. It can spill the beans, but whatever it does, you don't read it. Instead, you let it help you start the day. I enjoyed doing mine this morning.

Can't remember what I wrote but I know that I felt a lot better than I thought I did. I was surprised at quite how positive I am.

Inside my head I am a curmudgeonly old hag with nothing to live for. When I wrote my bits this morning I felt like a young healthy woman with a fantastic future who was so grateful for all the lovely things in my life, including Mr. Engstrom in Svenska.

I cut my thumb on a sharp knife whilst I was slicing the cucumber for my salad, so watched 'The Street' with a three sheets of kitchen towel wrapped around my thumb end. Now the skin keeps catching on everything. I haven't got a plaster. That's my job tomorrow - to get some elastoplast..

I'm off to bed now, after yet another exhausting day in this dimension. Who knows? I may sleep, perchance to dream, and end up in Fiji. That would be nice. I could drink their water straight from source as opposed to buying a bottle which would save me at least a day's fee.

Sleep y'all, and May the 4th be with you. Cusoon

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At July 19, 2007 12:25 PM Glenn wrote:

Hi Jeni!
Thank you so much for keeping up the blogging. You make me laugh! Sometimes your adventures in London remind me of the Osbournes. Maybe that should be your new direction?
Great that you'll be on London radio (thank God for the internet!) but I'm in Hamburg and want to see AND hear you please!
Anyway, keep doin' wot you're doin' I'm renaming you Jeni from the Blog, with apologies to Jennifer Lopethth:-)
luv, Glenn from Hamburg

2. At July 19, 2007 1:42 PM Fiona wrote:

Hiya Jeni - why don't you try ebay for your roof? I can't remember what kind of car you've got - or is it a Mazda? Just put in "roof mazda" and see what comes up. You might get a pleasant surprise (or not). Talking of procrastination - I've been wanting to start gutting the bedroom since 10:00 and it's now 1:45 - oh well...
Keep on keepin on xxx

3. At July 19, 2007 2:56 PM Sue Campbell wrote:

Agree with you about Corrie. For some reason, I had your LBC show starting on Sat 4th Aug so have now altered my diary.

4. At July 19, 2007 8:21 PM havana wrote:

Jeni
You're right. Nothing is true but change. My father's cancer is not good, my son's change of escort isn't either (autistic), but I laughed at a replay of Gino on GFL. Life is fundamentally good.

5. At July 19, 2007 8:28 PM Tiffany wrote:

How could you? I read all of your posts and enjoy them very much - like others they are my only Jeni fix these days, unfortunately - but today you've really gone and done it. I'll have "Midnight at the Oasis" on the brain throughout the night... Woe is me! Despite that, however, I do always enjoy your writing. It puts a smile on my face, and reminds me of how funny you are. Well, it's off to prepare dinner now, and I'll put the radio on to distract myself from Maria Muldaur's melody (had to look that one up!). Best wishes to you and yours...

TM

6. At July 20, 2007 8:32 AM Libby wrote:

Hi Jen,

Just come back from seeing Barbra (I don't care what the review say she was brilliant)I thought of you as I know it would have happened to you too from reading your blog as like me you have something written on your head that says sit here if you're an idiot!, I had THE most annoying pair sitting next to me, drunk as skunks, talking all the way through, in the end I had to say I paid £250 to listen to Babs not you! brav eh?

Now repeat after me I am NOT a curmudgeonly old hag!
Love ya
Marmite Girl xx

7. At July 20, 2007 11:33 AM Chrissie Carcassonne wrote:

Hi Jeni,

I am sure "starting" is the worst part about writing.
I have only written cook books so its not the same thing but for many years I was a consultant in, mostly, the USA. I had work to do from home and I found that the only way I could manage was to wake up (sometimes) and start work as soon as the first sip of morning tea hit the lips. If I left things till later it was almost too hard to start work.....answer letters, a chat on the phone, walk the dog after first finding one, as we don't have a dog, etc. etc. Keep at it and write at the same time every day…..if pos.!
The 14th of July was spent watching the Carcassonne Cite fireworks form the balcony and listening to an Islamic extremist!.....Long story.
Chrissie x

8. At July 20, 2007 2:32 PM Jill wrote:

Love the title of the blog Jeni, it sent me back years ago to a song with the same title - Maria Maldaur - if I spelt it right! What memories- ahhhhhhhhh.

We too were in London at the weekend, it was hot, humid and sticky, even after the thunder storm. Had lovely lunch accompanied by pink champers served by my lovely nephew. How nice to be fed and watered by someone else - sooo enjoyable.

Ah well its back to sorting out the loft - what joy, much rather be out in the garden but we'd all need water wings this end! LOL

Have a great weekend Jeni

J -x-

9. At July 20, 2007 8:56 PM judi4 wrote:

Hi Jeni,Hope you got the plasters! Now you are a grandma, you have to buy the 'monster' ones from Asda. I know supermarkets are a dirty word, but my grandchildren like their plasters! Just to let you know your mate Simon Rimmer is looking well, we went to his restaurant last week (yummy) although I was unable to have a word with him. Keep on blogging Lots a luv x

10. At July 21, 2007 10:49 AM Doris wrote:

LOL I think I have my own chapter of Procrastinators Anonymous!

I wonder if you have managed to keep up the morning writing? I am aware of starting things: reporting it and then not continuing.

Best wishes to you as always :-)

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.