Up The Junction

Posted by Jeni in LBC | 8 January 2008

In the theatre day two is considered a disaster.

The opening performance is full of adrenylin, first night nerves and enthuisiasm.

The second night is anti-climactic, difficult and not a little confusing. I, of course, mentioned this to the old man who said, in his own inimitable Northern fgashion:

'Every night is a first night at LBC as the soobject matter changes.'

I mentioned it to the daughter who said, in her own hip, yooful way:

'Decide it's going to be bad and it will be.'

So when I set off for day two of 'The Jeni Barnett' help line I was feeling not a little trepidatious.

I couldn't find my fob.

To get round LBC you have to place a little round fob up against a sensor on the wall, it then beeps you in. The fob is hanging on the end of a long piece of red twine.

Attached to my fob is a little plastic 'T' thingy which, when inserted into a metal contraption next to the car-park gates opens them up.

I couldn't find the fob or the car-park mcguffin.

Upstairs, down stairs, the fob was nowhere to be found. Fifteen minute drive, out the car, into reception to borrow a 'T' shaped thingy, back to the car-park to open the gate with the said thing contraption then back to reception to hand back the gate opener. Into the canteen for a packet of sesame seed snax. Whilst I ferreted around for 2.65 my fingers found the fob, coiled up in the bottom of my purse.

I beeped myself up to the second floor Scottie.

Steve and I discussed todays stories. I asked him whether I was taking too many notes into the studio. 'Yup' said he. He didn't press me knowing that my scraps of paper are all the security I've got. He also told me how Sandi Toksvig took in loads of gumph until she came in late one day and relaxed.

We opened the show with a debate about Christian Preachers and a bunch of MP's who want to stop gay bashing in the pulpit.

FREE SPEECH was the meat of it. The calls came thick and fast, the emails, the texts, my head was buzzing so much I missed a JUNCTION.

To miss a JUNCTION is a treasonable offence.

Picture it, a screen to my left, with all the callers on it, lit up in red, blue or green, depending on whether they are waiting, speaking or hanging up.

Now picture a screen to my right with texts and emails coming in.

Now imagine the clock up on the wall to my right, the producer and engineer in front of me behind the window and more papers than Mad Mick, not to mention my slipping headphones which are either too loud or too soft depending on who's talking.

A JUNCTION is a throw to the news, or weather, or traffic, or in this case sport which I didn't do. The poor sports presenter was waiting to be announced whilst I was watching the clock, fiddling with my cans and mucking up the cues.


Then filling little gaps of 20 seconds here, or 30 seconds there, whilst trying to remember the name of the last caller and attempting to decipher an email from A Miss Spelt in Bagshot.

I said, on too many occasions:

'I'll be with the next caller when they are put through to me'

Nicht. Verboten. Not done. Another treasonable offence. Steve said it was like an actor waiting for a lighting cue and telling the audience that they were waiting for a lighting cue. Alas poor Yorrick we've all been there.

We then discussed the best possible sculptor for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and apart from me thinking the show was over ten minutes before it was (another treasonable offence. I'll be in the Tower by next Thursday) all the contributors were terrific.

By the time the very debonair Mr.Paul Ross took his seat I was stumbling over my lips, junctions and what ever else was in the way.

So day two was pretty much as I imagined. I made glaring, horrendous mistakes which will get me booted out before I've had time to pick up my Sony award and be plastered on the back of a No.19 bus.

BUT -IT's -

Day three tomorrow. And I predict it will be a lot calmer and laid back. My fob is hanging on my rear view mirror, I'll be less frazzled and I'll glide through those junctions like a seasoned broadcaster which I arn't!

Whatever why don't you tune in and have a listen?


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


1. At January 8, 2008 7:28 PM Marmite Girl wrote:

Hi Jeni

I thought it was great myself, tuning in while I'm off work. Think how many extra listeners LBC are getting, being in Welsh Wales I had never even heard of it!
Keep it up we all think you're doing a smashing job, still hope to see you back on the box though so don't stop bugging Rob will you!!!!!
Much Love
Marmite xx

2. At January 8, 2008 8:39 PM Fi wrote:

Hi Jeni

I tuned in yesterday for the first time purely to listen to your show. I live in Aberdeen and had no idea what to expect in a London -centric radio show. I started off with the breakfast show and with my ears still ringing with the opinions of the presenter and callers I went for lunch and came back to my desk to hear your show. I decided to email you, never have I done such I thing, and how strange to hear something I had just typed. I have to say that I blushed a little when I heard, through my 1 ear phone, my post being read out on air. Needless to say I shall keep listening, you have a job I would love to do but I would probably mess it up and really be in a Squeeze!

3. At January 8, 2008 9:40 PM Fee wrote:

Well as your Jim would say "Eh lass don't be ser daft", I didn't hear yesterday's show but heard today's. I thought you were like an old pro (oo err missus)and marvelled at how cool calm and collected you were. I thought some of the callers would have wound some presenters up but you handled them all with respect and humour and good grace. Keep on keepin on JB you're doing great lass. Love Fee xx

4. At January 9, 2008 7:38 AM Doris wrote:

I hope it is better today! I'm looking forward to tuning in at some point but have a very heavy schedule at moment.

Now..... why don't you make it very easy for people to tune in online by giving the links to LBC and precise times? Something a little prominent and not just hidden in a post so that it is easy to refer to. I listened to you before when you did the guest slot on LBC (and even blogged about it and gave the links!) and really enjoyed it. Best wishes :-)

5. At January 9, 2008 9:02 AM DG wrote:

Hope today goes better Jeni, you're a real trouper no mistake. I think Marmite girl speaks for all of us that one day soon, you'll be back on our screens.
DG xx

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