What do you mean I have a face for radio
It came as no surprise to me when I was approached by a radio station to do an interview. My velvet tones, a smooth martini cocktail of David Attenborough, with a hint of Sean Connery and a dash of Barry White, has often been remarked upon as chocolate for the ears. The radio station did not approach me directly as such but rather through my chum Spike Righteous, who was no doubt an intermediary for the station lest they ran the embarrassment of me turning them down. “It’s like this Thackeray….FULLOFIT FM want to interview me about the next stage of the Tour de Tuam and since I am wearing the pink jersey, they think I’m a good bet for the King of the Slope stage” Spike said, running on the spot as he spoke so as not to lose fitness “and they want to talk to someone to give a bit of substance…the man behind the bike…that sort of thing….so I thought….who else but my good chum Thackeray”. “A man of substance eh…..that’s what they called me was it” I replied, taking a deep breath and smoothening my lapels “by God their researchers know their stuff”. “Well not exactly….I just said that….but they want someone who knew me before I became famous” Spike said, tightening the bicycle helmet on his head for added aerodynamics. “Famous they said was it….yes well much though I wouldn’t admit to it in public….I suppose I am really” I said, wondering what cufflinks I would wear. “I think you may be taking me up wrong Thackeray…the interview is actually about me….I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong impression” he said, beads of sweat suddenly appearing on his forehead. “Don’t worry Spike…I wont forget you” I said slapping him on the shoulder “every man of substance needs a Tonto….I’ll make sure to mention you”. Poor Spike was still fighting his corner when I waved him off as I jumped into my E-type jaguar – 30 minutes in the tanning salon would top me up nicely before my appearance.
The interview was at 3pm, prime listenership and I couldn’t help myself but to leak to a few chums that I was going on the radio – putting it in that mornings newsletter of the CIAA (Chartered Institute of Accumulating Accountants) may have been a bit excessive but damn it they’ll be sorry for not giving me the Master of Ceremonies role for the last ten years at the SAB (Smug Accountants Ball). I decided to bring a few old photographs the interviewer may be interested in (I knew they couldn’t actually show them on radio but they could give some context) such as Me and The Pyramids, Me and the Taj Mahal, Me and Bill Clinton (ok my face wasn’t actually in it but that’s most definitely my right cufflink) and so on and so forth. Putting on my best Kilgour, French & Stanbury suit, Turnbull & Asser shirt and of course my Maxwell shoes, I headed off to rendezvous with Spike who insisted on cycling the whole way, his pink shirt blinding the traffic in both directions.
Arriving at the radio station, I was surprised to find a large group of people outside the front doors and I thought by God, the paparazzi are here. “I’ll handle this Spike….you just don’t let them near my suit” I said, taking out my Mount Blanc pen for signing autographs. As we came nearer the door, a whole swarm of them ran towards us and surrounded Spike who I had sent ahead of me. “You pp my name Spike like a good chap…they wont know it’s not me” I said slipping around the mob. The ruse worked leaving me completely unhindered to go inside. I looked behind me to see Spike signing everything from lycra shorts to a woman’s bare breasts and I thought to myself, there goes a true friend, sacrificing himself like that for me. Eventually he got inside the doors where two burly security staff kept the baying mob from entering and we were met by a Sound Engineer and assistant to the producer. They kept telling Spike stuff about the show and it was only then I realised what a good PA he would make except that he was a man. Finally we met DJ Crony who was all teeth and shiny hair and absurdly rude by the fact that he failed to recognise me and immediately shook Spike’s hand first. Still I thought, these DJ types don’t get out much.
Sitting around the desk full of microphones and sound equipment we waited for the box to turn red saying “On AIR”. DJ CRONY talked (excessively in my opinion) to Spike about cycling but I let it go on the presumption that he was giving me time to compose myself – these people are professionals after all and know from experience no doubt that men of substance are like finely tuned thoroughbreds and must be treated with kid gloves. Finally we were “On” and DJ CRONY began. “What a wonderful day it is to be Irish here on FULLOFIT FM with our special guest Spike “The Bike” Reilly who is currently wearing the pink shirt in the Tour de Tuam race and tipped to be favourite for the King of the Slope stage tomorrow…how do you feel Spike…nervous…apprehensive…tell the listeners”. I was lost for words, dumbfounded even. I looked around me to see if we had gone into the wrong booth. Spike revelled in his monosyllabic responses such as “Yes I am excited” or “Hello Mam…it’s me Spike…your son…im in the radio so I wont be able to put on your tea”. DJ CRONY was lapping it up with that stomach curdling voice of his “You’ve heard it listeners…what a humble hero Spike is….still has time to say hello to his mam”. Finally after 40 minutes he turned to me “So Thackeray Bond….you’re Spike’s friend with the funny name…tell us…did you always know Spike was going to be famous…tell the listeners?” he asked me, his teeth gleaming in mock happiness. I was stunned by the question, whatever did they mean Spike being famous, there had to be some mistake. No words could come to my mind and a deathly silence passed. DJ CRONY switched back to Spike “I’m afraid Thackeray Bond is overcome with emotion and can’t speak….Spike is it difficult having to carry old childhood friends like Thackeray…people who through no fault of their own…genes…lack of intelligence….whatever…will always live in the shadows….it must be difficult for you Spike….and I see you must have even bought him a new suit for the occasion…he’s all dressed up folks…Spike bought him a suit…that’s the type of guy he is listeners….tell us more”. Spike Righteous looked over at me, a broad smile appearing on his face “Yes well…Thackeray and I grew up together…well not together actually….his mother worked as our housekeeper….and Thackeray used to be left sit for hours strapped into a cardboard box…he didn’t learn to walk until he was ten….I used to put him in a trolley attached to my bike and cycle him around so I’m used to carrying him you see…but a friend’s a friend at the end of the day…and with that speech impediment….well let’s just say….it means alot to him to be here” Spike said humbly and I wanted to kill him there and then. DJ CRONY let out an emotional sigh “I have to say it folks…it’s not often I get weepy on the radio…but to see Spike’s devotion to his poor friend…well he’s an inspiration to us all….a role model for the nation…that’s all for today…see you next week”. Without a word I got up and left, Spike’s laughter ringing out behind me. “Being a celebrity isn’t all its cracked up to be…still it seemed like a good idea at the time…