Friday, October 05, 2007

To grunt and sweat under a weary life

Now, it's not as if Toby and I were bosom buddies or anything. But you know what college is like, that big social Venn diagram. We crossed each other's paths, went to some of the same parties, some of the same clubs. In my second year I shared a house with someone who'd been at school with him, and I reckon she still carried a very faint flame. He looked a bit like Johnny Depp, although we probably didn't know that at the time. Maybe when I first saw a Johnny Depp film I thought, "Crikey, that bloke looks like Toby!"

And then he disappeared to the States, and then I heard some vague news that he was back and presenting music shows on some satellite channel, but nobody I knew had satellite back then. That was pretty impressive, and I felt a slight pang because I'd applied for one of those jobs, and they never even replied, and I think it was because I must have seemed too enthusiastic about De La Soul, or maybe I wasn't quite enthusiastic enough, or maybe it was the Soup Dragons. And now I'll probably never know.

And then I bumped into Toby when we both auditioned for a presenting job on The Word and he said "What are you doing here?" and he was perfectly friendly, but in retrospect maybe he stressed the "you" bit just a little too much, but if he did, he was right. I was always going to be a backroom boy, but that's OK. At least he didn't get the job this time. Neither did Davina McCall, incidentally, or that bloke off Teenage Health Freak. Katie Puckrik got it. I knew she'd get it as soon as she walked in, because I'd seen her in i-D magazine. It was the early 90s by then, and these things mattered.

And then Toby ended up on MTV Europe, and he interviewed Madonna and talked about grunge bands. And then he sort of went off the radar as far as I was aware, until I heard him this week explaining techno to Radio 4 listeners. He described the collective emotional experience of listening to techno in a field with 5,000 other people as something akin to winning the Boat Race. Well, it was Radio 4.

I do feel old.

10 comments:

Geoff said...

You think you had it bad. I failed the audition to be one of "the hopefuls" on The Word.

I beat Sara Cox in the Girlie Show audition but I proved to be too much of an old fashioned lady.

I feel old, too.

BiB said...

Tim, you're in the prime of life. But you took me back to the Student Union disco on a Friday night with De La Soul and The Soup Dragons. I've had to get youtubing - a luxury I know you are not allowed - to see if I should still be annoyed at my De La Soul tape being nicked by some penny-pinching student. I think I've just achieved closure.

First Nations said...

all a matter of politics and patronage. that's why it's a good thing i took you under my wing. I know MSNBC have been battering down your door ever since.

patroclus said...

I didn't know you auditioned for a presenter job on The Word; that's so cool. I think I was the only person in the whole of the UK who actually liked Terry Christian. But then I also liked Ned's Atomic Dustbin at the time, so my opinion probably doesn't count.

Tim Footman said...

Bad luck, Geoff. You could have been immortalised in Top 100 TV show history for squeezing an old lady's buttocks or something.

YT is back, Bib! I have been searching for floral shirts and shuffly drums and curtain fringes!

Yes, FN, but battering very quietly, so as not to disturb me.

I didn't like Terry Christian, P, until I realised he was the authentic voice of the proletariat against Amanda de Cabernet Sauvignon. And his alpha male antler fights with Lamarr were very funny.

The Neds, eh? Twinbassgrebotastic!

Valerie said...

We may both be old. Though I dispute it. But you just made me go listen to "Jenifa (Taught Me)" again, which is no bad thing.

(And better, by far, than Madonna. Dunno about listening to techno in a field, though.)

Spinsterella said...

I failed the audition to be a contestant on Blockbusters.

patroclus said...

I have 'listened' to techno in a field with thousands of other people. It was nothing like the Boat Race. On one occasion I couldn't remember if I was myself or my cat. On another I thought I could sense what everyone in the world was thinking. (And now there's Facebook and Twitter, I actually can - oh god, the horror.)

Tim Footman said...

An excellent track, Valerie. I can see a D*A*I*S*Y age post coming, although I still need to do the promised Brian Wilson thing.

Cheer up Spin, I never made it that far. Although I know a number of people who did very well out of it. The prizes really were a cut above your usual tea-time schlock...

Yes, Patroclus, but was that because of the music, or because you were monged out of your bonce on value-added Tic-Tacs?

dh said...

Alert radio listeners may remember me on 'Have a Go' with Wilfred Pickles. I was only 10 at the time.