Sep 5, 2006

Fatbelt: notch 3

I didn't have time to blog at Greenbelt, but I can give you a retrospective look at the weekend. This is the point where you ensure you have read notches 1 and 2 of this thrilling blog serialisation. A bleralisation, if you will.

I haven't a cat's chance in Hull of competing with Nine Tenths Full Of Penguins' comprehensive day-in-the-life, but I'll have a go anyways. All times are inaccurate and most probably wrong, as is almost everything else in this report.

>Get on with it, then

I arrive at Greenbelt on an overcast Thursday. I take six hours to put up my tent, take three minutes to have a biscuit, then go and meet the Greenbelt FM team. Someone tells me in hushed tones that working for the on-site radio station means "your time is no longer your own". My lazy bone quivers with anxiety.

I have already met the team on a training day, so there is little ice to break. It's a friendly group, although the stress could easily pile on because the BBC's regional religious team are shadowing us for the weekend.

>Standards with an S

Since this is BBC personnel I am dealing with here, I would have done well to remember they have Standards. With a capital S.

I suggest to Jackie, one of the more outspoken members of the BBC team, that we get the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain into the studio. "Get them into the studio" isn't good enough. She throws paper clips, ring binders and mixing desks at my head and shouts: "THAT'S NOT AN IDEA, COME BACK TO ME WHEN YOU'VE GOT A BETTER IDEA, THAT ISN'T A GOOD ENOUGH IDEAAARGH!" And we're not even on air until tomorrow.

Also on Thursday, I go to a general Greenbelt organisers meeting which is meant to be motivational, although the only thing I can remember thinking is that stewards with beards deserve more respect than stewards without beards. I get in a cheeky heckle ("twenty-five!") to a rhetorical question, the specifics of which are lost in the fabric of the night.

>Grim reality

Friday waltzes in to the room like it owns the place. We have another radio meeting first thing, and this time we face the grim reality that there are just four hours to prepare the first programme of the weekend's broadcast.

This means generating content and lots of it. I run around interviewing random people about random things on a random hand-held recorder, until I am distracted by a cute baby goat eating a rake in the on-site children's farm, Miller's Ark. I consult my ABC Guide To The Food Chain and calculate, using a flow chart, that goats aren't meant to eat rakes. I tell it to stop eating the rake, and it trots over to my bit of the fence with a vague smile on its lips. I wonder if goats eat people, but it is too late as the stupid kid has wriggled under the perimeter fence - actually waggling its shoulders to give itself purchase against the bottom of the fencing - and it's ready to make a bolt for freedom. I panic. I grab the goat roughly with my left arm, while my right arm grabs the hand-held recorder from my pocket. I press record and, with casual yet goat-ish panache, to present a piece that eventally gets edited and put out on air. 'Greenbelt FM reporter catches goat.' Her name was Saffron, by the way. Hello, Saffron.

The rest of the day is frittered away pre-producing other people's shows. This is laborious because it's like office work.

>Vocal / loop heaven

Unlike Gloopy Music, which was a welcome distraction at the end of the day. Stephen Devine took to the stage to lull an audience into vocal / loop heaven, in a kind of midnight mantra. It was my job to be a roadie and tech geek. It went well, although the audio on a Jim Morrison documentary clip didn't work. I was on stage when I realised the error, so I stood stock still and glared meaningfully at the mute black and white footage as though It Was Meant To Be That Way.

Also on Friday, I discover the Barn Bacon Company's bacon and apple marmalade sandwiches. God is in my mouth. On the next notch of this serioblog, I will tell you how my first show gets invaded by hippies, so please have your Eric Cartman impression at the ready.


9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

I feel you underestimate your own comprehensiveness (is that a word?). Three fatbelt notches and more to come - that is comprehensive by anyone's standards. However, thanks for bigging up my post, yours isn't so bad either. I have the rough recordings of "goatgate" by the way. Watch out for podcast action!

Sarah said...

I want a bacon and apple marmalade sandwich. You have now retrospectively ruined my Greenbelt. Thanks.

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