Gobs on Sticks

Thoughts mostly (but not always) about the voice-over business, from London Voiceover Artist, Mike Cooper

  • About the author

    My name is Mike Cooper. I'm a full time Voiceover Artist living and working in London, and this is my blog. Find out more about me on my main website (there's a link further down this column), or if you'd like to hear some of my work, check out the files below.
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A bad day at work?

Posted by MikeCooper on October 12, 2008

Let’s be honest: we all have our “off-days”, don’t we?

When reading the news, I’m prone to slips of the tongue as much as the next announcer (talking about the “presidential erection” and a certain country’s “gash-rich regions” are but two of my more hapless examples), but a couple of things have caught my eyes and ears this past week that have reminded me that, as bad as some of my days sometimes seem, someone else is probably having a complete ‘mare.

Thing number one arrived via email last weekend and provoked a heated debate among my radio colleagues, as well as on the internet at large. It’s an interview between Hardeep Singh Kohli, who Wikipedia describes as “a Sikh writer, presenter, broadcaster and reporter of Indian descent from Scotland”, and Les Ross, a Birmingham-based local radio presenter who the BBC likes to describe as “a West Midlands radio legend”.

I have to say, I’ve been a bit of a fan of Les since my teenage years, at which point Les was well into his second decade of presenting the breakfast show on BRMB. His quick, slightly camp and irreverent way of getting effortlessly from 6 to 9am was a joy to anyone who was listening. And listen they did! Of late, whenever I’ve had occasion to listen across his afternoon show via the ‘net, I’ve begun to wonder if the magic is wearing off. And this little piece of car crash radio has, I’m afraid, done little to reassure me.

OK, the Alan Partridge caption may be being a little unfair to someone whose career has survived thirty-odd years pretty much unscathed until now, but you can kind of see their point. Whoever’s to blame (and the debate on that one will run and run), it’s truly local radio of the worst kind, and cringe-making in the extreme.

Even Les, though, must thank his lucky stars that his day never got this bad… It’s like “Carry On Up The Bulletin”. My favourite bit is when the other guy rushes in and you can hear the newsreader “sssssshhh”-ing, and saying – I’m assuming, as it’s all Greek to me – something like “Keep the noise down! Can’t you see I’m On Air!?” Having this week had my own studio door flung open just in time for me to turn around at the end of the bulletin and spit the words “…BBC News!” at the offender (who scampered like a startled rabbit back into the newsroom), I do sympathise. There but for the grace of God, and all that…

And finally, I’m very glad that I missed this particular combination of end-of-story words by an hour, the dubious honour falling to my colleague, Jerry Smit. For those who know the BBC term, I could make a joke about a “Hard Post” here…

Listening last week to Angus Deayton’s Radio 4 tribute to his friend and collaborator, Geoffrey Perkins, reminded me of one of my all-time radio favourites, which certainly deserves a mention here. Radio Active, anyone?


One Response to “A bad day at work?”

  1. jacki bremner said

    Hi Mike,
    The most amusing bloober I know off was not on air but in a general meeting of a school board and teachers at my sons school.
    A new teacher was to be introduced at a monday morning meeting. She had the unfortunate name of Miss Franny. The headmaster, who was to do the introduction was a friend of ours. He sweated all weekend as he was prone to bloobers and was so afraid of introducing her as Miss Fanny.
    Come the monday morning meeting he was pretty confident and at the appropiate time intoduced her with flair as Miss C.nt – I mean Fanny – Franny!

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