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Another Windows on Your World gallery here

Eddie Mair | 10:23 UK time, Friday, 15 December 2006

or should I say HERE.

I confess I have lost count of them, and I know we're running behind with posting them on the right. But we're going to catch up today!

Some other bits and bobs. I know the good Dr and others have had a bit of trouble with our newsletter. I'm normally the first to put my hand up and admit our culpability. This time though, we've checked with the grown-ups (twice) and it's all fine our end. If I had any technical expertise at all I would offer some helpful tips here.

But I don't so I won't.

Some of the comments on the food link from last night made me laugh. Perhaps because we shouldn't. Yesterday was an extraordinary day. Normally, there are two, or maybe three stories you might consider are strong enough to lead the programme. Yesterday, every news story was a potential lead. There were other stories...good ones...two of them at least...which were only "reads" in our bulletin at 5, because there was just no time in the entire hour to fit them in. As I posted (somewhere) yesterday we had a lively editorial debate all afternoon about what to lead with, and in the end, it was after 4.30 that we plumped for Blair over Diana.

Anyone have any idea why the Labour party called us after 4.50 to ask what was on the programme? Don't they subscribe to the newsletter?


  1. At 10:38 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Lively debate, does anyone throw their toys out of the pram?!

  2. At 10:46 AM on 15 Dec 2006, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    I missed last night's programme for all sorts of reasons. Sounds like it was a good one.

    Any chance of a piece on the government getting the Seriously Flawed... sorry... Serious Fraud Office to drop their investigations into Top Arms Dealer BAe systems, presumably due to Saudi Arabia threatening to pull out of the Eurofighter purchase if they didn't?

    I've love to hear MPs - or Tony Blair - trying to argue that defence jobs are more important than the rule of law. You never know, I might even be convinced...

  3. At 10:57 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    I confess I have lost count of them.

    Yes, Eddie, I'm losing track of these threads sometimes. The Suffolk one was so long I gave up. Suffice to say I didn't think I could add anything to what has already been said.

    You know the Labout Party - they're so ahead of their time they probably meant to ask what's on tonight. [I've succumbed to the temptation to leave that typo in place.]

    After your comment about the difference between the newsletter and your 1630 trailer, I'm going to subscribe to the newsletter using my work email. 'Twill be interesting to see who, if anyone, complains about losing theirs next.

    Any more thoughts about putting the gallery on a CD to sell? Will we be having Eddie Mair egg-cups soon? At least we know exactly what they'll look like...

  4. At 11:12 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    I expect they subscribe - but maybe it just doesn't arrive some days. Anyone else had that experience???

    Btw -when I was catching up with yesterday's blog very late, & skim reading a bit, someone had written in about the PM being interviewed by the police. I'm sorry, but I hadn't heard any news all day (matinee day, a bit busy) so I'm afraid I missed the "the" in that sentence, & interpreted it as police coming into the office & interviewing you all. I didn't know why, wondered what you had all been up to at the party, perhaps!

  5. At 11:24 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Maybe the Labour party are having trouble receiving the newsletter as well? It's all part of that evil conspiracy to destabilise society.

  6. At 11:30 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Eddie, can I add my voice to the Cat's meow at (2) please?

    It was this government which made it an offence for British companies to bribe in order to get business. And they were supposed to have an ethical foreign policy, although that collapsed in Sierra Leone.

    And can anyone believe that the Union bosses, normally so quick to shout about sleaze, are saying that they are glad that the enquiry has been terminated? Actually yes. Union members jobs are obviously far more important than upholding the rule of law and countering British companies who may be involved in graft.

    The hands of the Attorney-General, our senior law officer, are soiled with this corruption. He should quit today.

    I don't envy the editorial team at PM when you get a day like yesterday. For what it's worth (not much) I think that you got the lead right. The Diana report is old news and won't change anyone's minds at all.


  7. At 11:36 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Member of the Public wrote:

    Good morning Eddie,

    If the Pension Bill is as important as the Government claims, then why has the nation had to wait so long for it? Part of the reason, of course, is that, in the early years of New Labour, there was no pensions crisis.

    Britain had one of the strongest pension provisions in Europe, whereas it now has one of the weakest. With much of this being down to the disastrous decision by Gordon Brown, in his first Budget to stage an annual £5bn raid on pension funds, it might be thought that the Government would have acted somewhat quicker in trying to remedy the situation. And, with the scandal of bloated public-sector pensions still unresolved, the claim that the Government has successfully staved off a crisis I think is a flimsy one.

  8. At 12:24 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    But the A-G is just following orders.

    (why, oh why did I sell my shares in BAe?)

  9. At 12:25 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Lord Muir: Do you prefer it when there are many 'headline' stories to choose from for a particular show, or when there is one clear lead story but you struggle to fill the rest of the hour while then having the opportunity to do lesser-reported and quirkier stories?

  10. At 12:32 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Thanks for your concern(?) E. I can confirm that Wednesday’s newsletter has turned up since I last visited you here. As mentioned, Thursday’s was on time. I’ll let you know today.

  11. At 12:35 PM on 15 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Servers.

    I have been getting the Newsletter recently. However a friend from BH has been trying to e-mail me and the message was bouncing back to him, with these errors. He thought it must be my server, however he now tells me that other people at BH have been getting returned messages with the same errors. ??

    Sorry to blog with such drivel ;-( but thought someone may shed some light.

    The original message was received at Wed, 13 Dec 2006 11:40:55 GMT from bbcxues11.national.core.bbc.co.uk []

    ----- Transcript of session follows ----- ...
    Deferred: No such file or directory
    Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours Will keep trying until message is 5 days old

    ----- Original message follows -----

    Received: from bbcxues11.national.core.bbc.co.uk (bbcxues11.national.core.bbc.co.uk [])
    by mailgw2.mh.bbc.co.uk (8.13.7/8.13.7) with ESMTP id
    for ; Wed, 13 Dec 2006 11:40:55 GMT

  12. At 01:14 PM on 15 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    woyw gallery 17 !

    Sinia and John Brown get a double whammy at 43 and 41 and many of us still waiting.

    However I know you are doing a fabulous job Helen.

    Well done you!

  13. At 01:36 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    OK, chums, can you tell me: What is Sirius fraud?!

  14. At 01:38 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Si (6)

    Is this, perchance, the same A-G who assured TB that it was legal to invade Iraq? Of course, it wasn't actually his decision in either case. How much does one get paid for all this authority without responsibility?

  15. At 02:07 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Ed (8);
    That was denied as a defence at Nuremberg.... The guilty were either hung or sentenced to long terms in prison.

    One wonders what pressure the Saudis put on the govt. to make them cave in? Financial? Political? Continued support in the War on Terror vs. we change sides? Or was it the Unions, who were shoulder-to-shoulder in support of the A-G this morning, giving the Labour Party the word?

    Anyone else notice that for a while it was The War Against Terror? Until someone realised what the acronym is.....


  16. At 02:14 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Jonnie (11), have you any idea how much I WANT to understand all that, but can't?? If it helps, our servers are at TV Centre. Our emotional home is Broadcasting House though...

  17. At 02:20 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Is the newsletter transmitted at roughly the same time each day?

  18. At 02:34 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Penrose wrote:

    Does anyone else think that there was a whiff of ‘JoMooreishness' about so many top news stories colliding yesterday?

    Or am I suffering from a dose of ‘AlFayedism’ and seeing a conspiracy where one does not exits?

  19. At 02:39 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    From another part of the BBC, FYI

    Very British solution to Saudi problem
    By Paul Reynolds
    World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

    There will be a few wry smiles in foreign ministries around the world, particularly perhaps at the Quai D'Orsay in Paris and the state department in Washington, at news that the corruption investigation into a huge British defence contract with Saudi Arabia has been suddenly ended.

    Foreign competitors will see another performance by 'perfidious Albion', as the British government holds its hand on its heart and promises that commercial interests have played no part.

    British lectures on the "rule of law" will lose some of their force.

    Perish the thought!

  20. At 02:41 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Johnnie, do you know Eddie too? You know everyone! Mind you I know lots of people too, between us we probably do know everyone. Just wanted to add a bit of drivel to your gobbledegook!

  21. At 03:18 PM on 15 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Hello Eddie, alas no Newsletter at 15:17 today :-(

    Interestingly in the last post with the techie stuff I had put asteriks wher e-mail adresses would have been but the moderators carefully edited the whole e-mails out which shows they are hot on the job.

    Impressive that all these comments are read and sometimes edited.

  22. At 03:56 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    With reference to Our Great Leader's intention to create governmental systems 'whiter than white', i am reminded of Machiavelli's observation:

    "It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan,
    more uncertain of success, nor more dangerous to manage
    than the creation of a new order of things.

    For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit
    by the preservation of the old institutions,
    and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones."
    -- Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)

    Keep up the excellent work.
    Yours Aye,

  23. At 04:01 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    The newsletter seems to have disappeared into a black hole again. It was sent - or at least we went through our usual procedures...but doesn't seem to have gone anywhere.

    If it helps - here's what it said...


    You should drop your investigations into what's on tonight's programme. OK?

    Eric Goldsmith"

  24. At 04:14 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Ed I: You had shares in BAe? I think I'd better go and take a lie down ...

  25. At 04:28 PM on 15 Dec 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Did anyone else read thie one as roasting guinea fowl??!

  26. At 04:52 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Frances O wrote:

    Vyle (3), heehee, indeed chortle

  27. At 05:12 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Doc (13),

    It's a Sirius fraud when the star representing Isis, the female principle is degraded by Greek mythology into the 'dog star' representing Orion's dog.

    It's all part of the Patriarchal conspiracy to reduce the status of women.


  28. At 05:20 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Does one have to be a masochist to enjoy Paine?

    Yet another meaning for whiff occurs in conjunction with mirrors....though that one doesn't show in your references, but perhaps not too far from the corridors inhabited by spindoctors?
    Vaya con Gaia

  29. At 05:23 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    I got my newsletter, thank you. When I first read it, I thought I was being threatened!

  30. At 05:23 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Newsletter arrived in Southwest Scotland at 17.02 GMT!

  31. At 05:25 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Newsletter has just dropped into the Inbox, Eddie.

    And, as ever, you told the truth.

    Now, can you fix the bloggage?

  32. At 05:29 PM on 15 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    I got my newsletter. It was the first one I was able to finish without interruption. Short pithy and to the point. Keep it up Eddie!


  33. At 05:36 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    Re Saudi investigation - A member of my family used to be involved at the MOD in the arms trade. He told me today, that if the contracts had been lost, the Americans and the French would very quickly move in with all their resources.
    I, however, do not believe in these corrupt practices.

  34. At 05:39 PM on 15 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Oh Helen,

    Do I sound like a name dropper then ?

    No I don't know Eddie, though he seems amiable enough.

    As I'm writing this though I'm reminded I used to know and work with Dan Damon who's just been on the air filling Eddies gaps.

  35. At 05:49 PM on 15 Dec 2006, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Eddie (27):


  36. At 05:59 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    No worries Sis, I swapped them for some shares in Huntington Life Sciences ;-) Hope the frog in your throat sweetens soon.

  37. At 06:24 PM on 15 Dec 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Re 25...Oops, forgot the link - 'Roasting fowl!'


  38. At 07:01 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Eddie, my newsletter was just about on time today.

  39. At 07:50 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Alan Mclaughlin wrote:

    Eddie, what do you mean the news cupboard is bare. What about the Attorney General’s fine confection served late last night.
    Much like the argument about CCTV, if the Saudi’s have nothing to fear then they shouldn’t mind being scrutinised. In fact shouldn’t they invite it just to clear their name.
    However, an arms trade researcher recently found MoD documents in the National Archive relating to the bribery allegations (http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,,1933679,00.html). These outline the inflation of the Al Yamamah deal by £600million, one third of the deal. This is the amount that it was alleged in Arab publications at the time was exacted in secret commissions paid to Saudi royals and their circle of intermediaries in London and Riyadh. Then if you take into account Ian Gilmour, a Conservative minister at the time, recently confirmed bribes were common on Saudi arms deals. Lord Gilmour told BBC2's Newsnight: "You either got the business and bribed, or you didn't bribe and didn't get the business ... If you are paying bribes to high-up people in the government, the fact that it's illegal in Saudi law doesn't mean much.". All of which brings into disrepute the Attorney General’s speculation that given another 18 months probably nothing would come of the investigation.
    The argument that this decision was taken by the SFO on national security grounds is risible, does the SFO have its own foreign policy department? It would have been advised/pressed by the AG, or by Tony Blair, he took responsibility for the decision today. By the way, how much is such a noble gesture worth from someone who has already said he’s going to resign? Answers on a till receipt from BAEs.
    So, the fear was that the Saudi's would stop helping us fight ‘terrorism’ or with the Palestinian issue. Is it really being suggested that the Saudi’s are not interested in defeating Al Queda. What with their human rights record and democratic credentials the Saudi royal family are more vulnerable than we are, the idea is contemptible. And do they not seek Palestinian peace?
    Al Yamamah happened in the Thatcher years under their scrutiny, so we can expect precious little from the tories now in condemnation. So much for democracy.
    One last thing, since the British taxpayer heavily subsidises the UK arms trade, does that mean I’ve put money in the pocket of a Saudi royal?

  40. At 07:52 PM on 15 Dec 2006, OnTheLedge wrote:

    Ed I: Hmmmmmmmmmm. Which is about all my throat can manage at present. Speechless, but not wordless.

  41. At 07:54 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Thanks for the good wishes, Ed I.

  42. At 08:16 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Bill'n'Ben wrote:

    Dr H, He was the Prisoner of Azkaban.

  43. At 11:08 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    I got my newsletter today, thanks. And my photo is in one of the galleries, thank you. (It's quite boring & SO put no info with it so no one knows it's ours.Apart maybe from jonnie, if he's very clever - which I know he is!)
    However, daughter did a fun one a few seconds later which was worryingly pertinent. If it ever shows up you'll know it's ours!

    Jolly good work by all the photo- posting people, whoever you are today.

  44. At 11:10 PM on 15 Dec 2006, admin annie wrote:

    wellsaid Alan Mcl

  45. At 12:06 AM on 16 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Johnnie (34) not at all, just teasing, I like to read your posts. X

  46. At 12:34 AM on 16 Dec 2006, valery p (Tumbleflump Holly-Hippoface) wrote:

    Newsletter arrived at lunchtime today (today's issue too!), I presumed it was because it was so short.....

    Alan Mclaughlin - may I ask, did you ever work with one Pete Heywood?

  47. At 10:40 AM on 16 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Helen (34) do you think we should play "namedroppers Top Trumps"? The only rule being you have to have been within the same 4 walls as the "celebrity" - preferably exchanged a few words, (but not compulsory otherwise I'd lose my 2 best cards!)

    I think I started it earlier this week with Kate Atkinson etc. Jonnie is doing well with the pantomime pals. Eddie shouldn't be allowed to play as he must have met everyone in his professional capacity - he could compete on an amateur basis if wished...

    Any thoughts?

  48. At 04:45 PM on 16 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    OH yes lets Annasee (47) I know that there are 'stars' who rate higher, but I can kick off with talking to George Michael about ashrams....

    It was before he came out & he was flanked at his dinner table by 2 men who looked liked Italian models in suits to suit! I'd bumped into Arthur Smith (comedian) who I knew a bit because I was neighbours with Josie Lawrence. On reflection, I realised he hadn't remembered me at all, & had just said hallo for some random reason perhaps influenced by alcohol. Arthur said he wanted to go & talk to George Michael, but he didn't want to go on his own, I went & George did indeed talk to him.

    I seem to remember being thrown one word, but that was the night I'd gone out unexpectedly after an evening class in Russell Square, I'd had to check my carrier bag of shopping in the clockroom & my hair had gone a day too long without washing! We ended up sitting at the end of the table with the Bananaramas.

    The next installment will include Mick Jagger; two words as I recall!

  49. At 05:23 PM on 16 Dec 2006, valery p (Tumbleflump Holly-Hippoface) wrote:

    Wow - Sparkly Helen - respect Girl!

    I once had a convo with Rhona Cameron but I've told that story on the Blog beore (all to do with Samdog peeing on her feet as she sat on a step on George St, during the Festival a couple of years ago)..good grief, surely that's not my only brush with fame is it? I'll put my Memory Hat on.

    Of course there was that famous Faith Healer Finbarr Nolan, but perhaps only RJD and I have heard of him, so he may not count. I once spoke to Eric Sykes at Heathrow Airport, that was because I knew I recognised him and thought he was someone I just knew - blush

    Oh I know - I know the drummer from Pilot, Alan Pratt, he lives in Nearest Village, and we often speak to him in the pub. He still plays a mean paradiddle too. Pilot anyone? Ho, ho, ho It's Magic, round about 1975?

    I'll keep thinking.

  50. At 05:44 PM on 16 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I once kissed Carol Vorderman!

  51. At 06:50 PM on 16 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Ed, once again you is the man!

  52. At 08:16 PM on 16 Dec 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    Arriving at Brighton station laden with suitcases at the start of the university term, I was helped to a taxi rank by a kindly gentleman.

    When I got into the taxi the driver said, "Do you know who that was - he's a famous actor.....

    .....but I can't remember his name."

    So I probably met somebody famous - just can't drop the name.

  53. At 08:25 PM on 16 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Ed, did Carol mind? ;)


  54. At 09:37 PM on 16 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Not really, but neither was it the start of a 'big thing'... It was just a casual goodbye peck after a recording of "How 2", but the friend who had accompanied me to the studios was duly impressed.

    She's a nice girl and had put up with a lot as we had managed to make a mess of the place a couple of times with prince rupert drops and busted bowls of water.

    Long time ago.

  55. At 10:37 PM on 16 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    How 2?


  56. At 11:02 PM on 16 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Kiddie's tv programme, semi-educational, fun stuff. I made a trick squirting swan in blown glas and demonstrated it by squirting her. When she tries to squirt me with it, she gets it in the eye.

    Look of surprise has to be seen to be appreciated. It's something kids remember for years when I do it to them.

    Other time I made Rupert drops and we demonstrated them. After making the first one, I just popped it and sent glass all over the place; Wonderful expression of surprise again (pity they don't use the first take more often); they had to hoover up and set up a back curtain for the perspex. Then the glass bowl of water I was dripping the glass into decided to neatly collapse like a chocolate orange, and there was another hoover-up. I'm sure there are some amusing bits of footage somewhere.

    Fun and games. I'll tell you about Sandy Toksveig and No73 sometime....

  57. At 11:09 PM on 16 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Oh this is kicking off nicely, even if I haven't heard of some of them (blame my antipodean background).

    OK, we once had that Gary Wilmot in the back of our car. (Hands up if you know who he is - which I didn't when I first met him...) I did a year long tour of "Me & My Girl" in which he was the cockney barrow boy hero. One day the cast had organised an 8 mile walk through the wilds of Cheshire, & Gary needed a lift, so came with my husband & I. He really is such a lovely chap, & during that whole year I never saw him lose his temper or be rude to a punter, even though people would harass him for autographs at mealtimes ("Sign this mate will ya" as a paper napkin was thrust at him at tea time...) He was such a joy to work with, I felt really depressed when the show finished!

  58. At 01:06 AM on 17 Dec 2006, valery p (Tumbleflump Holly-Hippoface) wrote:

    Oh I remember How 2, it was a big fave with the Kraken, wait till i tell him you were on it Ed, he'll probably remember the programme!

    Yup I remember Gary Wilmot too, glad he's as nice as he always appeared to be.

  59. At 01:38 AM on 17 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    I had a kiss from Tina Turner after buying her chicken soup in Soho.

    I was a Tea boy in a recording studio.

    I also was a voice (in a group of around 7 extra's) in a song with Jonathan King -- I was nineteen so too old but thinking back .................. most of his groupies were younger.

    Probably the nicest politician I had the pleasure of producing two 3-hour phone in shows was Tony Benn, early 90's at a LBC Radio when smoking in the studio's was allowed. And bless him he forgot his pipe. We sent it back in a cab.

    And finally for now, all that have listened to or know of Bob Harris. Fabulous man who I used to produce. LBC treated him appaulingly in the end and he found out that his contract wasn't being renewed whilst driving in to do his show and hearing a trail for the new presenter. By the quirke or franchises it was a different LBC Radio to now so no legal infringing.

    For the blog moderators, it was yonks ago and all in the public domain.

  60. At 10:38 AM on 17 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Jonnie: You used to produce on LBC? So you knew Jon Snow, and others? And I think you will also know somebody who I knew for some years .... A long story.

    You know where to find me if you want to know more .....

  61. At 10:58 AM on 17 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    So this is the namedropper's ball?

    Okay, in random order, and no details unless asked for them:

    Tony Benn
    Edward Heath
    Michael Heseltine
    Geoffrey Howe

    Marc Bolan
    Eric Clapton
    The Beatles
    Bryan Ferry

    These come immediately to mind. Others are lurking in the shadows.

    How do I fare in the trumping stakes?

  62. At 11:02 AM on 17 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Oh wow Jonnie, that's a handful of great cards you've dealt there! Tina Turner! I've heard of Jonathan King but don't think it was in a good context...

    There must have been lots of other people at the recording studio - tell us more...

    I think Jon Snow is lovely. Always used to watch Channel 4 news, in the days when I had time to watch the news. Now I prefer PM because I can get on with cooking at the same time. (and it's funnier).

  63. At 11:19 AM on 17 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Christ Tarrant, Shirley Bassey (just touched her hand when she was singing on stage), her orchestra (in the pub the night before the concert, the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Marmalade, Jasper Carrott - he used to run our local folk club, Neil Kinnock warmed my hand once - it was cold and he was going to shake it, Roy Hattersley - wasn't nice to me when he found out I lived two inches too far to vote for him, email discussions with Vera Baird QC MP regarding legal aid. I can't think of anyone else, but I know I've met a few others, mainly D list I should think.


  64. At 12:09 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Princess Margaret and her two kids (another squirting swan incident, 1975(ish))
    Jan Leeming
    Judith Chalmers
    Hugh F-W
    Tommy Sheridan
    Rick whatsisname (Yes keyboards, curry)
    Blodwen Pig

    This is fun!

    (not to mention my beer-drinking, campfire mate Phil Harding)

  65. At 01:47 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    I think I have a plethora of names to drop but started, & then realised I was boring myself! Have to go out now for a walk by the river because SO would like us to leae before it gets dark!

    I just need to leave you with the breaking news is that my bestest friend in the world has not only been doing the animation for the new Beatrix Potter film, but she is Renee’s hands, her hands are film stars. Please can we all go & watch it & admire Alyson's talent & hands?!

  66. At 06:01 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I blew glass with John Noakes, but when we met I was the only one in the place (Olympia) who didn't have a clue who he was. (too recently arrived to have grown up with BP).

    Later that same year I was through the round window (I think) on Playschool....another swan?

    Makes me feel so old.


  67. At 06:15 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    I loved the windows Ed, I loved guessing which one, probably because we didn't have a TV & I only saw it when I snuck a rare glimpse at a friend's house.

  68. At 07:32 PM on 17 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    I loved the windows on Play School.

    I also loved How, didn't realise there was a How 2.


  69. At 10:55 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Cmon Big Sis, I think we need a few details. Actually in the "real" top Trumps game, every card has a series of ratings which score different points. (People with kids will know this already). I'm afraid all I can remember from the ratings is that in the "Dog" set, loveability rating, the Golden Labrador wins at 30. I know this having heard 3 kids playing the game incessantly in the back of the car for about 6 hours on holiday recently. Someone kept using the labrador loveability every time, & winning as a result.

    Any loveability scores for your chosen namedrops?

    I sat next to Jim Callaghan at lunch once. Soon after I'd arrived here in the 80's. I was less impressed at the fact he had been a PM, than that he was the uncle of a harpist I knew. So we were able to chat quite happily about her! He seemed a very amiable sort of chap.

  70. At 11:34 PM on 17 Dec 2006, valery p (Tumbleflump Holly-Hippoface) wrote:

    Just remembered we drank with Cat Stevens in the pub once before a gig - this was before he found religion and changed his name. He was extremely unpleasant to my at-the-time SO who who also sang for a living, but wasn't yet famous. Never liked him after that (Cat Stevens!)

    Big Sis - Eric Clapton, Marc Bolan and the Beatles wow!! How?

    Ed I - Rick Wakeman. Did you hear him on Thursday?

    I sat on stage at a Led Zeppelin concert - but it was too loud to speak to any of them of course.

    Jonnie - I enjoy Bob Harris, late on Radio 2 at the weekends, he always seems such a gent, and I have fond memories of the Old Grey Whistle Test.

  71. At 02:05 AM on 18 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Name Dropping Top Trumps eh? Fantastic.

    Numerous politicians and journalists for me, but that is dull -- I have a preference for the "rubbish name-drop" myself, here are two to start you off:

    1. My friend dated the drummer from 'Tribe of Toffs' (one hit band -- remember "John Ketley is a Wetherman"?...)

    2. My step-father's cousin was engaged to Mike Oldfield's sister.

    Beat those fellow froggers!

  72. At 02:23 AM on 18 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Valery (70), When you say your then SO "wasn't yet famous", what's the situation now? I smell juicy gossip! Can you tell us?

  73. At 06:03 AM on 18 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    (70) Val - this is great cos I'm remembering things I'd forgotten - like being onstage (with an orchestra) at a concert when Midge Ure was playing. When you said about the volume at the LZ concert it reminded me of this. We were given ear plugs, & sat behind the speakers pointing out at the audience, but I can still remember the physical sensation of the sound vibrations travelling through us. Beyond loud. Wasn't something you heard, rather felt. Extraordinary. Best thing about the concert was the Xmas dinner we were given in the break - caterers brought in to the Arena carpark, a marquee erected, & we were fed! (This is a cause of touching gratitude to musicians, when it happens. Which it doesn't usually...)

  74. At 10:25 AM on 18 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Got a backstage pass for a SKY concert at Portsmouth. John Williams had just left and Lee Fothergill replaced him. An old college friend was the daughter of saxophonist Ronnie Aspery, who was playing a tour with the band, so he blagged us a freebie.

    Also got to shoot pool and have a couple of beers with Motorhead before a concert at Crawley leisure centre. 'Iron Fist' tour I recall. I probably won't be believed, but they were charming. I was about 19 at the time, shocked to see that there was no bad language, no drugs. Kind of shattered my image of them.....


  75. At 10:44 AM on 18 Dec 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Name-dropping, although I dislike the wave of celebrity worship, that doesn't mean I can't dabble my toes into it, once in a while:

    - Bill Bryson, who I met back before he really hit the big time, seemed amiable enough.
    -That nervous funny one from Friends (Perry?) - I've met him twice and still can't remember his name, although he seemed very nice.
    - Alistair Campbell: cocky, talkative and had real presence.
    - John Prescott (very briefly..it was all I needed)
    - Various other MPs whose names I will not reveal.
    - Neil Kinnock - oddly dry sense of humour.
    - Simon Hughes.
    - Gary Wilmott, I second/third the view that he is utterly lovely.

    And I saw Ainsley Harriott in Starbucks a few weeks ago, but that doesn't count: "Could I have a cappuccino my darling?" in a loud voice - seemed exactly as he appears in his public life.

  76. At 10:50 AM on 18 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    I know and/or have encountered well-known persons. Two points.

  77. At 07:31 PM on 18 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    OK, I hadn't spied this thread and it’s probably too late but here's a few:

    Nigel Kennedy – not really wise.
    Mo Mowlam – exceptional.
    Anna Ford – I actually made her laugh!
    John Reid – frighteningly impressive.
    Jimmy Nesbitt – well everybody has met him.

    But I'd swap them all and more for Muhammad Ali who sat and chatted with my sister in Philadelphia Airport many years ago.

  78. At 09:56 PM on 18 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    RJD - I don't think it's ever too late for name dropping! I once worked with Nigel Kennedy's half - sister (up to then I didn't know he had one). She was a cellist.
    I don't know who Jimmy Nesbitt is - how insignificant does that make me?

    Dr H - we'll award the points thank you. You'll have to volunteer more info than that for 2 points. C'mon, you know the rules man!

    Belinda I envy you meeting BIll Bryson. He does seem a thoroughly likeable man, & I love his writing. "Walk in the Woods" had me crying with laughter one night - the bit where his friend throws away almost everything they've taken on the trip because it's too heavy, including most of the food.

  79. At 10:29 PM on 18 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    I don’t trade on who I’ve met - only on who I am. Ten bonus points.

  80. At 12:02 AM on 19 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    I agree about Bill Bryson - quietly humorous books that at times have me laughing out loud.

    Jimmy Nesbitt was/is in "Cold Feet" and "Murphy's Law." Very Northern Ireland accent - I only mentioned him because he is originally from where I live. Last time I saw him was in Boots Chemists, would you believe?

  81. At 12:26 AM on 19 Dec 2006, valery p (Tumbleflump Holly-Hippoface) wrote:

    I raise my eyes and look over the top of the pc (well, I do sometimes) and am greeted by half a shelf of Bill Bryson :o). makes me smile just to gaze at the outside of them!

    SO who was belittled by Cat Stevens was an ex, and was the singer in a moderately successful, very talented, although unrecorded Scottish band of the early 70's. Nothing juicy, I think he emigrated to Canada. Hence the trip to Ibiza for the Week of Fridays to get over him - which resulted in meeting Finbarr Nolan and his lovely friend, remember him Aperitif? Funny how all these threads hang together....

  82. At 12:31 AM on 19 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Ah but we don't know who you are, so how do we know you're worth 10 bonus points? Now if you could tell us who you'd met, then we could ask them about you, and award points accordingly.

    Cough up Dr H!

  83. At 12:34 AM on 19 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    RJD, what was he buying? Did he have the filthy moustache? (I really need to know...) And how did you make the lovely Anna Ford laugh? Did John Reid swear a lot? -- He has every time I've seen him.

    I've met Bill Bryson too. It seems points may need to be awarded for not meeting him, at this rate...

    I'm trying to think of something 'cool' -- I can only come up with Depeche Mode (all of them, though -- points here?)

  84. At 01:37 AM on 19 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    I can't remember Jimmy Nesbitt buying anything - he was with family & friends. What I do remember was that he was wearing a duffle coat - probably an up market duffle coat but still a duffle coat. And I know that this will disappoint you - but no - no moustache. For some reason he thinks he knows me - which he doesn't really - and said Hello.

    What happened between Anna Ford and I will not be revealed on the blog other than to say the word "marriage" came into it. You can use this as your free question if you wish. I don't promise the answer will live up to the hype.

    No, John Reid didn't swear once. Very public meeting as I conducted him around a local second-level school. His people skills were impressive - also remarkably good, and I mean remarkable, at interacting with the kids. I didn't think I would like him but I did.

  85. At 10:59 AM on 19 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Okay. Have just looked back here today and see I'm required to provide more info.
    (Annasee 69, VP 70)

    Tony Benn - Had regular contact with him because he was alway trying to get hold of my extremely elusive boss (at the time), himself an academic and an extremely influential Labour party adviser. The majority of conversation between TB and I went thus:

    TB - Is he there ? (no names ever used, you understand! But he knew I knew what he meant ...)
    Me - I'm sorry, Mr. Benn, but he isn't. He should be around [insert appropriate day/time] but I'll tell him you called.

    There were, of course, variations on this conversation. But it happened on a weekly basis and was quite bizarre. I quite looked forward to our little conversations and, in spite of his terseness, he always came across as quite nice and never impolite.

    I met a number of other Labour notable of the time through my work for this man, including Neil-Kinnock-when-he-had-hair, and was invited to dinner with various at different times.

    Edward Heath - This was a very bizarre one. I used to work in the Department of Trade & Industry press office doing contract work. I often worked late after the Civil Servants had left (they nearly always left pretty promptly, which I've never forgotten!) and would regularly find myself the only person around when the phone rang, to find myself in conversation with EH. I think he, like me, wasn't too impressed that my colleagues didn't believe in overtime!

    Michael Heseltine & Geoffrey Howe I knew through the DTI work. MH strode around with his wavy hair bouncing and never made eye contact. When I spoke to him, he was polite, but didn't engage. GH was quite charming. It was his first major post (Ombudsman) and I was struck in a protracted conversation I had with him once that he had the ability of being extremely urbane and witty while also apparently maintaining some mental cogitation of a clearly higher order, if you know what I mean. And it didn't come across as in any way rude, just - accomplished. I thought him a very pleasant man and got very angry at Mrs. T's abuse of his good manners.

    I didn't mention him before, but the person I most like during my time at the DTI was Chris Chataway when he was a Minister there. He was a lovely man who had dreams of spending his retirement running a beach bar in Spain. I had many happy chats to him and liked him greatly.

    Marc Bolan - A good friend of mine, many years ago, was spiritual adviser to MB and many others. I went to a number of parties, etc., where MB and his ilk were guests, and at a party held by Tony Visconti (yes, Mary Hopkins was there, too) sat cross legged on the floor with him holding a lengthy one to one debate about some obscure point (can't remember what). It culminated with him asking me to meet again, which I declined.

    Eric Clapton - Knew him and all the Yardbirds back in their days at the Crawdaddy Club. Some of my mates were Number One groupies, which was how I got to know them.

    The Beatles - This is a lovely one for me, even though I was never one of their fans. We're talking now about the late sixties, and from memory I think the Beatles were filming Magical Mystery Tour in Teddington at the time. I was walking down a road in Kingston (midweek and much quieter in those days!), my attention was suddenly attracted by friendly cries of 'hullo'. As the only person in the street at the time, I looked up to see a limousine driving by, with four very familiar people leaning out of the car window, waving and grinning broadly at me. I cannot tell you how very honoured I felt to be the object of so much attention by those who were, at the time, the nation's heart-throbs. ' Now that I'm not young and so much older than yesterday', I still feel warmed to think that I was pretty enough to be the object of the Fab Four's attention. Oh, and I did go to one of their famous Christmas Concerts at Hammersmith (and later gave the carefully saved programme to an exboyfriend - must have been mad!)

    Bryan Ferry - A near neighbour in my neck of the woods and therefore regularly bumped into. Drinks at a watering hole that we frequent. Always very polite, but haven't had the bottle to engage him in 'real' conversation (I'm too much of a fan and feel wobbly when I see him!)

    There have been others, some of whom I've know much better, but I guess they didn't mean much to me, which is why I haven't mentioned them here.

    Anyway, none of it adds up to much, but I guess we all get a small frisson from meeting 'famous' people. We also get to see that they're just folk like us.

  86. At 11:09 AM on 19 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    I wonder if Bill Bryson reads this blog? If not, I'm sure he should.

  87. At 11:20 PM on 19 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    My goodness Big Sister (85) that's an impressive and detailed list. You are apparently somewhat older than I might otherwise have thought - unless you were a toddler when you did some of these things!

    Those we have in common are Neil Kinnock and Tony Benn. Kinnock I don't know well, although he was nice -- and was very merrily drunk the first time I met him. Tony Benn I've met a few times and he is truly one of the loveliest people on this Earth: friendly; interested in everyone; witty; constructive; kind; charming... And he has clearly passed on his loveliness to his son Hilary.

    RJD (84), if the answer isn't going to be all that exciting I think I'll think of a different question -- or are you bluffing???

    Valery (81), this is spookily circular and a most satisfying (if not especially juicy) explanation. Juiciness reinststed by 'A Week of Fridays'. A whole week. You stir my envy once again -- I haven't even had a day of Fridays lately... ;-)

    I'm disappointed that noone has taken up my 'crap name-dropping' challenge (see 71 above). I have another: The drummer from the Toy Dolls used to work in the chip shop near my grandparents' house... Go on guys, you know you want to...

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