(Guest) editor at work
Guest editors, unlike small puppies, are not for life. They're just for Christmas. And I think it's probably just as well.
Dealing with this year's crop has been an absolute pleasure, of course. But the combined enthusiasm of Yoko Ono, Zac Goldsmith, Rowan Williams, Clive Woodward and Allan Leighton - not to mention a globe of excitable geographers (is that the correct collective noun?) - have pushed me and senior producer Richard Knight close to the edge.
Take Zac Goldsmith. Now come to think of it, he is quite a lot like a puppy - a gorgeous little golden retriever judging by the way the women in the Today Programme office react to the very mention of his name. Educated, sophisticated and - let's face it - worldly, the women of Today have been asking us for weeks whether Zac was planning to come in for his guest edit. We told them all yes. So perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised when so many turned up for his programme wearing fewer clothes and a lot more perfume.
Being Zac must be a bit like being the Queen - but while she smells fresh paint wherever she goes, he has to endure clouds of Chanel Allure.
You can get too close and start to lose your news judgement. Picture the scene in the studio the other morning as some breaking news threatened to push one of the guest-edited items off the end of the running order. I reacted badly. "I don't care how many American Presidents have died! Yoko asked for a piece on flightless birds and she's damn well going to get it!"
Fortunately calmer heads prevailed and - as in previous years - I was dragged from the studio and locked in the disabled toilet till the programme ended.