Friday, May 25, 2012

Blog posts past: Popmaster and pillow talk with Ian Anderson

I’ve been a bit poorly this week so have mainly been stuck at home, gleaning most of my entertainment from hubby Bill’s ongoing obsession with the BBC Radio 2  daily quiz Popmaster.

Bill was a competitor the other week - he didn’t even know he was definitely on it until DJ Ken Bruce said: “...and next, Bill from Newbury,” and then he got a call from a producer, saying: “You’ll be live on the radio as soon as this track ends.” A Lindsey Buckingham song has never sounded as long, he told me afterwards. Quite clearly he has never listened to Tusk in its entirety.

Anyway, Bill trounced the competition, winning himself a ‘Space’ radio (so-called, I assume, because it looks like one of those rocket ice lollies). But having got one question wrong, the dreaded ‘3 in 10’ round stood between him and a guaranteed place in the coveted Champions League finals at the end of the year.

“In 10 seconds, name three hits by... Pink,” pronounced Ken. Bill got two. Come on, could you have done better? Really?

So, ever since, Bill has been coming home of an evening to test me on that day’s ‘3 in 10’ (and it turns out that not many contestants can manage it). 10CC? Morrissey? No, you can’t count Smiths songs. The Three Degrees?

I think that a few Radio Two listeners would have been a bit jealous of my week’s highlight. Being really quite poorly that day, I was asleep at 2pm when my mobile rang. I didn’t pick up in time, but checking my voicemail, I discovered that Ian Anderson out of Jethro Tull wanted me to ring him. And who could blame him?

I had totally forgotten I was meant to be interviewing the Tull frontman for NWN2. I could blame this on being ill, but to be honest it’s not the first time. I once had to do a telephone interview with a slightly annoyed Gina Yashere while she was waiting in line at airport check-in to go on holiday, because I had failed to ring her the previous day. Irritated comedians do not make the easiest of interviewees.

So there I am sitting in bed, chatting to Ian Anderson, with a slight temperature and sounding like Bonnie Tyler because of my laryngitis. Soon as I ring off, I go straight back to sleep.

As a result, the next day sat at the computer to write up my interview, I’m staring at shorthand notes that appear to translate as: “terrified by big breasts”, “Auntie Het used to clasp me to her ample bosom”, and “Pamela Anderson”.

Now, while I don’t doubt for a second that these are direct quotes from the mouth of the Jethro Tull frontman (although my shorthand is truly awful), my memory of our conversation is a little hazy, and what I can’t figure is: what on earth was I asking him to elicit these responses?

Best answer wins a Popmaster ‘Space’ radio. (No, not really, Bill).

  • First published on Newbury Today ( in 2007

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