As such the events of the last week haven’t so much given rise to thoughts of disenfranchised Togs and things tasting like chicken, but rather to Ginger Loans, On The Bog and the over-promotion of Skunk Anansie.
For a while the Chris Evans breakfast show felt like it meant an awful lot, and would keep TVC from leaving its house until the handover to Simon Mayo was over, thereby making us perilously late for lectures and/or work.
This was during the Good Period: spring ’95 to spring ’96. Not much of this period gets mentioned in Garfield’s book, although the list of grandiose schemes dreamed up (and then ditched) to mark Evans’s 30th birthday on 1st April 1996 is a good reminder of how oligarchal he was starting to become.
Then came that all the bollocks that was the roadshow and the trip to Scotland and being declared unfit to work and so on. This is where the book comes into its own, by virtue of having all the key players lined up and ready on cue with their side of the story. Trevor Dann being wrongfooted by Matthew Bannister the morning of Evans’s Evening Standard rant is a particularly fine moment.
TV Cream has a tape – one of many it made of stuff on Radio 1 in the 1990s – of the last breakfast show Evans did before Christmas 1996. It doesn’t make for edifying listening.
No records are played between 8 and 8.30am; instead the man and his gang spend the whole time exchanging presents, precious few of which are actually explained to the listener and all of which seem to revolve around an in-joke to which the listener is not party. Evans says at one point that he will exhibit all the presents on “the show tonight” – a reference to TFI Friday – but if memory serves he didn’t.
The atmosphere is smug, exclusive and unpleasant. The whole thing ends by Evans speculating that “we might never see each other again – we could all be killed in a car crash tomorrow”.
On another tape, hailing from around the same time, there’s a bit where Evans is cross-examining Tina Ritchie about a weekend away with Nicky Campbell and inquiring whether she’ll be “rushing to the chemist” on Monday morning. This is wrong in so many ways.
We’re thinking about burying these two tapes in some sort of time capsule, to be opened…well, never.
But back to Garfield’s book. Was it ever made certain who ‘Tom Clay’ is? The “swingjock” of whom the management says “we’ve persevered with him and it’s hopeless…I tuned in last week and it’s just ‘click’ – straight off with the radio.” Clive Warren has to be in the frame here. How he survived so long at that station is beyond us.
Plus there’s ‘Clare Jones’, who is apparently about to be hired, and has “a lot of potential”.
*The book also has a wonderful if infuriating habit of sparking off endless related memories. They should never have moved Lynn Parsons, the Goddess of Nighttime Radio, from off midnights. There was a brilliant bit on one of the Graveyard Shifts that involved Lard “drilling” through the studio floor in readiness for a closer look at Parsons, a bit of business that seemed to be on and off for the best part of two hours.