With our ‘tribe’ growing and feeling really pleased with way things were going with the MANSTRESS platform we decided to invest a few bob on PR.
As a result this week, I did a live interview about MANSTRESS on BBC Radio NORFOLK… It went really well unlike the last time I was coerced into speaking on radio.
In fact memories of that disastrous morning a few years back started to disconcert me during my drive over to the Norwich, for said interview.
Let me paint the picture.
For a number of years I worked for a company called Potton Timber, who were market leaders in system timber-frame houses. The most popular range was their 16th century styled cottages called Heritage…chocolate box dream home.
Back in the 1980s with the decline in the house building market due to a recession, self-build became the buzz word, and the Heritage range, with their inglenook fireplaces and structural post and beams throughout became a ‘must have’ market leader.
As the market for self-build started to grow, two magazines were launched and with a large portfolio of photos of their delightful properties and case studies of self-builders, Potton were regularly featured, and this helped them gain a significant foot-hold in the market.
To further promote self-build, various road-shows and exhibitions were organised by ‘Build it’ one of the magazines, and the first northern show was at the G-Mex centre in Manchester.
Having developed a very close relationship with the publishers and editor of Build it, Potton was given centre stage at the show and as the PR and marketing manager I was asked if I would do a live interview on BBC Radio Manchester. I agreed, reasoning that it would be an excellent opportunity to steal some additional free publicity from various competitors.
The interview was duly booked for the breakfast show at 09.00 on the Thursday morning – the first day of the exhibition.
My intention was to have a sensible evening with the team and an early night so that my head would be clear for this important PR opportunity. That was the plan but like all well made plans they don’t always go as intended.
So what happened?
During Wednesday afternoon a builder friend called me to say that he was doing some business in Manchester and wondered if I was around for a few drinks in the evening. “Sounds like a plan” I said “as long as it not too heavy…and not too late”. He agreed.
Well it turned out to be very heavy and very late…I eventually staggered back to my hotel at 02.45 absolutely bladdered to find it locked.
Unable to raise the porter, bed was going to be the back seat of my VW Golf. Sleeping proved to be fruitless.
Anyway about 06.30 some of the staff started arriving and let me in. I dived into my bed, and slept soundly for 45 mins, when the alarm woke me…I looked like shit and felt even worse!
Having showered, got dressed, I did what I could to look human and took a taxi to the BBC studio.
After waiting for a few minutes I was escorted down an internal corridor to the ‘live’ studio where the single DJ was plying his skills.
Obviously from the conversation he was having with Mavis, the show were running some form of competition because as I walked in he was announcing to her that she had won 12 cans of ‘pedigree chum’. Talk about pushing the boat out but in fairness Mavis seemed surprisingly pleased. The Steve Wright lookalike indicated for me to sit, which I did in front of a large microphone.
As the next record played, we talked. I explained who I was and a little about the exhibition, while he nodded. A few seconds before the record ended he look straight into my eyes and said “when the song ends I will introduce you and then ask a few questions, OK?” “OK” I replied. “Then quickly added “stay relaxed just be yourself”. My only thought was “God I hope I don’t throw up”.
The record ended, and super-mouth introduced me, to the millions of commuters, who in my imagination were glued to their radios waiting to hear the ‘prince of self-build’ explain the virtues of this form of house building. Well his introduction went well, in fact really well, but it was downhill thereafter. Although in my defence I did hit me with a real curveball question from which I never recovered.
“Richard” (good start) “in this current recessed climate with interest rates at an all-time high (He was right I was paying 16.9% interest on my mortgage) why would any right minded person ever consider self-building?
Now although I didn’t say it out loud inside my head I heard “Fuck knows” and as the horror of my situation developed I complete lost the art of speech…and at the same time my arm-pits start to cascade similar quantities of water to that of Niagara falls in Canada.
Interestingly I didn’t feel sick any longer, I think when staring certain death in the face, the few…OK…more than a few glasses of ale I had the previous night become quite insignificant.
So there I was with the world awaiting my earth shattering reply trying to think of anything to say when out of nowhere I started to mumble, yes seriously mumbled an absolutely incoherent reply. I was on my last breath when he interrupted me with the next question, and then promptly got up and left the room leaving be all alone mumbling into the microphone and wondering at what point I would have to do a song and dance number.
He returned eventually and the rest of the interview was a blur.
So today after I had been to the loo 3 times before I was invited into the studio to meet Nick Conran.
What a thoroughly nice fella he is and so kind with his questions.
The interview went really well.
It still staggers me just how powerful the human mind is. I had completely forgotten the Manchester episode until this morning and without the wisdom gained from the journey I have been on for the last 10 years, by the end of my 45 mile trip this morning, I probably would have seriously stressed.
But I wasn’t, even though my sub-conscious tried to catch me off guard.
Once again knowledge about the workings of my mind proved to be king.