The last time I was in Studio 80a, it was with a good friend filming the Proms piano duets.
Back then I remember looking over at the table seemingly squashed against the back wall and thinking what an odd experience it must be for anyone lucky enough to be asked on to BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. Intimate radio surely should be done in an intimate space, shouldn’t it? The In Tune studio appeared then as though it was being done in the radio equivalent of a school gymnasium, as if that was the only available space left.
Studio 80a is large for one very important reason. There are live performances (pretty much) every day of the week. Live performances need a big space. When there are performers in the studio, the table needs to be positioned carefully, ideally in front of the control room window. So on those occasions when there are no live performances in the schedule, the rest of studio can seem rather large. The programme oddly positioned into an unloved and forgotten corner.
I know all this now because – quite unexpectedly – I ended up appearing on In Tune this evening.
First alerted at around 1pm this afternoon by the same friend who helped film the piano duets – “You’re going to be called by Radio 3” – I was a little taken aback by being invited on. The invitation was in connection with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment pub tour gigs I’m presenting at the moment.
To be honest, I felt like a fraud. Just like I do when I stand up on stage. I see how a ‘presenter’ or an ‘MC’ is probably useful, but I always feel as though my contribution is extraneous. What people are going for – what people are justifiably and in some cases unwittingly in awe of – are the performers.
Rightly so. The performances I’ve seen over the first two gigs have taken my breath away at a moment in time when I’ve felt really quite stressed (that in itself a strange thought given that the gig isn’t about me, it’s about the performers). In those moments I’ve been both ‘on stage’ and a member of the audience at the same moment in time. A special and a weird experience.
So, to then be ‘on the radio’ (something I’ve pursued, achieved momentarily and longed for more as a result) talking about an event I play a nominal role in seemed like a bit of a swizz.
All very laudable to say now. All very charming.
Newsflash. I LOVED IT. Not least because what happened before I went into Studio 80a struck me as borderline punk rock.
Listen to In Tune via the BBC iPlayer – the bit you’re interested in (sorry, the bit I’m interested in you listening to) is at 1hr 15minutes in. Or you can listen via the AudioBoo clip below.