It’s pretty well known by now that the live TV Review slot I do each week on BBC Radio has acquired cult status in Britain. And by cult, I mean that we have 15 listeners. Tops. Seriously, that’s it. Due mainly to the fact that the show is broadcast during the night at a time when anyone who might find it remotely entertaining or interesting is past caring and has dropped off to sleep already.
Surveys suggest that our audience at that hour consists of truck drivers and nurses, and then only because, if they didn’t keep the radio on, they might fall asleep and kill someone. Plus a few students who were too drunk during the day to study and are having to stay up til dawn, cramming facts into their mind like wet socks into an overfilled tumble-dryer.
Then there are a tiny minority who actually enjoy the show and listen for its own sake. Many of these are institutionalized. For them, the sound of me talking on the radio simply helps drown out the voices in their head. Or the dull drone of their cellmate’s snoring.
Anyway, once we reached 15 regular listeners, a golden number, I thought it might be nice to compile a list of their names.
First, because the day might come when we need a bunch of people to go and do something for us – storm town hall meetings, picket book-signings by celebrities we don’t like, or just to form a touring riverdance company. At times like these, 15 loyal listeners can come in very handy indeed. But also, by finding out who they are, I thought it’d make it easier to round them up and pop them off in the event that they become unruly or threaten to migrate to a different radio network.
So let me publish the list here. That way we’re all on the same page. At some point in the future, badges may be issued to these people, or possibly mugs, I haven’t decided, to commemorate their membership of this prestigious unit. In the meantime, if you’re interested, you can follow our progress on Twitter @cashpeters, and on my Facebook page.
The List of the Loyal runs as follows. Let the record be struck, let the record be respected.
#1 Simon Best
#2 Marc Fearns
#3 Paul Simpson
#4 Alastair Treliving
#5 Dave Shephard
#6 Tony Schumacher
#7 Craig Hirst
#8 Garry Strutt
#9 Samuel E. Robinson
#10 John Burdis
#11 Ethan Rayne
#12 Mark Cunnington
#13 Johnny Phipps
#14 David Harrison
#15 Gerard Thompson
There they are. Those are the 15 long-time listeners that we broadcast to every week. All of them men, for some reason. Maybe women see a certain futility in this exercise that the rest of us don’t. At least it’s now a matter of public record. Indeed, I believe this blog post is considered a legal register of their membership under Finnish law.
15, I know, is not a big number. Actually, by the standards of some lists – the list of people waiting to vote the present government out of office, for example – it’s quite paltry. On the one hand not enough to make an army, but, on the other, certainly more than we need to patrol a neighborhood and prevent looting, or to disrupt a taping of Strictly Come Dancing.
But wait – there’s more.
During the arduous months-long process of compiling The List, other people started asking to be on it too. Well, of course, that’s not possible, and I told them so. On a list of 15 people, there are only 15 places, any fool can see that.
However, the pressure was great and my resolve as weak as a 95 year old arm-wrestler, therefore I’m compiling a second list. A standby list, which is also official under Finnish law, for people who would like someday to be on the main list, and also for anyone who simply enjoys having their name on a list. Those who register for the Standby List are not without responsibilities. They will be expected to sit quietly, possibly for a considerable while, yet be ready at all times to step up and be counted if one of the original 15 should die, collapse from exhaustion after our riverdancing tour of the Pacific Rim, or get eaten by bears. You laugh, but it’s a real danger.
This, then, is the Standby List, as it stands right now.
#16 Victoria Diamond
#17 Ian Merridan
#18 Joy Ritchie
#19 Siobhan Hill
#20 Jonathan Matthewson
#21 David Hadfield
#22 Andy Carr
#23 Tariq Latif
#24 Carol Brown
#25 Sarah Jasmin
#26 Catherine Lister
#27 Bruce McDonald
#28 Ruth Kaye
#29 David W (last name to follow, if we can winkle it out of him)
#30 Mary August
A good and strong crew, born for greatness, but somehow sidelined to make way for other people who asked to be on The List before they did. Let the record be struck a second time, let the record be respected.
If you wish to be put on The List yourself and enjoy the obvious benefits, then contact me on Twitter @cashpeters, and I’ll make it happen. Please note: we are an equal opportunity group – it just doesn’t seem it.
So what are the benefits of being on The List, then?
Good question, thanks for asking. Well, the benefits are fivefold. Please fetch a pen, you might want to write these down. They are:
- Exclusivity. That special feeling you get from being involved in something that only everyone who ever applies can be a part of.
- Camaraderie. It’s a form of social networking, but without the networking part, so you can actually be quite anti-social and aloof if you want to, we don’t care. It’s not all about you, you know!!
- Belonging. There are very few things you can be sure of any more. The whole of life seems to be in flux. But when you’re on The List, you’re on The List. That’s the end of the matter. Once you have your number, nobody can take that away from you. Unless you misbehave, in which case you’ll be stripped of your status and set upon by other people on The List who’ll thrash you like a Victorian orphan.
- Order. The List is strictly numerical. What’s more ordered than that?
- Finally, the really great thing about being on The List, as well as the Standby List, is that you could be mentioned at any time during the BBC broadcast each week, or, just as likely, not. This express lack of commitment on my part only adds to the excitement, I think.
So tell your friends. Spread the word. Get them on The List too. Let this be the kindling that sparks an entire self-combusting movement.
For anyone who, by this late stage, still has no clue what I’m talking about when I mention my BBC slot, you can tune in Tuesdays at 6.35pm (in the US) or Wednesdays at 2.35am (UK time) on BBC Radio Five Live and listen to Cash Peters’ TV review slot on Up All Night. I would, if I were you. How else do you stand a chance of getting on The List?
TV Swami, he proud of his followers and give them 5 magic carpets out of 5.