Tag Archives: addiction

Something new that’s well worth an hour of your time

Some while ago, after my 15-year run on the BBC came to an end, listeners wrote in (and still do) suggesting I put out a podcast.

That seemed like a very unrealistic objective to begin with, quite frankly.

First, I was bored with broadcasting; I’d been at it for forty years, man and boy. Surely I get to take a break at some point, don’t I? There comes a time when you’ve said all there is to say. With that in mind, I simply retired to write books. Besides which, I considered podcasts a bit of a come-down for a long-time professional broadcaster. Howard Stern calls them ‘radio for losers.’ Losers being people who can’t otherwise get into radio, or who’ve been fired from regular broadcasting and can’t find a job. I was neither.

Now, though, three years later, podcasts ARE radio. Podcasts are where the action is.

Whereas radio of every stripe is beholden to sponsors and advertisers and political correctness, amd therefore can’t ever give you the whole story – or if it does, then that story has been edited by a committee of four people before it reaches you, especially on the BBC or NPR – podcasts don’t do that. They feature honest, uncensored content. My kind of content.

The Life QuizFor that reason, I finally got around to doing a podcast. It’s called The Life Quiz and it’s like nothing else that’s out there. I think you’re going to like it. The reaction so far has been tremendous.

It’s based on an idea I had a looooong time ago. Season 1 features six shows and six guests, each answering a list of set questions about life, living, and what it’s all about. The result is fascinating. The six people I interviewed were very special in their own way, and willing to be  candid, vulnerable, and open. The conversations are amazing, as well as often moving and enlightening.

So why not check it out? The first show features Sally Stevens, who you’ll recognize from The Simpsons, Family Guy, and her work on loads of movies, from Jurassic Park to The Matrix and Terminator; even The Sound of Music. Either listen below, or visit the website and get more information there. It’s also available for download on iTunes. Just type ‘The Life Quiz’ into your podcast search box, and away you go.

Episode 2 features Veronica Cartwright, one of the stars of Alien and The Witches of Eastwick. Episode 3 is devoted to a truly fascinating man, Christof Bove, a former NBC Universal executive who got mired in the Hollywood lifestyle of drink and drugs in a way that almost cost him his life. His revelations are riveting.

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American, idle. An addict reaches out.

I’m furious at myself for getting hooked again.

After Season 7 of American Idol I was an emotional husk – ask my friends, they’ll tell you – having invested waaaaay too much time and energy in performers who, a few weeks later – actually, minutes in some cases – and removed from the ethereal glow of the spotlight, seemed pretty rubbish. Aside from the occasional Jennifer Hudson or Kelly Clarkson, the only time we hear about these guys again is a couple of years later when their house is being repossessed or they’re dropped suddenly by their management company and are releasing songs through a MySpace page.

So last year, especially when the right David didn’t win, I quit cold turkey. That was it. Finished. No more American Idol for Sir.  It was like a New Year’s resolution, only in May.

But oh, how soon we forget.

January. More out of curiosity than anything else. Just to check out the level of talent on offer. And also because I report on these things for the BBC – I mean, I have to stay in touch. I stopped by one of the Hollywood shows. A casual glance one evening when nothing else was on TV. And goddamnit, I got hooked all over again! 

You have no idea how angry I am at myself right now.

Tonight it’s the wild card round. They’re about to give three more people I won’t remember in a year’s time the chance to be forgotten by millions of others as well, by joining the twelve-step program that the show becomes from now until the finale, when the dozen will be whittled down to one, the wrong contestant will be crowned the winner, and we can all thankfully resume our normal lives once again.

The favorites are already obvious. There’s…

The guy with the Danny Wallace glasses who lost his wife and is never done milking it, hoping, I guess, to secure the granny vote, but alienating everyone else. Unfortunately, he blows you away when he sings, so he’s staying; 

The tall guy with the ridiculous black manga hairstyle and the screeching voice that will cause your  fillings to drop out. Very talented, but he’s way too theatrical and screechy, and dental work is costly; 

Lil Rounds. Slick, talented, and will probably win, mainly because her name is so catchy, though I doubt she’s distinctive enough to succeed big-time in the real world later on. In the cold light of day, even the most gifted performer on American Idol can seem like a washed-up hooker singing karaoke between tricks. But the judges are swooning. So, of the girls, Lil’s in with the best chance. And if her career takes off too afterwards, wonderful;

The blind guy. He’s absolutely hopeless in dance routines and has to be led everywhere by his brother. Good voice, though, and excellent when you direct him to where the piano is and place  his hands on the keys – it’s just that he’s excruciating to watch. I find myself on edge the whole time, yelling, “Don’t leave your stool!” One week he’s going to drop off the stage, and I don’t want to see that. He’ll get the pity vote for being a tryer, but I so hope he doesn’t win;   

And my favorite right now, Jorge – pronounced Horhay – from Puerto Rico, who has a lazy eyelid that’s going to require surgery at some point, and who sobs in Spanish every time something good happens. But he has a lovely voice, he’s tricky when he dances, and he keeps smiling at me – at me, mind, not you – every time he’s on screen. I love this guy and I’m going to vote for him ’til my fingers bleed.

One note to God, if he’s listening: during tonight’s wild card vote, please remove Tatiana del Toro and send her packing. She’s the coquettish little drama queen they’re setting up to be this season’s Sanjaya. She has a hideous tittery laugh, a tendency to sob more than Horhay does (and that’s a lot of sobbing), and is far more interested, it seems, in how she looks on the studio monitors than how she sounds in my ears. If this little screamer makes it to the top twelve this year…..God, I know you move in mysterious ways, but that would be almost too strange and you need to rethink it.

In fact, if Tatiana’s not booted off tonight, I almost think it could be the last straw. The one shock event I need to snap me out of my American Idol addiction once and for all. I am not watching this show if she’s in it. That’s it. Finished. No more American Idol for Sir

Well, y’know – until next week.

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