Friday, 5 September 2008

Bean Bag Mayhem Almost Scuppers Radio 4 Interview


A fairly eventful catty week, this one. On Thursday, I found myself in the BBC's very 1970s* Manchester studios being interviewed about Under The Paw for Radio 4's Woman's Hour, which was holding a discussion regarding "a pet's place in the family" in the wake of a recent survey that had found that around a fifth of all mothers loved their pets as much, if not more than, their children (!). Before that, however, I had a bit of a domestic disaster: my bean bag exploded.

I don't mean this euphemistically: one of my bean bags actually did explode. I'd taken the cordouroy cover off to wash some particularly adhesive cat vomit off it, and it turned out that one of the bags inside holding the beans had come undone. I'm not sure if this has ever happened to you, but the carnage is quite mindboggling. Who knew there were that many beans in there, that they could be so hard to get out of the bristles on a vacuum cleaner head, or that they could move twenty feet across a room of their own volition, jump into the air, and secrete themselves in a plate of quiche? Janet - whose love of budget, alternative playthings has already been documented here - was very impressed, and celebrated by jumping into the middle of the vast, seemingly ever-expanding puddle of tiny beads on my dining room floor. Sadly, I couldn't find the camera in time to capture him leaping joyfully through this "indoor snow" - a particular disappointment, in the case of the moment when he looked up at me with his tongue sticking out and three beads stuck to his chin, nose and forehead in a perfect line. The experience made me realise how Woody Allen must have felt in Sleeper when he had to tackle that giant instant pudding. Of course, Woody had sort of an advantage, in that he didn't have three small dumb animals attempting to variously bat, skate on and eat the pudding: had The Bear, Bootsy and Ralph not been asleep downstairs at the time, the mayhem that ensued could have been enough to put an end to this blog, my love of mogs and, well, me. It took me almost two hours to clear up, and I made it to my Manchester-bound train with only about 30 seconds to spare. I didn't find the last bead until I ran my hand through my hair somewhere in the region of Macclesfield.

I've done quite a lot of radio in the last couple of years and always look forward to it - in a way I can't ever imagine myself doing with TV - but I was oddly nervous in the run-up to entering the WH studio. Perhaps it was because Woman's Hour was the first programme I'd been on that I could actually imagine members of my family and friends listening to. I forgot to say most of what I wanted to say, simultaneously probably said a bit too much about the way I talk to and about my cats, but still had a very nice chat with Jenni Murray, who's got a lovely soothing, familiar voice. Apparently Jenni is allergic to cat hair, but not, weirdly, the hair of black cats. Has anyone else heard of this condition? I'd never encountered it before, but it seems to be more proof of the magical nature of the darker feline. Jenni admits she does refer to herself as the "mummy" of her dog and cats. However, I didn't get chance to ask her whether she sings to the latter animals, and, when she does, she sings the same song that littlecatdiaries reader Natalija admitted to singing to hers this week.**

* I didn't think there was anywhere in Britain that still had that Life On Mars lighting in its corridors - bar the Life On Mars set - but I was wrong. When I went to the toilet, I half-expected to find one of Joy Division in there, smoking a cigarette and looking shifty.
** James Brown's 'Say It Loud (I'm Black And I'm Proud)'.

10 comments:

Julie said...

Can only sympathise with the bean bag incident as was faced with something similar after having cavity wall insulation installed last year. Small beads were used for this too but the installers got more over the garden than between the bricks. It looked as if we'd had an early snowfall! Sweeping them up proved impossible so I resorted to hoovering them up with a small hand held vacuum bought at a car boot sale. This did the trick although it became a little scary when small stones got in to the system. Needles to say we are still finding beads now when plant pots etc. are moved.

Missed Woman's Hour on Thursday but will listen now on computer.

Greetings to all,

Julie

George Online Cat said...

Jenni Murray obviously appreciates black cats. It was a very funny interview, incidentally.
George

Helen said...

Wish you had had your camera! Would loved to have seen a pic of that.
Will listen to interview now.
Helen

Red Medic said...

Having just finished reading (and then re-reading) 'Under the Paw,' it was with a heavy heart that I turned the last page, acknowledging that the fun was now over. It was with delight therefore, that I discovered the blog address on the back inner of the cover - long may the cat antics,told in Mr Cox's suitably speculative style, continue. For the record, the terms 'gribbly bits' and 'ficklespee' have become regular vocabulary in this household.

Helen said...

As I have no children I admit that my 4 cats are my substitute children. I don't see a problem with it. Good interview.
Helen.

Anonymous said...

I would like you to know that us people down under loved your book Under the Paw. My two daughters can't wait to read it.

Tom said...

Thanks for the kind words! Good to know it's getting out there in Australia. All word-spreading much appreciated, obviously - with a bit of word of mouth it might get full publication Down Under...

Anonymous said...

I am not a "mummy" to my cats - I am their food human. Robbie auditions potential food humans on an hourly basis, Mitzy is a one food human cat.

Max said...

My partner had a similar experience recently with bean bag filling and our mostly black cat Curtis[name inspired by Ian].After much fun spreading the filling everywhere, Curtis was covered head to toe with the beads and apparently looked just like a lamington-do you have them in England? Choc covered sponge rolled in shredded coconut?One of those moments that I wish I was there for...loved the book Tom, will let everyone know here in Australia

lilgreenmomo said...

I had forgotten just how wonderful the word Fecund is. & quite frankly it can only ever be uttered by the cut crystal greengage tones of Brian Sewell & as such can only ever be read in the same tone. Which makes me smile.