If there’s a problem on the New York Stock Exchange it could well involve me. I already knew that MY stocks were falling but when this photograph was sent to me in error I realised that my fears could have, er, global implications.
The other Derek Webster lives in New York and we both follow each other on Twitter, for no other reason except we both share the same name.
So I put right this case of mistaken identity and wished them all well from merry old England.
Derek retweeted my reply and everyone on the New York Stock Exchange can now go home for the weekend safe in the knowledge that their stocks and shares are in the right hands.
One of the most unexpected turns in my career path is that I appear on the Smooth Radio schedule between Donny Osmond and Simon Bates so I was amused to get this from one of our Listeners:
“Message: Hello Mr. Webster. I love your nightly show. What is Donny Osmond like in person? Does he stick around after he has finished his show to talk to you? Rhona.
What do I say? He never makes coffee and he will insist on singing along to the tunes in that familiar style of his. And then he hangs around for an hour after his show with endless anecdotes about life on the road with Jimmy and Marie.
I was amused by this understated comment from one of my ex-pat listeners who tunes in from what he calls “the tip of Africa” every morning. Whilst most of us in the UK are preparing for the onset of another chilly winter Stan is preparing for summer and a few shark infested problems. There’s always something to worry about.
Good Morning Derek & all the UK listeners.
Still listening to smooth and enjoying every minute of it.
Its 6: 30 in the morning here so we are two hours ahead of you.
Beautiful summers day in the Cape expecting a high of around 31 degrees. Sadly not much surf around at the moment and when we do get in the water, we often have to leave. Lots of great white sharks at this time of year- makes us all very nervous – luckily the water is quite clear so they are more visible J. Still manage to get some good waves though, so for all the surfers out there we’re still stoked.
One of the things I like most about working in radio is the fact that people can’t see me and don’t recognise me when I’m out and about living in the real world. The question I most hate at parties is being asked what I do for a living. Some people have an exaggerated view of what it’s like to be a radio DJ and make up their own idea of how we are likely to behave. So once they know what I do I am instantly expected to be the life and soul of the party and be a real fun guy when all I really want to do is just blend in. Getting car insurance if you work on the radio is a real problem because they too believe we live wild and risky lives. I was told by one insurer that I might have an accident whilst driving a famous pop star to a gig, and what then? I can see why it might be in the car insurer’s interests to go on believing that I spend my time driving around in a convertible with Jedward waving to the crowd from the back seat, but the mundane reality is I just park my car in the space provided like anyone else who works in an office.
Getting recognised when you work on the radio doesn’t happen that often but when it does it can be quite comical. Whilst shopping at a supermarket I became aware that someone was shouting the name Chris in my general direction, obviously mistaking me for a colleague. At this point I could have damaged his reputation by becoming rude and throwing a bag of sugar at him. But no, I said hello, thank you, smiled patiently and remained Chris in his eyes for all time.
Of course even with the anonymity of radio you have to be on your best behaviour when presented before the gazing public eye. As a young boy broadcaster I was assigned to report on the arrival of the latest Beaujolais wine run at a local restaurant. This involved doing several live inserts into the afternoon show as well as tasting the free and plentiful red kindly provided by the proprietor who had just signed a large advertising contract with the station. I wasn’t very used to drinking so by the time I had done two of the four planned reports, slurring words and laughing for no good reason, I was out.
Eventually I had to be carried out and sent home in a taxi feeling very unwell. Fortunately the client saw the funny side of this and with no corporate damage done I carried on doing my radio show as normal with the professional reputation intact- or so I thought.
In the months to follow I kept encountering people who-seemingly-I had no knowledge of ever meeting before. They would give me me knowing looks and friendly smiles. It became clear that in my inebriated state I had claimed all these folk as being best mates.
On the whole I don’t make a big thing about my secret nocturnal life as a radio presenter and go about daily life hoping not to be found out. It’s a bit like Batman by night and Bruce Wayne by day. The man who lives two doors down suspects I work on the radio but thinks i’m called Dave, so that’s alright then. Only last week I was waiting to be served at a Chinese takeaway when the friendly chat turned to work- Have you had a busy day? What do you do?. I had to think fast- not wanting them to know I was a radio DJ on my way to another wild party , with Bruce Springsteen waiting in the car outside for his sweet and sour chicken . I told them I worked with computers- not a lie, I am surrounded by banks of computer screens in the studio all the time. Thinking the conversation would end there I was then asked for my advice on what would be the best computer to buy. I could see how this might end badly.
So if you ever see me out and about in the real world just pretend you haven’t spotted me and if you drank too much wine with me on that boozy afternoon sometime in the 1980s then please say nothing.
Pictured below: Derek in special hat disguise.
Welcome to the nocturnal world of Smooth Radio where the world seems to shrink as the midnight hour ticks by. In the studio I’m drinking strong coffee and keeping the music lively for truck drivers taking their night loads all across the UK making sure sure our supermarket shelves are filled for the next day. Babies are born to the sound of Marvin Gaye crooning softly in maternity wards as London tube workers set about maintaining the silent tracks and tunnels in readiness for the morning commute.
I know these people are there because they join me for a brew in the 3am Caffeine Kick where we favour records with “a bit of oomph” as one listener requested. They drive me mad with answers to the Mystery TV theme which fill the text pages and cram my email inbox at half past two in the morning.
But for many listeners this is not the middle of the night; it’s the start of a day with the sun up in the sky or the end of a relaxing evening winding down as the sun begins to set. These are the people who choose to listen to Smooth Radio online in far away places and upside down time zones. Often they’ll be ex-pats who want to pick up the mood back home whilst listening to the music that made the soundtrack to their lives. Stan Salter is a business man based in – what he describes in his daily greeting as – “the tip of Africa”. He misses home but somehow I think his plans to go surfing during the day followed by sunshine beach time will more than make up for all that. Meanwhile in Western Australia it’s 10am as Whitney and Neelan take a coffee break in a busy hight street shop in Perth. It’s her mum’s birthday so she listens out for the request she arranged to be played on Smooth Radio knowing that her mum will hear it in New York where it is now 10pm. Meanwhile I’m drinking more coffee at 3am in the studio and trying to stay awake or at least sound like I’m awake.
So the world gets smaller. A man whose daily routine is to jog past the Sydney Harbour Bridge, times it so that he can try and identify my Mystery TV Theme. There’s a man in Ontario Canada who sends longing messages to a woman in Denmark who returns the sentiment through the words of a Barry White song. In Kansas a couple sit on their front porch drinking chilled white wine at the end of their day listening to the words of an Eagles song that go “all alone at the end of the evening”.
And so the world keeps going round as daylight breaks across the UK, the time moves towards 6am and I’m to my sleepy bed. There’s something special about those intimate wee small hours from midnight onwards but one thing is for sure – the graveyard shift this is not.
LISTEN TO THE SMOOTH RADIO NIGHT SHIFT FROM MIDNIGHT