Beloved in Christ I am contacting you directly…
The Richard Keys and Andy Gray thing was a very public affair. Mostly thanks to Talksport. I like the station. Over long periods such as the working day the spoken voice is easier on the ear than music; which no matter what I listen to all sounds like Barney the Dinosaur to me after a few hours.
I like the devouring nature of the station. It doesn’t just mill the wheat from the chaff, but goes on milling and milling until all that remains is dust and white van man adverts. Occasionally real people fall amongst the grist and after a few initial yelps they get ground amongst the rumour and opinion too.
The most spectacular example being Dick and Andy.
The story you know. They were stitched up by some one and off air audio was released that dropped them in the smelly stuff from a great height. It was only a dose of old school sexism and hardly a revelation that they were involved in selling crack to school kids. Then the media were girted some off air video where the Andy gave us an updated version of the old, ‘do you want to see an elephant, love?’ gag. What larks.
Talksport dissected every frame. Every syllable. Alan Brazil acted like a sulking child and like a man with a gun against his head reading from a kidnapper’s note, that ‘Two Sky presenters have been…’ as if not naming the pair would somehow mist away the event. Poor auld Alan sounded like he was about to spontaneously combust as he struggled to find a caller who would agree with him that this was just a storm in teacup. A witch-hunt, a stitch up. Stitch up.
Then came the killer blow, the ‘Smash it’ video starring several really uncomfortable looking pundits and a horrible David Brentesque Keysy making Hugh Heffner look like they kind of man you’d readily let babysit your hot 15 year old daughter.
An aging hack turned up on the then Mike Parry & Mike Graham Show. His contribution was staggering. He was so guarded you just knew that what he knew was explosive. He skirted around revealing all but gave us the impression that there was ‘a culture’ at Sky and Dick & Andy perpetuated it. Richard Keys, he alleged had once asked an Intern or someone similar to remove a piece of chewing gum stuck to the sole of his shoe.
In that moment we had a very clear picture of Dick. One casual, ‘do me a favour, love’ isn’t really enough to hang a man on. But now we could see beyond the high definition smiles. Richard Keys was the illegitimate love child of Alan Partridge and Mrs Robocop.
‘Lynn, I’m hosting a Charity bake off with Ainsley Harriot and Anthea Turner in 20 minutes. I need you to apply a sprinkling of talc to my bottom. Lynn, I used the bidet quite thoroughly – try focusing on your ten grand a year before pulling faces.’
Then there was Dick’s hijacking of the Hawkesby & Jacobs show. Like many I sat waiting with more than mild curiosity as to what he was actually going to say. My money was a on a brief, emphatic apology and an attempt to cleanse himself of the irksome leaks with a subliminal smattering of charm and good humour.
I lost my money.
His address to the nation began like a man who, at great personal risk, was bring vital news from the trenches. No, don’t thank me now, thank me later, my task is greater than my valour. I am but a humble courier.
Eh? You and your equally over-foreheaded mate have just been revealed as a nasty pair bullying dinosaurs. Career wise, you’ve just been taken to the front of the class and had your pants pulled down. Of course if that had happened, Andy would have bellowed, ‘you dinnae get many of them to the poond, love!’
Only as Keysy went on and on did I step out of his near hypnotic tone and begin to understand what it was I was actually listening to. He used all the right words. ‘Sorry, distress, unacceptable, inappropriate..’ But these words associated with apology were delivered in a way that wasn’t apologetic.
As an occasional victim of being told that it wasn’t what I said, it was they way I said it, I tried to stop reading too much into the delivery but listen to the actual content. Then Dick used the word reprogramming and suddenly it clicked. Stone me. Me and everyone else listening was being NLP’d by old Monkey Paws! The absolute rotter.
Forget Paul McKenna telling me he can make me thin. Richard Keys is telling me he can make me move on.
The apology would have been most effective if it had lasted say, 20 minutes, but Dick ended up on a loop and I won’t say it became fractious, but there’s a limit to how many times you can reiterate a sentiment you’re delivering with total precision to avoid more grief – before you sound less sincere than Gordan Brown did when he got caught calling that old bigot, err … a bigot.
So now Parry is on the Beeb and Graham
is driving an open top jeep in Afghanistan back to working the graveyard shift. And Dick And Andy are back in business again, in their stead.
Their first show absolved them of all their sins. The boys club banter, the arrogance, any conceit or vanity they accumulated over the years at Sky was torn from their flesh with each artificial exchange. Your listening to Radio Opus Dei and it’s just approaching eleven forty two.
Where once cold drinks were returned for not being cold enough, accusations made that coffee hadn’t been stirred anti-clockwise as prescribed, Super 140’s weight Italian suits, now there was a vending machine and three hours in knackered chair.
Dick was masterful. He’d
reprogrammed apologised and moved on. Taken his self issued absolution and was simply standing in a different pulpit, He adapted and acclimatised like a mutha. This was Steve McQueen salivating at the sight of a cockroach wandering into his cell. Dick will announce the end of the world on TV. He has fantastic diction, is assured under unimaginable pressure and a delivery that semi automatic gunfire couldn’t put off.
Andy was dry. Dry dry dry. All the drinks from the water cooler did was make his bladder become as uncomfortable as his other organs. It was great radio. You could hear how wide his eyes where. Dick guffawed when a chuckle would have done and Andy momentarily considered bolting. Brazil was in the pub over the road. Sod this for a game of soldiers. You could feel it.
And now our brave boys have survived. They made it. Their probation period was up last week ans they were rewarded with proper contract. Gray is less unconvinced that this will work and Dick has allowed himself to start calling people his own age and older, ‘son’ again.
I say they’ll be gone before Christmas. They simply cannot help themselves. Norman Stanley Fletcher with a fortnight left before his release will still nick cigarettes or even a relatively worthless pen from the Governor’s Office when left attended for seconds.
You can hear it in Dick’s voice. He’s beginning to puff his chest up again. In a matter of weeks, the Wickes adverts went from being read with an air of duty, to being read as if they were a ‘can you say hello to my aunt Dolly who’s 76 today – and that’s from Ken in Milton Keyenes’ type of thing. Contempt.
And Gray’s back on the funnies. They went straight to the Ads when he repeated that ‘so and so’ had smashed ‘so and so’ and some dreadful 1940’s music hall act he repeated the phrase that paid with avarice. ‘They smashed them, Keysy.’ Ads.
A ‘text in’ competition was ridiculed. They run through a few clues and you have to guess the builder’s yard item. The difficulty level is as with ‘This Morning’ competitions. The answer on this occasion was ‘a hammer’. After Dick gave us the clues, Gray asked for the number as he wanted to enter. What larks.
When the winner was announced Andy jovially revealed he’d got it wrong and had guessed mallet. The hilarity was suffocating. Oh no, that’s what Dick wanted to do to Andy. Grab the cans of his Caledonian cranium and shove them down his Glaswegian gob. ‘I think you’d have probably been allowed that.’He responded in an emotion-free tone. Dick’s moved on. We’ve moved on.
Someone rolled back the stone, they were risen. Soon be Easter again. Anyone know anywhere I can buy some competitively priced nails?