Friday, 2 October 2009

AS IF WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE...

I had a Norma Desmond moment today.

There's a scene in Sunset Boulevard where Miss Desmond returns to Paramount Studios and is stopped by a security guard at the front gate who fails to recognise the former star. "Without me," she tells him, "there wouldn't be any Paramount Studio." Then, when she enters the sound stage where Cecil B DeMille is directing a film, one of the old electricians calls down to her from the lighting gantry and welcomes her back...

Well, that's what it felt like for me this morning. I was appearing on BBC TV's Breakfast Time to discuss the shortly-to-be-published sequel to A A Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books.

As we went into the darkened studio, the Floor Manager whispered, "Nice to meet you, Mr Sibley! I always used to listen to your programmes on the radio - Kaleidoscope, Talking Pictures, that film quiz, Screen Test..."

And, when the interview was over and he was unhitching my radio mike, he said, "They really ought to have you back on Radio 4, sir!"

I gave him my best Norma Desmond look - proud, yet tragic - and wandered off into the outside world...



11 comments:

Ian said...

Is Cecil D DeMille any relation to Cecil B DeMille? :-P

A friend said he'd seen you on TV talking about Winnie the Pooh and I wondered what it was. Sorry to have missed it. Hope it wasn't too stressful and, more importantly, that you got paid for it!

Brian Sibley said...

He was his lesser-known brother --- at least, until I corrected the typo!

Paid? Well I did ask, and was told I'd get a "disturbance fee."

However, our friend Shelia (who saw the end result) said I shouldn't hold my breath, as I looked too relaxed to be able to convince anyone that I'd been disturbed!

Boll Weavil said...

I thought Michael Rodd did Screen Test.....


MODLET : An unwise or inappropriate comment made at the moment when it is expected that the speaker would have their concentration elsewhere eg 'Did they have electric torches in those days' at the end of Titanic

Brian Sibley said...

Michael Rodd did the TV show, I did the subsequent radio version.

I thought you knew everything about my career!

A fat lot of use as a biographer you're going to be! ;-)

SharonM said...

Yes, I think you should sack Boll and hire me instead.
Maybe a good place to start would be to interview Buttons and get all the embarassing bits and scandal out of the way first.

I meant to ask you - does it feel at all daunting going and sitting on the couch in the studio or has it become passe for you?

Brian Sibley said...

Maybe you and Boll could collaborate - see what the executors of the estate have to say about it! Buttons, needless to say, will spill the beans to anybody!!

Does it feel daunting? Hmmm... Well, I still get an adrenaline rush and it brings back a lot of memories... Somebody else at the studio remembered that I used to present BBC TV's Sunday morning 'god-slot', First Light, and that brought on a bad attack of nostalgia...

Basically, I've always preferred to be 'live' (TV or radio) because - like theatre - you just 'do it': if you fluff or screw up, your brain goes into overdrive and you sort yourself out and carry on... If you're being pre-recorded, then the quest to find the perfect performance or response carries with it the urge to stop and "try that again..."

Anyway, it's very nice to be brought out of the mothballs every now and again!

Muir said...

We all watched you on BBC discussing Winnie The Pooh book.

It's always a pleasure to watch or listen to you as you have a great broadcasting manner, an easy to listen to voice.

You , as ever , came across very well and you should be on the Beeb a lot more as the BBC guy said!

Perhaps when Snow White the Blu Ray arrives on November 2nd you'll be asked to appear as you are on the documentary!!

Brian Sibley said...

Bless you, Muir, I think (following on from earlier exchanges here) you'd better be in charge of my PR! Although with all you know about me you'd have to sign a Very Strict Confidentiality Agreement! ;-)

I doubt I'm likely to make an audio comeback now, but it's nice to be remembered and to find (as bishop said to the actress) that one can still 'do it'...

Brian Sibley said...

Bless you, Muir, I think (following on from earlier exchanges here) you'd better be in charge of my PR! Although with all you know about me you'd have to sign a Very Strict Confidentiality Agreement! ;-)

I doubt I'm likely to make an audio comeback now, but it's nice to be remembered and to find (as bishop said to the actress) that one can still 'do it'...

Suzanne said...

Oh bother! I watched BBC breakfast this morning for the first time for absolutely AGES! And I missed you! I must have been down at breakfast (doh!) or was it before I woke up? or after I vacated my hotel room? Yes - I have just spent the weekend at the Belgian coast.
pummicet: such a lovely word check and my mind has gone blank!

scb said...

How did I miss this post? I was scrolling down to the rose, and discovered it! And once again I say "Oh bother!" to not getting BBC. Would have loved to have seen you on TV talking about Winnie-the-Pooh, or indeed about anything else! Sigh. The joys of living in the hinterland.

MULATE -- well, actually, what it ate was hay, I believe... but it was rawther mule-headed about it. (Wouldn't it be nice if I had a brain, instead of just bits of fluff?)