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Hello from TVC

Sunday 20th September 2009

It's five to 8 on Sunday morning and I've been up since before 6. I've seen 6am on Sunday morning before but not, I think, coming at it from this side.

I'm sitting at a desk in the newsroom of BBC TV Centre - I've done one rentagob bit on Breakfast News already (at 6.50) and I'm doing another one at 8.50.  Since they don't seem to have anywhere for me to go in the meantime they've found me a desk with a computer to keep me occupied and stop me roaming the corridors. As this is the first time in weeks I've found myself sitting at a computer with no specific task to hand I though I'd do a quick blog.

I didn't actually weigh myself on Monday - can't recall why at the moment - but I'll be sure to do so tomorrow.

The response - within the Beeb, anyway - to my first Watchdog song was very positive, so much so in fact that the day after the first ep transmitted they decided they wanted another one for week two. This gave me four days to write a new song, inevitably re-write it once or twice (for running time and legal compliance reasons) and then make another video.  The first one took three weeks.

The brief was to write about a particularly annoying fault with the Sony Playstation 3, which causes it to fail completely without warning (flashing up a yellow LED as a sign of its morbidity) and which happens commonly enough to suggest a design flaw but since it usually doesn't occur until after the unit's warranty's expired it seems impossible to persuade Sony to do anything about it.

The LED in question has acquired the nickname "The Yellow Light Of Death" among gamers and it was this phrase which leapt out at me form the brief - I though it sounded like the title of a Johnny Cash song and so that's what I went with musically. 

I also suggested to Bob Jefford - the incredibly industrious director (and cameraman) on my "bits" that we could use Ham Lands, the nature reserve just by my house, for some suitably Nebraska-ish exterior shots.  We filmed the interior bits in my living room (you can see Greta's dolls' house in one shot). 

We were filming last Tuesday - it absolutely bucketed rain all day, leading us to doubt whether we'd actually get any exterior ahots done at all until the rain slackened off just a little, we hurtled out into the fields, filmed for an hour, wrapped it up and ran back to the house just as the heavens opened again.

The thing is, it's all gone off a bit since the item was transmitted - Sony have been writing very stiff letters to the BBC saying they're being unfairly represented, and meanwhile the blogosphere is alive with scuttlebutt. You see, not being a gamer myself I didn't realise - although now I think about it it seems obvious - that the whole PlayStation vs. XBox thing is a broadly similar dichotomy to the Apple/PC rivalry, and since Iain Lee presented the segment and also writes columns for the XBox magazine, some PS3 stalwarts are denouncing the whole thing as a conspiracy between Microsoft and the BBC to stitch up Sony (it wasn't, as far as I know).

I haven't had any death threats from PS3 fans so far; I'll let you know if I do. Meanwhile I'm not doing a song for this week's Watchdog - at the moment the plan is for me to do seven out of ths nine shows in the run with this week being one of my two weeks off.

The tour starts this Friday; I'm starting to do a lot of local press and radio interviews; you can hear one of them here.

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