I had a very vivid dream last night in which I was struggling to remember how to drive a very old continuity desk in the BBC World Service. It was a vertical, grey metal, “B Type” desk with kellog keys to start tapes and rotary faders for various sources. I had no script or running order, there was a mess of old paperwork in front of me, we were live on air, and I kept starting things late, using the wrong keys to talk to the engineering control room, and generally things were falling apart with millions of people listening
This was a first time dream. Usually I dream that I am doing a Latin American broadcast driving the studio on my own with lots of tapes to start remotely from the mixing desk. We’re doing a live broadcast with the presenters through the glass in the studio and me rushing back and forwards from the desk to a row of tape machines setting each one up as we go through the show. One of the tapes on a large 2400 reel which needs a plastic NAB centre. These were always in short supply and I can’t find one. It’s the next tape to go on air and in my attempts to lace it up the whole tape unravels and falls on the floor.
Interesting that after more than twenty years this sort of pressure still leaves scars that surface when I have something coming up that I am focussed on. I am doing a workshop on Friday in Brussels for a large number of Directors General (senior civil servants) at The European Commission. Looks like it matters!