In which I meet Nick Clegg – eat a lot of nutroast – and dance on the Bole Hills
“I don’t know if it’s a good idea for me to meet the Deputy Prime Minister. I’ve been known to berate politicians live on national radio before.”
Lauren started unpinning badges from the front of her blazer.
“And I don’t think Clegg would appreciate my Socialist Party button either.”
For part of a news day assessment, Lauren, Holly and I had been chosen to interview Nick Clegg during his visit to a local business conference.
We arrived a couple of hours early and I spent a mildly stressful half an hour setting up cameras, tripods and microphones before shifting a giant Christmas tree into the conference room.
When Clegg arrived, he shook everyone’s hand (“Hi, I’m Nick”) and I led him to his seat in front of the camera, where he promptly dropped his microphone on the floor.
“Oh sorry Eve,” he said and I wondered idly if the tech store would blame me for Nick Clegg breaking department equipment.
The recording went smoothly, and within ten minutes he had disappeared out the door to catch a train to London.
“What did you call him?” Mum asked me that night on the phone.
“I dunno, Nick I suppose.”
“You can’t call the Deputy Prime Minister Nick, Eve!”
“Why ever not, he’s not the Queen!”
I was loving Forge Radio more than ever. The news team were doing so well, I embarrassed myself in every meeting by getting all proud and watery-eyed after each week’s successful broadcast. Luke and I spent half the time talking about how much we loved everyone, and the other half arguing over how many Taylor Swift songs could legitimately be played during one hour of News Desk.
Shake It Off definitely counts as current affairs
Before we left for Christmas, we had a Thanksgiving-come-Christmas meal where Becca, Alison and Joe made a delicious array of nutroast, bread and roasted vegetables, which I ate joyfully before disappearing guiltily to the shops to buy mince pies and ice cream for everyone.
David and Alison made a gingerbread house, complete with attic windows, drainpipes and three tiny figurines of each of us. We decorated each of ours, though mine let down the charming effect somewhat by looking like it’d been iced by a dyspraxic gerbil.
It was a pretty perfect end to a pretty perfect first semester.
Mine’s the one on the far right. Yes, the crap one
“You’re awesome, you are,” Maria said and tried to pull my scarf over her head while it was still twined around my neck.
“How much have you drunk Maria?”
“Just a little bit,” she whispered conspiratorially. “I’ve got those shiny eyes.”
It was Christmas Eve and Maria’s eighteenth birthday. We sat in the pub, playing every 80’s song we could think of on the jukebox and drinking cider.
When The Horseshoe closed at half twelve, Lloyd turned on Spotify and we listened to Beth Rowley, David Bowie and Blue Swede and waltzed down the street. Guy befriended a man with a beaten-up face walking home, who after a short interview revealed: “I threw a beer bottle at his head, so fair play mate.”
The next morning, Dad stuck his head through the hatch of my attic room and said: “I know you’re a student, but you can’t sleep all the way through Christmas day.”
We drank bucks fizz, listened to Frank Sinatra and played Pictionary. After dinner we watched The Sound of Music and Maria fell asleep on the sofa and snored like a puppy.
We arrived at Nan’s on Boxing Day to find her dancing around the living room to Soul Bossa Nova.
“Hello my darlings! Do you like this song? I found it on that YouTube website. Do you know the one? It’s called Youuu-Tuuube.” She shimmied across the carpet towards us, holding out a box.
“Here, have a cheese cracker. They’re shaped like little Christmas trees.”
Back in Sheffield, we spent New Year’s Eve at Becca’s, everyone getting slowly more hysterical as the wine supplies dwindled and we got carried away playing Mafia. My lowly villager character was killed off almost immediately by Joe’s mobster, and Becca’s innocent doctor was beheaded.
Ten to the hour, we trudged in the snow to Pride Rock overlooking Stannington and Hillsborough to watch the fireworks. It’s a view I’ll never get tired of. A gaggle of drunk locals stood at the top of the field shouting: “This is Yorkshire yeah? Get us some vodka and pie!”
When midnight came, we hugged and kissed, drank Prosecco from plastic glasses and fought with the Sheffield wind to light the sparklers. We spent the rest of the night salsa dancing in the icy streets and arguing over the best Cards Against Humanity choices.
It’s a good ‘un
Back home, I went to the pub to meet Matt, Clara and Kerry. We were confined to Yate as Matt had been in a car crash a few weeks before.
“It was the car’s fault,” Matt said. “It made all the wrong decisions.”
“My first thought when the other cars crashed into me was, oh for God’s sake, my Mariah Carey CD’s jarred. But then I remembered I’d probably get a day off work. So I went home and watched Desperate Housewives.”
We spent the evening quoting Parks and Recreation and deciding what dress I’d wear to Matt and Alfie’s fictional wedding.
The next morning, I got a phone call from Sky News to say they wanted me to help cover the General Elections in May.
“This shit’s getting real now,” Guy, Maria’s boyfriend, said seriously after I’d spent ten minutes running around the kitchen in a frenzy of excitement.
“You’re getting there. Congratulations.” And he threw a jaffa cake affectionately at my face.
It’s terrifying to think there’s a handful of months left between graduation, finding a job, moving away and really-really-real life. So I’m gonna soak up all the good stuff while I can.
Like every time a toilet roll fight breaks out in the radio studio or I come home to house full of David’s lemon cake.
Shouldn’t be too hard.
This one’s for Laurie. Thanks for waiting pal.