[sic] Magazine

Dirty Protest at the BBC? Yes we can!

Dear Mr Holland,

First of all, can I welcome you to [sic] Magazine . I hope that you will enjoy your stay. I’ve been a fan of your programme Later With Jools Holland, henceforth referred to as LWJH, for many years, although if I’m honest, in the last few months I’ve slackened off a little. The reason I draw your attention to this article (think of it as an open letter) is that I recently made reference to your show when reviewing up-and-coming rockers, Exit Calm, for this magazine. Such is their talent, I rather foolishly committed myself to a dirty protest in their name at Broadcasting House, should they fail to appear on LWJH within a year of the piece appearing in [sic] . The date was 8th Feb 2008. The clock is ticking. We at [sic] will do our utmost to promote talent. If that means employing unconventional tactics, then so be it. I admit here to knowing very little about the mechanics of a dirty protest, although I’m sure it’s nothing that can’t be accomplished without the aid of a bucket, a pair of marigolds and an enthusiastic colon. If it worked for the IRA, it can work for us. Please note that Exit Calm have had no input regarding this profile-raising exercise and would possibly be embarrassed by the attention. It’s basically just me going off on one.

l.jpg” height=”250″ width=”250″ />What do you need to know about the band Exit Calm? In the article I stated, somewhat pretentiously, that their live show had the impact of a dying star, I should point out that this is, of course, nonsense. Watching Exit Calm will not give you radiation burns. Nor will they blow you off your feet, unless you stand to close to the PA. They are, quite simply, an outstanding live act who would flourish under your spotlight.

In the same review , I mentioned that it had been a lifelong desire to see “Sue Lawley trembling behind a screen of reinforced glass”. If whilst reading this, Sue has happened to wander into your office, clutching a Danish pastry, in search of records for her Desert Island Discs programme, could you apolgise to her on my behalf. She is an outstanding broadcaster who copes extremely well under pressure. I recall how well she handled herself when her studio was invaded by lesbians on the six o’ clock news. She made a brief reference to “unwanted visitors” and went on to read an article which was probably about Arthur Scargill. I don’t know for sure as I can’t get the Youtube link to work. Anyway, it was true professionalism. Needless to say, if Exit Calm don’t get their slot and the dirty protest does materialize, Sue’s quarters at the BBC will be exempt. I’m not sure I can say the same for Chris Moyles.

While we’re about it, and on an unrelated matter, have you ever thought of having your show go out slightly earlier? You know me, although you don’t, but on a typical Friday I’m asleep on the sofa by half past ten having consumed a bottle of Tesco wine, usually the two-for-one offer, but not always. You could rebrand the show and call it “Slightly Earlier With Jools Holland”. Same format, same guests, same audience reaction, i.e we at home debate whether we can be arsed staying up for the Manic Street Preachers, good though they are. With the early start, I get to watch the show in it’s entirety and you and your guests get to hit the clubs in Soho no later than midnight. That gives you at least two hours drinking time. What the pundits call a win-win situation.

An alternative would be to have the show go out around 5am on a Saturday morning and call it “Very Much Later With Jools Holland – optional title “Way Too Fucking Early with Jools Holland” – but try getting that past the censors, especially in light of the new puritanical mood at the BBC. I don’t work Saturdays and, although I enjoy a lie in, I would be prepared to rise early in order to catch it. I’ve not been sleeping well anyway since the octogenarian in the flat below me developed a taste for Happy Hardcore. Don’t begrudge her this – she’ll be dead soon. Recently, I bought her one of those luminescent, bendy plastic strips and offered to sever the power to her flat for a few hours so she could wave it around. She didn’t really go for the idea in a big way. It’s aerobic exercise – she shouldn’t turn her nose up at it.

The beauty of the later option is that it allows you to hit the clubs earlier, whereupon you and your guests can get leathered at the licence payers’ expense and have a good old chinwag before arriving back at the studios around dawn, by which time you will have sobered up. Musicians are more relaxed after they’ve had a few drinks. Guaranteed enhanced performances across the board can only translate into higher ratings. It’ll also help with the piano-side interview technique.

There’s no better way of getting a rock star to dish the shit on an ex than by plying them with alcohol beforehand. In the unlikely event that some of the guests haven’t managed to sober up, get them to mime instead. There’s too much live music played by proper musicians on TV these days. Miming is long overdue a renaissance. It never hurt anyone in the eighties. Indeed, entire careers were forged on it. Authenticity is yesterday’s news. If you’re ever the worse for wear yourself, well you must have seen those pianos where the keys move up and down by themselves? You can pick them up at any bog-standard fairground or haunted house. Just have the crew make the switch when you’re introducing your next guest. While we’re about it, have you ever thought of spelling your name with a “z” — As in Joolz Holland. I and several people in my office, with the exception of Terry in Admin, think it would make you more “street”. And – can I ask – is Jools short for Julian? I’ve got an Uncle called Julian. He drives a lorry and has a moustache. I don’t know whether he watches your programme but he lives near Rhyl and is allergic to tarragon.