Thursday, 26 March 2015

TV News cameraman and the Cornish pasty pandemonium.

You know as a TV News cameraman that your day is going to be a long one when you are hired by an outlying newsroom 87 miles away and it takes you 2 hours to get there through the rush hour traffic. You also know it's going to be a tough working day when one of your stories include an investigation into a double murderer who was let out of prison on day release only to go and kill again that very day...

(For my American readers, Yes, they actually do this here... I know, i know...)

The Cornish pasty mountain near Liskeard, Cornwall.

However, when another story comes along that involves gangs, large amounts of cash and 20 Million pounds worth of Colombian marching powder, crack and heroin, you just know that your day is going to involve driving, waiting, copious interviews, pieces to camera, GV's and not a lot of time between, in which to scratch your arse in a contemplative, serene moment of rest.

So you think i would have brought some lunch with me...

You see, believing Oxford to be a city of fine cuisine and a journalistic life of eating punnets of strawberries whilst punting on the river, alongside big brained Oxbridge graduates studying the works of Oscar Wilde, Nietzsche and Dan Brown, i wrongly thought that lunch would come easy. I know... What a twat.

Instead, it was a day of flitting between location (Dodgy) and location (Shit hole) resulting in a day with a 297 mile drive and a brief stop at a fuel garage where fifty pounds was duly spent on fuel and two pounds on a rather delicious looking, hot Cornish pasty. Not having time to stop and eat, my meat and potato repast was consumed on the tail end of traffic queues and traffic lights.

At each stop i would force as much of the pasty into my face as was possible, forcing my cheeks to bulge and flaky pastry bits to fly everywhere, much of it down my front and into my lap... At one such stop, i noticed a young girl in a car next to me, giggling at the fat faced, hamster cheeked idiot in the news van, and i could imagine the conversation with her Father...


"Yes princess, what is it..?"

"Why does that man in the van look like a hamster..?"

Daddy looks over towards the van and sees a stressed looking, fat cheeked cameraman covered in flaky pastry with a lump of potato and gravy resting on his chin, masticating furiously before the red light turns to green, then disappearing in a cloud of tyre smoke...

"Oh... It looks very much to be a TV news cameraman, princess... and that's why you need to do better in school. Take a good long look sweetheart. You don't want to end up like him..."

Well, that's how i imagined it anyway, and having arrived at my next location to interview a rather pleasant Senior Investigating Officer from the fine body of men and women that is the Thames Valley Police, i got out and introduced myself. I shook her hand warmly and returned to my news van to gather the tools of my trade... It was then i realised what i must have looked like, and i again imagined the opening conversation between my journo and the police officer...

"Hello, my name's Leggy Hairdo... BBC... Pleased to meet you."

"Good afternoon, i'm detective chief inspector plod...  (Leans in and whispers...) Why is your cameraman covered in flaky pastry, gravy and potato pieces..?"

"Well, that's a TV news cameraman for you, chief inspector... Don't worry, it's normal."

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter, and his life is a mess.