As head honcho of urban75 I've ended up doing some strange things, but
this was definitely the most unexpected - and best!
Imagine the scene: one day you're busily working at home when you get
a phone call that goes along the lines of, "Hi, we're with a
major US TV Show and we'd like to fly you over to Chicago, all expenses
paid, and put you in a swanky hotel for a week - in return for about
two hours of your time"
Needless to say my answer was a resounding "yes!"
even though I hadn't even heard of the Jenny Jones Show. It was only
when I was in the pub later that night that I realised that she was
indeed very well known - I asked an American friend if he'd heard of
her and his resounding answer of, "WHAT!!! You're going on the
JENNY JONES SHOW!!! I don't BELIEVE it!!!", drew astonished stares
from fellow drinkers.
A week later I was in the beautiful city of Chicago, battling through
the snow, and ready for my er... US TV debut. The hotel was superb,
and I spent most of the week trudging through the snow, taking pictures,
checking out the art galleries and generally enjoying an unexpected
The show is filmed at the NBC tower in Chicago and it turned out to
be right next to the Jerry Springer studios (it's rather sad, but I
still feel rather chuffed to have stood in the exact spot where those
odd people scream, "Jerry, Jerry, we love you!" at the end
of his shows!)
The show I was on was called 'Jenny Does The Web' and I was a bit disconcerted
to notice that my fellow interviewees had turned up clutching all manner
of merchandising freebies for their sites.
The other guests were quite a strange lot, although friendly and rather
astonishingly loud: many of them viewed the show as a big marketing
break for them, whereas to me it was simply a bit of a laugh.
The best bit, of course, was getting to appear on a mainstream American
TV show in front of one of those hyperactive crowds who only seem to
be able to experience two emotions: loud, screaming, whopping 'horrays!'
or loud, screaming, whopping 'boos!'.
I was treated to both during my interview, but I like to think my quirky
Britishness won through in the end. I've been sent a video of my appearance
(thanks Sheila) although it only plays in black and white. I'll see
if I can post up some clips in the near future for you to laugh at.
The first thing that amused me when I saw the video was my classic Brit
politeness: Jenny introduced me, I walked through the stage door on
cue to a chorus of whoops and "who's this Limey weirdo?" -
but still made time to turn around to close the door tightly behind
Despite being warned by several Chicagoans (?!) that I should expect a long
lost and probably furious ex-girlfriend clutching a family of seven
to be my surprise on the show, I had a pretty easy ride of things, and
just talked about urban75, and in particular, the Punch
I did manage to fit in a few words about the impact of the Criminal
Justice Act on popular UK dance culture, but I don't think anyone was
We were told that cameras on set were strictly forbidden, but the above is
a picture I sneaked using my fab Olympus XA compact camera.
The show was first broadcast in the US in March 1999, and the following week
I received an average of 2,000 emails a day, many of which were suprisingly flattering, describing my
scruffy dreads as being "phat". Sadly, there were no tempting offers from movie moguls....
Anyhow, hopefully my tale of attempted US superstardom (cough!) amused you. I'll
try and sort out some video clips soon. Be sure to check my Chicago Photo