OK now I’d hate this to be the kind of blog that is just filled with links to really kewl things that have been sent my way but just occasionally you come across something that is hard to resist.

Statesman or Skatesman? is the name of the site, detailing one students quest to discover whether today’s politicans are staid and boring or whether they do exciting things such as skateboarding or go-karting. The results may surprise you, although Claire Short really ought to start reading her mail more carefully.

On Friday night my pants made the ultimate sacrifice.

It was the regular start the weekend drinking session with my colleagues, this particular week being rather more special than most owing to the fact that we had a birthday to celebrate. Rounds were bought, chairs were dragged up to the rather crowded table and many fascinating conversations took place.

Our attention was distracted about an hour in by a large party of extravagantly dressed women who invaded the pub en masse and proceeded to occupy a reserved table in the corner. Given that they all had sashes on apart from one who was dressed in fairy wings and l-plates it was not a large leap of faith to assume this was a hen party.

Any lingering doubts we may have had were confirmed around half an hour later by the arrival of the mail stripper who was last seen scampering down to the toilets with scratch marks. Subsequent to this the hen party invaded the rest of the pub, brandishing a clipboard with a pen and the hen herself with a t-shirt containing a checklist of the things she had to do that night.

I discovered what item 5 was a few seconds later when one of her friends called out “is anyone willing to give us their pants?” Now call it what you will, exuberance, exhibitionsism, the three and a half pints of Stella I had downed by that point but I did what any insane man would do and stepped up…

…or rather stepped down as to squeals of delight I made like the aforementioned stripper and hightailed it down to the basement toilets to effect the transaction.

It was at that point I realised by mothers give out the sage advice of making sure you have clean underwear on. This is not so that you do not suffer humiliation when hit by a bus (or whatever the old fashioned excuse is). No, this is to ensure that if you are putting your briefs on display they do at least give a good account of you.

Happily fortune was on my side that night. I could have been wearing an embarrassingly large pair of shapeless y-fronts (they were a Christmas present which I put on in mornings of self loathing or when it is too dark to see what I am fishing for in the drawer). I could have been wearing a tatty ten year old pair with holes in the gussett (anyone worked out just why they always wear out at the base of the crotch? It is not the kind of thing I want to waste synapses on to be honest, it just puzzles me sometimes). No, fate had decided that on this fateful day I was wearing a very tasteful set of black Calvin Kleins complete with waistband. Quality pants for a quality occasion.

The tricky manouvre of undressing in a toilet cubicle whilst not standing on anything too unsavoury completed, I headed back upstairs and proudly handed over the trophy to the fair maidens. They immediately declared me to be a total sweetheart, showered me with kisses and allowed me to return to face my friends.

I was met with looks of astonishment. Did you just give them your pants?

I went home and thought little more of it, until this morning back at work when the underwear removing incident appeared to be all anyone could think of.

“Is it true you gave some girls your pants on Friday night?”

“Is my memory hazy or do I remember you taking your pants off in the pub on Friday?”

“I hear you give your underwear away to the highest bidder. Is this true?”

Three and a half years I’ve been trying to cultivate a reputation and this is how it ends up.

I countered by suggesting that I was proud to have helped the bride to be with her checklist and that if asked I would have taken my pants off for any one of my interrogators. So far no such requests have been forthcoming.

Anyone who has ever been a broadcaster has at one time or another done interviews. When the audience is bored of hearing you speak, they want to hear someone else speaking in response to you. It is that simple really.

Whole seminars and training courses are in existence devoted to teaching you the correct way to interview although in my experience, most of the time it is something you simply muddle through and learn as you go along.

My first ever interview was back in 1996 with Deep Blue Something. Owing to the fact that they were one hit wonders and due to the fact I manifestly failed to ask them anything interesting we never broadcast it. I still have the tape somewhere. My first ever interview with someone who actually mattered was George Best whom I cornered before he got steaming drunk backstage at a sportsmans dinner at the end of 1996. That one ended up going out in two parts over the Christmas period.

Most bizarre interview of all? Well that will have been with a bloke called Jake Shillingford of My Life Story. He was due to record an interview for the alternative music show that the station I was working for broadcast on a Sunday evening. The only problem was that the presenter was away on holiday until the day the show was broadcast. Consequently I was asked to step into the breach midweek, doing an entire interview with only his microphone switched on so that I could easily be edited out when the time came to broadcast it.

Yes, a great deal of radio is fake, as if that was any kind of secret.

Worst of all though are the interviews from hell. The ones which are arranged as a favour to the record company or their PR people or with celebs who really, really don’t want to be there or who have just done seven interviews down the line to crappy local stations and are starting to get a bit bored with the same old questions coming from your own crappy local radio station.

I’ve done two like that, neither of which were broadcast. First of all was Yazz c.1997 who took offence at my first question about how she liked to reinvent herself with every single release. It all went downhill from there. Then there was Tin Tin Out who at the time had a single out with Tony Hadley. All three of them were tired and irritable and my attempt to do a laid-back chatty kind of interview just didn’t seem to click with them.

None of these you will notice were very big or important stars. Pissing them off or doing an interview so bad you could not broadcast it was no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

No, to balls up an interview totally is to do one with a masssive, massive star and get it wrong. Taking the kind of opportunity that comes along once in your life and flushing it down the toilet.

Such is the story behind this piece of audio, which is rapidly acquiring cult status. You get the feeling the bloke is attempting to be a kind of Dennis Pennis figure but messes it up spectacularly. Colleagues who work in studios have suggested that the tape was probably leaked by the record company as a kind of revenge thing. Certainly any studio caught distributing their off-air recordings would be in serious doo doo. Enjoy.

You know something in the back of my mind told me that something wasn’t quite right about the list of singles that have climbed the charts to Number One in the last few years.

A smattering of mails are suggesting that Bob The Builder should be added to the list. Not had the chance to check that against the databases yet but the sheer weight of numbers suggests it probably is the case.

If I’ve pushed Bob The Builder to the back of my mind then I think I can be forgiven.

I’ll change the entry on Launch if the mood takes me tonight. In the meantime take it as read that you are right and I am wrong. There are enough people who will have their entire week made by that very thought.

We all know animals can smell fear. Or at least we have been told that animals can smell fear and it is generally taken as a given. Well I have now learned something new. Women can smell chocolate.

I’m not henpecked, despite Mila’s desperate attempts to prove otherwise. She has her ideas on the kind of thing her man should be snacking on during the day (which would explain the sliced carrots that keep finding their way into my bag), most of which I tend to ignore in blissful happiness.

Last night however I came undone. Just for a change I’d arrived first at our meeting place in town at the end of the day. Her tube line was disrupted and I knew I may have a short wait. Thus I popped into the nearest newsagent, rejected the idea of buying some crisps, toyed with the notion of a cereal bar before taking the mans choice of a small bar of chocolate.

Nestle Crunch, since you ask.

I had just finished when Mila wandered out of the station, smiled, embraced me, pulled back and unleashed the accusation:

“You have eaten a chocolate.”

How could she tell? The wrapper was not exposing my guilt in my hand. A quick glance at a shop window confirmed that there were no stains around my mouth (a problem that nobody ever quite ceases to suffer from after the age of 2, have you noticed?). No, nothing could possibly give the game away.

“I can smell it,” was the triumphant response to my puzzlement.

Now this was something of a revelation. I knew there were certain things that women were able to detect at five paces. Cheap aftershave, the smell of a rival for example. Never did it cross my mind that an allegedly illicit chocolate (and I still maintain it is my right as an adult to have a Nestle Crunch when waiting to meet someone) would be detectable to a woman’s sensitive nostrils.

Truly this is a journey of many revelations.

There is something to be said for occasionally Googling for one’s name. I’ve not done it for a while which would explain why this link has not caught my eye until now.

The author of the piece takes issue with the glowing writeup I gave to the first Evanescence single last summer and makes some wonderfully barbed comments about the whole writing style of the commentaries. I love the way he describes the columns as being full of “increasingly personal and thinly-disguised views” when in actual fact I don’t make any attempt to disguise my views in any way at all.

I mean let’s face it, we are writing about music here and like most forms of artistic expression it is designed to provoke an emotional response in those who experience it. Any review or commentary on a piece of music will inevitably be coloured by the way it has affected that particular writer and I make no pretence of being objective or dispassionate.

The glowing writeup of the Evanescence single was as a result of the genuine sense of excitement that people felt about the single and they way both it and the video gave you goosebumps the first time you encountered them. It still stands up as one of the most majestic and memorable singles of last year and for that reason deserves to be hailed from the rooftops. The sad thing is that none of the followups so far have come up to scratch.

I’d read some of the guys other columns on the site (assuming there are any) but anyone who uses a column to accuse another of having “…an agenda … tainted with arrogance…” I suspect is likely to miss several more points along the way, and life is simply too short.

Whilst writing the chart commentary this week it seemed sort of appropriate to dig out what I had written about Mysterious Girl first time around. I couldn’t find a way to shoehorn it into the Launch piece itself, so here it is for posterity, from the dotmusic chart commentary for the week ending June 1st 1996:

The campaign to turn the Australian pretty boy into a major star over here is apparantly reaping rewards. After a curious period at the end of last year when he appeared all over teen magazines, apparantly famous for being famous, he scored his first chart hit earlier this year with ‘Only One’, a pleasant enough pop song which didn’t really deserve more than its Number 16 peak. Now with his profile built even higher he releases a second single and scores an instant smash hit. Actually I could do to curb my natural cynicism over this because ‘Mysterious Girl’ is actually rather wonderful, a summery reggae track featuring the toasting of Bubbler Ranx which would have been a hit single even if it wasn’t sang by a long-haired Australian with gleaming pectorals. But for the fact that ‘Three Lions’ looks to be in a strong position at the top, this track could even be marked as a potential Number One.

Hey, I wasn’t wrong either, just about seven years premature.

Well we aren’t going to win Eurovision now are we? To give the voting public full credit they at least avoided choosing a cliched boy band performance to represent us but instead went for a Fame Academy reject warbling in a sub Ryan Adams kind of way. Only one song actually had a chance of appealing to European audiences and true to form it was nowhere in the running.

Word has it that the best pop songwriters in the country were approached so that our entry would come up to standard and be a world away from last year’s debacle.

No wonder singles sales are down.

Sometimes the interesting things in life don’t happen to you. Instead they happen to friends of yours and in such a way as to make you glad that your life is quite dull in comparison.

This then is the story of one of my colleagues, we will call him Alan to preserve what little dignity he has left. It begins at the start of the week when Alan was excited about his forthcoming foreign trip – to Porto in fact to watch his beloved United in the Champions League. The only clouds on the horizon appeared on Tuesday when he spent most of the day turning his desk upside down. We enquired as to why.

“I’ve lost my passport”, he confessed, adding that he had had it with him earlier in the week as proof of identity having recently lost his wallet.

We thought no more of it, Alan being off work on Wednesday to travel to the match. United of course lost and were utter pants, so what better way to cheer him up on Thursday morning than to phone his mobile and tease him about the performance…

He answered groggily.

“So Alan, how was the match? What was it like to see your boys lose so badly?”

“What, you mean the match I watched at home on TV?”

It turns out he never found the passport, had no way of leaving the country and was stuck with just taking two days off work. To console him we urged him to come down in the evening anyway as there was a work social event happening. Bond with your colleagues we said, that will make it all seem better.

So indeed he did come along, not only to the celebrity bingo organised by the production department but also to the pub across the road where there was money behind the bar and beer flowing aplenty.

I left at about 10pm but many people stayed on until closing time.

This morning Alan did not appear along with the other hungover hoardes. At 10.30am we called his phone which turned out to be out of service. Calling his home produced a ringing tone but nothing more. Now we are not heartless people so this was actually cause for some small concern. The last people to see him had conveniently taken the morning off, so clues as to his whereabouts did not emerge until close to lunchtime.

One of my other colleagues arrived at work and confirmed that Alan had stayed at his house overnight, having been the victim of a robbery the night before. Details at that stage were scarce. All was not revealed until almost 2pm when Alan finally staggered through the door, looking somewhat the worse for wear.

It transpired that he and a few colleagues had been in the pub until chucking out time and in search of further alcohol had made their way to the Borderline club and had stayed there until 3am. During the course of the evening Alan managed to lose his cloakroom ticket and upon pleading his case at the door discovered that someone had found his ticket and cashed it in, taking his coat and phone with them.

With great presence of mind he had apparently called his mobile and had the call answered.

“Excuse me, but you know you have my coat don’t you?”

“Yes,” replied the man on the other end, “it is a very nice coat, thanks very much.”

Right now I am delighted to be me, and not certain other people that I could mention.

No, I didn’t watch the Brits. Shocking really given that I am supposed to know about all things musical and take a detailed interest in the workings of this industry that I should actually not have even a passing interest in its biggest awards bash of the year, but there you go. I don’t.

The thing is that if there is anything significant to come out of it, you generally can find out the following day just by reading the papers or seeing what our Entertainment News department have to say on the subject.

Therefore I can say with no little authority that nobody flashed, crashed the stage, made a controversial speech or did anything remotely newsworthy.

Although I’m sure far too many people have said this already, it is worth repeating in the hope that the organisers realise that Outkast coming on, performing a song and then buggering off leaving the stage clear for Beyonce is in fact two seperate performances. Not a collaboration.