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James Henry Video On UK Terrestrial TV

On Thursday 17th November, 2016 I found myself outside IQ Studios in Millbank, a few long strides from the Houses of Parliament, furtively pacing the pavement waiting for my good friend Matt to turn up. After a call, a text and another ten minutes in the cold, Matt arrived with his laptop, his usual good humour and a phone chock full of photographs of his 6-month-old daughter. I gave him a present, belatedly celebrating the arrival of his offspring and we were soon climbing the entrance steps of the grandiose building. We weren’t entirely sure what was to unfold, but I’d been invited to attend a recording of a new music TV show, Nub TV, being aired on Sky in the UK, and I’d asked Matt along to share in this glitzy, show business experience!

This wasn’t any old recording, though – it was the first occasion where a James Henry music video was to be included in a UK, terrestrial TV programme. The video is for the song “Don’t Let It Happen” and, for those unfamiliar with it, it’s a wonderful animation by a thoroughly talented person called Stephen Smith (search online for Wobbly Lobster and you’ll find more of his work). For this splendid broadcast opportunity, I have to thank Nub Country Records and its main protagonist, Mark Christopher Lee (he of the outlandish, Mercury prize-nominated group The Pocket Gods, whose brainchild Nub TV is) and the force of nature that is Steve Blacknell, a presenter, actor, media facilitator and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the music industry. Both of these guys have seen fit to put my video in their show and I am extremely grateful for that.

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Matt and I found our way up to the second floor and located IQ Studios, just around the corner from a Sky News room. Steve (the Nub TV presenter, or the hub of Nub…..) had a brief chat with me while they were setting the whole business up around him on the red, curved sofa in the main recording area and shortly, Matt had procured a couple of lager bottles which we started swigging furiously from in the adjoining “green room”, a room which was actually magnolia…….. They had CDs, snacks and everything laid out on the table in there and so I nervously plonked myself down with a Twiglet, next to another musician by the name of Kris Wilkinson Hughes, a.k.a. My Girl The River, who was similarly there to see the inclusion of her own video for her song “Woods Behind Our House”. Kris was very easy going and friendly, expounding on how she made the video herself (a cleverly shot series of photographs largely drawn from her childhood) and her experience of touring recently with Suzanne Vega. Before long, we all found ourselves under instruction from the floor manager about where on the front row we were supposed to sit and generally when we should provide applause. It started to become real once we were finally ushered to our seats, there in the vicinity of the cameras, red sofa and the house band squeezed in to the left as we looked. The trepidation kicked in further when I was told I’d be introduced by Steve to the audience straight after the video screening and would be required to acknowledge this with a cool, musicianly wave. “Oh sh*t”, I thought fleetingly……..then I thought “Great, bring it on…”, to counter me nerves, so to speak.

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As is the way with these kinds of events, lots of technical stuff had to be checked, re-checked and dealt with before it was time to start the proceedings. Steve smoothed out many of the breaks with a selection of his favourite Wildean epithets (“I’m breaking these in for a friend”, he said whilst pressing in his top teeth…….) until the tape started turning for real and episode four was underway. The sofa guests were actor Nigel Planer, most famously known in the UK as Neil from the 80’s comedy series “The Young Ones”, and the musician Joan Armatrading. Before either was brought on, right at the top of the show, Steve gave a seriously complimentary introduction to me and my video and…….the damned thing was suddenly there on the monitor. Kris leaned across and said she liked it a lot and I swore I heard someone behind me humming along to the tune about half way through – thank you, whoever you were! The last bit of animation disappeared, the cameras cut back to Steve and I was given another rousing mention to strenuous applause, which was my cue to wave. I smiled and slowly raised my arm. Steve shouted “Come on, James, you can do it better than that!”. Apparently, I was a mite too laid back wafting my hand around so we decided to do it again. Subsequently, my second performance was deemed much improved, although I was briefly tempted to do the whole “shirt-over-the-head, I’ve just scored, run-into-the-crowd” kind of celebration which, on reflection, it was probably wise to avoid.

I enjoyed the show immensely! The guests were entertaining and open in their chats with Steve – in fact, Nigel Planer could have carried a whole show of his own – and the interjections of videos and house band segments were spot on. I must mention a band called The Zipheads, another new name to me whose video was given an airing and I was fundamentally impressed, their song being a potent mix of rockabilly and punk which I felt was pretty wonderful. Once the entire programme was “in the can” (show business language there, did you notice…?), we all retired to the green room again, where I got chatting to an hilarious, fellow Liverpudlian called Fiona Johansen and then Matt and I decided to head reluctantly in our opposite directions for the train, leaving several of the cast and crew to wander round the corner to a pub I can’t remember the name of. I fervently hope that this new music show is a success for all concerned and, Mark and Steve, I seriously wouldn’t mind doing all that again sometime soon.

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2 Responses

  1. I skimmed it first to see if I got a mention! How’s that for self-absorbed?! I feel ashamed but hope to feel better by admitting it 😉 It was a fantastic night and The fella I sat with, Mark, was told in my dulcet tones, that I liked your song. (And that was before I knew to be biased, what with the Liverpool thing). I hope to see you soon and hope, just as much, that your record is a hit and you have many more released. Hope you’ve still got your badge?!

    Was such a great gang of people, fab atmosphere and all round sparkly night. How lucky I felt to meet y’all x

  2. Fiona – great to hear from you through the site! This has actually been offline for a year, since it was hacked. When I found out about the telly thing, I thought I’d better get it back out there, so it’s only just been repaired. Thank you for telling that bloke how much you liked the song. Yes, hopefully we’ll catch up at a Waffle sometime soon x

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