I was on my way to be interviewed for North Highland Radio yesterday when I was arrested. I assumed it was something to do with the way I had parked my car. I had pulled into a residential side-street in Inverness but as I walked away from the car, I noticed I was a bit close to the junction, so I got back behind the wheel and moved it a few yards further forward. Then I saw my interviewer, former BBC colleague Pete Gavin, waiting for me on the street with microphone in hand. I barely had time to say hello when a car screeched in behind us and a cop in plain clothes emerged and asked me to face the wall, telling me I was under arrest and asking me if I had any sharp objects in my pocket. I told him I had a plastic comb. I warned him it had teeth
“So have I,” said the cop in a way that did nothing to slow my racing heart. He then asked me if I had any identification on me.
“Don’t tell him your name, “ said Pete who, I noticed, was still recording the whole thing. By this time, I was completely baffled, and my mind kept returning to the way I had parked my car. In fact, the cop started asking questions about my car, he recited my registration number and asked me to tell him if I had any items of equipment in the boot.
“Just some of my books”, I said, feebly, forgeting to add the price and name of the publisher (£8.99, Lunicorn Press – ideal Christmas gift) and still wondering if this whole thing was a joke. And, of course, it was. Pete had arranged for a retired police officer pal to surprise me with this elaborate and far too convincing start to the interview which then continued inside Pete’s home studio complex as, under interrogation, I was asked to identify an old Sony Walkman Cassette Recorder, a damp shirt and a Black and Decker garden strimmer. All are items which, if you have read The Red Light Zone, pertain to particular anecdotes I tell in the book. I daresay I had the right to remain silent, but not sure that would have made for good radio so I spilled the beans. I blabbed. I ‘fessed up.
It was , in any case, the most interesting start to any media appearance I’ve done this year and I’m not sure whether to congratulate Pete on his creativity or sue his pal for wrongful arrest.
I’ll let you know when the interview airs.