From the British Airways staffers at Heathrow to the Canada Customs agent at Pearson International Airport; from the list of radio hosts across the country who had me on their programs over the past week to family, friends, colleagues and co-workers, the most often asked question has been – So!? How was it?
It was a ROYAL Blur!
Covering the Royal Wedding is the kind of assignment that tests your journalistic abilities, your sense of timing, your stamina, and your bladder!
But tests shmests! It was an unbelievable experience.
Many of the million who jammed the “Mal” on wedding day told me they couldn’t see a bloody thing except for the backs of heads and perhaps a fleeting glance of the Landau or a limo from where they were in that crowd, but they all felt the need to be there for the experience.
Just as it is on any wedding day, there are always things that go wrong and things that could have gone better. There’s always Good News and Bad News. It was no different for me.
Bad News: my satellite unit crapped out on me about 90 minutes into our LIVE Wedding Coverage on Moore in Morning!
Good News: We reverted to the cell phone from Buckingham which worked fine until…
Bad News:.... more and more people started to gather around the Palace. The cells became strained and making outbound calls was more than a challenge. So much so, that I couldn’t make a connection with Master Control when Kate’s car drove past us on her way to Westminster.
Good News: I managed to make contact during the ceremony in time to report on the surge of joy and celebration in the Buckingham crowd as the Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced Will and Kate to be husband and wife.
Good News: The cell connection remained clear and stable throughout the rest of the show and was clear enough that I could do LIVE interviews with dozens of people who were camped out at the Palace, I could report on the “kiss” and the fly past.
Good News: In all that mayhem, I managed to snap a photo of the first smooch. I was a long way away so it’s no award winning pic, but I’ve got it as a souvenir of the day.
Bad News: The crowd began to crush in upon us at Canada Gates when the festivities finally wrapped up. There were a million people pushing for exits that appeared to be closed, so it got a little dangerous. (It’s the first time I’ve felt threatened by the movement of a crowd since I got caught up in the tide of humanity that tried to make it’s way out of Place Du Canada in Montreal after the “CANADA Rally” on the eve of the 1995 Quebec Referendum.)
Bad News: I had to disconnect the phone to Toronto in order to gather my gear and get to a secure spot. We still had 25 minutes left in our show and no guarantee that I’d be able to get through on the phone.
Bad News: Call Failed! Over and over and over and over and over……
GOOD NEWS!!: I got through the Master Control within a few minutes and reported to John Moore on the crowd control issues outside Buckingham as we wrapped up our LIVE coverage from London.
BAD NEWS!!: I’d been up since 4am GMT, (11p Thursday night in Toronto). It had been 10 hours without a “natural break” as they like to say in the Tour De France, and nary a port-o-potty in sight.
Bad News: It took the better part of an hour just to navigate the crowds and get clear of the round about in front of Buckingham Palace.
Bad News: It was a 20 minute walk, (with all my gear), to our central broadcast location.
Good News: I got there without incident, (or a busted bladder).
Good News: I found the Men’s Room. Our CBS colleagues’ “Special Events” team had placed a sign on the door designating it as a “Special Events Unit” location.
Good News: I can tell you without hesitation, that upon my arrival and relief, it was indeed a “Special Event”.
So? How was it?
- Listen to Dave Trafford at 12noon Monday to Friday for his View of the News and the FINAL WORD...on Newstalk1010.