If you follow me on Instagram (@juliagroberts), you may have seen this Partyland gold disc, pictured earlier in the week, with a promise of an explanation – that’s coming up later in this week’s blog when I take you back to 1998/99. You may also have realised that I am actually on holiday in Spain – somebody (i.e. Wilfie) clearly didn’t want us to go. Thanks for putting cat hairs all over my brand new Together top, Wilfie!
Once again we are staying in Javea, but in a different villa this time, as the one we normally stay in was already booked out. Instead of a sea view, we have a view of the Montgo, the mountain that ‘protects’ Javea. When we first came here in 2004, it was one of the things that drew us to the town. The Montgo is also known as El Elefante (the elephant) and if you look closely at the photograph you can see a large cave near the summit that looks like an eye, and there is a long peninsula of land resembling a trunk.
So far we have been blessed with good weather and I’ve been doing lots of reading and swimming but not much writing… yet!
So, despite being on holiday, I wanted to continue with the 25 year look back. As we approached our fifth birthday in October 1998, QVC wanted to mark the occasion with something special – what better than to have the QVC Presenters join forces with pop star Mungo Jerry, of ‘In The Summertime’ fame, to perform their version of Little Eva’s ‘Locomotion’ and a track written for the occasion, ‘Partyland’.
I was fairly familiar with recording studios, having had a record deal in the early 1980’s, but had never done an all night session before. As I recall, we arrived at the studios in North London at around 9pm and didn’t leave until around 6am! In our group were a few who could really sing (Debs Flint springs to mind) and those of us who could ‘hold a tune’. The end result wasn’t too bad and was sent out to people with their QVC purchases – over 20,000 to be precise, which is how we were all awarded gold discs. Mine hangs on the wall of our top floor loo but I have no idea whether the others involved still have theirs. From the photo, I’m sure you’ll recognise the four of us who are still at QVC, Jilly, Debs, Dale and me, but also pictured are Julian Ballantyne, Dean Wilson and Rob Locke, who I recently spotted on an episode of NCIS, and Paul Lavers – I’ll be returning to him in a few moments.
Not only did we record the CD, we also performed it at the fifth birthday party which was broadcast live, hosted by Tony Blackburn and Debs Flint. When I say ‘performed it’, we didn’t actually sing – we mimed to the track while rocking some moves choreographed by Jilly Halliday.
Also, at that party were three people who were about to become the next QVC presenters, Kara Baker, Fiona Farrell and Claire Sutton. Claire tells me that they hadn’t actually been offered contracts at that point, but apparently our performance didn’t put them off… knowing Claire, she would have loved to have been part of it! This was Claire’s first head shot and mine from the same year – we haven’t changed a bit (said very tongue in cheek!)
Back to Paul Lavers for a moment; he was our undisputed expert when it came to technology – in fact, I remember asking him for advice when we bought our first home computer. It was ‘Tiny’ and I think it had one kilobyte of memory. I remember him saying, “Why do you need so much memory, are you planning on running IBM?” – how things have changed in technology in twenty years. This article from the QVC Insider magazine featured Paul offering viewers tips on computer terminology, but I particularly like the bit about ‘dialling up’ to connect to the Internet – do you remember when we all had to do that?
At the bottom of the article was a photo of our QVC website, so although it seems a more recent addition, an early version of it was around twenty years ago.
In the same magazine was a piece about Nick Barrucci, a very enthusiastic American guest who presented collectible comics. We also did a lot of WWF shows back then – the World Wrestling Federation rather than the World Wide Fund for nature – and I remember taking my children to see them live in London, at Earls Court.
Next week we’ll be taking you on one of the most talked about outside broadcasts – live from the Bahamas with the inimitable Joan Rivers amongst others.
Obviously, I won’t be in for Fashion on Friday today, but Catherine Huntley is holding the fort. I’ll also be missing the Liz Earle TSV on Sunday – mind you, I would have missed it anyway as it is my weekend off. The collection is called Supercharged Skincare and is available to pre-order.
I’ll be back on your screens next Thursday for a Home Event, featuring a TSV bedding set from Kelly Hoppen.
Enjoy your weekend and here’s hoping the weather stays fine for a certain wedding!