Friday, February 03, 2006

Interview! Interview! Interview!

Media whoredom, at last! This morning I was interviewed on BBC radio. Terrified. Absolutely terrified. Pluvialis was frantically reading her book on the London train, trying to remember what she'd written in it. Sat in a cafe for an hour mainlining black coffee and chain-smoking camels, reading the book even more frantically. And then, stuffing the book and the cigarettes back in my bag and wandering down the grey pavement to Portland Place, sit of Broadcasting House. Which is a huge edifice of smooth portland stone. Built in 1932. The statue by Eric Gill over the front entrance shows Prospero and a naked Ariel. Apparently there were complaints about the size of Ariel's penis. And so the Director General, John Reith, ordered Gill to, erm, amend it. There's a random fact for you etc.

Anyway. In I went, through the glass doors, into a foyer full of security uniforms, screens, blue comfy lounge seats. I was handed a BBC security visitor's badge. Awesome! I spent ten minutes sitting in the foyer, trying to be calm, watching BBC News 24 on the foyer's giant, silent, plasma screens. Sad reports of the sinking of a Red Sea passenger ferry had real-time subtitling spooling across the bottom of the screen. Typed by a stressed person wearing a pair of headphones, perhaps, sweat running down his or her forehead. Or, more likely, some terribly sophisticated voice recognition software. Because there were some fabulous mistakes. "Rescue hell kofters" instead of rescue helicopters, for example. This was all a bit awful, to be honest. Because the story was hellishly grim, involving mass loss of life, and there I was, wired on adrenalin, laughing out loud at the stupid spelling mistakes. Dreadful behaviour.
Talking of spelling mistakes, a friend of mine once sent me photocopied excerpts. He said they were taken from the Official Secrets Act. I guess sending them—and indeed, reading them—was technically illegal. But it was very funny. Because the bits he sent were full of terrible grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. So bad, that one wonders whether they might render the Act ineffectual. I mean, if someone says, I promise to keep a "sercret", would you trust them? It's strange. You would have thought the Government had a copy-editor somewhere with sufficient security clearance?
Anyway. The interview? It went fine. Surprisingly so. Where did all the adrenalin go? No idea. I just sat there, in a tiny room, walled in by audio kit, staring at the little, unlit "on air" bulb set in a wooden fitting on the baize table. Someone had engraved a little wobbly criss-cross pattern into the wood. Just like the sort of thing kids engrave on their school desks when they're very, very bored. Wow, I thought. That must have been a boring interview...poor sod.

So I wittered on about falcons for a few minutes, and then before I knew what was happening the producer and presenter were beaming, shaking my hand and saying "thanks for coming". Strange. I'm not going to listen to the programme when it's aired though. The idea of hearing my own voice coming out of my own radio is just too mind-numbingly weird. How do celebrities cope, dammit?

No comments: