One of the aspects I most enjoy about working in the media, particularly live on radio, is interviewing people.
Some days it’s grilling politicians and bureaucrats that gives me a kick, although they’ve all become noticeably slipperier in the decade or so I’ve been doing this job. I blame all the underpaid journos who have over the years sold their souls to the dark side and taken up comms jobs as media advisors.
Other times it’s talking to musicians, actors, novelists and the like, seeing if you can ask them a question they haven’t heard a million times before.
Sometimes you just click with someone. They know when you’re making a joke and just run with it. Legendary Detroit DJ Derek May for instance, when I thanked him for playing at my birthday drinks the night before (he hadn’t), began talking my party up on the radio, saying what a great time he’d had. For weeks I was the envy of the friends who hadn’t made it along and even most of those who had (it was Auckland clubland in the late 90s, most people’s brains weren’t that sharp…)
Around the same time, I also had the privilege of one of my interviewees –house producer Ian Pooley– deciding to include our chat as a hidden track on the end of his very successful Since Then album. I’m not exactly sure how many copies there are in the world of a young Cracker talking to a young German, but I dare say it must be in the six figures by now. Simon?
(Apparently that interview confused a number of people, who’d hear the interview at the end of the CD, forget they were listening to a CD, and think “Oh, Ian Pooley is playing at Calibre tonight”, and head to their local record store demanding tickets… as I say, Auckland clubland, late 90s…). It even confused my ex-girlfriend on the other side of the world.
Other times an interviewee rubs you up the wrong way. Take for example a certain expat NZ musician who didn’t bother answering my questions, and instead did nothing but rattle off a long list of his recent achievements, wank on about what he was doing next, and then handed me his album and told me which track to play. I was later told he was having a hard time having been unable to procure in NZ the heroin he was used to overseas, but just in case he actually is that much of a self-centred prick, I’ve always refused to interview him since.
There are the people you want to propose to after talking to them for ten minutes *cough*Anita McNaught*cough*.
There are the scrappers – I remember the first time I interviewed Winston Peters on the radio, thinking I could take him on. After all, he’d clearly said something that was demonstrably incorrect. How hard could it be to get him to admit that? Ahh, so young, so naïve.
And then there are guys like this. Every interviewer’s nightmare. So utterly watchable, but for all the wrong reasons.*
So just for today, spare a thought for the interviewers.
*hat-tip, Deep Thought Yourself
EDIT: I'm told that Ana had this up at Spareroom last week too. That girl, she so fast. Ah Fuck it, it's Friday.