I was on National radio this week – Irelands RTE ONE. Very exciting. Nerve wracking. I was petrified. This was it, my one moment, my pitch, my call to the nation to take action. I couldn’t afford to mess it up. Some people find radio easy; they’re relaxed, have an affable manner, are clear, concise, confident. Not me. Thanks to a fellow mutant space member I got a call from the producer of Arena, the RTE 1 arts show last week. I was asked if I’d like a 10 – 15 minute slot on Tuesday 19th January at a time between 7.30pm – 8.30pm (that’s the time of the show and I wasn’t to find out what time slot I had until I was in the studio that night). They quizzed me on mutant space, what it was all about, where the idea came from, etc and said they’d get in touch. I was thrilled. By last Sunday I was busy writing out potential questions and answers – I spent three days trying to second guess them – getting all my ideas into suitable sound bites that didn’t sound like I was reeling them off the back of a cereal box. It wasn’t as easy as I thought and I ended up with mountains of paper – scribbles and scratches. Come Tuesday I was exhausted.
I got a call on Tuesday afternoon to confirm everything, make sure I was still compos mentis. At that stage I was down to 4 pages of notes and so figured I had nothing to lose by asking the producer for the inside track; the brief, the questions. She was lovely, helpful and gladly emailed me the brief within a minute of me putting down the phone. The intro was already written as were the questions and answers (that I’d probably give – they were gleaned directly from the site). It seemed we were both second guessing each other. The brief made complete sense, was well structured, the interview would cover everything. Now I just had to get it right and keep myself from heading out on tangents, dead ends and cul de sacs. After all, ten minutes to explain the development of an online alternative creative economy isn’t that easy without coming across like a complete tosser.
I was in the RTE studios by 7.15pm. Early. Feverishly smoking and suffering from cotton mouth. I was practically hyper – ventilating and my head was spinning with all the short, concise answers I was supposed to deliver in a calm, relaxed and professional manner. The technician in the studio was fantastic. First thing he did was make me a cup of sugary tea.
He then explained the set up which was all fine except for one small matter; with the headphones (cans to those in the biz) on I’d hear my voice in my right ear while I’d hear Sean Rocks voice (the presenter of ARENA) in my left. No, no, no. No way – not possible. I hate the sound of my own voice (as most people do) and the very thought of it made me sick, it would put me off, my fragile train of thought would be scuppered, go right off the tracks. There was just no way. But fortune smiled on me, well the technician did, and he calmly explained that he could turn me down and Sean up. Perfect. The situation was resolved and I was left alone, with my notes and cup of tea to listen to the show. It was 7.30pm. At that stage I had been told I’d be on around 8.15pm. I waited. Did it and it was over.
You know, in retrospect, it didn’t go to bad. It was a very long 10 minutes, I was obviously nervous at the beginning (so said the few honest friends and family I have that were listening to it) but gradually relaxed into a patter and actually began to enjoy it. The fact that I was in the Cork studios having a live conversation with the presenter in the Dublin studios was a bit strange but all in all not so bad. I never had time to plug the mutation nor did he ask me half the questions I had been desperately honing answers for. But no matter – it cleared my head and above all dramatically increased the profile of our arts resource, membership went up and hopefully, you never know, someone who knows someone may have been listening and you never know what might happen then…
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