Wednesday, 7 February 2007

A spate of remembrance

I've spent a fair chunk of the last two days wresting with an old portable DAT player. I won. I'm older than it and although I'm less reliable I'm somewhat heavier. In the process I've transferred to PC an interview I conducted with an icon of the 1960s when I was in my twenties, he was two years from death and the Universe was less than half its present size.
Very odd to hear yourself from ten years ago on tape and find just what has and hasn't changed, particularly when the interview is in large part about asking a man about his work 30 years before that. My perspectives have shifted a deal since then, how much had his in three times the time shift? What's lovely, is how after over 4 hours(!) chatting, both our ghosts, 20 something and 70 something seem to be getting on quite well. After the tape ended I even recall him recommending Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction' to me! How hip he was, how hip I wasn't. I hope both those ghosts are okay, wherever they are now.
You were a kind man, thank you for such a generous gift of your time. It's been a privilege to hear our shared laughter again.


Stuart Douglas said...

Is the gentleman's identity a secret (I'm still *so* jealous of your meeting Eric Sykes and have spent all day trying to figure out who this could be)?

Phil said...

At least you interview interesting and noteworthy people on tape. All the ones I seem to do these days are with criminals...

IZP said...

The thing is though, 'coppah'- all these interviews are about rapport and about accidental confessions and revelations, and creating the environments in which genuine interaction can happen, as I'm sure you know.

I just saw something my interviewee did in 1974 for the first time and if I'd known about it back then in the '90s, I would have wanted to tear his bollocks off for it, it was way out of line.

As it happened, because of my ignorance back then, we had a much more reasonable chat, which I think revealed some of why he did stuff I loathe totally. Sometimes ignorance is a gift!

It's very hard facilitating these things and being probing at the same time because generally the power relationship is skewed against you, but sometimes displaying naivety and low status (real or feigned) is a great way to get the interesting stuff to come out (see Louis Theroux). Some of it's fluke sure, and it's best to let people believe as much of it is fluke as is humanly possible, I reckon, or they'll clam up like they think Derren Brown's with 'em, but sometimes...

Equally, I'm sure it's very hard for you in your new job- learning to subsume yourself totally to the role you now serve (no matter how much you buy into it). The fact your individuality must be now disguised is tough, and it's sad, if totally understandable, to think your blogging is going to vanish to facilitate that.
How will we ever know what consumer ephemerals to love now?

Hope all's well,