Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Just Because You Can....

I've been listening and watching some podcasts and video-podcasts recently. And there have been one or two which I visit regularly, keeping up with new episodes and remaining topical. But for the most part, I don't revisit them. Mostly because they are just not very good.

The ones I revisit don't have particularly high production values. In fact, there is very little in the way of production or post-production. They don't appear to have expensive equipment or anyone assisting them. Simply put, it's the quality of the content and the skills of the presenters/interviewers that draw me in.

Interviewing is a skill, and good interviewing techniques take practice. I wouldn't say I'm an expert, but I do have some radio experience, I majored in Drama at University, was a teacher for more than twenty years, spent several years as an investigator conducting interviews, and undertook Research Methods for my Postgraduate studies.

So let's be clear. There is an art to conducting interviews and presenting. You need to prepare, to have areas to cover (especially if the interviewee isn't forthcoming) as well as being prepared to shoot off on tangents if the interview leads into other interesting yet relevant areas. And yet I have seen and heard so many who cannot interview or present to save their lives.

I saw one particular interview where the subject was fascinating, with a great tale to tell, and yet the interviewer, who had no charisma, presence or technique, tried to revert everything back to their own experience and made it about them. (And believe me, it was dull)

I saw another where the presenters had all the equipment, expensive and high quality, but spent the first five minutes talking about connection issues as though no-one was listening.

Another where the two co-hosts thought they were hilarious, and laughed at all their in-jokes which the audience wouldn't have understood.

And the one where the interviewer obviously hadn't prepared and made vague generalised statements about the subject (and the interviewee was a specialist) which showed a general ignorance and lack of understanding. They did have a marketable gimmick, though.

Oh dear, the list goes on.

It's all too easy these days, isn't it? Anyone can throw a podcast onto a streaming service, or a video up on a channel in YouTube. Anyone can claim to be an expert, and it appears many can build a following without actually being any good.

Which reminds me. There is also an art in being an audience member and using your discernment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

God Save the Queen!

The Queen's jubilee weekend has just finished with a number of events across the UK. Much of it was televised, and I didn't see any of it. Well, except for that one YouTube clip where a UFO seemed to fly across the path of an Air Force flyover just as they passed. But surely that doesn't really count.

There were some local events, including a tea party in the village hall. I was supposed to go, but decided not to at the last minute. We were told the hall was limited to 150 people due to regulations, and another 100 would be seated outside. The weather, however, was pretty awful and so the organisers (who did a fine job, I've been told) decided to squeeze all 250 people into the hall. I thought about it and was a little reluctant, partly because I'm not keen on crowds in this post-lockdown world and partly because there are vulnerable people around me. And so I declined.

I was invited to a neighbour's house for drinks and nibbles where I got to meet some other neighbours I hadn't yet met, had some great conversations, and generally had a really relaxed and enjoyable evening. I think a few of them have decided that I am a republican, (which I am for Australia, but not necessarily for the UK) as a couple of people made it clear they were going to toast the Queen but I didn't have to partake if I didn't want to. Maybe it's my Scottish/Australian background that screams that.

But I was happy to toast the Queen. Seventy years in a role you didn't plan on or want is no mean feat in anyone's book. And I think for the most part she has done a fine job under some very trying circumstances.

In other news, I have managed to secure a copy of the extremely limited Jubilee reissue of God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols) on coloured vinyl.