Monday, January 03, 2011

Adrenalin is what you need

It's a funny thing, talking about your work on the radio. The first time I went on Andrew Edwards' ALL FM Artbeat programme was when I was producing my play The Processing Room for the 24:7 Theatre Festival. Rachael Carnegie, who played my celestial nurse, and I went on and read a jokey little advert for the play I'd written. It went fine - Andrew seemed to think so - though hearing it back afterwards I thought I sounded a bit too arch, and I guess that was a problem with the thing having been scripted (Rachael, the professional actor, was great: she sounded really natural). Then last autumn Andrew invited me to go and talk about Too Many Magpies which had just come out, and I think the interview went well (you can hear it here).

Both those times I had that edge of nervousness that comes from being about to be publicly on show in a situation which is basically unknown to you, especially the second time, when I didn't know what questions I'd be asked. This November, when Andrew invited me in to talk about The Birth Machine, I went along with a different attitude: by now I was familiar with the converted house on the corner in Levenshulme with its higgledy little backroom, and with the people who were just coming off the previous show. And I had met Andrew on a more social occasion in the meantime, so I felt I was beginning to know him. I relaxed.

And what happened? I opened my mouth to answer Andrew's first question, and I hesitated, just the way you often hesitate when someone asks you a question in the pub, thinking it through, weighing up the possible answers. Ridiculous, because if anything I have marshalled what I need to say about The Birth Machine better, probably, than I have done with any piece of work previously (as I've got more experienced at promotion). Realising what was happening, and how it must sound, I panicked, the adrenalin kicked in, and as a result I got into my stride. Mad, eh? Seems nervousness is what you need to sound not nervous on radio. Or maybe sounding good on radio is just a very special art, and my admiration goes out to those who do it professionally.... (The Birth Machine interview here: it starts about a third of the way into the podcast.)

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