because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Monday, 19 October 2009

Media Tart With A Heart (But No Brain).

So. The Media. Gotta love it. And its capitalisation.

I was lucky enough to spend an hour in the audience of Radio 4's Women's Hour last week. I was dead excited- not least because it was a thrill just to see which pashmina Jenni Murray would turn up with strewn casually across her shoulder, like the radio royalty she is. I mean, come on- Jenni Murray. The Murray Monster. Jenz.

On my way in, a PR grabbed me by the arm and said, "I need a gobby student!" I should have said, in no uncertain terms, "Buggar off!" and stomped haughtily to my seat at the insinuation that just because I had been talking to some strangers behind me in the queue I would be 'gobby'. But I didn't. Caught up in the excitement of watching Jenni-bloody-Murray record such an iconic show live had sent me all funny. So instead I went weak at the knees because a fancy PR had chosen ME to be the gobbiest of them all, and so I just sort of looked at her like a dog to owner would. A kind of, "Yes, master?". And she told me I had to talk about politics. That is a bit like having my ex-boyfriend talk about climate change. Uninformed.

When Jenni Murray started interviewing Margaret Beckett (read: very important politics-shaped-person) I had a feeling that something not-quite-right was about to happen. And then I saw the PR point me out to her. And THEN I heard the words, "Yes you! You in the red beret!" and I thought "Shit!" because I had been having a conversation with myself in my imagination about things not-quite-right that might be about to happen and hadn't been listening to the interview.

"What do you think would get young people into politics?" Jenni Murray repeated, her eyes peering over those glasses she has that perch on her nose- one of three pairs, she told us before the show, at which we were all expected to laugh. Why it should be funny that a woman gets so old she goes blind I don't know. Next we'd be laughing at, "... and then, she had to wipe my arse for me!" jokes. But titter we did. She is Jenni Murray. Have I mentioned that?

"Well, urm... I suppose that really it can be difficult to take an interest in politics if you are already very busy, like I am- I'm a student you see, and not one of those that stay in bed until the afternoon either, I work really hard-" I looked pointedly at the PR that had already made three students-are-lazy-and-take-all-our-money jokes before the recording, "-and I think that maybe young people who don't take an interest in politics are just confused because it is hard to wade through all of that rhetoric and unwrap the bow they put on things so, you know, that's what I think would get young people into politics. I think. Probably". Translation? BLAH, BLAH, BLAH etc.

Jenni Murray looked pointedly at the audience, once again over her specs. "I think what the young lady is trying to say is, why not just say what you mean?" Obviously I struggled to do that, so everyone in the audience laughed. At me. Loudly. Bastards. I felt betrayed- Jenni Murray had a cheap pop at my expense. And after I had laughed at her stupid unfunny jokes, too. I don't remember much after that. It was all a bit disappointing.

I got home that evening and, in the haze of the disconcertment of my day, forgot that I'd been interviewed by the local TV news station about Woman's Hour coming to my town. It took me by surprise. As I sat eating reheated spinach tortellini (that reminds me actually- I must share the most hilarious rap written by one of my kids this summer sometime) the newswoman started a segment with, "We've had a very special guest from Radio Four in town today...". I was suddenly prepared for the worst. Forget public humiliation rock-bottom style. I knew before it was even aired that I was beyond the rocks. I knew that I was under the rocks, wrapped in crap with a poop sandwich in my mortified mouth.
It was HORRIBLE. I half-expected a text from mama after it had aired saying something along the lines of, "You went on the telly with your hair like THAT?" I spoke really high-pitched and once again, made absolutely no sense. I talked out of only one side of my mouth. I had twenty-six chins. My blusher was all streaky. I got a text from my cousin after the segment aired: "You're a natural". Sarcastic cow.

So lessons learnt this week? I reckon I'm about as far removed from successful Media Whore as you can get: I'll be pulling up my knickers now.
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