About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Polished media performer - not

Last night, from midnight to 2 am, I did a radio gig with a small group of others on the 3RRR Party Show, hosted by Headly Gritter and his zany producer, DD. Headly's other guests in the studio were an archeologist from La Trobe and an astrophysicist from Swinburne (plus various people on the phone from time to time). It was not my finest hour - well two hours - though maybe not my worst, either.

I've done quite a lot of radio interviews by telephone, but never anything remotely like this gig, and I must admit I was too nervous to relax into the conversation until we were deep into the two hours. It really is quite different being placed in a room where you don't feel at home, with a bunch of people you've just met, headphones on, a huge microphone sticking in your face, and an expectation that you be witty and cogent for an audience that you can't see. There are particular skills involved. For me, it was scarier than having to perform in front of a meeting hall or a lecture theatre or even in a courtroom.

On the other hand, you soon get used to it.

By the end, the setting had already taken on a kind of familiarity, I was feeling less terrified of saying something stupid, and was actually thinking that I'd enjoy doing something like this again, having had a taste of it. I wonder whether they'll invite me back.


Anonymous said...

If they do let you back, let us know before the show.

Russell Blackford said...

Yeah. Part of the problem was that I got the invitation only a few hours before the event - they were desperately looking for a philosopher to throw in their mix with the archeologist and the astrophysicist. I think I got the call at about 7 or 8 pm asking me if I'd like to do it and if I could be in the 3RRR studio across town at 11.45.

Hopefully, if it ever happens again, I'll at least have enough notice to be able to advertise it here ... but I suspect this will prove to have been a one-off.

All good experience, though. Next time I'm in a radio studio, I'll feel just that bit more comfortable, and if I was a little nervy and stilted this time (as I was) no harm was done.