March 21st, 2008


Inequality of interview

You find me in Vienna, where I've been interviewed for local magazine Falter about a performance I'll give in May at the Technical University.

I must say I love being interviewed, I love the way it makes you feel that people really care about what you think. Sitting in a Vienna bar last night, with a photographer shining bright lights and two reporters (one, Tex, a local TV star) alternating questions, I remembered what Morrissey had once said: being a celebrity is sometimes the only way to be treated at least half-decently as a human being. As all human beings should be treated.

But I also thought of the song at the end of The Threepenny Opera, the epilogue about "some in light, the others darkness". The photographer seemed to guess my thoughts. "You must have been photographed so many times!" he said. But there are lots of people who are never professionally photographed, never interviewed. My own brother, for instance. I don't think there's a single interview with him anywhere, despite the fact that he's the head of a university department. Perhaps he wouldn't enjoy the self-revelation as much as I do, but there's undoubtedly an inverse relationship between willingness to speak and the interestingness of the results.

We should turn the spotlight on the taciturn, interview the never-interviewed, turn and face the strange, squeeze blood from a stone. We should introduce genuinely new information into our media systems, and attempt to establish "equality of interview". We could start right here, right now, by interviewing the Anonymous Detractors and trolls who haunt these pages so enigmatically. Who are they, and what are their thoughts on the issues of the day?

I'll be on trains now until midnight, but I'd love to read some really telling interviews in the comments section when I get home. Today is the day to ask one another questions, and answer them in good faith.