Here’s a bit of a rant.
Watching the coverage of the Glastonbury festival last week I became more and more exercised by the interviews which artists were obliged to undertake moments after leaving the stage. In the case of the Kaiser Chiefs an interviewer was actually waiting at the foot of the stage steps as they came off.
For years I’ve hated the way sports people have been grabbed as they exit the pitch to deliver instant responses to their efforts, usually along the “gutted” or “over the moon” variety. Now this has spilled over into music reportage.
I don’t see how anything really useful can come out of these encounters in either sphere. The questions are usually inane or fawning -or both – and the answers self-evidently cannot be considered. All in all the process only seems to be there to big up the access the broadcaster is entitled to, in a very public way. An exhibition of power and ownership of the event.
To my mind this does a disservice to audience and performer alike. Some of you at least will know that I’m a big sports fan. What continues to fascinate me is the unfolding of the unscripted drama, with actors at the very limits of their capacities, physically and mentally. If the event in question is one of those which only come around every four years or so then it’ll be a pinnacle moment in the sports person’s personal and professional life. For us in the audience if there’s one of the great dramatic encounters then we, too, need some time (shuffling out of the ground or away from the sofa as the case may be) to take in the life-enhancing aspects of what we’ve just witnessed. To be treated to the usual “How does it feel to have won/lost?” in the immediacy of the event is to cut away its magic in a stroke.
Doubtless the performers (athletes) know well enough that they’re not really entitled to any “me” time until they reach the safety of the changing room – the sponsors must be satisfied at all costs. And I honestly have no idea of the interior mental life of a word class athlete. But I’d like to hope that “normal” humanity is still there alongside the monumental focus and determination which performance at that level requires. This interior human being within the Giant of Sport should be respected.
In similar vein, a main stage Glastonbury performance must be, you’d imagine, fairly high up on any artist’s list of achievements. So to have that moment rubbed in the mud (sic) by the obligatory (non-) chat show stuff moments later must be, er, irksome at least.
In both cases, as the watching punter, I personally get nothing (apart from my rant mode being activated) from these exchanges.
But then I suppose I’m much too old school. I like to take a private second after (and, indeed, before) any show just to think on, just to gather in the taste of the moment. And if analysis of how it was/how it went *is* to come then it’s usually in an informal debrief in the bus or the hotel, hours later. Probably over a glass of red.
But right after the show? No thanks.
Rant over. But doubtless more to come.