Friday, May 16, 2008

A Chat With Bill Bailey: Behind The Scenes

I did chat with Bill Bailey, yes. (Published version here) It was a lovely chat and I feel he is a good person. It was just after midnight in the UK so it was very considerate of him to share some of his time with me. I'm sure he doesn't need the publicity for his forthcoming visit because his shows will probably sell out regardless. Still. Cool.

I broke ground when I interviewed Laurie Anderson in that I was a tad nervous and too much a fan. I came away from that experience understanding that you cannot be a fan. Respect them but don't gush. So I was not nervous with BB, just wanted to make sure I didn't ask too many very dumb questions. Bear in mind, however, that I knew that he is a very funny and intelligent person and I really need this story to come out nicely. And I am a bit of a fan.

So yeah - maybe a bit nervous about it all going just right.

So imagine my feelings when some way into the interview I glance at my little tape recorder and see that the little red recording light is not on. Can you imagine how I felt? This kind of thing has happened before and I've lost entire conversations. But I thought I had moved on from all that (putting the mic plug into the earphone socket etc). For it to be happening again... whyyyyyyy????

I feverishly check the connections. I've moved my desk out into the living room to make room for a friend in the second bedroom and this is the first phone recording I've made since then so maybe something's not connected properly. Farck!

The little tiny wheels in my little tiny cassette recorder are still turning, so I frown as I laugh at something Bill has said. I am sweating and I feel a stress headache coming on because whyyyy???

And then as I watch, the little tiny wheels in my little tiny cassette recorder stop turning and I realise it's the batteries. Fucked. I'm fucked because little tiny cassette recorders require, I feel sure, little tiny batteries.

I take notes. Bill is interesting and funny and fuck it I need to get this down somehow. I scribble furiously and wish I knew shorthand. I know none of this adrenalin-fueled scribble is going to make sense and I try to listen and I curse for all eternity the little tiny designers of my recorder for not having the competence to include a "batteries are low" warning on this tiny little piece of shit.

I can't keep scribbling and interacting with Bill. He's going to catch on any second now that something is not right and that he is not talking to a professional. Ohfuckohfuckohfuck.

I rummage. I tip things out that might possibly contain little tiny batteries. No joy as pens and staplers and screwdrivers clatter across the desk. I think about other things that require tiny little batteries and yes! The TV remote control. I smash it open and a couple of AAA gems spill forth. I just about cry with happiness.

Have you ever tried to talk on the phone to a world famous comedian whilst trying to get little tiny batteries into a little tiny recorder with your elbows? Diff. Icc. Ult. Don't care how multi-tasky you are, neurosurgery is like eating a banana by comparison.

Recorder is back on and we're back in business. I relax. We keep chatting. Bill gives me almost an hour of his time and overall, it's really enjoyable. He's chilled and cool... which is the same as chilled but warmer, I suppose. We talk about lots of stuff including power tools, Donny Tourette (also a power tool), cat coffins, psytrance, Bill Hicks, Eurovision, Welsh Hobbits (as opposed to Welsh Rarebits)... I think the story, when it comes out, will be okay.

Mind you, I haven't been game to listen to the recording or look at my scribbles yet.

But it will be fine. It'll be fine.


Kathryn said...

I can totally imagine your panic. Ah, scary! Glad it came out all right, I'm sure the article will be awesome.

You are so lucky to talk to these people. And then write about them.:)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Whenever you mention 'little tape recorder' in any blog post I get this deja vu feeling. I hold my breath, waiting, thinking, oh no, oh no...

Y said...

Funny! That's something I could imagine Manny doing!

quick said...

Yes I am very lucky, Kat. Mostly they are the very best that humanity has to offer. They are kind and funny and gracious and caring, just in larger quantities than the rest of us. And the more of them I talk to the more I realise that they are really quite humble people.

GG - I know. I totally thought it would never happen again. I hope it never happens again.

Y - Having heard Bill's story about his DIY ineptitude and his mailbox, I think he would have totally related to my recorder crisis. He'd be thinking, "That's something I could imagine me doing."

Lapa said...

Eh Pá tas a olhar muito fixamente...

quick said...

Lapa... wot? "Eh Shovel you to look at very fixed" Wot? Something about digging? You are looking at something while you are digging to fix... erm... the hole that is broken?

Whatever. I'm coming over to your blog to leave a bit of English randomness you won't understand.

quick said...

Done. Lapa should be pretty confused. Stick that in your babelfish, Lapa.

Also, I have listened to the Bill Bailey recording, and it's fine. I am shit but he is good.

Y said...

Again, hahahahaha!!

quick said...

It was sooo not funny Y. (But yeah, also pretty damn funny).