Gummed-up eyelids caused me to misread the bedside clock and I got up an hour early. Not wanting to disturb VR by going back to bed, I took to the downstairs couch and let my mind wander. Thought about interviewing, the basis of my ex-job as a journalist.
I've interviewed hundreds. MDs, engineers, academics, travellers from the top deck of the Clapham omnibus, teachers, men of the cloth, bike racers powered and unpowered, software geeks. Brits, Germans, Americans, the French, Italians, Venezuelans, Antipodeans, Swedes (lots of them), Canucks. In Tokyo I questioned a logistics specialist via a translator, in Geneva - daringly - I interviewed the catering manageress of the World Health Organisation in French.
These weren't adversarial encounters as seen on telly, I was simply after info. Even so, skills are involved. You need to keep your mind open as well as your ears. To compare today’s revelation with a chance remark you overheard six months ago.
Notes are essential. You must keep track of what you're asking so that the answers build up naturally into the article you will eventually write. It's important not to come over as stupid since you'll usually be talking to experts. You have to show you know things, not in depth, shallow will do. I am naturally facetious but I made that work for me. You cannot afford to be shy.
In whodunnits the rule is Cherchez la femme. In my latter-day journalism it was Cherchez l'argent. Cash usually defines success and failure even in activities away from business; many are reticent about this and it's your job to prise them open.
If there’s a rapport it’s exhilarating, a bit like ice-dancing.
Could I do it now, old and enfeebled? I reckon. Wanna try me out?