Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

A media hat trick – my BBC Radio Cymru interview

This week I made a media hat trick. I have now been interviewed in a Welsh newspaper, on Welsh language television, and most recently on BBC radio Cymru.

Yep, that’s right. I’m pretty much a household name in Wales. πŸ™‚

I would like to be able to call this week’s interview a Welsh language hat trick. But the newspaper interview was in English. I couldn’t string two Welsh words together back then. But I’d won a prize with a short story inspired by one of my mum’s wartime memories and the South Wales Evening Post responded to the Bristol Short Story Prize’s press release.

It wasn’t my first interview. I’d done one for a Bristol & Bath publication call Venue a week earlier. Trouble is, I worked as a children’s librarian back then. I read heaps of kids books. I didn’t know that particular issue of the Venue was going to be about alfresco sex. My comments about Narnia and Anne of Green Gables, were bookended by strategies for getting naked in the English countryside (a fact that did not escape the teasing notice of my family). I cam across as a middle aged woman with a serious Peter Pan complex. As a consequence, when the South Wales Evening Post sent me a list of interview questions I worked hard at sounding mature.

‘Wow!’ The journalist wrote upon receiving my written responses. ‘You’ve pretty much done my job for me.’

The article came out largely unchanged. I’d learned my first media lesson – do your preparation.

I had less control over my second interview. It was in Welsh. I’d put my hand up in a fit of evangelistic fervour after the amazing online course, Say Something in Welsh, had transformed my language learning experience, achieving what years of formal, high school Japanese lessons never had – the ability to think in another language. I stood in front of the fuzzy TV microphone and babbled about the wonders of the SSiW course, only to find it edited out of the final interview. The producers made it sound like Cwrs Haf had transformed my experience (which it did in it’s own way). But at the time of the interview I had only been in Aberystwyth a day. No time for lightbulb moments, or pennies dropping. I came across as a massive exaggerator. πŸ™‚

From this, I learned my second media lesson. If you are going to put your hand up for a jet-lagged interview in a sketchily obtained second language you may end up mis-understood.

So why did I say agree to a third interview? Good question. I’m still not sure. Probably because my friend Lowri Price asked me. Because, I’ve still got religion on the SSiW course. Because I’m coming to Wales in July and I’m getting excited. Maybe as a test? A radio interview is a pretty good measure of how far you’ve come. Or perhaps because it’s sometimes worth letting go, taking a risk, and swimming with the flow.

My interview with SiΓ’n Cothi took place Wednesday evening Melbourne time and aired in Wales Friday morning. I wasn’t jet-lagged this time. Nor was I edited out of shape. I pretty much managed to understand what was being said and to reply (albeit with plenty of mistakes). If you want to listen to my halting attempt to explain why I started learning Welsh, follow this link. My segment is two hours and seven minutes into the program. You can’t miss me, even if you don’t speak Welsh. I am the one talking really slow.

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6 Comments

  1. Fantastic, Liz. You are an inspiration.

  2. Well done. We are all so proud of you. So look forward to our meeting up on the narrow boat and mastering knots and locks!!

    • ejcorbett@yahoo.com.au

      But will the instructions for the knots and locks be in Welsh?

  3. Well done, Liz. Congratulations.
    Though I laughed out loud at the “getting naked” issue in which you found yourself. Fully clothed, I hope. πŸ™‚

    • ejcorbett@yahoo.com.au

      Yes, I was fully naked sounding like an absolute wowser. At least the family found it amusing. I still lie awake wishing I’d answered differently.

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