It never rains but it pours – and I’m not talking about our miserable summer. I was asked to write a piece for the Irish Independent website on disability hate crime just as we were heading off for a few days in Dundalk and an interview on Ireland AM on TV3 two days later. So I wrote it, thought nothing more and off we drove to Dublin.
Well, trying to deal with emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, the blog and phone calls when the article appeared was quite tricky as I hadn’t expected it to be published so suddenly. What really stunned me was the huge traffic on the blog. On the first day the hits were equivalent to my best two days ever combined!
Writing is one thing, appearing on TV is something else. I was a little nervous the night before – I hardly slept to be honest, although why I haven’t a clue. I always enjoy one-to-one chats which is all television is – if you ignore the cameras, viewers, etc. There was also no studio audience to worry about, which was a blessed relief, at least for this encounter.
I’m not the best when it comes to finding my way from A to B in a car, so as we stayed in Dublin the night before I took a practice run and was surprised at how easy it was to get to the studios in Ballymount. So, after a fitful sleep I was there in plenty of time only to find the first building wasn’t the right one, so off I drove to the next one and parked there for a few minutes composing myself. Naturally, this being me when I entered it I was told, no, it was the next building. Yikes, just as well I had plenty of time!
Inside I met Fintan O’Toole, GAA editor of The42.ie and formerly of my own paper, and former Irish soccer international Paddy Mulligan waiting their turn. Beautiful models walked by, former Irish international rugby player Shane Byrne did too, and it was all a bit strange to be honest. I went into the makeup room and felt like a right prat when the artist dabbed at my cheeks and forehead. Then Sinead Desmond, who co-presents Ireland AM, came over and had a quick chat with me. It helped break the ice and settle whatever nerves I had.
Pretty soon I was ushered into the wing where I could see the Ireland AM team in action before being led to my seat and then we were on! I have to say I was very much at ease, perhaps because I feel at my best where I see the person I am talking to. I tried to look at my interviewers and not lose my train of thought by looking around me, although there was one moment when I saw a picture of myself and Trish on a monitor and couldn’t resist commenting on it. But apart from that I was really pleased that I stuck to my task.
It’s a steep learning curve dealing with radio and now TV, but I guess you have to suffer a little to get the message across. In just a few minutes we just touched on my life and the issues that flowed from it. Sinead asked some good questions, the minutes flew, and there was just enough time to mention the blog before time was up.
Any thoughts of setting myself up like the Kardashians with my own reality show were banished by the realisation that it’s a lot of work. It might sound idyllic but there are consequences. Not sure I want to live my life quite so openly. It was hard enough psyching myself up for a short interview on a morning chat show never mind spending my days followed by TV cameras.