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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

First rule of being interviewed: ignore the question

Rhys Ifans gives the interview from hell to Janice Turner in The Times in the same week the nation's football hacks form a guard of honour to welcome Jose Mourinho back to English football. Compare and contrast.

The former complains about the questions before tortuously trying to turn them to his advantage in a way that makes him look like a pillock. The latter cheerfully ignores the questions and just takes the opportunity to ventilate some riff that he's had in his head for a while.

Like him or not Mourinho understands the first rule of being interviewed. All the interviewer wants you to do is SAY SOMETHING NOTABLE.

Etiquette demands the interviewer starts with a question, as if this were about a job or a crime. It's not. It's a process which is supposed to result in quotes. If the "subject" doesn't volunteer anything then the writer has to write about how difficult they are.

And of course all the really agonising interviews happen because their subjects have paid PRs to arrange those interviews. It's not as if The Times are sitting there thinking "if only we could get Rhys Ifans".

One of these days an interviewer will have the nerve to turn up for one of these encounters, get out their recorder, say "now, how can I help you?" and then sit back.