As a teacher I can quite happily talk in front of large groups of children without feeling fazed at all, but the mere thought of having to speak in front of adults makes me shudder. Quite simply, I genuinely don’t care what the kids think of me, but I’m very intimidated by the judgements of people of my own age.
As a result, my experiences of public presentations are littered with embarrassments. There was the time when I asked a group of parents to ‘feel free to take a sh*t’ instead of ‘seat,’ the time I forgot where the fire escapes were at the beginning of a concert and effectively pointed to a large window during my audience welcome, and let’s not forget the time I was asked to give some flowers to a prominent conductor on behalf of the orchestra I was playing in, only to drop them off the side of the stage on my way up to hand them to him. This meant I had to walk all the way round to the bottom in front of the audience and give them to him from the floor.
So, when Steve from Talk About Pop Music asked me to do a quick interview on his popular blog radio show, I was apprehensive. However, I love the show and I’ve known Steve for several years, and I soon found myself staring at my Facebook messenger app with butterflies in my stomach, waiting for him to call me live during his Saturday night show.
It rang, and I answered with “Hello!” expecting to hear his Scottish accent on the other end of the line.
I tried again.
“Hello? Hello??? Hellooooo?”
Nope. Nothing. I hung up.
He rang me back again.
“Hellooo? Hello? Hello?”
I turned the radio back on to find Steve playing Adele’s Hello, and it was obvious from the hilarious tweets I received that everyone could hear me, I just couldn’t hear them.
We decided to try again, but this time I was just going to talk about next Sunday’s mahoosive Valentine’s Day Blog Party and then say bye. The phone rang again, so I did just that. I started rambling, and then half way through I finally got a connection! It was Steve – yay! We had a chat for about thirty seconds and then he told me he’d just found out that the audience could hear me, but not him, so it sounded like I was having a conversation with myself.
Great. The audience must have thought I was insane.
To top it all off, Steve asked me to tell a joke. I’m not good at this – I know plenty of jokes but my delivery of them makes even the funniest of them sound like a eulogy at a funeral. This was the one I came up with – the joke that made me laugh so hard that it got me thrown out of a Year 9 science lesson when I was 14.
What’s blue and stands in a field?
A cow in a shell suit.
Hilarious! However, judging from Steve’s reaction he wasn’t impressed.
And that was that. I hung up and went for a cigarette.
And this, my friends, is why I shouldn’t be allowed to speak in public.
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