When Georgie Norgate, one of my lovely undergraduate students, approached me to ask if she could interview me for a new student radio show she was starting up, I was flattered.
Actually I experienced a whole range of involuntary reactions in quick succession, from horror (I HATE my voice); to curiosity (what’s it like being on the radio?); to fear (what if I say something stupid and it’s out there FOREVER?), to egotistical smugness (she thinks I’m interesting, how lovely!).
In the spirit of harvesting as many experiences as possible in life, I agreed.
And as it turns out, I DID say something stupid – I had an incredibly scatty moment about Geoffrey of Monmouth and obliterated Guinevere’s presence from his Historia Regum Britanniae entirely! Oops.
But apart from that blunder, and a bit of nervous giggling, the interview was actually a lot of fun! It was a great learning experience – better to make these mistakes now, than with Melvyn Bragg in a few years, eh? (There’s the egotism again!) It’s not the most polished or sophisticated of pieces (Georgie was fantastic – it was her guest who kept wandering off topic!), but I’m really glad I said yes.
We discussed Arthurian literature and legend – from the idea of a historical Arthur to later romance – and considered the enduring popularity of the legend into modern film and television adaptations. Georgie was also very interested in my unorthodox route to a PhD alongside a career in publishing and web editing, and asked about careers for English graduates. I was only too happy to share my story and impart some advice and encouragement to the next generation of undergraduates.
So, here’s my interview in all its glory on the University of York Radio website:
What’s that Topic? – with Rebecca Lyons:
Each interview in the ‘What’s That Topic?’ series will be with a different subject area specialist. Do keep an ear out for the next one!
And if you have any tips for speaking on the radio – please do share in the comments below!