As an almost fresh faced (I hadn’t shaved that day) media student, hopping off the train in Birmingham and arriving at the mighty BBC buildings, I found myself in the middle of what was a very surreal and overwhelming experience. The BBC…THE media giant, bringing us ‘The Apprentice’, ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Eastenders’ (well, nobody’s perfect I guess).
So what does this entail? Well, seen as one day I hope to work in the industry, no drinking booze before the meeting to settle the nerves for one; I hadn’t shaved after all, and there couldn’t be a more embarrassing situation than being physically thrown out the door by security. Another rule is preferably no rambling, cursing or digging myself into a verbal pit of shame – I’m trying to pass myself off as a professional, damn it.
This was certainly going to be a milestone for me; interviewing a DJ from the BBC Asian Network was a big deal, and the objective of my evening was to walk away from an informative and funny interview, proudly holding my head high and looking down on those who didn’t have immediate access to a laptop. I was also aware that if I lost my head and fainted in front of a celeb who’s show I enjoy a great deal, it would not only destroy what little dignity I have left, but it would permanently put a horrifying black mark on my media profile.
Entering the BBC building is a bit like meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time – you’re scared, unsure of your surroundings and terrified of saying a joke that could be considered in any way offensive. Upon arriving, I noticed two things; one, the building is a very media friendly place – I almost felt like I was walking into a workplace that I’d designed myself so that I could have fun at work (there was no slide though – they missed a trick there). They had a full scale T.A.R.D.I.S (which I’m forced to assume is fully operational), a Dalek at the top of the stairs (an effective money saver on security guards) and a window that peered into the radio stations like a one way mirror in a police station when you’re identifying the who’s-who of the criminal underworld.
Upon asking for Noreen, I must confess I did have a slightly inflated sense of self importance, but the reality of the situation soon hit me and I began to panic – what if the equipment failed me? What if my mind wandered and I blurted out something inappropriate? I’d look like a bumbling fool! A ridiculous example of human being! In short, a moron. I didn’t have long to dwell in this kind of dream-world of what-ifs though, as someone with a huge smile on her face came out the rotating doors (another good addition if you fancy making yourself dizzy for laughs). It was the person I’d been waiting for; the DJ who’s position in the business I could only envy – the BBC Asian Network regular, Noreen Khan.
She greeted me with a friendly handshake and we sat down to do the interview I had been anticipating. Fortunately, I wasn’t with a celebrity who was consumed with their own massive ego; instead I was given a very casual and relaxed question and answer session with someone who immediately made me feel comfortable. I found we had engaging conversation that would venture from the serious, almost-business like queries to comparisons between Professor Green and Eminem. This is the mark of a great DJ – making the person across from you feeling completely at ease, and I soon found myself discussing my love of dubstep with her and asking her why she tweets so obsessively. I had to remind myself this was an interview and talking about myself is essentially the opposite of my objective. And, as someone who may (and probably will) be the next Louise Theroux, I had to remember where I was.
As we progressed and began to finish up, I immediately took advantage of the situation by asking for a photograph with her and beside the T.A.R.D.I.S – otherwise my friends would more than likely accuse me of fabricating the whole incident. All in all, I believe I came across as a professional and, proud of this achievement, I said my goodbyes to Noreen and attempted to depart. As per my usual luck, the main door was locked tight and I was battling with a jammed door that seemed to be winning. I feared my image of being both an incredibly handsome and professional interviewer was in serious jeopardy, and did everything I possibly could to keep my dignity, but I failed and Noreen had to help me get out 0f the building. Thank God that wasn’t recorded…
Listen to the interview and leave any comments you have below!
And to read the interview from REV issue 5 (also including Ricky Gervais and Richard Hammond), click here and go to page 34 for Noreen!