Thursday, 22 August 2013

Convivial Conversations With A TV News Cameraman.

Standing around on street corners for most of your working day tends to attract passers by. Now, I must stress that I am in no way standing under flickering street lamps with a look that says 'hello sailor.' Nor am I furtively dealing quarter ounce wraps of Bolivian marching powder to bespectacled media types... No.

Any minute now, that lunatic behind me is going to ask me something stupid...

You see, standing next to a large tripod, TV camera and a light attracts the curious, the axe grinders and tin foil hat wearers like a moth to a flame. Most people just want to know why you are there, some want to give you their opinions on the news and some, well, some want to tell you their whole life history including hospital visits with swollen limbs, pustulating sores requiring drainage, collapsed vertebrae and the untimely death of their pet cat.

Me..? As you know, being an approachable sort of chap, I'll speak to anyone, especially if I think I can get a good blog post out of it. Tell me of your adventures, the ups and downs of your intrepid lifestyle. Orate at your leisure if you have something interesting to say, a tip to impart or a yarn of outstanding misadventure. Just please don't bore me.

Take the other day for example. There I was, minding my own business, as is my job as a TV news cameraman, when I was approached... Slowly at first as he sized me up from afar. I could see him circling... He looked at me then looked away, but he was creeping ever closer.

' Don't make eye contact... Don't make eye contact...' I thought to myself. I then made eye contact... Bugger.

He was upon me like a flash in a haze of alcoholic fumes and stumbles. I hadn't noticed the can of super strength lager in his hand or the redness of his eyes. I was then questioned, at length, on the state of the news business and why I was personally responsible for the news media being at the heart of government propaganda, of lying to the public about everything from global warming to unemployment figures and most of all... most of all... Why I was in personal cahoots with Rupert Murdoch. I was working for the BBC, but this didn't concern him.

Following 20 or so minutes of this he finally stopped. 'Anyway... I gotta go... For my (hic) for my (hic) for my dinner...' He mumbled as he stepped away. He turned towards me and as an afterthought he asked... 'Hey, mate, you couldn't lend me a tenner could ya..?'

So now he's my mate and he wants my money.

'Im skint, Rupert doesn't pay me enough... and he forgot my invite to his last soirée at his place in Manhattan..' I replied.

'Aye... The man's a bastard ain't he..?' He said. And with that, he was gone.

So you see, it's not all plain sailing out on the mean streets of North Hampshire. People can turn on you, blame you and harangue you. So whilst I await my newsworthy quarry, with nowhere else to go, I get to thinking... 'Why me..?' And, 'Yeah... Just where is my invite from Rupert?' And... 'Why haven't I been invited to a family lunch with the Director General of the BBC..?'

And come to think of it... 'Why haven't I got a tenner in my wallet..?'

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.