This period between Christmas and the New Year is one in which I prefer not to get too serious. Nevertheless I still browse for interesting speeches and interviews. Thus it was that I happened upon a late and lamented performer, whom I had known slightly, interviewing a man who had contributed generously to my very small childhood.
Though I earn my living helping people to speak I am a fan of nonsense-speak.
Peter Hawkins was a voice-artist who supplied the speaking for many famous TV stars, including the Daleks. But many years earlier my infant self used to hear him speaking “Oddle-poddle” (yes, they even gave it a name), the language spoken by Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men. I even dared to speak it a bit myself.
Stanley Unwin was a hero to my youthful self. I would clamour never to miss his appearances on television and loved his performance in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Again I would try to imitate. In the nineties, when I produced and presented an arts programme on BBC Radio, I recorded with him a long-form, broadly biographical, interview. The recording subsequently required heavy editing, as we would regularly dissolve into laughter. He was a lovely man.
I will leave you with the one interviewing the other. It is introduced by the late Robert Robinson.
A friend asked me to stop posting so many political speeches. I sympathised, and challenged him to find me current speeches that are not political. Politicians, with the enthusiastic cooperation of the media and Big Tech, have closed down the world in defiance of science, so the flow of all normal speechmaking has dried up. Therefore …
Here’s a juicy four and a half minutes from a week or so ago in the US House of Representatives. Dan Crenshaw doesn’t mince his words, even though he feels the need to read them.
He wades into the conduct of Nancy Pelosi, and what he calls the hypocrisy displayed by lockdown-supporting politicians who break the rules. I call it lying.
After all, if you vote for a policy while your behaviour shows that you don’t believe in it, isn’t that a form of mendacity? The trouble is that with lying being the favoured currency of politics, it’s as un-newsworthy as “Dog bites man”.
At 2:46 Crenshaw mentions the viral video of Angela Marsden. If you haven’t seen it, have a look here –
And now register how many seats are occupied in the House of Representatives to hear Crenshaw’s speech. More people need to know about this, but the media won’t help.
People are not making speeches at the moment, for reasons I don’t need to explain. For this blog I can mine reserves of historic speeches, and I have done so, but part of the interest I get from critiquing speeches is to learn what views and arguments people are currently promoting.
On the other hand people are being interviewed. The essential difference with an interview is that the speaker is fed questions which dictate the direction of the conversation; and it is a very large part of the public speaking skill to address the direction your conversation would have taken had the audience been able to dictate it.
Lord Sumption, erstwhile Supreme Court Justice, has made no secret of his disapproval of the government’s policies concerning Covid 19, and here is an interview on the subject. It was broadcast in May of this year.
I’ll admit that I did have an actual speech that Sumption had made a few years ago, but I decided against covering it because the subject matter was way out of date and because to my intense irritation he slavishly read every syllable of the wretched thing.
You will see that I have supplied a link to that discarded speech in order that students of public speaking can see for themselves that, by reading it, Sumption made himself not a jot more articulate than he is being here in this interview, while sacrificing a huge portion of the perceived sincerity that spontaneity would have granted. But back to this interview …
What would be beyond belief had we not experienced it is that this interview, and Sumption’s excellently articulated arguments in it, were broadcast half a year ago and politicians are still pursuing the same asinine policies. How dare they have the impertinence to arrogate the right to consider Christmas to be within their gift!
It is not only disgraceful it is politically foolish. The arguments they promote in the name of “science” have become visibly and risibly threadbare and widely debunked by substantial scientific authority. The various degrees of lockdown have done manifestly more damage, not only culturally, socially and economically, but even medically, than the coronavirus ever could. This is vandalism conducted behind a smokescreen of a disease whose puny fatality rate is losing ground to that of hay fever.
The trouble with official idiocy on this scale is that conspiracy theories take hold. When no one is capable of being quite this stupid the only apparent explanation is that there is something else going on. And there are some very plausible and alarming explanations being aired which, if they are only slightly true, suggest that the people concerned are dangerous lunatics.