Wednesday, July 21, 2010

and we're live in five, four, three...


one of the very first published articles i ever wrote involved me free-falling for 150 feet into a giant net. it was for the edinburgh evening news and i was desperate enough that driving two hours north into the highlands to go bungee jumping without the bungee cord seemed a fair price to pay.

they strapped me into a harness, clipped me to a crane and hoisted me high above the birds and the trees, spread eagle with my back facing the ground. when we got allll the way up, the operator leaned over, put his hand on the clip, counted down from three and unhooked me.

i hollered all the way down, bounced into the net and rolled over the edge. i then got my first taste of working with photographers.

'you screamed like a girl,' she said. then: 'you need to do it again, so i can get a different angle.'

so i was hoisted back up, dropped, bounced out, and then did it again so she could shoot me from above. i managed not to scream the third time.

being on live at five last night was a bit like that. i arrived, they directed me to the lounge section of the set (the news desk, the weather desk and all the live at five sets are in the same open space). bruce frisko (not exactly as illustrated) came over, set me at ease, and then vanished to talk about the bay of fundy.

a cameraman was dispatched to make sure i hadn't frozen up and to give me some tips on tv. for example, don't turn to the camera two minutes into your segment, make a slashing gesture across your throat and yell 'cut'. you can't cut live tv. this had to be explained to one memorable guest, live on tv.

then bruce returned, sat down, the bright lights went up and we were live. one of the great things about these 'through the looking glass' stints is that i get to be interviewed by some of my favourite journalists - bruce frisko yesterday and jean laroche on cbc last week.

bruce is very good at his job and good at helping people not freak out live at five. i was answering one of his questions when, about 20 seconds in, i forgot the question. i rambled on for another 20 seconds until i could remember what he'd said and tried to tack back in to actually answer it.

the free fall lasted about 3 seconds, but was a very, very slow experience. the 4-minute live tv stint was a similar experience. i'm sure einstein would have understood.

halifax magazine ran a review of the hermit on its website this week - you can read it here.

they've also got a cover story i wrote this month about cafe chianti reopening in halifax after the devastating fire last winter and this great piece by my friend and former daily news colleague skana gee. it's about halifax blogger 'halifax broad', who has a bracing take on life. a sample:

“I want to run over people who try to cross the road,” she says. "In Toronto, if you step out in front of cars, you will get killed, and I want to do that here.”

click now.
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