Skip to main content

Life as a Talking Head

From time to time I appear on various television programmes being interviewed about Central and Eastern European business issues. Usually it is Bloomberg TV, sometimes CNBC or CNN or, as today, on the BBC.

Being a "talking head" is a rather odd existence. Usually you only have about three minutes to try to convey often very complicated issues to a journalist who may still be struggling to understand how to pronounce people's names, never mind understand how they fit into the bigger picture. It is something of an art and rather tricky to maintain fluency when it is important to be as clear as possible. Nevertheless I quite enjoy the challenge. In fact I appear regularly enough to have started to play little games. One is to incorporate an unlikely word suggested by someone else into the interview. I think my favourite was "crepuscular", although this morning I also managed "precipitation" - some harmless fun and it brightens my approach to what even I will admit can be quite dull issues, a little bit.

It was an exceptionally early start this morning and unlike at Bloomberg, the BBC is a long way from the office (though fortunately close to my flat in central London) and they do tend to keep the guests hanging around a bit. Also, the BBC does seem to like to do make up, which really only CNBC does otherwise- I find I need a wash afterwards.

Today was a brief discussion about the resignation of the Hungarian PM, and there are real chances that the country will either break the cycle of incontinent fiscal policy which it has established over the past eight or nine years or it will plunge into a deep period of economic gloom, coupled with political instability. It kind of depends on whether a technocrat like my old acquaintance Andras Simor is appointed or whether some more divisive and less competent figure comes through. That, dear reader, was more or less the entire substance of the interview- though I did not mention that I know Andras Simor.

I doubt that it added much to the sum of human knowledge- those that know about Hungary would want to know more, and those that don't probably don't care anyway. The only other surprises today were that I saw Jonathan Charles standing up- and was quite surprised to see that he was smaller than I am and that Sally Bundock is much prettier in real life than she is on the screen- it was the first time I had done a piece with her. Meanwhile the cavernous BBC newsroom is altogether a whole lot less high-tech than Bloomberg TV is- they even have paper scripts!

Funny thing was, I received several phone calls from friends who happened to see the piece- most unusual, perhaps even at 5.30 AM, there are more viewers on the BBC than I thought.


Charlotte Gore said…
Is this your way of revealing your identity? :)
Newmania said…
I have always enjoyed your stuff about foreigners and their funny ways , you have a talent for large subjects .
On this country you seem to live in a world of your own invention and almost always miss the point , perhaps its partisan thing

(BTW for the record I am not a rabid Libertarian but I found your banale post about the smoking bann sinister infuriating ill informed and everything about the Lib Dems that I loathe )
Cicero said…
Being patronised by you, Newmania is a reminder for me of just how breathtakingly ignorant the truly arrogant actually are...
Newmania said…
Being patronised by you, Newmania is a reminder for me of just how breathtakingly ignorant the truly arrogant actually are...

Yes , not bad ,but if you are going to attempt heroic irony ,I recommend a lighter touch in future . Keep it playful bantering and even the coquettish can be risked . You see someone might otherwise suspect you were actually unaware of how funny you were being (and that would be awful )

Popular posts from this blog

Trump and Brexit are the Pearl Harbor and the Fall of Singapore in Russia's Hybrid war against the West.

In December 1941, Imperial Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. After the subsequent declaration of war, within three days, the Japanese had sunk the British warships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, and the rapid Japanese attack led to the surrender of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941 and the fall of Singapore only two months after Pearl Harbor. These were the opening blows in the long war of the Pacific that cost over 30,000,000 lives and was only ended with the detonations above Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"History doesn't often repeat itself, but it rhymes" is an aphorism attributed to Mark Twain, and in a way it seems quite appropriate when we survey the current scene. 

In 1941, Imperial Japan, knowing its own weakness, chose a non-conventional form of war, the surprise attack. Since the end of his first Presidential term, Vladimir Putin, knowing Russia's weakness, has also chosen non-conventional ways to promote his domestic powe…

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…