Monday, 17 January 2011

White noise

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Sometimes I open my mouth and this noise comes out. Blah blah blah, it goes. Blah dogs, blah hill, blah blah blog, blah soda bread, blah blah writing is like a disease.

Very occasionally someone comes and asks me questions, about the book, or about living in Scotland, or some thing. Because it only happens rarely I have no honed technique, and know not what I do. I just open my mouth and the blah blah comes out. Then, after I usher the poor interviewer out of the door, and sink back into my hall, I think: why why WHY can I not be an international woman of mystery?

It would be rather lovely to have restraint, a little mystique, some ability to make people read between the lines. Or at the very least, to learn to speak in calm, measured sentences, without shrieking and waving my hands about all over the shop. Also, because I get nervous in interview situations, my shocking tendency to laugh at my own jokes is magnified into a thing with a life all its own. I make not very funny gags, and then roar with laughter.

After almost forty-four years on the planet, I have developed some capacity to feel comfortable in my own skin. I think of that great French saying, the idea of being 'bien dans sa peau'. It is my stated ambition. It is no good wishing one was other than one is. I am garrulous, and that's all she wrote. I have a tendency to get Carried Away. I am always in awe of writers who give really good interview. Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens are the gold standard; thoughtful, interesting, even when a little self-regarding still provocative and fascinating. But if wishes were horses, we would all be Lady Godiva. I shall never be as articulate as Hitch and Mart, and there is no point moaning about it.

At least I did make the gentleman some good soda bread. My guess is that is one thing Martin Amis cannot do. He said, in some polite amazement: 'oh, it is still warm'. (Straight out of the oven.) And the photographer was kind enough to show some interest in my hill project. 'You know,' he said, looking at the view, 'it will look different every single day.' So that was a happy thing. And blah blah blah is not the very worst thing in the world, I suppose. Better than stony silence, anyway.

By the time all that talking had been done, the gloaming was setting in, so there was hardly time to take a picture.

There was some sky action so spectacular it was almost vulgar:

17th Jan 1

17th Jan 4

17th Jan 2

17th Jan 5

There was just time to catch a tree:

17th Jan 3

The dogs were Avatar blue in the fading light:

17th Jan 6

17th jan 8

(Also very serious, probably because their ears are about to fall off after listening to me talk for two hours.)

And here is today's hill, rather moody and austere:

17th Jan 9

Now I am going to sit very, very still, and be quiet.


  1. So, where the interview is to be read? And the book?
    P.S. I know your birthday is coming, so have a very happy birthday. On my recent one, my Granny said, look at me, I am eighty, and not crying.

  2. Dear Tania, I'm sure you were fabulous. Do let us know when the piece comes out xx

  3. I refuse to believe you interview as anything less than eloquent and warm - just as you are on here. So there! The sunset cloud photographs are breathtaking and I adore the avatar dogs of course. Anne.x
    PS-I keep meaning to say, the husband did a photo everyday of our hill for a year blog
    the differences will amaze you over the course of a year, and yes, days do get missed, it just happens.

  4. Oh I do that too (well not that I've ever been interviewed just in day to day encounters). Just once I would like to be composed.
    By the way, the world doesn't need another version of Amis or Hitchens, the world needs its version of you.

  5. Tania - wonderfully candid and very funny. Thank you. And yes, please provide a link to the ensuing article.

    Well said, Oddtrite.

  6. I laughed out loud at this piece. Thank you - it was needed today. Pictures are also wonderful, that sunset is amazing.

    Helena xx

    PS. I look forward to reading the interview.


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