As much I ache to dive headlong into full-on screenwriting, there are times when journalism is really good fun. Times when you can forget all the irritating stuff, like having to transcribe lengthy interviews or deal with PRs who decide they'd really rather like to sit in on your face-to-face interview, because they've got fuck all else to do with themselves.
I've spent the last couple of days honing and editing a lengthy interview with Steven Moffat, which I'm writing on for Doctor Who Magazine. It will chart six months or so of development on his latest two-part Doctor Who story The Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, which will broadcast on May 31 and June 7. It's a fantastic couple of episodes, and Moffat's a compelling conversationalist. You literally learn something from every sentence.
When you tell people you're a journalist, one of the first questions they ask is who your worst ever interviewee has been. I was asked this for a magazine recently, and I was going to say the blind Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey. I interviewed him around 1994, with relatively little experience under my belt. I felt awkward about the fact that he was blind, and the grumpy six-stringer did precious little to make me feel at ease.
I say I was going to give this magazine Jeff Healey as my answer, because I Googled around for "Jeff Healey" and discovered that he'd died a mere two weeks beforehand. So to cite him would have seemed like crowing.
The truth is, the worst interviews are the ones you just forget, because they're dull, dull, dull. To my shame, I've never had an interviewee walk out on me, but if I had, that would probably rank as one of the best. I have, however, had an interviewee jam a knife-blade down between my fingers on a table. Which was quite memorable. That'd be Blaze Bayley of Wolfsbane, before you ask. I also narrowly escaped being thrown into a swimming pool by the assembled members of Suicidal Tendencies, by reminding them that I had our hour-long interview tape in my pocket (weirdly, present-day chick-lit author Louise Bagshawe was their press officer back then, and she did get dunked). Oh, and there were death threats at one point. Ha! Look at me, eh? Still breathing and everything.
Anyway, people's second question is who my favourite interview might be. And I haven't always known what to say. But I suspect that, after finishing this Steven Moffat interview, I might finally have an answer.