Today I have to thank Diane Abbott MP for adding to my small collection of politicians walking out of an interview (for others, see below).
This is the first one in which the interviewee's mobile phone came to the rescue at a particularly awkward point in the questioning - silent though the ring seems to have been.
A few weeks ago, after hearing a presentation by Melvyn Bragg, I made the point that effective broadcasters aren't necessarily as effective when it comes to public speaking (HERE).
I've also commented on how famous actors, with the notable exception of Ronald Reagan, aren't always particularly effective at making speeches either:
'After all, their skill is to deliver other people's lines in a way that portrays characters other than themselves, which is a very different business from writing your own lines and coming across as yourself.
'Politically active thespians like Glenda Jackson, M.P., and Vanessa Redgrave may be admired for their successful acting careers, but neither of them is particularly impressive when it comes to making political speeches.
'In fact, the only example of an actor who did become a great public speaker that I can think of is Ronald Reagan, but he'd already been rolling his own speeches on the lecture circuit for General Electric long before he became Governor of California...' (more HERE)
Then I discovered that they had...
The previous post on a famous broadcaster who speaks more effectively on television and radio than when he's lecturing (Melvyn Bragg) reminded me that there are also some professional broadcasters who punctuate their reports and interviews with rather more "ums" and "ers" than they should.
Someone I've noticed doing this is Adam Boulton, political editor of Sky News. On turning to YouTube for possible examples, even I was surprised that I had to look no further than the very first clip I came across (above), in which you'll hear 37 "ums" and "ers" in 150 seconds - at a rate of about one every 4 seconds.
• Don't worry - I've started
In conversation, one of the commonest places for ums and ers is right at the start of a new speaker's turn, where we use them to avoid what might otherwise be heard as a potentially embarrassing silence - by indicating: "I'm not being impolite or disagreeable but am about to respond any second now". But some public speakers (and broadcasters) make a habit of starting almost every new sentence with an um or an er, of which they're typically completely unaware of until they hear themselves on tape - when most are appalled by the negative impact they must have had on their audience.
In the particular clip above, it could be argued that Adam Boulton's umming/erring reflects his uncertainty in the face of two things that are new to him: (1) the gadget he's showing to the interviewer (and us) and (2) giving a televised
Tomorrow's World style demonstration that's far removed from his natural habitat of political interviewing and reporting.
But the reason I started looking for a video clip of him in the first place was that I'd often noticed (and been surprised by) the frequency of his umming and erring in his regular contributions on Sky News.
Nor, would it appear, am I alone in having done so - as his was one of the names mentioned on Twitter yesterday after I'd invited people to guess the identity of the umming/erring television news presenter about whom I was planning a blog.
P.S. BBC policy on ums & ers?
At this time last year, I posted a video clip of audiences clapping out the conference season (HERE). This year, I've produced a compilation of members of a conference audience listening in rapt attention (?) with musical backing from Flipron's The End of Summer (from their album Biscuits for Cerberus). Much admired for Jesse Budd's lyrics and Joe Atkinson's brilliance on the keyboards, this particular sequence neatly catches a suitable mood for marking the end of the party conference season.
And thanks to Steve Jobs - without whom...When I bought my first computer in 1985, I came very close to buying an Apple Macintosh but chickened out and bought an Apricot (with two slots for 750K floppy disks).
While staying with John Heritage in Los Angeles about six years ago, he marched me into the student shop at UCLA and made me buy my first MacBook.