At around 4:40pm on Monday afternoon I get a phone call on my mobile. It’s from the Chosun 24 hour TV channel. They had my card from the Typhoon screening a couple of weeks back, when they were interviewing anyone they could find. They wanted to do another interview. A ten minute one. But I had an appointment to go off to right then to try to persuade someone to do something they didn’t want to do, so I said: call back later.
I got a voicemail later that evening that the subject of the interview was the future of Korean content in the UK. At 3pm the next day. Vanity got the better of me and I thought: what the heck, why not? I’m getting to understand the mediaspeak, and thus started to gather my thoughts about the UK’s appetite Korean film, TV and the like.
A problem though. Where to have the interview? I couldn’t really have a Korean TV crew turning up at the London office of the bank where I work. And I certainly wasn’t going to bunk off work to go down to New Malden. So I thought I’d volunteer the Union Gallery as the venue. What better place to show how Korean culture is being enjoyed in London?
Tuesday morning I get up and wonder: what to wear? Something cool and media friendly? That wouldn’t really do at the office, and I don’t really do cool anyway. I thought of wearing a trendy purple shirt without a tie. But it was in the wash following last Saturday’s concert. So I defaulted back to boring suit. And my dithering meant I was ten minutes late for the weekly meeting I chair trying to mobilise the troops to do things nobody wants to do (see above). Fortunately Luke, the new recruit, had taken over the meeting. I’m going to have to watch my back.
Interview time comes, and I make my way to the gallery. The interviewer briefs me on what he’s going to ask me. Cripes. He thinks I’m a genuine media person making money out of Korean content. Thankfully, he’s very polite and claims to be even more interested when I say that my little website is just a spare-time hobby.
And then the killer first question. So what’s London Korean Links all about then? Errr. Berrr. Well, I can’t really say that it’s whatever I feel like writing about on the day, can I? I need a message, a strapline, a communication strategy, an editorial policy, don’t I? (I mean, the current blog subtitle “English Language resources for Londoners (and others) interested in Korean culture” isn’t terribly pithy or catchy, is it?). So after doing a passable impression of a fish, I stumble about for a bit, trying to remember what I had written on my “About this Site” page. It wasn’t terribly impressive, I have to tell you. And I should have mentioned the name of the site. At least once. And told people to click on the ads, so that one day I’ll reach the dizzy heights of 10 cents a day in revenue. But I just flunked.
We move on to talking about the future of Korean content in the UK. In retrospect, I think he wanted answers as to how Korean content could get more exposure (and if not make direct export earnings, at least contribute to what I think people call “soft power”). But I’m afraid my answers were all a bit aspirational — what would I like to see of Korean culture in the UK. So rather too personal, and not terribly helpful.
He also asked about the general interest in Korean culture in the UK. I manage to plug Jase’s site, Alice’s site, and then talk about how Jonathan Ross seems to like Korean film more than Japanese and Hong Kong film nowadays.
But in all, I was just blathering. It was all rather embarrassing. It’s actually rather hard to talk coherently, grammatically, to the point, without a script, for a minute or more, on a subject you’re not used to talking about. I suddendly have a bit of sympathy for all the people I hear being taken apart by Paxo or John Humphries. The interviewer was kind enough though, and, two for the price of one, he decided he wanted to interview Jari Lager, the exhibition curator, as well.
I’m told the interview will be screened on Wednesday November 1, but where or when exactly I’m not sure. I don’t think I will be watching it.