Day 10: Leah Cim’s Guide to Conducting an Interview (Part 2)

In the spirit of Australian Open, Leah Cim starts her interview series this time with the legendary Roger Federer’s… back up racquet. Enjoy!

Roger Federer’s back up racquet

A highly-strung individual

Leah: Welcome back to Melbourne.

Wilson: This is actually my first time.

Leah: Really?

Wilson: At least I think it is, I certainly didn’t get out of the bag last time.

Leah: You must get to see some amazing parts of the world, travelling far and wide.

Wilson: Travelling, yes. Amazing places, not so much. Mostly the bottom of a bag. Usually I can see out of the bag and we’re in the locker room at Roland Garros, then we’re in a locker room in New York, and now I’m in a locker room in Melbourne. They’re all different, they all have the distinct smell of rich tennis star’s sweat, but I don’t know that they’re amazing.

Leah: It must be a tense job?

Wilson: Is that a joke about me having tension?

Leah: Err, kind of.

Wilson: I really don’t appreciate that. Yes, I’m tightly wound, ha ha. It’s not very funny after the first, I don’t know, thousand times you hear the joke.

Leah: Sorry.

Wilson: I don’t mean to snap at you.

Leah: But there must be some tension in having to wait, having to be ready and on standby, never knowing if you’re going to be needed at a vital moment in a match.

Wilson: Yes, I’m often on edge. But that’s the job, I knew what I was in for when I signed up. I work, I’m a professional, I do what’s required of me even if I don’t know whether I’m going to be required. And I enjoy the perks and privileges of my position when I’m not working.

Leah: What are those?

Wilson: Raiding the mini-bar when Federer’s not looking.

A toothbrush

A reading from the media relations textbook

Leah: Thank you for joining us.

Philip: Good to be with you, Leah.

Leah: There are reports in the paper today that you have a bristling relationship with the Prime Minister, are they correct?

Philip: Well, Leah, firstly may I say that the Opposition is just sniping at an irrelevant issue that does not matter to the people of Australia, who the Prime Minister and the Government have been elected to serve. That’s what their focus should be on.

Leah: Okay, you’ve said that, now will you answer the question? Would you describe your relationship with the Prime Minister as bristling?

Philip: Leah, I would say we have a robust relationship. A frank and honest dialogue. I’m not scared of what’s coming out of his mouth, but I don’t intend to put words in his mouth either.

Leah: But what about the word, bristling? Is that accurate.

Philip: I don’t know if that’s exactly the word I would choose to use to describe it. I cannot deny that bristles have been involved during the course of our relationship. They are not the only part, but they are part of it, that is true.

Leah: How often are bristles involved?

Philip: I don’t know about often. But there is some regularity to the process, yes.

Leah: How regularly?

Philip: It’s really not for me to say.

Leah: Monthly?

Philip: More often than that.

Leah: Daily?

Philip: Perhaps.

Leah: Twice a day?

Philip: Um, yes, at least. And occasionally before press conferences, or any time there is likely to be a camera.

Leah: Why not be honest about this use of bristles with the Prime Minister?

Philip: Well, there are things that the public might be interested in that are not necessarily in the public interest. People might be interested in this, but is it in the public interest to disclose all these details? I’m afraid I don’t feel the obligation to do so.

Leah: Okay, but the relationship was made public today in the newspapers, so why not be honest and up front about how frequently this happens?

Philip: Well, I don’t feel I have anything to be embarrassed about, there was nothing improper in the relationship. It’s just that it’s a private matter between the Prime Minister and I. Really between me and his teeth, and nobody else’s business.

Leah: Okay, let’s move on. You used the word teeth just then.

Philip: That’s right.

Leah: So why are you called a toothbrush if you brush teeth?

Philip: I don’t understand.

Leah: Well, a hairbrush brushes hair, it doesn’t brush a hair.

Philip: And a toenail clipper clips a toenail.

Leah: But surely you brush teeth?

Philip: Yes, but I take it one tooth at a time.

Leah: You don’t think about the whole mouth?

Philip: You can’t think about the whole mouth before you start with one tooth. We don’t want the team distracted and thinking about the whole mouth without concentrating on the job at hand. We have to take it one tooth at a time, and if we do that properly, then the mouth will clean itself.

Leah: And you have to keep your eye on the ball and ear to the ground at the same time?

Philip: Absolutely.

Leah: Thank you for your time today.

Philip: A pleasure.

A toilet

In which everyone feels a little flushed

Leah: Thank you for speaking to us, I know this might be difficult for you.

Toto: I think I’ll be okay. Just stick to the topics you said we would, and steer away from some of the messier aspects of my work, if you don’t mind.

Leah: But must be a fairly crappy job, right?

Toto: I prefer to focus on the positives.

Leah: What are those.

Toto: Well, every now and then I get washed. A nice, soothing disinfectant comes and washes all the grime away. I enjoy getting a good scrubbing. It tickles.

Leah: It doesn’t sound like there’s much to enjoy about it.

Toto: Then there are the holidays, when the family goes away and leaves me alone for a while. Sometimes weeks at a time. That’s good.

Leah: But it must be hard in other times, the things you see.

Toto: Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of shit.

Leah: What is the worst you’ve seen?

Toto: Turn the tape off, this interview is over. You knew I didn’t want to talk about it. You’ll be hearing from my agent.


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