In this day and age of 'Just add water' celebrity status and everyone wanting their fifteen minutes of fame you think I'd adore the press I've been doing recently wouldn't you? For a few years we didn't really accept any interview requests on LiveLeak because I'd gotten rather tired of it all. Always being invited to defend the indefensible gets tedious before too long and add into that the fact some folks aren't exactly over endowed in the scruples department and you can quickly find yourself jaded. However, despite all this I've actually agreed to a few interviews recently, mostly due to the the the majority were with publications we've never spoken to before. The problem now is that the goal posts appear to have shifted.
In ye olden days (2006-2008 which was when we pretty much gave up doing many interviews) it was all about the site and videos on the site and despite the odd horror show such as the Panorama interview - and what a shower of arseholes they were! - mostly it just rumbled along with me talking to someone who clearly wanted to be talking to someone far more important. Naturally there were exceptions with some outstanding people I enjoyed talking to but it really was mainly a case of going through the motions. My fall out with the press was equally a result of boredom combined with them trying to offer people directions to where I lived when the whole Fitna deal kicked off. When you're getting death threats, pretty hairy ones, what you really don't need are newspapers you've turned down interviews with printing "Hayden Hewitt of East Manchester (which is where I lived at the time)" and any other info they had on me. It felt a little like they wanted a far juicier story, possibly involving me in a video of my very own wearing a fetching orange jumpsuit although I'm sure that wasn't the case.
Anyway, after years of refusing most I decided to accept a couple but - as I mentioned at the head of this ramble - the goal posts appear to have changed. Now I'm being asked about me, a lot more about me. Whereas previously nobody really cared, and rightly so in my opinion, all of a sudden I appear to be interesting and for someone as oddly private and uncomfortable talking about himself as me this is very odd. I realise that among a very small group of people online I am 'known' and that's cool because for the most part I consider an extended, dementoid family I enjoy hanging out with but I cannot fathom why some grumpy, bald, overweight Mancunian would be of interest. This isn't false modesty, I really mean it. I mean, I wouldn't want to read about my life story.
As a result I find myself trying to wriggle out of the questions to some extent. The last interview I gave was with Newsweek and the chap interviewing me seemed like a good sort (his name is Cole Stryker, he's an author, clearly plugged into the online culture, and made my list of 'Seems like good people' which isn't that easy. You can read the interview HERE) but if you read the interview and you know me then you can tell I was a touch stilted. I still answered with a smile on my face because you don't want to appear evasive or make someone's job harder than it needs to be but it's all so bloody strange.
When you add to this I rejected an e-mail interview because it was very close to being:
1) What's your favourite food?
2) What's your favourite beer?
3) What's your favourite band?
Who on earth needs to know that stuff? The folks that might be interested already talk to me about things like that, surely? I've even been asked if I could supply a high resolution photo of myself. I had to fail on that task simply because I don't have such a thing. I mean, who does? I have photos but they're normally me with my family and I couldn't imagine a day will come where I'll share those with the wider world.
I suppose I fail miserably at being a media whore and self publicity has certainly never been my strong point. Maybe I need to try harder? Oh, and if any journalists are reading this (and i know you do, you crafty buggers) Steak, Old Peculiar, Iron Maiden circa 1982 - 1990. If you REALLY want to get me talking about myself buy me the one in the middle and we can talk. I mean, I know I'm underneath the lowest rung on the celebrity ladder but surely I can achieve 'He's worth the price of a pint' status? Maybe.
For the record I know this blog was even more rambling than usual but I'm poorly again. I'm rarely ill so to have ebola only a few weeks ago and then find myself having some illness so terrible it doesn't have a name yet (the doc says it's tonsillitis but what does he know?) is disturbing so I need to distract myself given actually working is turning out harder than I thought.