Celebrate them

News of the Woman’s Hour Power List is worth commenting on.

A handful of people I sort of know through one thing or another appear on the list. Name-dropping is, obviously, a massively shit thing to do – a trope as over-used as the words ‘proud’, ‘privileged’, or ‘excited’ when describing one’s involvement in a performance, forthcoming or now over. So it’s not that I want to name drop.

It’s more that I want to celebrate discovering that (amongst others) Vanessa Read, Chi Chi Nwanoku (I still can’t say her surname out loud – she’ll quite justifiably roll her eyes at that), and Anna Meredith are on the list.

I’ve interviewed all three at various points in my career. Interviewing is an odd process. Half an hour/forty-five minutes with someone you don’t know, and who is, given there’s a microphone in the vicinity, ever so slightly on edge. In that way, you meet them at their best. It’s an unnatural setting, but it can be suffused with an infectious kind of energy.

More often that not, interviews are the only time I converse with such people. It’s an odd way of meeting someone. 

I admire the lot of them. Vanessa is a consistently strong force in the industry – the kind of person you see at an event and breathe a sigh of relief. Chi-Chi is the kind of person whose involvement guarantees a certain kind of outcome. And Anna I remember being incredibly open, warm, and game. All very non-plussed about her talent, just very matter of fact.

All three of them left me thinking, ‘I’d like to have a bit of what you have.’

That they left me with these thoughts and feelings after 45 minutes in their company says something powerful about them.

Awards, lists and gongs are good things in themselves, of course. But when individuals are heralded in this way it’s vital we reflect on what those people mean to us from our own perspective. I feel reassured by their talent, energy and commitment. Gillian Moore’s too (who I’ve never interviewed). 

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