“I’m not white. I’m Irish.”
It’s a bold statement, that, and we’ll come to it later.
First, we’ll start with the phone call. All of these interviews start with a phone call (that’s not strictly true, more often than not first contact is via email, but the call is the first time we speak).
Later there’s a technical session, which is as much about discovering if there are any boundaries to the talk as anything. This is a conversation not an interrogation. After that it’s full steam ahead to the interview a day or so later.
But the phone call’s the thing. It’s the make or break event where the podcast is concerned. If we don’t find common ground there, it’s really not going to happen any other time.
Plus I hate phone calls.
So when I tell you that I knew within ten seconds that Geraldine would make a great interviewee, that’s some indication of just how good our first telecommunication was.
It’s impossible for Geraldine’s senses of humour and humanity not to come across in this podcast. Not even I could mangle that. But this isn’t just a chat with a cheery scouser. There’s heartache and heartbreak, too.
There’s Hillsborough. There’s The Stardust.
Like so many of the diaspora, Geraldine lives with a duality. A Dub in Liverpool, a Scouser in Ireland. It’s a split made even more obvious by her choice of an alias for stage work. Yet one thing she will not divide or dilute is her identity.
Thus the statement.
When you’re told that anti-Irish abuse can’t be racist, only sectarian. When you see hundreds of elderly Irish fearing deportation because of Brexit. When census forms and monitoring documents fail to recognise Black Irishness or Chinese Irishness or Muslim Irishness but simply have Irishness as a subsection of White or White (Other), that’s when you make a statement.
That’s when, like Geraldine, you say: I’m not white. I’m Irish.
All that from one phone call, eh?
(ICC Phone Number: 0151 237 3987)