“We’re in this skin three-hundred and sixty-five days. So we’re celebrating our history three-hundred and sixty-five days.”
Forty-five minutes, that’s all we’ve got.
It’s a strategic decision. Human concentration spans are generally believed to stretch only as far as one half of a football match, possibly with extra time, and after that we’re looking to get distracted. Probably by ice cream.
In order to maximise the podcast’s potential, therefore, I get my guests to talk for about an hour and a half and then cut it down. If you’ve read these blog posts before, you’re probably aware of what I laughingly call my method. Or maybe I went on a bit too long with the description last time and you gave up, in which case new (ish) readers can start here.
There are some interviewees for whom ninety minutes edited down to forty five is more than adequate. It’s not that they’re shy. They simply know what they want to say and say it. There are others for whom ninety minutes is way too long. They want to be done in half the time, if that.
Then there’s people like Lorraine Maher.
Lorraine Maher could talk for Ireland, then come across to England and talk for it too. Always surprising herself, always ready to spark off in another direction, always glad to make your acquaintance.
It’s little wonder that she does what she does – hers is an infectious communication. You want to confide in her, to trust her, to make her your buddy then introduce her to your friends.
This skill doesn’t come easily, and it’s been acquired after years of defending herself with silence, of a childhood of feeling like “the only black person in Ireland”, of being told that she is shame personified. We can only be grateful that she ended up as she did. But there are thousands like her – young and old – who have yet to make the leap and find their voice, so that’s the other thing Lorraine and I Am Irish do.
She doesn’t just talk
She makes sure others get heard.
So for forty five minutes, maybe fifty, thank you for listening.