Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stranger Hits BBC


In January this woman from the BBC reached out to me and asked if we could talk about something I wrote on Stranger in 2014 about the song Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins. I immediately assumed I was in trouble because everything sounds scary when it's said in a British accent. I've been trained to believe this by watching nearly two decades of reality TV shows.

We spoke over the phone and she said a lot of things like "lovely" and "golly gumdrops" and "would you like a spot of tea" and "Big Ben." You know. Things all British people say in all conversations.

Fortunately I was able to understand her because I had watched every episode of Downton Abbey at least twice.

At the end of the conversation she said that she wanted to interview me for a radio "programme" they were putting together about Feed the Birds in which they would be interviewing Richard Sherman, the man who wrote the song as well as many other popular Disney songs from that era, and the actress who played Jane Banks (the daughter) in Mary Poppins.

BBC woman told me that she was going to arrange to have me go to a radio station in Salt Lake City to record the interview and she asked me to tell her "what part of the city" I lived in. And I was like, "lady, Salt Lake City is so small that someone across town just coughed and now everyone contracted Tuberculosis and got pregnant."

Well, I didn't say that. Instead I pretended that I live in a city as large as London and said something like, "well I'm in the central part, right where all the action happens."

She scheduled a time for me to go to a radio station across town (five minutes away). I walked in, threw my coat at someone who I don't think even worked there, and demanded to be shown to my trailer. They said they don't do that there and instead stuffed me into a tiny recording room already occupied by a man with halitosis. And NOT the good kind.

I was connected to the BBC woman in London and she asked me a few questions to get started. And then I talked for one full hour. I said every single word in the entire English language. I tried desperately not to break into a bad British accent. Especially since I'm already sensitive about the topic since those photos of me when I was a British lesbian Presbyterian from the 90s surfaced recently.

It was strange to revisit some experiences I've written about on Stranger (and which the old-timers will recognize). And even stranger to hear the recording later.

The segment finally came out this week. And it's . . . well golly gumdrops, it's just lovely. You can hear my part starting at 15:30 at this link. But I suggest you listen to the whole thing.

~It Just Gets Stranger

20 comments:

  1. Eli, I hope how much you know posts like that mean. I just got done performing in The Sound of Music, and I would read your Climb Every Mountain post quite often during the show. It is great to bring the simplicity and meaning back to life.

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  2. Mary Poppins is my favorite Disney movie and character of all time. I'm so jealous and happy for you Eli. I've followed your blog for five years now and love every word of it. Congratulations! <3

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  3. I am desperate for you to write a book.

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    1. I thought he was in the process at one point?

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! I was crying even before your part came along. A good use of a half hour, and I'll be thinking about the things shared for a LONG time to come.

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  5. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing that with us.

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  6. Well, there's my cry for the week. Mary Poppins has always been one of my favorites. Awesome, simply awesome. Thank you.

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  7. I am very excited about this. I'm going to go listen right now.

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  8. where the action is, that's why my friends call me Action Jackson

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  9. I just listened to the segment and loved it. Well done. And that is seriously one of my all-time favorite Disney songs.

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  10. I'm going to go hug my children... which they'll hate because they're at school.

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  11. I hated that song and part of the movie. I never really listened to the words or knew the meaning. Thanks for opening my eyes. Your 2014 post and this podcast were beautiful. I now like that song very much!

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  12. Thanks for sharing. That whole segment was beautiful.

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  13. I loved this! Your part was wonderful. Thank you so much for doing this.

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  14. I love that you have started doing the podcast and this kind of thing. You have a real talent for writing but just storytelling in general too. This was beautiful.

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  15. That was the best cry I have had in a while. Thank you.

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  16. Thank you for this. Just listening to this was my bird swooping over head moment.

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  17. There was truth and magic in this post, thank you

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