My first subject for the eBook Showtime interviews wasn't that hard to find. During an online feature for the famous Facebook group We Love Memoirs, where it was me in the hot seat talking about my book How Much for a Little Screw? , I had mentioned that in my early days writing professionally I interviewed well-known celebrities in the television and music industries.
One of the people watching was interested in some of my early exploits of rubbing shoulders with such people, so I promised to send him scans of the magazine articles in which I wrote about the behind-the-scenes stories of interviewing All Creatures Great and Famous. This in turn led me to writing a small book about some of those I did in the 1970s (not all of them, but that's another story), and the person I have to thank for inspiring me to write this book is fellow author Frank Kusy.
I'd already read what I would describe as Frank's signature book, Kevin and I in India, which is an entertaining diary read of the time he descended on the sub-continent as a lone traveller and teamed-up with a complete stranger, who just happened to be called Kevin. Hence the title. This was back in 1986 and since then he's become a recognised travel writer as well as penning memoirs and children's books.
I'd have no hesitation in saying that we "clicked" as soon as Skype (eventually) got around to connecting us. It has to be said that Facetime is a better-quality and more reliable experience, but is a bit of a closed shop because it can be used only on Apple devices, so it was down to Skype for the frequent interruptions, the varying delay in delivering the video signal, and general off-quality – which all added to the element of live, immediate and unrehearsed content, so not all bad. And better than nothing.
I'd used three physical cameras to record our meeting, and this created lots of extra work and headaches. It was indeed a learning experience and later interviews were much simpler, the rule being that if it's not on the screen then don't bother to record it.
We had fun getting our cats to say hello to each other. I don't think I was recording at the time, so Sparky and Gerald's historical meeting has disappeared in the vastness of cyberspace. Maybe we can get it again because such was the wealth of material concerning Frank, and especially his countless anecdotes – such as the time he was given the death penalty in Malaysia – that we could easily make another 15-minute spot.
Anyhow, I believe that Frank, despite initially not being happy seeing himself on screen for the first time, was pleased with the end result and agreed to it going live on YouTube. And now readers can see a glimpse of the man who writes the words, has returned to India on many occasions, is steadily releasing his entertaining and humorous memoirs, and is the creator of a gangster cat named Ginger – oh, and he still has a pal named Kevin. And, I like to think, a new one named Graham.