Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Detectives Beyond Borders on the radio — again

My 2009 appearance on Wisconsin Public Radio's Here on Earth program will be rebroadcast today at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Dig that nifty opening theme, and find out what kind of voices the show's host, Jean Feraca, likes! In honor of WPR's rebroadcast, I'm bringing back a blog post I made after the show first aired.

Here's a summary of  what we talked about and what I would have liked to talk about had we had more time. (If you're just tuning in now, the Here on Earth link should still allow you listen to the archived program.)
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I'm back from talking international crime fiction on the Here on Earth radio program, and how about a huzzah for Wisconsin Public Radio for hosting a show on that entertaining, enlightening topic? The broadcast is available for listening or downloading here or here.

I learned that radio is an astonishingly compressed medium. I was worried we'd run out of things to discuss, but we got to barely a tenth of the authors and subjects I'd prepared. So in the coming days, I'll post a series of outtakes, things I'd have discussed had there been time.

I did get to tout Ireland as a hotbed of crime fiction, to offer my definition of noir and to talk about Yasmina Khadra, Seicho Matsumoto, Henning Mankell, Patricia Highsmith, David Goodis, Ian Rankin, Matt Rees, Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor and Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole. My fellow guest and I both like Jean-Claude Izzo, so we talked about him awhile. (That fellow guest was Hirsh Sawhney, editor of Akashic Books' Delhi Noir, about which he made some interesting remarks.)

But, oh, the things I didn't get to: Corporate villains. Humorous Swedes. Canadian borders. Northern Ireland. Irish odysseys. Hard-boiled crime as America's gift to the world. Translation. Miscellaneous exotica. The world of publishing.

More to come. Oh, and the show's host, Jean Feraca, with whom I had never spoken before, said on air that I had a "nice voice." Bless you, Ms. Feraca.
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P.S.: Feraca gave me credit for a statement that I was only quoting. It was the Edgar Allan Poe scholar Shelley Costa Bloomfield who suggested that the French were ready and waiting for what Poe had to offer before Americans were: "Maybe it takes an older civilization to feel comfortable with the dark side and be able to enjoy it." I wish I'd said that, but Costa Bloomfield said it first.

P.P.S: Before anyone can point this out to me, I realize that I said, "If you will" once on the air. I shall suffer the consequences in the next life.

P.P.P.S. Finally, I think I got Seicho Matsumoto's death date wrong. That fine Japanese crime writer died in 1992. I think I killed him off twelve years prematurely.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009, 2011

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25 Comments:

Blogger R. T. said...

Ah, who doesn't have verbal tics when chatting, especially when in an unfamiliar environment or medium. Ah, even if people were put off by the tics, ah, the heck with them and their quibbling intolerance, if you will. Ah, at any rate, ah, I look forward to hearing your radio presentation (when it is available online, if you will).

August 05, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'll keep dealing harshly in the matter of verbal tics, but mine will now be a harshness tempered with humility.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I did a reading once at Square Books in Oxford Mississippi. I was reading from Dead I Well May Be which has the f word in every line and a judicious sprinkling of the c word, the b word and the melon farmer word. Two minutes before I was due to talk I was informed that I would be live on the radio and of course couldnt swear.

The next fifteen minutes were definitely the longest of my life as I desperately looked for synonyms and mentally edited entire passages as I spoke. Many an uhm and an er in there too. A debacle would be too understated a word for the event. Why is why I have sympathy for those who toil on the radio or TV. Its tricky especially for those of us who grew up in the world of the vernacular.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Boy, you got blind-sided there. In your case, tics are excused.

I had a whimsical backup plan in case the "Here on Earth" host had ambushed me with any clearly improper questions. I'd have sprinkled my answer with profanity and forced deletion of the question. I stole this idea from one of Garbhan Downey's characters.

Fortunately the need did not arise.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger R. T. said...

Your anecdotes (Adrian and Peter) remind me of the quite a few occasions when I've been asked to speak informally to library and book reading club groups about literature or detective fiction (not mutually exclusive topics as the audiences discover), and after one or two not-so-good experiences I learned to begin every presentation with a caveat in which I warn people that I am liable to say anything (sometimes offensive to some people) which they can attribute to too much of the late 60s and early 70s about which I remember very little for reasons that can easily surmise. They draw their own inferences and tacitly grant me license to "get away with murder" with colloquial, vernacular, and downright off-the-wall commentary.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder if speakers will become more conscious of verbal tics now that broadcasts are routinely archived and made available on line.

If I ever have to speak again on the radio or in public, I like the idea of being able to blame verbal indiscretions on something in my past.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Peter, I think most public radio listeners like a light sprinkling of 'if you wills' thrown in to these broadcasts. Makes 'em feel as if they gotten their money's worth from all those pledge drives.

I've actually spoken on the radio a couple of times in the last couple of years. Apparently our local book talk host finds my blathering on entertaining. My friends seem to pleasantly surprised that I can do it, but really it's pretty easy the way it's set up--we go and sit by a fountain, and he asks me questions and I answer to the best of my ability. It's not live, so he can edit out anything either boring or truly insane that I say. I always make some mistake, like getting an author's name wrong or some other flub that I cringe at afterwards, but no one else seems to take any notice. Or if they complain, they don't complain to me.

Anyway, this sounds like it was fun, and if you didn't get to everything, that means she can always invite you back...

Adrian, that turn of events sounds like one of those classic nightmares where you don't know your lines but have to get on stage anyway. You do wonder if anyone had actually read the book ahead of time.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I hope I didn't let them down with my single "if you will."

We were live, so my misstatement that "I think" Seicho Matsumoto died in 1980 is part of history. In fact, he died in 1992.

My fountain was a comfortable little sound studio in the heart of Philadelphia.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I was a bit self-conscious about "if you will" because someone nominated that when I solicited suggestions for annoying verbal tics. And I once flayed a pundit for using it four times in four minutes.

But if I take others to task for such tics, it's only fair that I be subjected to the same treatment -- even I deserve it less than they do.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Yes, the thing is that it all sounds very leisurely, but in fact your brain is doing acrobatics trying to recall the information it's being asked for. It's no real surprise that people make mistakes and resort to 'tics' in that kind of circumstance. But it still feels embarrassing in the aftermath, even if no one else minds.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I dreaded precisely that, so I prepared two neatly printed sheets of talking points and clipped them to a lectern to avoid rustling papers. But we touched on only a small proportion of the topics. I was ready, without knowing it, to have talked for hours more.

August 05, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

I'm sure it served you in good stead all the same.

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I scanned it often throughout the broadcast. I don't know if it ever bailed me out, but it was nice to have it around. My fellow guest may have an advantage that way. He was talking about a book he had edited and presumably knew well.

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Matt Beynon Rees said...

Peter, I think your definition of noir in this radio show is the best I've heard. As you mention, people talk about texture and ambiance, all of which leaves a "well you know it when you see it" aspect to the question. But to see noir as a story in which the hero knowingly accepts his doom and heads straight for it -- that really encapsulates this varied genre very well. You ARE the authority. And thanks for mentioning my books and my little theory about detective novels and democracy. best, Matt

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I'd say one know noir when one feels it. The story tightens your gut; the ending hits like a punch in the stomach.

I'd repeat here the story about the reviewer who explained to Palestianian readers the role of the detective, but I'll let them hear the explanation on the radio instead. Why not drive everyone's traffic up?

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Brian O'Rourke said...

Peter,

Excellent interview that definitely left me wanting more, in a good way. Hope there's more to come in the future.

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Peter, this was really quite good. Informative, interesting and nicely presented, particularly for noir neophytes such as myself. Really, I only heard a couple verbal tics. Nicely done.

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Brian. I still have almost my full two pages worth of topics to talk about and authors to recommend, among them our friend Adrian McKinty. So I hope they'll invite me back.

Until then, I won't take up smoking. I have to preserve that nice radio voice of mine.

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, a verbal tic or two make the speaker more human. I ticced a time or two when caught a bit short by a question, but that's probably to be expected.

Thanks for the kind words, Loren. I was over-prepared, and face it: the topic was interesting. There's so much good international crime writing and such wide-ranging discussion of noir that it's hard not to be informative and interesting.

August 06, 2009  
Blogger Solea said...

Great hearing the voice of "the keeper". You should record interviews w/ authors & add them as podcasts on your blog.

May 17, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, the keeper! But I'm afraid a previous Peter has nailed down that title.

I shall consider podcasts.

Thanks.

May 17, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Congratulations on this event.

Adrian's humourous story reminds me of a reading Peter Carey gave, reading with so much effing and blinding that even I was stunned.

This is a difficult feat to achieve for a person who lives in Ireland and Mr Carey, probably unaware of how his excessive zeal made for poor literature, went off delighted that he had floored yet another prissy bourgeoise.

Less is more, even when it comes to profanity.

May 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

... went off delighted that he had floored yet another prissy bourgeoise.

F--- him.

May 18, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Oh look, he's a nice person and a glutton for punishment.

When last spotted he was about to climb the Eiger of writing something set in the land of the Puritans.

I honestly wondered why he would bother...

May 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Has that Eiger seen the light of day?

May 19, 2011  

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