Friday, March 10, 2017

Hello, back again, for Banksy....

At 6:30 last Friday morning I was waiting for the BBC to contact me with details about Banksy’s latest project – a hotel in East Jerusalem, named the “Walled-Off.” The day before I’d received an email with the heading “BBC NEWS-URGENT” (which, like most messages that say URGENT nearly went into the spam folder) and had agreed to comment on it live at 9:30 in their studio at 200 Liberty Street. When I got there (found a taxi, whew!), finally passed Pentagon-like security and arrived on the 18th floor, I was greeted by a beautiful woman named Kizzy. She took my coat, gave me a plastic cup of water, and immediately ushered me into the sound room—a padded cell with a wall-size green screen and projected view of Manhattan. In front of the screen was a desk and chair, with an eerie camera lens embedded in the opposite black wall. To the right was a big monitor with me, only me, on it (if you think looking into a magnified mirror is scary, try HD!). Kizzy wired me up and left, closing the door. I fluffed my hair in the monitor. In my ear I could hear an announcer, parts of the news program, and a lot of interference. A British male voice came on, asked me to say something to test the volume, and told me we’d be live in seven minutes. I still had only the barest information about Banksy’s project and no idea what I’d be asked.


I did fine. Interspersed with my comments were those of a male British critic with a sonorous voice, clearly an experienced presenter (I never caught his name), who did even better. Kizzy came in, unwired me, gave me my coat and I went out into the sunshine, off to tea in Tribeca with my friend, Elenor.


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