Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Janet Frame in person

Rare documentary footage of Janet Frame was made available online for the first time last week, courtesy of new website New Zealand On Screen.

You can click here to see 6 video clips from a 1975 interview Janet did with Michael Noonan.

It's a really revealing interview, not the least for the fact that Janet claimed later to have been her usual inarticulate self, and yet watching the clips, one might wonder what standard she was judging by.

When Janet accused herself of being inarticulate, I'm sure she was comparing the ordinariness of her speech to the brilliant quicksilver thought going on in her head. She obviously wished she could be more of a raconteur. She admired verbal virtuosity. But she herself certainly wasn't "inarticulate" in the sense of having any deficit to normal communication.

In fact she was an effervescent, empathetic communicator who quickly won nervous people over. She had a wicked sense of humour. I often enough saw tongue-tied people approaching her, who were so overwhelmed to meet her that they were speechless. She often had to gently coax people out of their shells, by showing them she was just as ordinary as every one else.

Which she was not, of course!

No comments: