Speaking To Everyday People

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I mentioned in last week’s Facebook Live that my wife and I had spent much more time walking in our local area.

Of course, we all have during lockdown, but now that we’ve a wee son — who only naps when he’s on the move — we’ve had extra cause.

As a result, we’ve met so many of our decidedly lovely neighbours that we’re really starting to feel like part of the community. Even though we’ve already been here three years!

I find it a bit endearing that I speak to people and they already know the name of my son and my wife because someone told them, and someone else told them, etc. etc. We’ve become well-known without having to do much to earn it!

Anyway, it turns out one of the neighbours we haven’t met yet was a journalist herself, and interviewed the great Omar Sharif.

That must’ve been amazing — what a charismatic man.

Stand-out interviewees

It made me think a bit about some of the interviews I’ve done.

I’ve not spoken to anyone on that level, but there have been a good handful of well-known TV names.

Weirdly, though, I don’t think any of them particularly stand out. Apart from Kate Humble, for being particularly lovely!

The folk I remember most are the “ordinary” people.

I remember the lady who was a Dad’s Army fan, joined a club of like-minded people and ended up as an extra of the film.

She spent most of the day as part of a crowd dressed in period outfits, cheering silently (they added the sound in post-production).



I also really enjoyed talking to the man who was a letterbox fan.

He travelled round the country in his spare time visiting some of the rarest letterboxes in the land.

What he did with his weekends might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but he was having a great time

And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

Mountain man

I recently interviewed Terry Abraham, the man responsible for the BBC film “Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike”, though he’s also done Blencathra and is now working on Helvellyn.


Photograph courtesy of Terry Abraham.

Ok, he’s kind of famous, but not in the conventional sense.

He, too, was passionate about his work. He had to be, to get up before dawn or camp on top of freezing fells to catch those magical sunrise and sunset shots.

Look out for his interview in Special 199!

And I remember the woman who did Blue Plaque tours of London.

She had to learn as much, if not more, than cabbies do for their test. Loads of history, so that she could do various walking tours around the capital and have an anecdote for every street corner and statue.

Passion matters

I guess what makes them stand out is passion. That’s what made them so interesting — that’s what makes anyone interesting.

Finding something you really love doing is a bit of a gift.

I think sometimes traditional celebs have lost that, or become a bit jaded, but the world is still full of passionate people. And whether their passions are big or small, it doesn’t matter.

There are some particularly unforgettable folk in the large “Lockdown Heroes” section of our upcoming Feel-good Special.

Brave bus drivers and Cats Protection staff who sat in pens for 26 hours to raise money. Really interesting stuff!

Oh, and you can still pre-order that lovely Special right now.

So if anyone asked me who were my favourite interviewees, I’m not sure they’d they’d recognise any of the names.

But I’m sure if they’d have met them, too, they’d have to respect their passion. And they probably would’t forget them, either!

Read more from Alex over on the Features Ed blog.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.