I never watched [The Beach Combers]( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beachcombers) or [Fraggle Rock]( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraggle_Rock), but I’ve loved CBC Radio for decades. So when I found out that my interview with [BBC Radio4’s In Touch](http://www.bbc.co.uk/intouch) would be conducted at a rented studio in the CBC building in downtown Toronto, I was excited.
The pleasant woman who greeted me at the security desk with a cheerful “Bon Jour/welcome,” was clearly bilingual, and made me feel even more Canadian than usual. She called up, and a nice motherly lady came to lead me up to the third floor. We chatted about why I was there, which lead to talking about story-telling and poetry. She said that she hadn’t known she had any ability with story-telling until she had kids. It made me wonder what latent talents I’ll never know about, being child-free.
She told me we were in the studio where [Quirks and Quarks]( http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/), my favourite radio program, is produced, and I felt instantly less nervous. She described posters of planets on the walls, and a model of the U.S.S. Enterprise in the adjoining control room: what a great omen! She told me the technician would be along in 10 minutes or so, got me a cup of water, and left me in the unnatural quiet of the studio, which was a little bit like being under water.
I had been sitting there for 5 minutes or so trying to compose myself and silently warm up my charm and eloquence muscles, when a voice issued shockingly out of a speaker about 8 feet away. I hadn’t known there was a speaker there, and although it sounded like what was probably being broadcast at that moment on CBC1, the cut-in and cut-out were utterly seamless. What I heard, bracketed neatly by silence as though it had been done deliberately, was a well-modulated man’s voice say, “If you see a 30 second clip of a couple having sex, having an orgasm, that may be the product of 5 different scenes.”
Now it’s occasionally been suggested or implied that I cross the line of propriety sometimes, but really, I couldn’t make this stuff up! I can only conclude that it was a random sound test or something, and when the nice tech guy came he didn’t refer to it. I kind of wanted to ask, but somehow I just couldn’t figure out how to do it with so much else on my mind. Again though, I chose to take it as a good omen. He too describe the studio’s decoration, and I was tickled that two people had, independently, been engaged enough to think to do this.
I didn’t clear my throat, sniff, say “Mm,” or babble past the time when I’d adequately answered a question, which was the mantra of things not to do I had been reciting to myself all morning. The nice man walked me down to the exit and made sure I was pointed in the right direction. The whole thing was so civilized, so pleasant, so efficient, so Canadian!
About 5 minutes after the interview was broadcast in Britain, I got an email from someone in Scotland who had been instrumental in helping me research my book and with whom I’d sadly lost touch. The randomness of him having been listening to the right station at the right time felt profound. Reconnecting with him was the least likely and best possible outcome of the whole thing for me. Thank you public broadcasting!
You can use the controls below to play the interview. If you have trouble using the player controls below, you can [click this link to download an mp3 file](http://www.beltanethebook.com/wp-content/uploads/intouch.mp3).