Mary Beard the physicist -- on Desert Island Discs
As I hinted (buried in a link) in my last post, I have just recorded a Desert Island Discs show, which will be broadcast next Sunday. It was, unsurprisingly, great fun choosing the records....I'd done it a hundred times in my head over the years, but this was for real. (You'll have to wait and see what got into my top eight . . .)
The funny thing was that actually recording it was wonderfully engaging (like talking about yourself tends to be, lets admit it), but also totally exhausting and in the end a bit of a blur. In that respect, it was a bit like ding your PhD viva: you have occasional flashbacks to one or two questions and moments, but overall you cant actually remember what you said. And as the days go by the possibility that you might have said something really stupid starts to loom large. The difference between Desert Island Discs and a PhD viva is of course that a PhD viva isn't actually broadcast to the nation.
On the other hand, I have been feeling a bit of quiet self satisfaction of the "wouldn't my Mum and Dad be proud" variety...until I was quite properly taken down a peg or two.
I listened to the programme this morning, to hear Frank Warren -- who has a rather more violently colourful life than my own, it must be said. Then at the end the announcer -- Neil Nunes it was -- said.."Next week Kirsty Young's castaway is Mary Beard, the physicist . . ."
This was funny, for a start, because the last tine I did anything called Physics was when I learned to change a plug in General Science O' level.
It was also funny because it stopped me getting any idea above my station. Not only had Neil Nunes, or whoever wrote his script, not heard of me (and that's hardly surprising), I don't think that he -- or they -- had heard of Classics either.
It makes you remember that being a relatively well known classicist is one thing, but to most of the world it is something akin to being a relatively well known beekeeper (if that's not unfair to beekeepers).