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HellomynameisColinHodd or How Not to Journalism

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Those of you who know me (and at this point I can assume that most of the readership here does. If you’re not one of the twenty-or-so friends and relatives that follow this site, I cannot imagine how you got here. That being said, if you leave a comment letting me know what you were actually looking for, perhaps I can direct you.)

Where was I? Ah, yes, those of you who know me know that people are not my strong point. I don’t like meeting new people by myself. I prefer to have a buffer, someone I know who is better at people, who can perform the introductions and allow me to become comfortable. Some of you have already experienced this. God help you if you’re the only person I know in a room, because I will attach myself to you like a socially parasitic worm. Yes, you’re welcome for the image.

Hi, I'm Colin and I'll be attached to you for the duration of this party. Nice shirt.

Hi, I’m Colin and I’ll be attached to you for the duration of this party. Nice shirt.

With a social wingman (or wingwoman, or wingperson. Wingentity?) I am comfortable. Without one, I am a stew of anxiety. This is a problem, because I am supposed to be a journalist, a job which entails a fair amount of speaking to people you don’t know. Additionally, I don’t know many journalists who bring a friend along for interviews. I don’t see that working out very well. Try this thought experiment, just insert names according to the prompts.

“Hi, my name is Colin Hodd, I work for [successful paper that pays me in gold bullion] I’m here to do an interview with [career-boosting name drop here]. Who, this? This is my friend [your name if you are my friend, or imagine you are, or would like to be]. Yeah, they are here to hold my hand and make sure I don’t wet myself during the interview. Incidentally, I’d rather not do this in a room with a carpeted floor.”

Now, in that scenario, did we get the interview? No, I think not. I should confess, however, the kind of interview we just imagined is not the kind that destroys me. See, when I have a set time, and a set place, and a set purpose for an interview, I gain a kind of compensatory confidence. The fact that I am supposed to be there, and that this person is supposed to talk to me is like armour.

There is a second kind of interview, however. Most of you have seen them. Some of you have done them. Streeters.

In a streeter you take to the streets (originality not being a big part of journalistic jargon) of whatever town you work in, and ask people walking by what they think about a current event. I tried to do this last week with a total softball story about what Whitehorsians (horsiites?) were doing for Solstice. Here are some highlights from the evening of June 12th, when I walked down Main Street in a tortured attempt to communicate with my fellow man.

Attempt one: An older couple on the corner of Main and Third. One of my strategies for dealing with streeters is to rehearse my speech in my head before opening my mouth. One of the wonderful things about writing is that I can rework a sentence dozens of times and no-one is the wiser. This is less effective out loud. Some of you, however, have heard me rehash the same sentence four or five times in conversation trying to get it right.

In any case, what lived in my head as “Hello, my name is Colin Hodd” comes out as “Hellomynameiscolinhodd.” Already I’m terrified. The couple allow me to recover, older people tend to be nice that way. It turns out they are visiting from Illinois, and don’t know anything about the Solstice. I interview them anyway and forget to press record, like a boss.

Attempts two through five: Five more couples from the United States, all utterly unaware that Solstice was a thing.

Attempt Six: I stop a very friendly guy on Main. If you’re playing along, say it with me….wait for it….who doesn’t know Solstice is a thing. He has a good excuse though, since he’d just gotten off the plane. From South Africa. Because only I, looking for people from Whitehorse in Whitehorse could turn up a guy from half a world away.

Interlude: I get an e-mail from my editor telling me that she’s reserved a huge splash page for my story, which if you’re keeping score, has zero interviews so far. This boosts my confidence immensely. Oh, wait, no it doesn’t.

Attempt seven: This interview actually went fairly well. Brian Oman tells me that he is planning to have a campfire at Miles Canyon during Solstice. This will be my most successful interview of the night, and it doesn’t count because Brian is the gardener at the Boys and Girls Club, where I work as the shift supervisor.

This is Brian, my only successful interview. And yes, that is my finger on the lens. Professionalism!

This is Brian, my only successful interview. And yes, that is my finger on the lens. Professionalism!

 

Attempts eight through ten: It turns out that parents trying to herd their children downtown do not like to stop and chat with a two-hundred pound bearded male with an uninviting default expression.

 

Attempt Eleven: I try to shoot fish in a barrel by harassing the patrons of the Klondike Rib and Salmon, a restaurant whose patrons line up outside waiting to get in..Highlights include my choking halfway through my introduction to a group of four people, losing nerve and walking away, and failing to notice a blind woman was blind (despite her cane, and seeing eye dog, I held my hand in the air in front of here to shake until her husband coughed and nodded toward the aforementioned dog and cane.)

 

This went on for two hours. I sent a truncated version of what you just read to my editor in lieu of the story that was asked for. You will be unsurprised to find out they didn’t run it. Turns out “Yeah, I Fucked Up” isn’t a compelling story about Solstice. No kidding. Anyway, there’s no grand point or larger moral here. Just thought I would share a story about a time I tried something that terrified me. I’d like to hear from people in the comments. What was a time you tried something that terrified you? Did it blow up in your face the way it blew up in mine, or did you triumph?

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Written by Colin Hodd

June 24, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Against the Olympians

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Everyone who plays a sport dreams, at some point, of going up against the best of the best. Play hockey? You’ve played in the Dream-NHL. Play soccer? You’ve been in the Dream-World Cup. Tennis? Dream-Wimbledon. You get the picture. But what if it wasn’t a dream? What if you actually got to test yourself against the very best. Not in one of those fantasy camps, but against the honest-to-God best, in real competition. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Hodd

April 16, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Posted in Print

The Men Who Would Be Queen

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Being a cover band is hard line to walk. If you’re in the band, you know that the people in the crowd have come to hear someone else’s music. They will be thinking of the other band the whole time, even if they are watching and listening to you (take from that whatever innuendo you will).

When I first heard about the Queen show “Its a Kinda Magic” coming to the Playhouse later this month, I thought I was going to be doing a piece on a cover band. The Australian quartet that makes up the cast are not quite that. They don’t just play Queen songs. They play Queen. When they go on stage, Matt Newton, Brett Millican, Travis Hair and Craig Pesco go on as John Deacon, Roger Taylor, Brain May and Freddie Mercury. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Hodd

April 16, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Posted in Print

Malcolm Bricklin

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The Fredericton Playhouse and Theatre New Brunswick put on a workshop two weeks ago to give the public a sneak peak at their new joint venture-a musical built around the story of the Bricklin. For those who don’t know, the Bricklin is a car that was briefly produced in Saint John in the mid-70’s. While the musical’s premiere is months away (slated for an August run), I thought it would be a good idea to give some background on New Brunswick’s automotive Icarus. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Hodd

April 16, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Posted in Print

Listeria in NB

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The death of a New Brunswick woman from listeriosis was caused by food affected by the Maple Leaf recall, health officials confirmed Tuesday. The woman, in her early 80s, whose name has not been released, died last week after being admitted to hospital. She is the 17th victim of contaminated meat which originated in a single plant in Toronto, and the first confirmed case in New Brunswick.

It is unknown at this point whether the woman came in contact with the bacteria at her nursing home or if the infection came from some other source. The nursing home, whose name and location are being withheld, did serve products since recalled by Maple Leaf in connection with the outbreak that was first brought to light in mid-August. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Hodd

April 16, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Posted in Print

Giving to Guyana

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Last summer, second year St. Thomas student Marylynn Cote spent 6 weeks living in the small South American country of Guyana. During her time there she helped conduct an HIV/ AIDS & abstinence workshop, an environmental workshop and taught English at the Parika Community High School. For most people this would more than qualify as their good deed for the year, but Cote has decided that she wants to do more. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Hodd

April 16, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Posted in Print

Faculty Author Week

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This past week the UNB Bookstore was host to Faculty Author Week, which ran from Monday to Friday and featured professors from both UNB and St. Thomas. Thirteen professors, including St. Thomas’ Dr. Gayle MacDonald and Phillip Lee presented their works at the event. This was the third edition of Faculty Author Week. It was held previously in September 2007 and February 2008. Kim Richard, the Event Coordinator and Trade Book Manager, was in charge of organizing the week’s presentations. She feels that it is a great opportunity for students and others to discover a different dimension of their professors. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Hodd

April 16, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Posted in Print