He’s as good as listening as he is at broadcasting. And he’s interested in people’s stories.
Each Saturday morning his show on Radio 5 Live has several running themes which act as open invitations to ordinary listeners to call in with extraordinary stories.
This week (at the time of writing) it included “Violence against inanimate objects”, “Legitimate reasons for talking to yourself”, “Floods of things other than water”, “The dangers of food and drink in stadiums”, “Ever had a shock when looking over someone’s fence, through a window or letterbox?”, and “Footballers in lifts or department store changing rooms”.
Talking of football.
I also have a lot of time for football.
(There is a significant other in my life who would argue – vociferously – that I have too much time for football.)
Anyway, in amongst the usual phone-ins and banter at the weekend was a little gem of a conversation between Baker and Terry Venables. Two enthusiastic and articulate geezers reminiscing about the game that shall not be named. The show is on iPlayer for a few days but it will be gone by the time most people read this. So no link I’m afraid.
Venables clearly has informed opinions about every aspect of the game.
But it was his stories more than his opinions that made the chat worth a listen.
Jimmy Greaves giving a young Tel a lift to Chelsea. Stopping to eat a full roast beef lunch in a pub in Gant’s Hill and only just making it to Stamford Bridge in time for the game against West Brom. Then proceeding to score four goals on a far from empty stomach.
There were stories about 20 a side games as a kid in Dagenham.
Stories about the abolition of the maximum wage for footballers.
Stories about playing for England.
And so on.
Every story made a point about the modern game much more effectively than simply offering an opinion about the modern game would have done.
There’s an important lesson or reminder here for anyone that blogs or speaks at conferences.
Stories > opinions.
Case studies > theory.
First hand anecdotes > second hand hearsay.
In my experience people have a lot more time for the formers and are more likely to lose concentration on the latters.
People have a lot of time for stories.