Thursday, February 11, 2016

"You've got the perfect face for radio" and why nerdy book blogging dads probably shouldn't do TV - A ReadItDaddy Editorial

Don't get me wrong! It was nice to be asked!

A weird thing happened this week when a lovely PR person wanted to get in touch by phone to arrange an appearance on BBC's "The One Show".

Let that sentence trickle down into your visual imagination for a second if you will...

A portly potato-headed mumbling scruffbag of a dad sitting on a very uncomfortable-looking sofa with Matt Baker and er...wotsherface on live TV in front of, oh, dozens of viewers.

I've known sheer terror. I've been in a car crash and experienced what it's like to be trapped in a glorified tin box rolling along an ice-covered road, tumbling over and over like a demented arctic roll before landing - completely wrecked - on its wheels (I only remember one thing about the aftermath of the crash. Quietly turning off the ignition and stepping out of the wreck, somehow miraculously escaping with a scratch on one ear and a bitten tongue).

The noise is one of the most terrifying aspects of a car crash as well as the anticipation of injury or death, and I heard that noise again as I read the short paragraph and pictured the scene if A) I was crazy enough to do this and B) more practically, if I had TIME to do this. Thankfully B meant A never really spun up its motors and so I politely declined.

The lovely PR person persisted, offering an interview on Radio Oxford to talk about books. Now, this is slightly closer to being a possibility but again potato-headed mumbling scruffbag dad (with the perfect face for radio, I think even my mum would agree) would have to somehow turn wildly enthusiastic "talking ten to the dozen" speech into something coherent that explains to the listeners just why we love books so much that we can't stop writing about them, and why reading with your children (even at Charlotte's age) is vitally important.

When writing about books, I can stop and think about the point I'm trying to make. Blogging offers a comfortable buffer between the idle thought processes of a forty-something bird brain and the imparting of experience or (meagre) knowledge about the subject at hand.

It also goes without saying that this isn't a one-man show either. Doing any sort of interview or press without Charlotte would feel a bit of a cheat, because this blog comes from her as much as it does from me. Her reaction to books, her choices for book of the week, her changing tastes and views on what we see and most importantly her view on why she loves books so much and has come to think of reading as a pleasurable pursuit rather than a chore.

I wonder if it's even at all possible to distil and summarise why reading with your children is important, without sounding like some twee smug middle-class idiot.

It seems so obvious to me, that I can't even begin to put myself in the mindset of someone who doesn't feel it's important and doesn't understand why it's important. I just can't do it.

I don't think I know anyone who could fail to grasp the link between children who are engaged in reading for pleasure from an early age, and a rapid development in their language skills, comprehension or knowledge of the world around them, not to mention having one of the coolest ways to spend a few hours that doesn't involve mindlessly grinding through some poxy free-to-play tablet game or getting your brain sucked out of your ear by some worthless slice of televisual entertainment.

How could I possibly sit in front of anyone (whether it's a TV audience, a radio audience and presenter or you standing in front of me) and put it any better than that in mumble-o-speak? I doubt I could. But heck, it was very nice to be asked.


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