The Interview Chain blog tour extract
Many thanks to Zoé at Zooloo's Book Tours & Holland House Books for my spot on the blog tour for #TheInterviewChain!
Everyone has something interesting to say if you take the time to listen.
The Interview Chain is a series of conversations—each interviewee was asked to nominate someone they admire as the next link.
Starting from a casual conversation on a boat on the Thames, the chain wended its way for over 23,000 miles, alighting on three continents and gathering up personal perspectives on issues that really matter in the world today.
The interviewees include a theatre director, a rabbi, a philanthropist, a sculptor, a New York Mayoral candidate, a pioneering documentary maker, and a man who rescues giant trees.
Some have worked in challenging places—Kabul in the time of the Taliban, a Romanian orphanage, immigration detention centres, remote Indian villages—while others have found themselves caught up in extraordinary situations such as the Rwandan genocide, the Ferguson uprising, and the UN Climate Change Negotiations.
Extract from the book:
Spencer, #19 in The Interview Chain. Musician and sculptor.
Can we go back to the beginning. How did Texas influence you?
My father was an insurance businessman and I guess we were a typical 1950s family. We lived in North Dallas and as a kid I just took for granted what we had around us. In my town we had Texas Instruments where calculators were invented, Collins Radio which built satellite communications for the space race, and the University of Texas research centres. There were ham radio antennae all over people's houses and there was a PhD in roughly every seventh household. My oldest friend Ricky, lived down the street and his Dad had three PhDs. I was told that he was one of only three people in the world who by using weather predictions, could predict where and when spacecraft would splashdown. The other two were Russian. He had maps all over the house and would be looking at them for months before a space mission took off.
I remember one day, I must have been about eleven and I'm playing with Ricky when his Dad comes up and says, “Hey boys, I'm going in to work. Do you wanna come along and see something interesting?” So, we say, “Sure,” and he takes us out to this big warehouse. We go past a couple of Army sentries and eventually we come to this room, the size of a gymnasium. Ricky's dad says, “Now boys, I've got to do some work. You stay in there—it's a lot of fun but don't touch anything.” So we walk in and there are these great, long tables with a load of rocks on them. We're just kids and we're looking at these things and we're thinking, “What's the big deal? They're just rocks.” There are a couple of sentries there so we go up to one and ask what's going on. And that's when we find out that the whole room's filled with moon rocks. Wow, we're blown out by that. Then we go over to another table and there are these photographs unlike anything we've ever seen before. They're crystal clear and look like they're from another planet, and of course they are. Ricky's dad told us later, “That's something we're experimenting with. It's called digital and we're working on it with NASA. No-one knows about it yet.” Of course that meant nothing to us and then if I remember correctly, as we went out Ricky slipped one of the really little rocks into his pocket. Then we went home and played in the creek—I think we lost the rock.
Another friend's dad was on a team of six people and when I asked him what they did he said, “We go in a room and we think. One day we thought up the calculator. And another day we invented the cassette deck.” These were the kind of people I hung out with and it helped to shape me because I thought everything was possible.
The Interview Chain is out now. You can follow other wonderful bloggers on the #blogtour here: