There was a time when a journalist in an interview scenario might be trusted to be left alone with their subject.
I think of all the big stars I interviewed for ELLE and various glossies in the 2000s where it was just one-on-one and somehow hell didn’t freeze over.
Now I’m lucky if I’m able to speak to the founder of a swimming trunks business without a multitude of media advisers on hand to interrupt, raise eyebrows and draw things to a close at precisely 29.59 minutes.
Last week I interviewed a fashion designer with four PRs in the room. Four!
I can understand it as an intimidation tactic or even a legal necessity if I were interviewing a Cabinet Minister – but when you’re talking about posh frocks? Is it really necessary?
Still, it wasn’t as bad as that time I interviewed a veteran designer who had collaborated with the Royal Mail on a collection of stamps.
Before the interview one of the SIX-STRONG team of PRs whispered to me that the subject was hard of hearing and although under no circumstances would the designer admit that to me, I would need to shout.
Half an hour of BELLOWING questions to 80-something designer who sat in front of a row of PRs adding up to half a jury was one of the most embarrassing interviews I’ve ever done.
Sometimes, guys, an interview doesn’t need an audience…