Ray Martin's Favourites
Ray Martin is one of Australia's most famous and most loved journalists and interviewers. Some would know him from his hosting gig on Midday with Ray Martin or his numerous interviews on A Current Affair or 60 Minutes.
Ray Martin has contributed 40 years not just to the media industry, but also Australia's history. His career in journalism began in 1965 working as a cadet for the ABC. He worked in Perth and Sydney for some time, then was posted to New York to work as ABC's North American Correspondent.
During this time he covered moments such as the Anti-Vietnam War protests and presidential elections. Somewhere in between he managed to host Midday for a decade, and writes that during that time he was interviewing three people a day five times a week.
On top of all this he has become a bit of an author, releasing an autobiography in 2009 entitled Ray: Stories of My Life, which went on to become a best-seller. After having conducted over 10,000 interviews in his life so far, which I would say makes him an expert in his field, he was inspired to release a second book entitled Ray Martin's Favourites, which is made up of 30 of his favourite interviews.
Ray says that this book actually began as Ray Martin's Australia. It was going to be a collection of photo essays, but as he started writing the book he found himself instead writing about legends such as Don Bradman. With the help of his children and past and present work colleagues he hunted down his favourite old interviews and then his daughter transcribed them all.
(I would like to just add, that having recently written an interview transcript, it takes more time than it seems. Thirty interviews would have taken months to transcribe!)
The book contains interviews from celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, as well as the last interviews given by Heath Ledger and cricket legend Donald Bradman. It also includes unforgettable interviews with former Prime Ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke.
Each interview is put into context by including notes about body language and other annotations.
One of my favourite interviews in the book was Ray's interview with Whoopi Goldberg. Whoopi is an inspiring actress, coming as she has from so little so much. As is emphasised in her interview, it pays to have great confidence. The interview took place on Midday on February 1986 after she had just completed the film The Colour Purple. The interview contained a short chat about Whoopi's eyes, which are normally brown, but that day she chose to wear one green contact. Ray complemented her on her stunning eyes, and Whoopi just played along.
I met Ray one night after he visited the Wangaratta Performing Arts centre in late 2011 for an interview with ABC radio presenter Gaye Pattision. From my own meeting with him I can see why he is so successful in the industry: he has an air about him which makes him likable and easy to talk to. I left happily after having a short chat and getting him to autograph a copy of Favorites.
Favourites is an enjoyable read and a great way to discover more about some favourite celebrities. However, it is easy to see that some readers might feel that the format of the book, which is set out as transcripts of interviews, does not allow much room for imagination. Transcripts can sometimes be quite stark. Some readers might perhaps find it hard to fully get into such an unconventional form.
2 and a half out of 5
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Articles Written by Amber
Reviews written by Amber
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