Friday 19 January 2018

The Week in Radio: Frauds, fakes and fatbergs

Post Harry Potter, actress Emma Watson admitted to losing belief in her abilities as an actress, attributing this to Imposter Syndrome in an interview
Post Harry Potter, actress Emma Watson admitted to losing belief in her abilities as an actress, attributing this to Imposter Syndrome in an interview

I am a fraud,” said Tubridy (the man) on Tubridy (the show) on Monday (the day).

“I am a fake... they’re going to see through me.”

On paper, that might look like startling frankness. Or refreshing candour. Or a sensationally public collapse of confidence. On paper, it probably reads as comfortably the most interesting thing to happen on Tubridy (the show) since... well... ever.

The reality, alas, was considerably less thrilling. Tubs wasn’t cracking up or reaching out, but merely asking us if we’d ever “gone to work thinking” any of the above thoughts (which, y’know, wasn’t really any of his bloody business).

The thinking of such thoughts might, suggested guest-psychologist Keith Gaynor, indicate that you’re ‘suffering’ from Imposter Syndrome. Symptoms (apparently) include: feeling unworthy, doubting your own abilities and worrying that your inadequacies will be imminently exposed.

So who, you might be wondering (well, probably not), does Imposter Syndrome affect most? “Really successful people,” said Gaynor. “The highest achievers,” said Tubs. All of which made it sound like a pretty cool syndrome (as syndromes go). A syndrome to aspire to. A syndrome you’d be slightly embarrassed NOT to have.

Listeners affected by ‘Healthy Scepticism Syndrome’ might have been left wondering if Imposter Syndrome wasn’t, basically, just plain ol’ common-or-garden insecurity given a lick of paint and a fancy name. Gaynor? He didn’t sound much like a man harbouring any such doubts. In fact, he sounded positively evangelical.

“We can do something really useful on this radio session,” he boomed like a pop-psychologising Billy Graham, before asking “anyone who’s ever felt this” (felt the workings of the ‘syndrome’, that is) to “text in the show”. And people did. One texter spoke of “feeling very validated”. Another said: “I can’t believe this is a syndrome.” I know just how she felt.

“Each of those people felt like they were alone... like they were the only person,” said Gaynor, sounding like a man who’d just ripped the veils from our eyes to reveal that (gasp!) insecurity and self-consciousness were (double-gasp!) pretty ubiquitous. Who’da thunk it? Well, almost everyone. But still.

“You’ve opened a Pandora’s box [sic],” Tubridy told Gaynor, at the end, as they reflected on how they’d stunned a listening nation with the gob-smacking revelation that quite a lot of people feel anxious about how they’re perceived by others. Job well done.

Except, wasn’t Pandora’s box stuffed to bursting with all of the world’s evils? And didn’t the opening of said box unleash all of said evils?

The 26 (or so) long minutes of the Tubridy/Gaynor encounter may have been spectacularly banal, but it wasn’t quite as bad as all that.

Though it was still far less fun than Dave Fanning’s Saturday morning chat about “a 10-tonne lump of congealed fat and waste” that “broke a sewer in London”.

Fanning had kicked off the piece with a chuckling, “Are you ready for this?” and an apologetic, “God, I hope you’re not having your breakfast!”, before plunging into the utterly disgusting (or delightfully gross?) world of fatbergs.

Those pulsating masses of fat, grease, sanitary towels and wet wipes that a) lurk in sewers (definitely), and, b) have an insatiable Blob-like craving for human flesh (probably).

‘Fatberg’ expert Tom Curran spoke with calm authority on the subject. Which only made the whole thing more hilarious.

Tubridy, 2FM Weekdays

The Dave Fanning Show, 2FM Saturday and Sunday

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