Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Chat With The Artist Taxidriver: Politics, Structured Bigotry and Life In General

So last month I was approached by the Artist Taxidriver - the performance artist Mark McGowan - to have a chat about structural prejudice, future of Britain, and life in general. I was quite surprised when he reached out to me on Twitter but found myself very intrigued. The interview was the most unusual one I have done. We sat in the car chatting while the iphone mounted on the dashboard recorded us. Here are the videos of our chat:

For the record, I was totally impressed by how well prepared Mark was for our chat. He had pages of notes and had probably researched everything but my tax records! As a former journalist who was trained to research thoroughly, I felt an instant kinship with his preparation. Also having been on the other side, I have to say that Mark was more prepared than pretty much any journalist that has ever interviewed me.

It was also a unique interview because Mark pretty much uploads the videos without editing which gives the conversation both an honesty and added pressure because there is really no going back from one's statements. On the other hand, the format also means the discussion can be more in-depth than the 'sound bite' formats available on mass media.  

As we discussed all sorts of issues, from sexism and racism, to general elections, the strengths of Mark's preferred format became clear. Discussion could be both far ranging and in depth: we were not limited by the issues that plague the infotainment that has over-taken our screens. I can see why and how this format could provide a viable and interesting alternative to discussions in mainstream media. Once again socmed FTW!

Apparently we enjoyed chatting so much that we kept going for nearly an hour. Mark said it was the longest interview he had done. But I take the blame for that....I am chatty even at the worst of times.

Mark also warned me that I should not look at the comments below the video as youtube can be a 'cess pit.'  For once and probably given my own experience of misogynist online abuse, I have followed the advice extended to me. I recommend you do the same! 

All in all, it was the most unusual but interesting interview I have done and thank you Mark for inviting me.  You should also check out Mark's other work


  1. I've been slowly working through these videos and they really deserve a wider audience.

    It's great to here Mark speaking quietly; I've always liked his content but, because of my own experiences as a child and young man being shouted at by racists (it was the '50s and '60s when such things were common) I can't listen to raised voices for more than a few minutes without feeling massively uncomfortable.

    I find myself agreeing with almost all of your points Sunny and was very interested in your Radio 4 experience; the incredulity of the anchor is echoed by my own experiences of mental health professionals who clearly did not believe any of my accounts of racist attacks.

    I wrote about my childhood experiences (not very well, admittedly) in Blood in the River and have yet to find the emotional courage to write about adult experiences that were in some ways a lot worse. I didn't report any of them to the police; I feel that if members of my family and health professionals don't believe me than the police will not either.

    Thank you again for posting the videos and for saying it how it is.

    Best wishes,

    1. Thank you so much. I really thinks that there are clear links between how sexual violence is treated - so the first step must be believing the victim - and how we must start addressing racism. Our starting point must be believing the survivor.
      Thank you for watching. Best wishes