It Looks Like Snow !

November 10, 2013 — 71 Comments

Charlotte

I plucked up the courage to ask Jon Snow for a quick ten minute interview for my blog during my train journey from Glasgow to Warrington.  I had my fingers crossed that he wouldn’t tell me to “go away”; however, he was very charming and left me completely star struck.

Jon Snow is a British journalist and presenter best known for presenting Channel 4 News.  I grew up watching this man most nights on the T.V. as my Mum watches the C4 news.  In 2011, Jon Snow presented the multiple award-winning investigative documentary; ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ which documented war crimes committed in the final days of the Sri Lankan conflict in 2009.  After writing this article when searching for a picture I read that he declined an OBE because he believes working journalists shouldn’t take honours from those about whom they report.

Jon-Snow

Picture from www,channel4.com

I hope you enjoy my impromptu interview 🙂

I can see that you’re listening to music, do you enjoy classical music or opera at all and what type of music do you like to listen to the most?

Jon – I like classical music particularly choral music but my knowledge of opera is very limited. I’m listening to ‘St John Passion’, Bach at the moment, choral music.

I was a chorister and when I was seven years of age when I got a scholarship to Winchester Cathedral and that paid for my education.  I remained there until I was 13. 

What was your favourite repertoire that you remember from singing at that age?

Jon – I think it was Herbert Howells ‘Collegium Regale’.  I did Desert Island Discs and it was one of my discs.

My mother was a student at the Royal College of Music in London she was very musical and played piano a lot, a lot of Brahms.  I used to pick up harmonies and sing along with her when I was extremely young about 4 or 5 years of age, I showed a talent for singing and being able to comprehend the structure of music and she decided I ought to get put in for one of these scholarship, so that was that.  She was taught composition by Howells.

Marvellous!  Do you play a musical instrument?

Jon – Yes violin and piano.

What made you pick up violin and piano?

Jon – The violin I was told to because it was more use than the piano but in fact the piano has always been a fantastic instrument to learn.  I have my mother’s Bluthner. A boudoir grand, a nice size ebony black. 

What kind of music do you like to play on the piano?

Jon – I like to play mainly from ear, from the baroque period.

Do you miss having that musical environment around you from when you were younger?

Jon – I do but it’s difficult to recreate it and I do a day job that makes it difficult to arrange practise with a choir because I’m always working at 7:00 pm and that’s when they usually practise.

What University did you go to?

Jon – I went to Liverpool University.  I got thrown out.  I was involved in an anti-apartheid demonstration against investments in South Africa, we had a sit-in and eventually the ring leaders were thrown out and I was one of them.  It was the best thing that happened to me because I was reading law and I would have been a terrible lawyer and I ended up a journalist.

Is that how you fell into journalism then?

Jon – Not really there was a bridge in-between I worked in a day centre for homeless and vulnerable people and after about three years I discovered I was better talking about it than doing it.  I was based in Soho, London.  I cared for 16 to 21 year old, lots of Scots!

Would you ever consider one of these T.V. programs such as joining a Gareth Malone choir for a one off series?  Like the Military Wives Choir? 

Jon – I did consider doing a BBC TV series about conducting called ‘The Maestro’, unfortunately it was the year of the American elections and I had a lot of work commitments over the Atlantic so I had to drop out which was really sad as I would have loved to have done it.  You got really well trained.  I would love to do something like that again if it ever came up again in the future.

Charlotte (in response) – one of our teachers was the deputy to the main teacher on that program so I watched that program, it was amazing.  I hope you get the opportunity to take part in it.

Would you ever put your feet into something like ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (Dancing with the Stars)?

Jon – No! My brains too far from the extremities of my limbs I would never crack it.  You could make a real fool of yourself.

Do you think you’d enjoy the costumes?  I ask because of all of the lovely ties you wear when presenting the news, they catch my eye.

Jon – Yes probably, I wouldn’t mind.  It wouldn’t be my first choice.

On a different note, are you allowed to express your own opinions on the news or do you have to be completely impartial?

Jon – Well you are supposed to be balanced and objective, but there is no such thing as a neutral human being so the way in which you write, or express, or interview people will probably suggest some kind of position on something.  I think it is impossible to disguise completely but I think you try to very hard to be objective about and to offset whatever prejudices you have.  I don’t think you have time to hide your opinions, you have to sort of get on with it.

Jon-Snow-And-Charlotte

Serendipity strikes again, who would have thought such a chance meeting would generate such an interesting and informative chat.  Jon, if you ever get the chance to do the BBC Maestro, I sincerely hope you do I’d love to watch it, and you need a young soprano to conduct you know who to call 🙂   I was kicking myself because my business cards were in my suitcase, however, I quickly jotted down my blog address and left but not before I was really cheeky and asked for a photo which Jon, being a fabulous sport, agreed to even though he was tired after a long day.  I thanked Jon for his time and I returned to my seat, leaving Jon listening to the tracks on my blog.  He was kind enough to send out a “Tweet” after listening 🙂

Jon-Snow-Tweet

Jon told me to tell my teacher she was doing a great job so I sent a text to Kath and she was thrilled.

Whilst trying to put pictures together for this post I discovered Jon has a blog called the ‘Snowblog’
Recently Jon interviewed Sir Alex Ferguson on players, politics and the press.  If you want to see how a real professional interviews it is worth a watch ( Link )

When I arrived at the station and excitedly explained to my Mum what had happened on the train she asked me if I had asked him about the HS2 high speed train link to Glasgow, his thoughts on student fees and what did he think about the Scottish Independence question ?  I replied, “Oh Mum he deals with those sorts of questions at work every day”  🙂

What a great early birthday present this was, it’s my birthday tomorrow, two decades and out of my teens, I’m hoping to put a couple of my scrapbook photo’s together tomorrow for a birthday post.  I’ve had a fabulous weekend of performances too. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

71 responses to It Looks Like Snow !

  1. 

    Entertaining and thoughtful interview. You asked just the right questions.

  2. 

    That was an outstanding interview! Good for you!
    Regards
    Jim

  3. 

    Wouaw, it’s great! a very nice interview Charlotte, with a very great gentleman, who proves that you become great!

    I am very happy (and proud .. if you allowed me.) You!!

    A bright and shining weekend to you

    Pascal

  4. 

    That’s fantastic, always loved Jon Snow ( and his son!) 😛 Happy Birthday for tomorrow 🙂 xxx

  5. 

    Well, waddaya know! Charlotte, we share a birthday! (though I’ve had it for nearly three times as long as you).

    Many Happy Returns for Monday.

  6. 

    Well Charlotte, you do a wonderful job on your blog!
    I too, am now a fan of Jon Snow although I haven’t watched him as a journalist, he’s certainly had an interesting life and I will keep an eye out for him from now on!
    My father was a boy soprano and would have been similarly involved in a choir when he was young.
    However my favorite piece of the interview dealt with him trying hard to find the correct balance – I’m afraid many Aussie journalist should take note and do the same!

  7. 

    P.S. Have a lovely, lovely birthday too…

    • 

      Hello Frances, how interesting that your father was a boy soprano and involved with a choir it was an area I didn’t participate in as a child which is a shame now with the direction I’ve chosen. Its fabulous how music can become involved in one’s life but sadly become lost sometimes. But it sounds like Jon still enjoys playing on the piano.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    • 

      Cheers Penny. I must get some ideas for questions for impromptu interviews if I do one again, fortunately Jon is an excellent communicator so he made it easy for me and ended up interviewing me afterwards 😉 where I learnt a lot about listening skills.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  8. 

    What a super interview. I had no idea Jon was musical, and I am impressed to hear about the anti-apartheid demos and working with the homeless.

    • 

      Me neither, it was lucky really because my knowledge of politics is a bit hit and miss 😉 . What an interesting life Jon leads, it’s quite marvellous really that he can continue to do what he loves.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. 

    You are the epitome of seizing the moment! This is wonderful and thank you for sharing!

    • 

      It’s something I live my life by, never pass by an opportunity. I thought the worst that could happen was that he was too busy to talk. 🙂 . Mind you my Nana told me at the weekend she approached a celebrity once for an autograph and he told her in no uncertain terms to get lost so that would have been a bit embarrassing lol.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Great interview. Thanks.

  11. 

    Wonderful interview…you have a talent there as well!

  12. 

    HI Charlotte, What a great interview. I too have fond memories of the programme ‘Maestro’, I think a relation of his ‘Dan Snow’ may have gone on instead but I can’t remember i’m afraid. I’m delighted to hear about the Howells ‘Collegium Regale’ and the St.John Passion. Both are glorious pieces and Howells in a particular favourite of mine and I’m currently looking at both the St.John and St. Matthew Passions for rehearsing them at Easter time.
    Best wishes
    Tim

  13. 

    Just got one thing to say.

    • 

      Hi Don, that’s fabulous I’ve not heard the Beatles doing this. I visited the Albert Dock in Liverpool once and we were going to see the Beatles tour but we ran out of time after visiting the Tate museum.

      All the best
      Charlotte

  14. 

    Happy Birthday! 🙂

  15. 

    First off Happy Birthday!!! And Secondly fair play to you for asking for the interview, and finally, thanks for sharing it here! I love his story as to how journalism came about and found the entire piece fascinating. Thank you for teaching me something new, yet again! Best wishes.

  16. 

    Happy Birthday, and well done for seizing the moment.

  17. 

    Go Charlotte 🙂
    That’s quite a scoop, good for you, lol.

  18. 

    Charlotte , You are amazing, i’m glad you plucked up the courage to speak to jon snow. It was a intereresting interview very informative. Have a fabulous birthday .xx

    • 

      I’m having a fabulous birthday this year, it was extended because Mum and Dad let me open my presents off them on Saturday with driving back up north to Scotland on Sunday. That was a journey and a half I’ve never driven myself so far! I’m driving back at the end of the week so I might see you then 😉

      All the best
      Charlotte

  19. 

    A very happy birthday to you, Charlotte, and thanks so much for sharing your time with Jon Snow. I used to watch the C4 news when we lived in the UK from 2002-4 and Jon Snow was brilliant – passionate, informative, entertaining and, of course, we used to watch for the colourful ties and socks! Have a great birthday and a terrific year ahead, hope all your dreams come true.

    • 

      Thank you for your lovely message, after the interview I had a lovely chat with Jon, very informative and I asked his advice about interviewing and writing. He asked me if I had a plan B and when I said “no”, he said good for you, as your blog post said “every great dream begins with a dreamer, always remember you have within you the strength the patience and the passion to reach for the stars”.

      All the best
      Charlotte

  20. 

    Happy birthday Charlotte! And what a lovely present you recieved! To chance meet and interview someone you admire that much, that’s awesome! I hope you’re birthday will be a great one. 🙂

  21. 

    Wow, that is awesome. Jon Snow is the dude!

  22. 

    Wow, John Snow is a great sport. And kudos to you for finding the courage to do a cold approach!

  23. 

    Happy birthday and many happy returns of the same.

  24. 

    A good interview Charlotte, well done. You are a natural xx

  25. 

    Well many happy returns of the day, Charlotte! Have a lovely day. You are quite an opportunist. Informative interview.

    • 

      It’s like your poem ‘be interesting, interested’ says, to be interesting one has to be interested. Interesting to listen to and talk to, interested to listen and enjoy conversation… it’s a great poem and very true, I would have kicked myself if I’d missed the opportunity to talk with Jon.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  26. 

    Great interview–and happy birthday! I believe that Mr. Snow will shortly do a story about a marvelous young soprano whom we know . .

  27. 

    happy birthday!!! cheers buddy!

  28. 

    Happy Birthday, Charlotte! Best wishes for a fun day and a wonderful year!

    Cate

  29. 

    What a great interview Charlotte. Happy birthday and many more to come. You’ll go far!

  30. 

    Good to see another side to Jon, and good on you for having the courage to ask.

  31. 

    Funnily enough, I met a Jon Snow on my birthday (about 2 weeks ago), but not this Jon Snow- my friends and I ran into Kit Harington, the actor who plays Jon Snow on Game of Thrones. It was pretty sweet! I wish I had the presence of mind to come up with a list of questions for him! Cool blog, very inspiring 🙂

  32. 

    Wow, that was such a brave decision to ask for an interview – and it was wonderful to read, thank you! He seems like such a lovely man and I’m now intrigued to delve into the world of classical music. Also, hope you had a lovely birthday! X

  33. 

    I applaud your bravery. I need that kind of inspiration. Thanks!

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