Monday, 3 December 2012

Event: Phillip Adams

Phillip Adams feels like part of my family. 

For as long as I can remember, Adams' voice was a part of my life. I remember being about seven or eight and crawling into bed for a cuddle from my dad, who was listening to Late Night Live through tiny white earphones so as not to wake my mother. His voice always calmed me, and felt reassuring somehow. 

Twenty years on and The Voice still has that same impact on me. Phillip Adams had the Shearer's crowd at full attention with his fascinating anecdotes when he came to visit on Wednesday November 21 to promote his latest book Bedtime Stories, and with good reason. Many of his tales were so juicy, so scandalous, that I simply cannot share them with you without creating serious legal issues for myself, my employers and Mr Adams. Adams is a fantastic storyteller and isn't afraid to tell it like it is, so I suggest you find a friend who was there on the night to relay those particular little yarns.

To say Adams' media career is impressive is a slight understatement. During his twenty-two years at the ABC he has interviewed some truly fascinating local and international individuals, including Mikhail Gorbachev, Helen Garner, Henry Kissinger, Ramona Koval, Patrick White and Jeffrey Archer, just to name a few. Well-recognised for his leftist leanings, Adams has made his mark on the Australian political scene, laid bare his religious views on multiple occasions, as well as created some of the most familiar advertising campaigns in Australian history, including Slip Slop Slap and Life, Be In It. With all these achievements under his belt, one might expect Adams to have a pretty high opinion of himself, but his words were so full of wisdom and often so self-deprecating and honest, by the end of the night I really just wanted to give him a nice cup of tea and a hug. 

Phillip Adams' chat with the Shearer's crowd was diverse and spanned across a wide range of his experiences. From his first radio interview at 3AW in Victoria in the early 1970's, where he gave a frustrated author a forum to discuss why there should be a service for disabled people requiring sexual relief (They decided to name this 'Feels on Wheels'. Apparently this interview attracted around six hundred complaints from listeners, thrilling Adams' manager), to an unexpectedly silent interview with a Burmese monk who could not speak or understand English. A highlight of the evening was Adams' truly honest way of answering questions from the audience. Sharing his views on refugees, asylum seekers and Indigenous issues, Adams left no stone unturned, and responded with sometimes brutal but always entertaining truth. Referring to himself as the 'Licensed Left Winger' at the Australian, Adams has a great sense of humour and readily shared the big-hearted worldview he has developed by being able to "talk about anything to anybody anywhere on earth". Adams believes everything is interesting, and cited his greatest pleasure in interviewing as being able to help someone new and often not so well-known expose themselves and their talents. 

A great night was had by all, and now I'm finding it's me lying in bed at night with tiny white earphones, listening to the dulcet tones of one of Australia's media greats. 

- Sarah 

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