Behind closed doors

Ring the bell

I’ve always been inquisitive so getting the response you never know what’s going on behind closed doors was never any help to me. It just added to my curiosity.

When I was listening to the radio yesterday and heard the story about Alfie Barker trolling Harry Arter on Twitter, my first question was what on earth is going on in his head? I didn’t have to wait long for an answer: he told us that he has ADHD and autism and he had mixed his medication with alcohol.

You never really know what’s going on in another person’s world.

About 10 years ago I arranged a TV interview with John Nichol – a former pilot who was shot down during the First Gulf War. At the other end of the phone line I was confronted by a very rude, obnoxious and arrogant man. That image of him stayed with me until just a few months ago when he appeared on BBC Radio Five Live talking about the humiliation of being held captive and paraded in front of the world’s media via Iraqi TV. He’s done many interviews over the years but for the first time I felt he really opened up – I was privy to a time when he was vulnerable, frightened and ashamed. I felt great compassion for him.

Just before I went to Nicaragua I was excited to meet Bianca Jagger. She was the only Nicaraguan I’d ever met and she was something of a legend. I had arranged an interview with her on a humanitarian topic. Afterwards, I tried to strike up a conversation with her about the country of her birth. I told her about my plans for voluntary work there. Her answers were monosyllabic and she showed a general lack of interest. A few months ago, I came across an article in which she spoke of the time she met Mick Jagger and those early years. Like John Nichol, she too described a great vulnerability at her contrasting life from that in Managua to that in the world of the Rolling Stones.

Once Archie, John and Bianca had opened their doors we could see inside their worlds. It was much easier to understand their behaviour – sooner and later down the line.


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