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Friday Find: The Late Session with Waleed Aly

January 28, 2011

I don’t have a television. I don’t have great self-discipline and I’ve always thought I wouldn’t get enough done if I had one. I addict to programs easily – sometimes not based on the program’s quality but because I’m sucked into flimsy plots or slightly hot characters. I also think too much – about the news, about the plight of non-existent people in non-existent places (Daniel McPherson once unconvincingly failed to save a suicidal man and it stayed with me for a week), about irritating advertisements and… well I think I’ve illustrated that point.

This show though, I sought out. I’ve always admired Waleed’s writing and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen if you put him at the head of a dinner table. Some say it looks as though he’s not doing too much – and I think that’s a sign of a great host – one who listens, makes people feel comfortable and safe sharing their opinions, remains neutral unless they have to seed conversation, and is genuinely fascinated by others’ views. Waleed does that beautifully. This is one of those shows which opens windows into others’ psyches and while you might not agree (hello Gerry Harvey) at the very least you have some small insight into how that person’s completely ridiculous take on life came about (I’m kidding, kind of).

There are episodes online (that’s how I caught it) and I’d highly highly recommend it.

So far they’ve discussed Happiness with Deborah MailmanNigel MarshGerry HarveyClaire Bowditch and Maggie Beer; and much to my delight, they’ve discussed storytelling with Randa Abdel-FattahKate McClymontDan KellyJack Thompson and David Williamson.

Ch Ch Ch Checkidowt.

Note: I feel I should disclose that Waleed is a friend, but I truly adore this program. I’d probably be more complimentary if I didn’t know him personally. I’d probably also share this link to his interview with Denton back in the day and say I’m really excited to see someone in Australian media who I think comes close to Denton in terms of a great interview style: genuine, gentle and enlightening. But I wouldn’t do that here. Because he’d give me hell next time I saw him…

Another note: There’s been a lot of discussion about Waleed not being on twitter and while I’d love to see him there – having read some of the comments directed at him online over the years I can honestly say that if I was in his shoes, I probably wouldn’t be on twitter either. You can regale his awesome band @robotchildband on twitter though. They are freaking good.

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