Interview with Willemijn Barker-Benfield

The south bank is a wonderful place to meet.

Perfect for a relaxed interview and chat with writer and journalist Willemijn Barker-Benfield. The Royal Festival Hall was relaxed and peaceful, the few children running around seemed to be distant and muffled. And as we sat down – warming my hands by clutching a much needed green tea – somewhere behind me musicians started playing…it may have been a piano and violin, it may have been a chamber orchestra or perhaps a trio. It was definitely classical and there were no singers involved…I think.

I am not entirely sure. And while I may have had my back to them I also remember turning round to watch and we definitely commented on them…I’m afraid it is all a bit of a haze…

Yet this lack of memory had nothing to do with the company.

It is entirely because we met a mere two and a half weeks before the opening of the exhibition. I felt as if I was in a fog of things that needed doing at the same time as being in that zone of efficiency, of getting things done. And all this while being stuck, somewhere in limbo, having done most of the hard work – impatient to get it on the walls, but still stressing about all that I had left to do.

And yet as we talked and chatted, I felt lucid about everything and anything photographic. A couple of hours passed, the green tea no longer warmed my hands, the music was in full flow and children played on, unnoticed. Then the interview was given. All was well with the world and anticipation took up residence within me as I waited that week or so to read it, busy wrapping frames in bubble wrap and writing text for the exhibition.

And when it came, it was everything I expected and hoped for.

And yes, of course – what did I expect? The green tea had been noticed and the bags under my eyes commented upon. Luckily there were no journalists present as I read, to see the wry smile cross my face…

Read the interview here. It’s well worth it.

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