Or maybe I will be...
It must be said that filming was the single most surreal thing that's ever happened to me. I never did like being on camera...
To start at the beginning, partway through our lesson with Gulya yesterday we get a knock on the door - it's the lady from TVK and a cameraman, weilding a very large camera. It's quite an effort to get both him and the camera in the room, and as for the tripod - forget it. Even the correspondent lady (I really wish I remembered her name... it was something typically Russian, Olga or Nadia or something) couldn't squeeze in and had to stay outside in the corridor while we finished our lesson (we were talking about our ideal university... not the most thrilling of subjects, but still...). Christine put in a valuable comment - in her ideal university, everyone would be "well dressed". Following on from her earlier comment about her ideal school being only for beautiful children, this caused general merriment. Except to the cameraman, who was busy filming Sophie's dictionary and then Vicki's water bottle.
Then the class was over, and we were told to go and wait by the dean's office while they interviewed Gulya about us. She wasn't expecting that! When she came down to see us just after, she was very excited/embarrassed/confused, all in one go. Which is how I spent most of the day too. We were then filmed walking out of the university, the cameraman running about here there and everywhere to get a perfect shot (and managing to avoid falling on the ice as he did so... impressive). Then came the first interview... Ben and myself were collared to stand in teh snow and answer questions from the correspondent. Ben's went fine, he answered really well. I didn't understand the question and had to get her to ask it again in English. Whoops! Not the most inspiring of first impressions. Then Sophie was asked a few things, and we moved off to the little shop by the bus stop where we had to buy things. I'm not sure why this was of especial importance, and the shop staff looked just as bemused as we felt, but I can at least by things in Russian now so that was ok.
Back outside the shop, and we were asked many random questions about it - did we have such shops in England, did we like the range of food and things in them, what was our favourite thing to buy, etc etc etc. Max and Andrei turned up partway through, and were busy giving their own answers in English, which was amusing. Then we all got on the bus and I was interviewed about buses. Now anyone who's ever been on a Russian bus may well be thinking, "How did you manage that?" as there's usually not enough room to breathe let alone have a huge camera and be interviewed. The answer is that this was the start of the route, and it was therefore empty until we got a few stops further on. Then it got very busy very fast, and we got off the bus (to the relief of hte passengers, the conductor, and also the rest of the Kras crew (as I'm affectionately calling my fellow students here) whose part in the filming was now over). We piled into the TVK Lada (oh yes, I missed those Ladas) and drove back to my building, where there was more filming of me walking up to hte door and stuff like that. I felt like a film star! Except that I was walking through the snow in Krasnoyarsk, rather than along a beach in the Bahamas or something.
Once actually at the flat (on the way up I was asked my opinion of Russian lifts) an unsuspecting Nadia opened the door and was a little surprised to see my accompanied by TV people. But she soon recovered (she had been expecting it after all) and we all piled inside, taking off shoes as is expected (somehow it struck me as odd to have this cameraman darting around the flat in his socks). Then I had to do a guided tour of the flat, pointing out which was my room and anything of interest in it. There wasn't much! I got as far as showing my Russian books, and the foldout bed, saying that this was unusual in England. It was a blatant lie, we DO have foldout beds in England, but they seemed satisfied.
After that they were busy filming me with photos of home and some Russian music (my Brothers Grimm album saved the day!), panicking when the cameraman knocked over a flowerpot with all his prancing about, and then making Nadia come and invite me to drink tea in the kitchen. I was about ready for a cup of tea then, if not something stronger, so I willingly acquiesced (I've just read Jane Austen's Persuasion, can you tell?). After that I was thrown out of the kitchen while they interviewed Nadia about me (hahah) and I stood in my room, still wired up to the microphone, sipping hot tea and feeling more than a little bemused. It was nearly over though - after Nadia's interview I had to "look wistfully out of the window at the snow and look like I was missing my family" and in truth I think Amy would have found it hilarious. After a few more fumbled answers on the differences of life here and in Britain they were gone, and my last task was to wave at them out of the window. Quite a trite ending, I think (I have no idea what trite means, but it sounds good here).
After all that excitement, playing pool that night with the Kras crew and the Russians was quite a relief. As was the beer.
Before I go, I should just add that I potted four balls in a row last night. This has never happened before, and I feel it should be mentioned for posterity.
When I see the piece broadcast (which may or may not be some point next week), I'll let you know. For now, though, it's off to teach.
Coffee is thicker than water...
Coffee is thicker than water...