Speech of the Month, June 2022 - Lauren Laverne
Classless, cool, well-informed and witty - Lauren Laverne is one of our most naturally gifted presenters
I distinctly remember the first time I came across Lauren Laverne; she was on a Saturday teatime quiz (the name of which escapes me) and I was struck by her calm wisdom and effortless cool. “That’s the girl from Kenickie,” a friend remarked. “Where’s that?” I replied.
So when I saw her presenting 'The Culture Show' a couple of years later, I was pleased and amazed in equal measure. Pleased because it’s great seeing someone with a lot of personality get on, and amazed because back then – and probably still now – it’s a rare thing to have a woman with a distinct Sunderland accent (or any other English accent) host a high-brow programme. And actually, that brought even more pleasure.
It’s the blend of personality and Laverne’s work ethic that makes her such fabulous value. Here are the dominating ingredients in that blend as I see them:
She’s interested and well-informed
Whether she’s having a chat with a ‘Biorythms’ listener on her 6 Music show or interviewing a guest on Desert Island Discs, she always seems genuinely interested in what they’ve got to say. She values the feelings and opinions of average Joes as much as she does those of the great and good. She never tries to outshine her guests and, in some cases, she manages to make them more interesting than they probably are. Generous eh?
When it comes to her work, she’s remarkably well-informed. It’s a rare person who can discuss the theme of community in Under Milk Wood one day and then proffer an opinion on The Wedding Present’s best album the next. But it’s this breadth of knowledge - which you feel she’s gained through pleasure, not study - that makes her stand out among her peers.
And always happy for humour to happen. Whether it’s a bit of word play or a dive into the bathetic, she makes intercourse fun. She keeps her interviews loose and because of this she’s able to improvise well. Check out the clip below with Macca. Now, we can’t pretend her contribution to the impromptu ditty is fabulous but how many other presenters would have felt comfortable going along with it?
There’s something classless about Laverne. If she was in a rough pub on a council estate or having afternoon tea with Princess Anne, you sense she could hold her own. Equally, if you saw her propping up the bar in your local, you feel you could go over and say ‘Hi’ without her feeling the need to tell you she has the right to a private life.
On the subject of private life, she’s always shared enough about hers without ever becoming a baby bore or a smug married. In fact, the day after I decide to make her my SotM, she announced that her mum had died and I felt really sad about it because over the years of listening to her, she’d said enough about her folks for it to be clear that they were lovely people. Well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
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