Having now attained a decade at my glorious career, it’s a fitting juncture to reminisce upon ten years’ worth of highlights. Ten years from a front-row seat at the prosecution of infamous crimes, precedential moments in jurisprudence, sensational sporting events, landmark rulings, celebrity weddings, voyages to space, blockbuster news coverage of terrorist events that shaped the new world, and *cough* The Footy Show. Also, front-row seats during weeks upon weeks of droning tax law, simply hundreds of section 135A County Court cases (Person with Alleged Spondylolisthetic Injury Later Filmed Instructing Aerobics Classes and Paving their Own Driveway v WorkCover/TAC), and Today Tonight. Also, Today Tonight Perth, and Today Tonight Adelaide. That’s right, Melburnians, there’s three different versions of that shit with three different hosts and THAT SHIT PLAYS OUT CONSECUTIVELY, viz 1.5 nightly hours of TT for me for a good four years of my life. Naomi Robson (and her western counterparts Monika and Leigh) stole that time from me, and for that I curse them to the latter days of their careers. May they all end up voicing Surf Rescue Bondi until they die protracted gasping deaths as the half-life of whatever the active ingredient is in hairspray finally expires, sometime in 2092).
A decade’s work is reason enough reel off a list of highlights, and I had planned to get around to it sooner or later; but last month, as a matter of stunning impetus, a new and glittering – if completely unexpected – apex to my stenographic career was reached. I was retained to live-caption the Asian Film Awards, a star-studded Oscars-style extravaganza. And so it came to pass that I got to share an auditorium with, and transcribe, a true legend, if legendary status be measured by orangeness, rib removal and graceless ageing. I talk of the fashion house dowager herself, the fish-lipped, rubbery ghoul Donatella Versace. I’ve shared a studio with Sam Newman (shut up) and many of my footy heros; I’ve taken evidence of esteemed* ex-Prime Minister Howard when he was encumbent; I’ve preserved the record of learned judges for posterity; I’ve captioned hours of Neighbours. But never have I been so starstruck than at the thought of sharing oxygen (if indeed she breathes – in the “flesh”, her vitality was less than convincing) with the hideous beast who had been the subject of so many “hilarious”** exchanges with my best friend during high school. It was simply fantastiche.
Feast upon the lustre she added to the event:
Captioning the Asian Film Awards, Donatella aside, was an amazing experience. The brief was to caption whatever was said onto two mammoth cinema screens on either side of the stage.
Stentura 8000LX > ASUS running Eclipse > big screen spectacular!
It was so exciting, I was like “ANDY LAU!” “TONY LEUNG!!!!” and then mostly silent because I didn’t recognise the superstars of Asian cinema. Or, I recognised them, but I didn’t know their names…and even if I did, it’s not natural to lean out of your booth yelling “Amitabh Bachchan!!! Love you! Say hi to Andy and Tony backstage! How good is it to have the most beautiful daughter-in-law in the world? Way to go, your son!”
And that, should you ever need to know, is how to use court reporting software to “caption” a world-class broadcasting event.
*not by me
**only to me