You never know what you might end up doing when you get together with Vivian “Vivi” Draper, a vivacious English expat who is a fellow member of Open House Grenoble, the French-English language and social exchange group that we joined upon moving to Grenoble. I first met Vivi when I attended an Open House book group meeting this October. The book group is comprised of French and English speakers that read literature in English. (Believe me, my French has not gotten to the point that I can join a group that reads in French beyond Beatrix Potter’s Pierre Lapin books.)There was an easy feeling among the group of mostly native-French speakers, and Vivi facilitated the meeting with thoughtful, provocative questions sparking lively discussions.
Vivi is also a presenter on English Talk Radio (ETR) 90.8FM Radio Campus Grenoble. This show is the brainchild of Vivi and another OHG member, Bernard Picard. The show airs on Sunday afternoons with repeat broadcasts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Vivi hosts the show featuring interviews about books, theatre, film, finance, travel, and life. She is primarily a freelance writer, also working as a documentary film maker, and is committed to various volunteer projects such as a food program in Africa and literacy in Washington, DC. She also manages to belong to several book groups in Grenoble and tapes about two ETR shows a month in her spare time!
At that October book club meeting, Vivi announced that one of her next radio shows would feature book groups in Grenoble that read literature in English, and the OHBG members were eager to be a part of the show. We met the afternoon of the taping in the café located at Decitre, a small French book-selling chain, in centre ville Grenoble. Her guests would be Daniel who manages Decitre’s international literature collection, a source of books for the English-reading book clubs, and some members from a few of the local Grenoble book clubs—Open House’s Book Club, the Page Turners book club, and the Reading Group book club.
Never having seen or been involved in a radio production, I was eager to see how such a taping is done. Vivi assembled everyone around grouped-together tables while the sound/recording engineer, Bertrand Tappaz, set up to tape the show. Microphones were handed around, there were sound checks, and we were off! Or should I say “on”? Vivi seamlessly interviewed all involved relying on what seemed like the minimum of notes. (I was even asked to say a few words and am now immortalized on the podcast.) I always travel with my camera so I volunteered to take pictures at the taping, a perfect job for camera-shy me! In the small café area, there also was a group of bookstore patrons stopping for an aprés-midi café (afternoon coffee), and they decided to stick around to listen, to watch and to be part of the taping. It was great entertainment on that rainy afternoon.
The taping was a success with Vivi orchestrating the flow. She used facial expressions, hand motions, and gentle promptings to direct her guests. At the end, everyone breathed a sign of relief when the taping was over and just under that magical number of 30 minutes of on-air time.
Click here to listen to the show’s podcast… P.S. The slow download is not so slow.