Infinity Is A Great Place To Start

March 4th, 2009

bwnews.jpgThirteen years at MTV News, and finally I get my close up!

Ok, so it was a two-shot, but still.

I knew today was special from the moment I forced myself from my warm sheets: my pre-order of U2’s “No Line On The Horizon” was waiting on iTunes.

I spent the few minutes it took to download the album to bang out a post (“Will U2’s New Album Live Up To Bono’s Promise?”) for MTV’s Newsroom blog. Then I walked into work, relishing the band’s latest effort — their twelfth — along the cold and snowy (and fairly miserable) way.

With barely two listens under my belt, I can tell you this much: I don’t know if “No Line On The Horizon” is an album for the ages, but it hits all the marks: shimmering guitars, deep grooves, anthemic refrains.

And yes, after just two listens, I’d say it makes good on Bono’s promise to me at the premiere of “U23D” at last year’s Sundance; it bridges the intersection of past and future.

So anyway, we recently started doing this thing we call Headlines Of The Day. It’s a no-nonsense, rapid-response, lo-fi news recap often featuring a member of the news team alongside one of our on-air correspondents. Today, someone nominated me (though it wasn’t immediately apparent who).

First, I got an email from MTV News Correspondent Tim Kash (“Do you need makeup before your standup?”). Then my assistant, Nicole, said (giggling), “They want you to make a cameo on Headlines Of The Day!”

I initially blushed at the suggestion; the last thing any teenager wants to watch is a wrinkly, bald, old middle manager talking about U2. But then I thought it might be good for the team to see that, Hey, even the old guy it pitching in. So I said yes.

Five minutes later, with just twelve minutes to spare before a remote production technologies meeting with three SVPs, I walked into the newsroom for my big moment. The teleprompter read, simple, “Ben Ad Lib.” And so I did (after asking my newsroom colleagues to strap on their headphones).

Never have I appreciated Tim’s ease on camera like this morning; ad libbing ain’t easy. My first take ran long: too much detail. I flubbed my second. And, excepting a few stutters, my third was just right. (Or, right enough.)

So, Mom and Dad, take a look. And then you can stop asking, “When are you going to be on-air?” Because the answer, I think, is “Never again.”


37 Responses to “Infinity Is A Great Place To Start”

  1. Mary  Says:

    It was great Benjamin!! The only thing that would have made it better was to have on an “Authentic” shirt….or Heartland shirt…

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Elizabeth ( Blisland, UK )  Says:

    I can’t see it Benjamin…I only get an Adidas commercial. :(

  3. Benjamin  Says:

    thanks, mary. much as i love my nadas, i’m forced to dress a bit spiffier for the man.

    and sorry, elizabeth; big media geoblocks content per international trademark laws. i assure you though: it’s genius. :}

  4. pemberton  Says:

    that was so fun!! you look great on camera!

  5. Linda  Says:

    Third time’s a charm. I like your entrance, nice job!

  6. Daniel Zola  Says:

    What, no plug for the Rockwood Show?! You gotta do a better job of self-promotion, “Ben”

  7. Benjamin  Says:

    You’re totally right, Z. And I love that you noticed he called me, “Ben.” I saw it in prompter and didn’t have the heart to correct them, not for my fifteen seconds of fame.

  8. Lara Kathleen  Says:

    I saw this video on MTV.com earlier today…way to rock it Benjamin! You did great. Are you feeling the album or what? Watching U2 on Letterman is really motivating me to grab a copy.

  9. Benjamin  Says:

    Hey Lara! I’m feelin’ it, though I just thought on my most recent listen (like thirty seconds ago) that it may not have legs. Too soon to tell. I like the sounds a lot, I just wish Bono had self-edited on the lyrics a bit more. “Magnificent,” for example, works for me melodically, but not phonetically or in terms of meaning. Stay tuned…

  10. Tricia  Says:

    I’d never bag on U2, I’m a fan as well, but after a few listens to the new album I gotta say I’m pretty underwhelmed.

  11. Brian  Says:

    dude, you looked great on camera, you should do it more often. I wonder if the kids know who Lanois and Eno are. You should have mentioned that will.i.am worked on the album (although it’s difficult to hear his influence, just as well). but great debut, don’t say “never again”!

  12. Mom  Says:

    In my jetlag haze, it’s 2am, and I’m must catching up on your blog, Ben. …And you were GREAT on camera. Congratulations!
    Love, Mom

  13. Tony  Says:

    What…they wouldn’t let you wear your guitar to the interview? Good for you bro…

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