Danny walked into the first of five press conferences tired but happily sated after a great mid morning egg and bacon sandwich. Two slices of bread, four rashers of crispy bacon, two eggs and a healthy splash of smoky barbecue chilli sauce. Chances are with such a large mid morning snack he wouldn’t need lunch, unless of course it was another egg and bacon sandwich.
He had four press conferences lined up. One with TV show that would go to air as a time filler during the next race meeting’s live telecast, while a second one would be a similar type interview but the questions and answers would be transcribed onto a website. The last two were with magazines, one a specialist racing magazine, the other a women’s magazine doing feel good stories for weekly magazine.
When he first started doing interviews it always seemed odd to him that Women’s magazines were interested in him. There was of course women interested in motor sport but the sport had always been pushed as a male dominated sport and according to most figures the females audience made up less than twenty five percent of the total number, while participation rates were way lower at about four percent. Things had changed over the years and the numbers were increasing, maybe in part to Danny and other drivers doing such interviews but it still felt odd to see his face on the cover of a weekly tabloid for women, especially as he’d never considered himself to be part of anyone’s spank bank.
The interview for the website went well enough, the interviewer asked questions about the race, the team, how they prepared in the off season, their thoughts of the rule changes for the new season and how he thought they would go for the new season. They were pretty standard questions, to which Danny gave pretty standard answers and the interview flowed very well. He wished all interviews were that easy.
The TV interview while not as ideal as the web interview was ok. Danny long ago stopped being nervous in front of a camera with recorded interviews, partly because they were recorded but mainly because of the way such interviews are cut and edited to go to air. Because it was so easy for them to over dub the voice with any image Danny had given up trying to predict how he would look on the screen with the final cut, he just hoped, like most people the interviewer wouldn’t skew things too badly.
He remembered doing one interview with the same station several years earlier where the interviewer asked him his thoughts on being shunted off the track during the race. His response had been that it was “just a racing incident” and that “such things happen when everyone is trying to win”, by the time the interview went to air his answer was “the idiot should learn to drive” which had been pieced together from the answers to four different questions. Danny and the team had black banned the interviewer after that incident but it meant they were always weary of what they said and who they said it.
Th first magazine interview was probably the most relaxing interview he’d done in a long time. The interviewer was an old friend and although he still asked the hard questions from time to time the conversation was as one would expect from an old friend, friendly. The last interview with the woman’s weekly tabloid which was suppose to be a feel good piece was not as good.
“So I hear on the grapevine that for last three months your wife,” the woman interviewer looked down at her notes. “Tracey, has been cheating on you.”
Danny was taken back, it wasn’t deliberately kept as a secret but it also wasn’t something that made the news. “What are you talking about? What does this have to do with racing?”
“We have our sources that tell us she’s been sleeping around and you kicked her out because of it.”
“Well I suggest you sack your sources because they are lying.”
“Awe c’mon Danny, we know she’s been away from home. We know she’s only just come back. Have you forgiven her?”
“I’m not going to dignify that with an answer!” Danny was upset but he was managing to keep his anger under control and not raise the level of his voice.
“Don’t be shy Danny, our readers love a good slut story. When we do the photo shoot we’ll get some really hot photos, maybe even topless so you can show off those abs. The women will love it, I guarantee your females fans will throw themselves at your feet!”
“You are kidding me aren’t you? This is some kind of set up?” Danny couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“There is no shame in slut shaming the woman. We know she’s back on the scene but trust me this story will be gold!”
Danny stood up with the intention of walking out without saying another word but the women got the better of him when she spoke again.
“What have you got to hide Danny?”
“Well if you’re not willing to give us the interview then you obviously have something to hide, I’ll give you the chance to tell every one what that is. I promise you, no matter what it is, we’ll paint the picture that it’s all Tracey fault. She’ll be hated by every female reader, you’ll be fighting the girls off.”
Danny had never been so thankful for his anger management training. In years previous he’d have trashed the interview area and stormed out leaving a trail of destruction but things were different now.
“If you print one word of anything about affairs, other sexual partners, or even the word separation I will sue you and your trashy little magazine. I will make it news. I will make the story one that doesn’t go away.” He said in a calm even tone.
Danny was walking to the door when he heard the interviewers voice. “We wont say anything about your affair. I promise it will be all about her!”
Danny so desperately wanted to tell the woman that there had been no affairs on either side, tell her that whatever stories she had about sexual partners was bullshit, but he knew it would only fuel the fire.
“You’ve been warned. Print any of that stuff and you’ll be hearing from my lawyers.”
The interviews had been conducted in the team workshop conference room so when Danny stormed out the room and down the hall to his office the place felt like a bit maze and most of the team knew something was up.
“Danny! What’s wrong? Oi Danny!” Dave, the team manager, was following, almost chasing Danny down the hallway towards his office.
Danny stopped at his office door and turned to Dave before he opened it. “Get the fucking woman out of here. Make sure her and her magazine never get another interview from us again. And get legal on their arses and stop them printing anything about me or the team.”
Danny knew Dave wouldn’t react without the full story so after entering his office he gave him what he needed. Within ten minutes the interviewing team were being escorted from the building and the legal team were penning a letter to the magazine. Within twenty minutes Danny was in his car and headed to the four wheel driver training centre, annoyed but calm.
Previous Racing story here.