I don't know if journalism is supposed to be like the Stanislavski school of acting, writes Helene Cacace. Should a journalist experience the feelings and emotions of the interviewee, like a method actor and his part? Well, by the end of a recent interview with Billy Bragg I almost felt I was Billy Bragg... (well sort of).
Billy Bragg's new book 'The Progressive Patriot, A Search for Belonging' is a personal journey; a search for his own identity and the meaning of being English. Interwoven in the novel are his musical influences, from Dylan to the Clash and then musings about his own family tree - his ancestors' involvement with the Unions, with long chapters on great events in British history - the Magna Carta, the Reformation, the creation of the Welfare State.
It's probably the type of book you read over a long period alongside another, so you can digest and contemplate his theories - a luxury I didn't have as a journalist. I condensed reading into the 24 hours before meeting the author.