I made a short version of the Factor Two episode I made with Dave Thomas.
Dave is a pretty intense guy; he fixes you with a stare that is kind of unnerving and relaxing at the same time. His story is difficult to hear in parts, but totally joyous in others. It was a very cathartic experience for me interviewing him for this piece. We recorded two interviews around two weeks apart, and spoke on the phone several times in between. More than five hours of audio was condensed into 30 minutes for the original episode. I've dropped it down to the key passages for a ten minute piece (it deserves longer really, but I think this has impact on its own too).
My aim here was to produce a version of Dave's story which would resonate with someone who wasn't a climber; I wanted to put them in his shoes, almost literally. The point where he is lacing his boots and thinking about the past and the future, about the lack of control and the total control in the face of this wild, exhilarating and life affirming experience really struck a chord with me.
I'd like to say it was a pleasure to produce this, but it would be a wrong word to use. I am proud that Dave trusted me with the story. He really did as well - he refused to listen before it went out. He emailed me at 4am the following morning to say a friend had been in touch and enjoyed it, and he was going to listen now. I waited nervously for his response. A big part of Dave's story revolves around his sense of being "misrecognised", of others not really understanding his true essence or motivations, not connecting with him. I was really worried that I'd missed this too.
Thankfully Dave came back to me 45 minutes later and simply said, "Thanks for being with me for this."
If you prefer to download an mp3 version you can do so here.
The name for this episode comes from Lord of the Flies, the William Golding novel. In the original episode Dave described his ascent of this famous Llanberis E6. It seemed appropriate as a coming of age story that reflects on many of the issues of identity, family and fear that Dave talks about. Specifically it is drawn from the passage which reads: "Fear can't hurt you any more than a dream." This occurs when the boys are confronted by the beast and realise that the fear is all in their minds really. Dave's story shows this isn't the case, fear can have real world lasting consequences. For Dave fulfilling his own dreams is one way of dealing with the aftermath of that fear.