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December 6, 2001
[comics] Passnotes #1,967: Bobby Fischer‘[Q] Why does he hate the US? [A] Fischer, who was born in Brooklyn, believes it is part of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to destroy him. He is being pursued for back taxes; the FBI issued an arrest warrant for playing a match against Boris Spassky in outlawed Serbia in 1992; and, worst of all, the government raided a storage depot in Pasadena and confiscated his possessions, including a large collection of comics and a signed photograph of President Nixon.’
[columbine] I’m Full of Hate and I Love It — The Secret Diary of Eric Harris… ‘Right now I’m trying to get fucked and trying to finish off these time bombs. Why the fuck can’t I get any? I mean, I’m nice and considerate and all that shit, but nooooo… […] I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no, don’t fucking say, ‘Well, that’s your fault’ because it isn’t, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no no no no no don’t let the weird looking Eric kid come along, oooh fucking nooo.” That is how the journal ends — not with the howl of the wolf-god, but the whine of the pathetic geek who can’t land a prom date. And decides everybody deserves to die.’ [via Metafilter]
December 5, 2001
[celebs] Cruise speaks out on Cruz — Tom Cruise on Penelope Cruz and Scientology… ‘The actor vigorously defended his religion, Scientology, which he said had kept him on the straight and narrow since he was 24 years old. “I started reading books on it and I thought “God, this makes sense’,” he said.’

Who is Xenu? …described as the core belief of Scientology by Operation Clambake. ‘Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu. Xenu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.’
December 2, 2001
[evil] Honestly, you haven’t Changed a Bit … an Observer Journalist meets her first love and profiles Friends Reunited‘…others take a darker view [of Friends Reunited]. ‘The majority of people leave school feeling like a failure,’ says Oliver James, clinical psychologist and author of Britain on the Couch . ‘They’ve failed academically, or on the sports field, or sexually. That’s why so many people have recurring dreams about school examinations – it’s a way of managing anxiety. These people may desire to return to the past, but this time they want it to be a different experience, a more positive one. To be given the opportunity to do that is obviously very attractive.’ Hence all the biographies on the FriendsReunited site in which people refer to the fact that they are no longer fat or spotty, and boast that they are happily married with two gorgeous children. These people are bolstering their self-esteem, something that school – and especially the horrid little beasts in the playground – singularly failed to do.’
December 1, 2001
[king] The Fall of a Pop Impresario [Part 1 | Part 2] … Jon Ronson takes a break from the secret rulers of the world and spends a while with Jonathan King. ‘In mid-October 2001, I have coffee with Jonathan King’s brother, Andy. He’s just visited Jonathan in Belmarsh for the first time. “How is Jonathan doing?” I ask. “Great,” says Andy. “He seems really cheerful. Talking 10 to a dozen.” “Really?” I ask. “He’s wearing pink pyjamas as a silent protest,” Andy tells me. “He says it’s aesthetically reminiscent of the way gays were treated under the Nazis.”‘
November 30, 2001
[film] My life as a scumbag … Iranian-British comedian Omid Djalili on what it’s like to be cast as a middle-eastern villian all the time. ‘And thus it all started, taking in all manner of Arab scumbag roles, the highlight of course having my genitalia manhandled by the late, great Ollie Reed in Gladiator in my favourite scene: “You sold me queer giraffes.” Of course, type-casting will always be a concern, but I did pop up in the last Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, in a ground-breaking role as an Azerbaijani oilpipe foreman – a major departure.’
November 26, 2001
[film] The Cold Shoulder — great interview with Thora Birch. ‘I fit in one more question before she signals it is time for me to go. I ask if movie acting feeds her soul. Somewhat chillingly, she answers, “They feed off each other.” I never get to meet her dad (‘He’s too busy’), nor do I get to use her lavatory (‘No, um. . . No. . . Our plumbing isn’t. . . it’s not good’). The urgency with which she wants me to go actually frightens me a little.’
November 25, 2001
[tv] Richard and Judy: The Golden Couple — The Indepedent profiles Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan… ‘When Richard Madeley ejaculates he prefers to rest his “equipment” for 25 minutes before attempting to make love with Judy Finnegan again. Or so he told the world in 1995. He has had a vasectomy, and her painful, irregular periods were the cause of a hysterectomy three years ago. This may be much more information than you need, but it represents only the tiniest sample of the personal details Richard and Judy have disclosed to the viewing public since they began presenting a live television programme called This Morning in 1988. There is nothing they won’t talk about on air, except her weight and the eight-year age gap between them. Richard is sleek, fastidious, endowed with long, shiny hair, and 45. His wife is 53, and frankly she looks it alongside her clean-cut, mane-tossing husband. She is also by far the sexier of the two.’
November 17, 2001
[war] John Simpson: The first man of KabulMartin Bell profiles the “liberator of Kabul”. ‘As for John Simpson’s politics, I have no idea (and should not have) what they are. I’d guess they are ever-so-slightly right of center. Unlike so many war zone wanderers, he is not a natural-born rebel and iconoclast. Indeed, I once shared a platform with him at the Cheltenham literary festival, where he described himself as an “establishment creep”. That’s another of his qualities: an ability to disarm his critics with self-deprecation. It’s quite common among the big beasts of TV news, and an excellent defence mechanism. I used to use it. “Dad”, asked my daughter Catherine one day, “Why do you put yourself down so much?” “Quite simple,” I answered. “I do it myself, because if I don’t there are plenty of others who will do it for me”.’
November 14, 2001
[war] Simpson of Kabul — the Guardian profiles at John Simpson and does a brief history of war correpondants such as Max Hastings… ‘Hastings, then a 38-year-old reporter for the Evening Standard, single-handedly “took” Port Stanley when he walked alone through the British lines on the last day of the Falklands war. Hastings, son of the war correspondent Macdonald Hastings, said: “I thought, if I can walk up that road and get there first and survive and not get shot, I can bore everybody to death for the next 20 years talking about it.” Other correspondents called him “an insufferably pompous, bumptious egotist”.’ [Related: Steve Bell on John Simpson]
November 13, 2001
[profile] Leader of the pack — brief profile of American journalist Seymour Hersh‘Why aren’t there more reports like Hersh’s? “I don’t know,” he says. “You know, after September 11 Washington is a very unhappy and increasingly anxious town. We’ve got a very acute strategic problem. When they took out the World Trade Centre we had to get the response right and we didn’t get it right. The word for Washington now is ‘scary’ – it’s impossible not to get something for a story here.”‘ [Related: Escape and Evasion by Hersh]
November 9, 2001
[film] Go Ahead, Pinko Liberals, Make My Day … Guardian interview with John Milius. ‘The second world war has replaced the western as a morality play, as a venue where these things exist. The western is no longer the western; we’ve changed our attitude towards the Indians, the frontier, the open spaces. So the second world war is a much better place to say, “Here’s what you should measure up to be.” It’s no longer Shane. It’s Sergeant Rock.’
November 8, 2001
[tv] A Taxi Ride to Success — interview with Rob Brydon from Marion and Geoff … ‘Marion and Geoff was a series of exquisite ten-minute monologues delivered by Brydon in the character of Keith Barrat, a Welsh minicab driver. Keith spoke to us via a video camera mounted on the passenger side of his dashboard – mostly about his wife, Marion, his two children, Alun and Rhys (‘little smashers’), and his wife’s new partner, Geoff, the pharmaceutical salesman of the year. In the face of dreadful domestic and professional disappointment, Keith was endlessly optimistic – which only seemed to confirm the depths of his despair. “Beautiful day,” he would announce brightly, before looking up through the windscreen at the sky and adding, “Bit overcast. But Mr Bluebird’s on my shoulder.”‘
November 7, 2001
[tv] You ask the questions: Louis Theroux‘[Q] Who was more scary to interview, Eugene Terreblanche (of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement) or Paul Daniels? [A] The company of Terreblanche is the scariest. He smelt of booze and he did seem a bit volatile, switching between being overly friendly to angry and crazed from moment to moment. With Paul the terror is that he’s going to tell you another endless Frank Sinatra anecdote.’
November 5, 2001
[tv] Don’t stop me now — an interview with Jonathan Ross … ‘Ross owes his success to his unembarrassability. Much of his humour is at his own expense. Hence the interminable bad-taste jokes, and the celebrated occasion on which he exposed himself on They Think It’s All Over last year. (He protests: “The BBC loved it! They thumbed it with something like “Wossie whips it out”. They used my cock as a selling point. Well, I didn’t show my cock anyway, not to the audience or to the cameras. I showed it to Nick [Hancock], and I showed it to Ian Wright, who looked suitably horrified. There was a great photograph of him recoiling in absolute disgust that I was thinking of having it made into a T-shirt.”‘
November 4, 2001
[cheggers] The show must go on [Part 1 | Part 2] … Louis Theroux meets Keith Chegwin. ‘I look up and there’s a man standing there, with short legs and receding grey hair, he looks like Keith Allen, the actor. Then I realise it’s Keith Chegwin. I must be tired. He changes into his stage gear: blue shorts and an orange Hawaiian shirt. We head for the stage. As we’re puffing up the stairs, past the pipes with bubbles in them, Keith says: “Do you do gigs? You should!… Coronary classic, these stairs! I want somebody from St John’s, now!” I part ways with Keith as we approach the main dance floor, where Keith will be performing. The club is loud and packed with drunk students. The energy is great – despite being tired, I’m caught up in the swell of excitement. Keith hits the stage, and screams through his microphone, so loud the sound is distorted and barely comprehensible. “Have we got anyone here who can’t stand the effing sight of me?” There’s a huge roar.’
November 2, 2001
[profile] The prime of Ms Julie Burchill — quite an intriguing interview … ‘From reading her columns, it is hard to gauge what her values are, if indeed she has any. “Well, I wouldn’t take money from a poor box and I always give to beggars. Can’t go out in Brighton without giving away at least 50 quid. When you look into their eyes, it’s like looking in to the eyes of Jesus. That sounds corny, but I just love that moment of connection.”‘
October 31, 2001
[questions] You ask the Questions: Larry Hagman‘[Q] JR had many classic lines, but which one of them is your own favourite? [A] “Once you get rid of integrity, the rest is a piece of cake”.’
October 19, 2001
[film] Terry Zwigoff: ‘Every guy wants a teenage girlfriend’ — facinating interview with the director of Ghost World. ‘…Ghost World’s Seymour has a horrid mom. What’s Zwigoff’s like? Until now, Zwigoff’s sails have been full of wind. Now they collapse. Mrs Zwigoff, it turns out, was “very critical, very negative, everything I was wildly passionate about she had no interest in whatsoever”. She didn’t get to see Ghost World (“she died, luckily”). She did, however, get to see Crumb, at its world premiere at the New York Film Festival. When the lights came up, she turned to Zwigoff’s cousin, Sherwin, and said, “So, are you still awake?” I tell him she sounds hilarious. He shakes his head morosely. “She was a very depressed person.”‘
October 17, 2001
[tv] Edie Does It — William Leith interviews Edie Falco (Carmela from the Sopranos). ‘If you haven’t seen The Sopranos yet, you should. Filming is about to begin on the fourth series and the third will air on Channel 4 in November. How good is it? Well, the New Yorker magazine recently reported a conversation between two real-life mobsters who were being bugged in just the sort of police operation you see in The Sopranos. One mobster says, ‘What’s this Sopranos? Is that supposed to be us?’ The other replies, ‘What characters. Great acting.’ ‘
October 8, 2001
[profile] Saint or Skinner? — interview with Frank Skinner. ‘…the smile of a ubiquitous, tousle-haired, 44-year-old who tells jokes about anal sex and oral sex, but mostly anal sex, and still manages to be something of a housewives’ and grannies’ favourite. Frank Skinner is the chat show host who famously balanced a mentally precarious Tara Palmer-Tomkinson on his knee, creating the catalyst TV moment that sent her packing to rehab. He is a smutty, talented, slovenly, porn-video-watching, teetotal, divorced practising Catholic with an undying passion for West Bromwich Albion football team and Elvis Presley.’
October 5, 2001
[profile] Big Mouth Strikes Again — profile / interview with Bob Geldof … ‘Of wise words and passionate topical convictions, he’s got a tidal wave. “…this ferocious death cult called the Taliban, who have no real theology, whose every action is anti-life, including a denial of life to all women, and a shadowed half-life to all men, who can’t display their faces. These people are like having the Ku-Klux-Klan running the country. And I don’t want them in this world…” It’s nice to have the Any Questions? Bob back ? arguing with Ann Widdecombe, haranguing governments about Third World debt and starving refugees (“It’s an intellectual absurdity that people die of want in a world of surplus”), always looking to stir things up.’
September 30, 2001
[film] McQueen’s Race with the Devil — extract from a new biography of Steve McQueen … On filming Le Mans: ‘[The Paparazzi] could gauge the film’s mood by the film-makers’ own physical disintegration. Relyea’s co-producer Jack Reddish was on his way to losing 20lb and breaking out in sores. John Sturges’s remaining hair went white. Then the studio stepped in. “They took the view that we, Solar [McQueen’s production company], were now fighting among ourselves and obviously needed disciplining.” Then Sturges threw in the towel. Neile remembers his actual and classic words were: “I’m too old and too rich to put up with this shit.”‘
September 26, 2001
[profile] The Best of all Worlds — A Telegraph profile-interview on George Best … ‘In 1997 Best set up a business importing bottles of wine with his name and picture on the labels. As one of his partners noted, “It was like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.”‘
September 25, 2001
[character] Portrait Of The Terrorist As A Young Man … The Guardian on Osama Bin Laden’s early years. ‘Yet of the young Osama there is almost nothing. Repeatedly, Saudi sources are cited describing him as “normal”, “unexceptional”, “quiet”, “intense”. Three years ago, the staff of one American magazine clearly struggled to dream up a subhead for the section of a Bin Laden profile dealing with his youth, but ended up inadvertently crystallising the state of our knowledge in six words. They were: “Ordinary young man – then joined jihad.”‘ [Related: Bin Laden Family Portrait, Steve Bell on Bin Laden]
September 17, 2001
[tv] Trivia pursuits — interview with Adam and Joe‘…a criticism that is frequently levelled at the duo: “We are unfashionably middle class and too posh,” Cornish says with a bristle in his voice. Buxton jerks back in his chair with irritation: “It’s just because we are this sort of nebulous item, so people fixate on the school we went to and think, ‘Oh, they’re not northern, they’re not stand-up, they’re not really anything, so let’s make them slacker toffs.'” After a two-second pause they both shrug self-mockingly: “Fair enough, really.”‘
September 9, 2001
[politics] Tories’ leap of faith — intriguing profile Of Ian Duncan Smith‘This is what comes up most often when you talk to those who know him (along with his genuine ease as a family man: he likes to change nappies, and makes a mean pasta); principle, unshakeability, and loyalty to his friends, one of whom said, rather ludicrously: “He’s someone you’d go tiger-shooting with.”‘
September 5, 2001
[sleaze] Call it blackmail if you want — interview with Max Clifford from The Telegraph … ‘Perhaps the most telling insight into Clifford’s motivations is a childhood memory of his sister. “I would be seven and she’s 20, and she’s sitting in our tiny front-room, trying to entertain a boyfriend. My brothers would gee me up and I’d run in, stark naked, fart and run off again, which she didn’t see the funny side of at all.”‘
September 4, 2001
[comic ads] Count Dante, so-called Deadliest Man Alive (he died in 1975) has his own website and was actually the World’s Deadliest Hairdresser‘Count Dante personally went to Muhammad Ali’s (Cassius Clay) house on the south side of Chicago and challenged the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the world. Count Dante’ also challenged the World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and the World Heavyweight Judo Champion. Count Dante personally entered the contest and defeated all the comers.’ [via Memepool]
September 3, 2001
[films] The George Kennedy Appreciation SocietyPictures from Airport 77‘Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the great thespian George Kennedy.’ [Related: Airport 77 at IMDB]
August 29, 2001
[tv] Theroux tipped off by Hamiltons — brief inside story on Louis Theroux and the Hamiltons … Theroux: ‘Journalists can dish it out, but we’re not very good at taking it. Maybe it’s because we know what it’s like being in the media spotlight. We’re the last to sign the release form.’
August 25, 2001
[profile] Vaughan Again — Johnny Vaughan interview / profile in the Telegraph … ‘Mnemonists are, Vaughan explains, “Guys who you might think are highly intelligent but actually just have a good selection of freakish memories. I read that,” Vaughan remembers, “and I thought ‘Oh dear. . .’ and the worst thing is, I remembered it.” He shrugs ruefully, “And if I remembered it, I definitely am it.”‘
August 22, 2001
[comics] Sophie Crumb, sketching her own artistic ‘World’ — USA Today on Robert Crumb’s daughter Sophie … ”’Last night, this guy, a fire juggler I met on the street, was looking at something I did and he said, ‘This looks like R. Crumb.’ I said, ‘That’s my dad!’ Crumb, who doesn’t see the resemblance to her father’s work, hopes to avoid cashing in on his fame and plans to pursue a career illustrating children’s books. ”I wish my last name would have nothing to do with it,” she says. ”I thought that Crumb was a common name in Kansas.” She pauses. ”I have to get married to a French guy soon.”’ [via Comic Geek]
August 21, 2001
[film] In the Driving Seat — interview with Sigourney Weaver by William Leith … ‘THE first, overwhelming impression you get of Sigourney Weaver is that, unlike most film stars, she is even taller than you imagined – 6ft 2in, or possibly even 6ft 3in in her high heels. She once said that her career had been defined by the fact that most producers were short, and that she was not their ideal sexual fantasy. She is the sort of woman who, I imagine, would terrify a short man.’
August 19, 2001
[profile] Salon profiles Robert Ballard (the discoverer of Titanic) … ‘In “Eternal Darkness,” Ballard describes what he saw: “Warm water shimmered up from cracks in the lava flows. It was turning a cloudy blue as manganese and other minerals, carried from deep within the seafloor, precipitated out of solution to form a solid coating on the cooler surrounding rocks. But that was not all. The seafloor was teeming with life.” For several days, Ballard explored the hydrothermal vents, taking specimens and preserving them in Russian vodka purchased at port in Panama. In other words: Been there, done it, mapped it, sampled it and pickled it in vodka.’
[movies] That Loving Felon [Part 1 | Part 2] — interview with Ray Liotta‘It strikes me that Ray Liotta is probably capable of unconditional love himself. I found an extraordinary sweetness in him, sometimes accompanied by his too-much-information type of honesty. What makes him seem maniacal are his eyes, but they are also what make him seem angelic. There’s an amazing play of hard and soft, and people like that. Women like that homicidal lunatic that is dangerous but also tame and sweet. He shrugs: ‘I guess. When you play a bad guy, there’s never just one note. Even killers want to be loved.”
August 17, 2001
[movies] Various celeb quotes and stories on Christopher Walken ‘I was riding in a car with Christopher and some other people, going to our location. [while filming Communion] It was a fairly long drive, through beautiful countryside, and it started to get too quiet, so Christopher started singing “Mac The Knife” in Yiddish!’ [via Fark]
August 14, 2001
[media] The Man Who Killed the Media … Media Guardian profile/interview with Michael Wolff. ‘…Wolff’s view is that the world’s media barons are less powerful than they were in the days of Henry Luce or when Americans could watch only three television channels. He calls the combination of America Online and Time Warner “a bit of ridiculousness”, indicative of the media industry’s desperation to find new ways of making money. He is dismissive of the industry’s current vogue to own distribution networks such as cable and television channels, for example. “They’re trying to turn themselves into utilities. They go from one grail or shibboleth to another. They are hustlers and charlatans all,” he says with some relish.’
August 6, 2001
[profile] Johnny Vegas Laid Bare — another profile from the Independent … ‘Johnny isn’t Michael’s invention in the way that, say, Alan Partridge is Steve Coogan’s invention. Johnny is Michael, magnified. Or Johnny is comprised of the bits of Michael — the pain, the rejections — that Michael has hived off, to save himself from the Priory and, possibly, out-and-out alcoholism. Johnny, the stand-up, is Michael at his most brilliantly hurt and resentful.’ [Related: Johnny Vegas Website, link via I Love Everything]
[movies] retroCRUSH Christopher Walken Audio Library‘The way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any of the slopes were gonna get their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.’ [via Metafilter]
August 5, 2001
[movies] The Walken Shtick, Creepy . . . and Cool … great interview / profile of Christopher Walken. ‘Walken looks like if he sat next to you on the subway, you’d probably move to another seat. His longish brown hair is slicked back, and he wears a scraggly beard. His pale blue irises have an eerie intensity, and he seems to have trouble maintaining eye contact. There’s a halting rhythm to his speech that has inspired countless impersonators, including, famously, Kevin Spacey and comedian Jay Mohr. Walken paces his words like this: It’s as, if, he’s . . . following. The punctuation rules, of another . . . galaxy.’ [via Fark]
July 30, 2001
[profile] Mum, this is my porn empire… The Independent profiles Benjamin Cohen — a young “dot.com whizz”. ‘He shows me his bedroom, where it all began. It is lime and turquoise, with a sweet little single bed and, still, Winnie the Pooh books in the bookcase. Have you had sex, Benjamin? “I’m not telling you that.” “Why not?” “Because I’m just not.” Benjamin, by the way, is a Tory, an admirer of William Hague who, yes, would one day like to get into politics himself. “Do you think the porn thing will be a hurdle?” he asks.’
July 29, 2001
[profile] Prophet of the new child order — Sunday Times profile of Michael Lewis… ‘It seems a curious moment to introduce his theory that technological advance is rocketing ahead too fast for most of us. Virtual reality is mostly stuck in amusement arcades, e-mail use is declining, dotcom companies are still on the ropes and silicon chips report falling profits. All this is irrelevant to the changes that are taking place under our noses, he claims. “The profit-making potential of the internet has been overrated and the social effects of the internet were presumed to be overrated. But they weren’t.”‘ Thank God for the Internet — Another article on Lewis at Salon. On Bill Joy’s view of technological change: ‘…what bothered me was that he had a political interest in reining in this process. Stopping it. Stopping change. This just seemed the height of hypocrisy to me. This is a man whose status in the society derives entirely from the society’s willingness to be very liberal in its attitudes toward technology and change and development and now that he’s on top he wants to control it. It just reeked to me of status anxiety.’
July 28, 2001
[profile] The Independent profiles Heather Mills and wonders what exactly is it about her that people find unsettling? ‘What is it then, that causes us to hang back, to pause a little? The answer is Mills herself. There is something about her that is almost frightening. She seems too perfect, her story too colourful, too dramatic. Few people, say her critics, are as driven, as single-minded, as strong-willed as she. And we find that unsettling, hard to cope with. When her father comes out to say his daughter is not a gold-digger who hunts down rich men, there are some who wonder if he protests too much.’
July 24, 2001
[linkage] I’ve just noticed that the Sunday Times has finally put articles from it’s glossy magazine on the website… Bullitt over Broadway [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3] Brief study of Steve McQueen… ‘He grew more insecure with each film. “He wasn”t sure of what he was doing – and he wanted to do a really good job. He wanted order. If a director showed weakness, he would be replaced. And he was very possessive,” remembers Claxton. “He was like a child – at lunch he would order way over what he needed: two cheeseburgers, three chocolate milkshakes, two bags of fries. His attitude was, “Get it while you can, before they take it away from you.” He purposely didn’t carry any money around; he was very tight. He wouldn’t even tip baggage handlers at airports. He’d say, “No – they need to learn that life is tough.” ‘ The Hot Ticket [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3] Article about Tony Blair just before the last election… ‘Flying back from the Labour party spring conference in Glasgow, I am seated next to Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, almost entirely deaf. He holds his nose and blows hard, instructing me to follow his step-by-step example. ‘No, no, no, not like that, like this.’I fear bursting an eardrum. He shrugs; his view is that unless you push on with a project it’s hardly worth bothering.’ The Talented Mr Ridley [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3] Interview with Ridley Scott… ‘He had not won the Oscar for best director. That had gone to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. Ridley had been there before, with Thelma & Louise, losing on that occasion to Jonathan Demme, the director of The Silence of the Lambs. This time, he said, he had two flash moments, the first being relief that he would not have to do his acceptance speech, the second disappointment at having come so close again. Then he thought, oh bugger, he’d have a vodka instead.’
[tv] The Life of Chris — the Guardian profiles Chris Morris’ career.. ‘The animal rights campaigner Carla Lane is still disgusted, four years after her encounter with Morris (“Prison’s not good enough” for animal abusers, she told him. Morris replied: “Prison’s too good. So what about jail?”) “These trendy people seem to think what they do is very funny,” Lane says today, “but most of it is beyond the 40-year-olds who are looking for Only Fools And Horses or Are You Being Served.”‘ [Related: Cook’d and Bomb’d]
July 23, 2001
[politics] And Mother Makes Two — Old, slightly revealing interview of Ann Widdecombe by Gyles Brandreth… ‘Let’s face it, we are not a happier society as a result of the liberalisation of the Seventies. We have record rates of divorce, record rates of suicide, record rates of teenage pregnancy, record rates of youth crime, record rates of underage sex. We should invite people to recognise that the Great Experiment has failed. You cannot have happiness without restraint.’ [via Blogadoon]
July 20, 2001
[comics] Uncle Joe loved a good joke — Stalin’s Politburo liked to doodle cartoons during meetings… ‘. Uncle Joe himself may have been a mass murderer, tyrant and scheming paranoiac, but he had his jocular side as well, even if his sense of humour was typically brutal. As revealed by an extraordinary buff folder marked Top Secret, containing drawings by senior Bolsheviks, he appreciated a good political cartoon as much as the next man.’
July 16, 2001
[books] Stand up for literature — interview with Stewart Lee regarding his new novel The Perfect Fool…. ‘For the past three years Stewart Lee has lived in Stoke Newington, a fashionable north London suburb, in a maisonette furnished in studenty style and dominated by his huge record collection. “I’ve been buying vinyl since I was about 11 – I remember the first CD I bought was in about ’92. Writing the book has helped me realise that maybe there’s something else going on there, that it’s a sort of displacement activity. I think that being interested in things, for men, often is, and in the book the characters have to address that. So that will all be going now. Once the book’s out, I’ll be able to shed it – like skin off a lizard!”‘
July 13, 2001
[tv] Louis Theroux and Ann Widdecombe…. TV doesn’t get any better than that! ‘Ms Widdecombe later said it was what she called the “perfectly sensible” interview Theroux conducted with Paul Daniels that persuaded her to take part. “He has a slightly zany approach but I can cope with that,” she said.’

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