I get interviewed a fair bit, and sometimes it’s genuinely interesting – normally when the interviewers are interesting people themselves. But of course, most of the time, it’s interviews of a pretty predictable kind. Professional writers often attempt the kind of provocative, illuminating, searching questions they could ask if they were really good at their jobs, instead of just in it for the money. To achieve this, they glue something they read somewhere to something they have seen on television or in films, and just sort of clash them together in a way which is supposed to be stimulating and creative, but which actually turns out to be rather bizarre and mostly unfunny, except occasionally in retrospect, and not at all in the way they intended.
The truly most bizarre of such questions was once asked by a slightly disconnected but physically stunning young female journalist from Los Angeles, who had obviously read about my interest in psychology, but whose sense of humour was clearly based on puerile scatalogy. She was probably in therapy herself – not a bad idea, everyone should try it at least once – and seemed rather fixated on matters of the body. “Nipples,” I said in context. She giggled. A while later, “fell flat on my bum”. She wriggled and giggled. Anything that could be phallic symbol, was a phallic symbol. In twenty minutes, we veered from Freudian analyses of Python films – were the coconuts in Holy Grail replacements for breasts? – to her laughing insanely, practically falling off her chair, pouting mouth covered by manicured hand, at the fact that I had been the first person to say the word “shit” on British television.
Finally, she girded her loins, leaned forward in a haze of pheremones and Chanel, and purred,
“So, what exactly do you think of when you answer the call of nature?”
It took a few seconds to work out what she meant, and I decided the only fair response was to respond with perfect media- trained skill to which I felt sure she could relate – I answered her question with a question.
“Sitting, or standing?”
At which, she suddenly became confused, blushed, started to stammer, gathered her audio recording device and hurriedly left.
Since then, whenever I commune with mother earth in the smallest room in the mansion, if my mind wanders from more lowly considerations, it thinks of her.