Posts Tagged ‘interview’

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Interview with Rhodri Marsden

February 7, 2012

I’ve known Rhodri Marsden for about six or seven years. I don’t remember how we met. He’s a journalist and ace keyboard player with bands including Scritti Politti. His new book, Crap Dates, is out now. He’s doing a Crap Dates Workshop at the Big Green Bookshop on February 9th.

Crap Dates by Rhodri Marsden.

Crap Dates by Rhodri Marsden.

Here’s my interview with Rhodri, done in the little text box at the bottom of Skype:

Greg Stekelman: Hello Rhodri.

Rhodri Marsden: Hello Greg. Are you OK?

GS: I am ok. Theoretically I am not drinking for a few weeks but I’ve just had a sip of Talisker and I’m quite pleased with it. How are you?

RM: I’m fine. I’m drinking some red wine called Palo Alto. It’s from Chile. I thought Palo Alto had something to do with Californian technology, which shows what I know about shit.

GS: Shall we do the interview? Just typing. I’ll bung it on my blog sometime soon.

RM: I thought we’d already started.

GS: We had. It was a trick question.

RM: I knew that. (I didn’t know that.)

GS: Most people will probably ask you about the crap dates you’ve been on. I’d like to try a different angle. How disappointed are you by England’s series whitewash against Pakistan?

RM: I’d be more disappointed if I’d actually bothered watching the humiliation. I pay god knows how much money each month for Sky Sports and then England go and ruin it all by making me turn off the TV in disgust.

GS: I was a bit disappointed but I didn’t really care. It seemed an odd series. In Dubai or somewhere. I like listening to the cricket on the radio but I don’t really care that much whether we win or not unless it’s against Australia.

RM: I care quite a lot.

GS: Like an English Faith No More.

RM: At one point I convinced myself that I could control the movement of the players using my mind. You must get that with Spurs.  I ended up writing a column about it. It comes out tomorrow. I mention Allah at the end and I’m worried about reprisals.

GS: Yes. I do get that a bit. I like fooling myself that I have control over the players, when in fact I am powerless. I do the opposite in life: I pretend I am powerless when in fact I could change things if I wanted to.

RM: You take your trousers off to affect the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur. I’ve seen you do it. I mean on Twitter.

GS: Yes. I do it. But now it’s more of a comedy conceit than anything else. I do it to please my followers rather than change the game. I’m a terrible whore.

Rhodri's new beard.

Rhodri's new beard.

GS: So, tell me about your new beard. What inspired it?

RM: The short answer is vanity. Do you want the long answer? Please say yes.

GS: Yes please.

RM: Thanks.

RM: Because I do gigs with Scritti Politti I invariably end up being sent photographs of myself on Flickr and so on, looking like a massive baldy potato head. That’s actually what made me start wearing a hat.

RM: Then just before Christmas we did two gigs in Dalston, and because of the angle I hold my head at when I play the keyboard, I just displayed a massive double chin.

GS: I’m also receding and somehow found myself growing a beard. We cling to hair, wherever it may appear.

RM: As we all know, beards cover up all MANNER of double chin issues. And so it has proved.

GS: Yes. Beards are good like that. I haven’t seen yours so I don’t know where the cut-off point is. Some men let their beards run all the way down their neck. I prefer a straight line just above my Adam’s Apple. You?

RM: I’ve kind of fashioned a graduated approach under the chin. It’s working quite well.

GS: Good.

RM: But the reason I did it now was because Simon & Schuster said that they might end up getting me on BBC Breakfast to promote the book. As far as I know that’s not happening, but were it to happen I wanted a beard to hide behind. Because I’d be terrible.

GS: I think you’d be good on TV. I’m always impressed by your poise when you’re on stage. You snap into Johnny Showbiz mode.

RM: I’m fine talking to rooms full of people, and I’m fine on the radio, because I can REFER TO NOTES. You can’t do that on the telly. You’re just there. I’d panic. I panic on the radio when I don’t have notes. It’s embarrassing. I just laugh nervously and say “Yes, well, there you are then.”

GS: Ok. I thought I might use some the old “dating” questions I came up with last year.

RM: I think you should.

GS: What is your favourite pair of shoes?

RM: Maybe you should explain where these questions originated. Or maybe you can interpolate that into the NARRATIVE.

RM: Anyway, I’ll just answer the bloody question.

GS: Ok. I’ll quickly do the narrative. “Rhodri and I were in a pub full of people and I started randomly interviewing people, asking them silly questions. Rhodri liked the idea of it, and asked me to send him a list of silly questions. I did it. The end.”

RM: My favourite shoes are plimsolls from ASOS. They are £12 each. They last approximately one month of pounding the streets ofLondon. I bought six pairs just before Christmas and I’ve just got through the first pair. Slung them in the bin yesterday, and put on a nice fresh pair.

RM: The reason I bought six pairs is because they were reduced to £6 each.

GS: That’s very good. Romantically, I thought everyone should have a much-loved, well-worn pair of brogues. But you’ve shattered that and shown me that shoes, like memories or love letters, are disposable.

RM: I’m a chucker. I don’t hang on to anything.

GS: I’m a clinger. Like the guy in MASH.

RM: I recently shredded a big folder full of letters I exchanged with my wife in 1995, before we got married.

GS: Golly.

RM: I hung onto them 10 years after we divorced, which is pretty good going for me.

GS: Theoretically, you’re right. It’s good to let go of things. I just find it very hard to do.

RM: Can I tell you why I shredded them?

RM: It’s interesting.

GS: Yes. Of course. I’ll tell no one except the people who read this.

RM: Well, she was (and is) Hungarian. And while her English was perfect, when I was writing to her it was kind of important that the meaning was explicit, you know? I couldn’t slather on layers of stupid irony because she’d have written back saying “Not sure what you mean on page 4.”

RM: So I was reading these letters back, and it just didn’t sound like me. And I got to a bit in one of the letters where we were talking about having to get married, for visa reasons. And I said “I think this is the best chance for our love.” And at that point I decided to shred them. I was wincing more than I was reminiscing. I can never spell reminiscing.

GS: You got the spelling right. That’s quite a sad story… onto the next question: Do you have a nickname?

RM: Not really. A lot of people call me Rhodders. I can handle that. My ex-girlfriend calls me “bobble”, but that sprung out of our mutual loathing for baby-talk and pet names. So of course we ended up doing it.

GS: I have on occasion called you Rhodders, but I feel bad because it reminds me of Rodney from Only Fools and Horses and no one wants to be compared to Nicholas Lyndhurst.

GS: What was the first single you bought?

RM: “Club Tropicana” by Wham!

RM: It meant a lot to a 12-year old boy, this depiction of excess in some sun-drenched holiday resort.

GS: Does the song still mean something to you? Sometimes a song hits you at just the right age and despite not being a particularly great song, it owns you for the rest of your life.

RM: Of course it does, yes. I love it. I can’t think of anything I used to like that I disown now.

RM: There’s stuff I like LESS. But nothing I’m embarrassed about. Guilty Pleasures my ARSE.

GS: I think the first single I bought was The War Song by Culture Club. Or rather, I pointed at it and my mum bought it for me. I don’t think I’ve listened to it since I was 10. But enough about me.

RM: War is stupid. People are stupid. Love means nothing in some strange quarters.

RM: Or something like that.

GS: It’s simultaneously quite profound and fairly shit. Like a lot of art.

RM: Hahah

GS: Have you ever vomited on someone?

RM: No. I had a 21-year vomiting drought, which lasted from 1990 until just before Christmas when I got that bloody norovirus.

RM: I was very proud of not having vomited for 21 years, and now I can’t say that any more.

GS: Still, that’s a very long period. I’m impressed. Most of my vomiting has been through drunkenness. Are you a good drunk? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you properly pissed. Only slightly tipsy.

RM: I’m careful to only drink not-very-strong beer and limited amounts of stronger stuff. I know my limits quite well. I’m quite a jolly drunk, but in bad times I get very weepy. Bawling my eyes out on the tube and all that. Sheesh.

GS: Which tube was it? Do you remember? I bet it was the Northern Line.

RM: Of course it was. I’ve lived in Tooting for 15 years. I’ve spent most of my life on the Northern Line.

GS: Paul Simon wrote a song called The Northern Line, but I don’t think it’s very well known. You should write one. Hang on, I’ve just realised that Barnet to Tooting song of yours is about the Northern Line. I’m a bit thick.

RM: That’s not really about the Northern Line. It’s more about going out with someone that you’re in total awe of. A dangerous business.

GS: Yes. But let’s pretend it’s about the Northern Line.

RM: When I wrote it my girlfriend at the time said to me “Er, that’s not about me, is it?”

RM: I said “No.”

GS: As a writer or songwriter you obviously draw from the people around you and it can be a bit awkward. Both when you’re saying good things and bad things.

RM: Yeah. I do this weekly thing in the Indy about MY LIFE and it’s difficult. I can’t write about the things I want to write about because I know there’ll be a knock on effect. Not because everyone’s reading it – just cos it’s indiscreet and rude.

GS: You’re quite established as a journalist these days. Do you ever yearn to write a novel or a play?

RM: I can’t do it, Greg. I’ve not no imagination. The Indy asked me the other day to write a 200 word fictional scenario to illustrate the concept of online behavioural advertising. I couldn’t do it. I just froze.

GS: I ask that out of misguided snobbery. People sometimes think I’m a journalist and I’m at pains to point out that I’m a writer – as though I’m a tortured artist. Also, I’d be a terrible journalist.

RM: I’m good at observation. And being coherent. That’s about it.

GS: Those are excellent skills. And anyway, a lot of fiction is just observing things and changing people’s names.

RM: I’m totally envious of your imagination, without wishing for this to descend into mutual masturbation.

GS: No. Because we’d have to be in the same room to do that.

RM: And have our willies out.

GS: I think everyone is jealous of what other people can do. Skills that other people have – music, maths etc – seem like magic to me. When I see someone play a musical instrument it’s as impressive to me as them levitating or mind-reading.

RM: DRAWING. People who can draw. I faint. Oh, that’s you again. We should probably just get married.

GS: Yes. They have a place for us these days.San Francisco.

GS: Your mention of the word “willies” made me think. What do men call their penises these days? Have new words evolved since we were children?

RM: I know a woman who went out with a man who referred to it as his “ziggurat”.

GS: Wow. What a twat.

RM: I’ve just looked up a picture of a ziggurat, and all I can say is that I’m glad my cock doesn’t look like that.

GS: It’s like that early stage of a relationship when you and a lady are trying to work out the best words for your bits. Because you can’t whisper sexily “I’m going to put it inside your womblehole.”

RM: That would be difficult to pull off, I agree. Avoid all childish words while engaged in the act of love. That’s my hastily constructed motto.

RM: “Guffed” is another word best banned from the bedroom.

GS: Yes. There’s normally a good six months when farting isn’t mentioned at all. A wonderful period in any relationship.

GS: So, about the book. Shall we talk about the book?

RM: Might be a good way to round off, yes.

GS: Yes. Have you had a good response to it from the people quoted in the book?

RM: Well, I asked everyone if I could use their tweets, and all but three said yes.

RM: 300 yes, 3 no. Not a bad result.

RM: And I’ve written more words for the book than other people have, which makes me feel marginally better about piggybacking on their wit.

GS: Yes, but the whole point of the book is that it’s wide… it’s lots of people’s experience of crap dates, rather than just your own experiences.

GS: After reading it all, who do you think comes off worse in the dating game? Men or women?

RM: Men, by about 3000 nautical miles. Arseholes.

GS: Yes, that was my impression

RM: Oh, maybe I misunderstood the question.

GS: No. You understood it perfectly.

RM: Men are arseholes and women have a great deal of misery to bear.

GS: Yes. That’s probably one of life’s lessons. I wouldn’t patronise women by claiming they can’t be as monstrous as men, but men do seem to me more consistently insensitive and monstrous than women.

RM: Yep. I’d be interested in stats about whether more men dump women than women dump men. But regardless of that, men would do it in a more annoying way.

GS: This is true.

GS: Do you have any last words before we both go to our (separate) beds? Any statement you’d like to leave us with?

RM: I’ve just spent 20 seconds trying to think of something profound, and have failed completely, so the answer is probably “No.”

GS: No. That’s a good way to end.

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Poppy Dinsey interview

June 3, 2011

I haven’t blogged in a while, but I thought I would revive my ill-conceived attempt to interview people from the Internet who I find interesting.

I started following Poppy Dinsey on Twitter a few years ago (drawn to her attractive avatar) and it turned out she was funny and interesting and made me temporarily interested in fashion. So we met up in London and ate burritos and it turned out she was just as lovely in real life.

Poppy runs a site called What I Wore Today, in which she takes a photo of herself every day and shows the world what she’s wearing.  

Armed with a hangover, I decided to interview Poppy on Skype chat. This meant a lot of typing and that odd overlapping thing where you’re both typing at the same time and nothing quite makes sense.  

Poppy Dinsey

Greg Stekelman: I’ve been following you on Twitter for a couple of years. How did the WIWT blog start? (that is a boring question, but necessary) 

Poppy Dinsey: It’s quite a nice story. I was sat on a beach (Newport or Huntington or Laguna, I should probably try and remember which one it was exactly so that I don’t tell the story differently every time I say it) and was thinking about New Year’s resolutions as it was a few days before NYE. And I just decided to see if I could photograph every outfit I wore every day for a year. 

There was also a side reason, a more sinister reason, but that’s the PR friendly version and 90% true. 

GS: Ok. We all have sinister reasons. Very few of us decide to splurge our lives all over the Internet simply to make the world a better place. 

PD:  It’s one of my most self-indulgent projects to date. 

GS: If I did what you do, I would run out of outfits after about a week. How do you manage to not wear the same clothes over and over? That is a terrible question. The answer is probably that you have loads more clothes than me. 

PD: By owning lots. I have wardrobes, drawers, external rails, suitcases… There are cases in my bedroom, office and bathroom. I also wear a lot of the same stuff repeatedly, but ‘in different ways’. 

GS: Yes. I do that as well. Sometimes I put my shoes on my head. 

PD: Do you ever wear high heels? 

GS: No. I quite like the idea of spending a few days dressed as a woman, but I have a beard and I find that beards and high heels don’t really mix. 

PD: I have always wanted a beard. And a penis, if I’m honest. 

GS: There’s still time. Technology is moving at an alarming rate. 

PD: Yes, I am wondering if I will choose the sex of my baby. And make it blue eyed and brown haired…

GS: Right. I was thinking about how exposed you are on your site. I post occasional photos of myself on Twitter but ultimately I quite like hiding behind anonymity. How does it feel having so many photos of yourself on the net? 

PD: I hate it in some respects. 

It can feel hugely unbalanced, people know a lot about me (or think they know a lot about me) and that’s not true the other way around. It can be weird when people tweet that they just saw me somewhere and I have no idea who they are, but they can recognise me because I constantly bombard them with pictures of myself. So I was asking for it really. I’ve ended up on a porn site (although I haven’t appeared on porn star facts). And I have some weird stalker people. It scares my Mother. 

GS: Oh dear. That’s quite unpleasant. I know what you mean about being spotted in public. I’ve had that, and in theory it should be flattering but in reality it’s quite alarming. It’s also odd because it’s like being famous without having any of the advantages of fame and fortune. I’m still mostly unemployed and skint. 

And I sometimes feel like without thinking I put a lot of myself on the Internet and then wonder if there’s anything left for my private life. 

PD: Yes it’s a bit weird. But generally people are awesome, I’ve been moved to tears by lovely emails from some people. (Cue sob story music) 

GS: I generally don’t get lovely emails from people, but I suspect I project a less approachable image than you do. 

PD: Well I like that people have decided I’m a bit short tempered (my FAQ/general rants imply that) and now start emails with huge apologies about being sorry to bother me. It’s quite nice. 

GS: Yes. Your FAQ is excellent. More people should write similarly comprehensive guides. Back to the questions. High fashion tends to be all about size zero women. You’re not size zero and you don’t look like you want to be, which pleases me. I hate the idea of women feeling constantly pressured into being stick thin. 

I realise that’s a statement, not a question. 

PD: I don’t know, I’m beginning to get a bit paranoid about that for the first time ever. I’m nowhere bloody near size zero and at certain fashion things I feel really self-conscious. I know fashion quite well, but that doesn’t mean I can always wear it well. I could style someone else to look amazing, but my options are more limited. 

I am spending more and more time wanting plastic surgery and wanting to stop eating though. I was never like that before.

GS: That’s my fear. Almost every single woman I know has some kind of fairly serious body image issues. Whereas as a man there are loads of things about my body I dislike, but I’m fairly accepting of it. 

PD: I’m extremely self-conscious about the fact I have braces. To the point where I decided before they were put on that I wouldn’t date anyone for the next two years. 

GS: I think women think about their bodies in the same way that men think about their cocks. In that a woman wants to be thin even if her bloke likes someone curvy, because it’s important for her to show other women that she’s thin. And men want to have big cocks, even if their girlfriend hates big cocks, because they want to show other men they have big cocks. 

That last statement reads like a load of sexual gibberish. 

PD: But it’s true. 

GS: I think it must be quite difficult for a woman operating in the fashion world and maintaining some semblance of mental health. 

PD: You can get disillusioned, when you’re around models a lot you can feel like shit. Then you can go to Sainsbury’s and realise most people are normal. And normal is fine. Most people aren’t that hot. Most fashion people aren’t ‘hot’ anyway, they’re beautiful. Classy. Untouchable. Scary. 

GS: Do you feel like you’re a role model for teenage girls who are into fashion? 

PD: I wouldn’t say I feel like a role model but I get more of a kick from emails/tweets from younger girls. That sounds fucking dodgy. 

GS: No. It sounds sweet. If it was me getting emails from young girls it would sound dodgy. 

PD: If I could speak at a school every week then I would. My cousins are my favourite girls in the world to hang out with and they are 13/14. Shopping with them is still exciting and fun. 

GS: Are you more interested in catwalk fashion or high-street fashion? Or both? 

PD: Nothing compares to the fun of watching live catwalks, I absolutely love it. It gets me very excited. But I can’t afford high end (generally), so high street fashion is where it’s at for me realistically. 

It’s always interesting to see which trends actually make it off the catwalk, because we’ll watch the shows and make assumptions but not every trend gets picked up

GS: I used to be quite interested in fashion. Not catwalk stuff. Just clothes because I was a teenage indie kid, and every musical genre had its own tribal uniform. Indie kids/rudeboys/goths/metallers/grebos etc. That seems to be disappearing. Everyone shops at Top Shop.

You can see someone in tight trousers, a leather jacket and a Stooges t-shirt and they’re actually a JLS fan, but Top Shop/Primark sells these looks to everyone. 

PD: Has it changed? Or are we older? I’m not sure. But part of me really hates how strong the trends are on the high street now. You can’t get simple clothes. 

And I don’t like people who purposely dress dishevelled when they’re rich. That probably sounds awful, but this faux-punk idea of privileged kids makes me gag. People that make an extra effort to look shit, ya know? 

GS: It feels like the high street incorporates underground fashion so quickly now that within a month of some weird trend, Primark are selling a copy for a tenner and everyone is wearing it. 

PD: Yep, definitely. It’s very, very fast. 

GS: But as you say, it’s also about getting older. I’d like to dress cooler, but that would probably involve me having the figure of a skinny 21-year old. And that isn’t me. 

PD: I have no idea why men wear skinny jeans. It makes me feel ill. 

GS: I think it’s so that people can admire the shape of their mobile phones in the jean pockets. 

GS: How many proposals/sexual overtures do you get per week? 

PD: Many a day. Some are becoming police matters. 

GS: Your FAQ mentions people offering to pay you for sex. Does that really happen? 

PD: It comes back to what we were talking about earlier though, if someone emails me asking to take me out why would I *EVER* say yes? They know so much about me (supposedly) and I know nothing about them. 

And yes, I get emails from married men and men offering to pay. Again, why someone would email from their work email address with their real name is beyond me. I could phone their boss. Or their wife. 

GS: Wow. That’s weird. Also, I’ve been on the Internet for about 15 years and no-one has EVER offered to pay me for sex. 

PD: How much would you charge? 

GS: That depends what people would want. I would offer a sliding scale, to take into account people on lower incomes who might want to sleep with me. 

I worry enough about what to charge people for my books, let alone for sex. 

PD: I’d worry someone might ask for their money back. 

GS: So, tell me about your obsession with Dustin Hoffman. 

PD: It’s pretty bad. I don’t watch Dustin movies because it upsets me too much. I haven’t seen most of them. It started with Straw Dogs, which is one of my all time favourite films.

GS: As a short Jewish man, your obsession with Dustin Hoffman comforts me greatly. 

PD: Do you like his voice? 

GS: I find it a bit nasal. To be honest, I haven’t thought about his voice very much. I like him. I love The Graduate and Tootsie but he’s been in so many rubbish films recently that some of the shine wears off. 

He’s an odd actor for you to obsess over though. In the sense that he’s not a conventionally handsome man. 

PD: I recently dated someone who was conventionally handsome, it was strange. I like older men generally, 40 plus. Although I am trying to be a bit more sensible about that… 

GS: You’re now going to be inundated by offers from older men. 

PD: …As older men generally come with a bit more hassle 

GS: Yes. Incontinence and prostate problems. 

PD: Well that’s another problem isn’t it? When I’m 50 they’ll be 70. But 70 years olds can be fun. (I haven’t slept with one) 

GS: When I meet someone who is flawless and conventionally beautiful, I struggle to envisage myself going out with them. I assume they are in a different league to me. I like beautiful people but they have to have a flaw, like a glass eye or a terrible skin condition, for me to consider going out with them. 

I think it’s interesting how we can have a veneer of confidence but underneath it’s just a mass of flawed assumptions. 

PD: My main pre-requisite is the ability to work hard and to not be bamboozled by menus in restaurants. 

GS: That rules me out. I do not work hard. My brain never stops working, but that rarely translates into physical activity. When I complete an 8 hour day in an office I genuinely believe I deserve a medal. 

PD: I have dated people who work less than me and it doesn’t work. 

GS: Before being a fashion blogger, you worked in tech. How was that? 

PD: It was amazing. And I still consider myself to work in tech really. I’m working on a new site and an iPhone app, things that I wouldn’t be confident to do if my background wasn’t in tech. 

I like working in start-ups and like working with developers, there’s a lot less fucking around. You just do stuff. 

Well you do piss around but it’s not like being with artsy types. 

GS: Careful. I may be an artsy type. 

PD: I like artsy types, but I wouldn’t go into business with them.

GS: My experience with tech people was that they were full of energy and ideas but were often sociopaths. 

PD: Yes but that can be quite nice, just getting on with things in silence. A lot of that is a stereotype, but if we’re going to go down the stereotype route then I prefer working with cold/direct/socially awkward people to OTT/fake/loud people. 

GS: Yes. I like a bit of both. To be honest, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to work with other people. Most of my work is done from a small room, with only woodlice and memories for company. 

PD: I keep my blinds down because I don’t want to be reminded of the outside world. 

GS: I find the sunshine outside my window a constant torment. 

PD: People who think you and I tweet a lot forget how much we are just “in a room”, to quote yourself. 

GS: Yes, indeed. 

PD: We’re devoid of human contact.

GS: It’s true. Sometimes I talk to people at bus stops, just to feel alive. 

PD: The postman can’t figure me out. 

GS: Let’s talk about something else. What books are you reading at the moment? 

PD: I’m reading The Upgrade by Paul Carr, Anger Management by Giles Coren andMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. 

And I feel like I’m always reading The Saturday Times and Sunday Times, they last me all week. 

GS: Ok. Hmmm. Paul Carr. I remember Paul. He set up The Friday Project, who published my book. He also brought down The Friday Project, although he did have some help with that. 

PD: He signed my breasts recently. I love his writing. 

GS: I think he’s very good at being Paul Carr. I quite like him but I wouldn’t work with him again. He gets things done, but he leaves a lot of corpses behind. 

PD: Is it bad to love Giles Coren? Because I do love his wordmanship.

GS: No. I never know what to think of Giles Coren. On one hand I think he’s a smarmy, smug journo who only got the job because of his dad. On the other hand, I think he writes well, is provocative and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I think I’m a better writer than him, but that’s based on ego not evidence. 

PD: I adore him. And Victoria. I fucking love The Times full stop. Is that weird? I’m a bit paranoid that I love it too much. 

GS: No. Not at all, before it went behind the Paywall, I would read The Guardian and The Times online in an attempt to get a reasonably balanced view. I couldn’t exclusively read either of them. The Times offers a very comforting vision of a forgotten England, but it feels a bit detached. And right-wing. 

PD: Is Caitlin (Moran) a friend of yours? 

GS: Not really. We both used to post on Popbitch many years ago, and I’ve met her once or twice in the pub but that’s it. I think she’s a really good writer. I like her sense of humour and how irreverent she is. And the fact that she does it in The Times, so she’s not playing to her natural audience. 

PD: Yes I love her. I love them all. 

GS: I was about to write a long thing about ME and the media and then remembered that this is about you, not me. 

PD: Hah. Yes, it’s me today. 

GS: Do you have any secret plans to conquer the world through TV, etc? 

PD: Not through TV…well, maybe TV, but those aren’t what the plans are. I am building a new site and app and they are my focus for the next couple of years. They’ll be launched in July (I hope). And I would like to finish writing a children’s book that I have started. 

GS: Hooray. Do you have any final plugs or statements you want to make? 

PD: Please visit http://wiwt.com/ and tell your friends and email me if we can collaborate in any way and please help me meet Dustin Hoffman. Thank you x 

GS: Thank you.

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Allanah Starr interview

July 8, 2010

Since I started the blog I’ve been interested in interviewing different people, and I thought I would seek out people who live other kinds of lives, or who perhaps have skirted beneath the mainstream radar – or just people I like or find funny. My first interview is with Cuban-American transsexual model Allanah Starr. I had hoped to interview Allanah in person as she is currently in London, but in the end we settled on me emailing her a series of questions, which she answered beautifully.

Anyone with a passing interest in porn probably recognises Allanah, even if they don’t know her name. She has her own website, has appeared numerous times on American television, hosts parties, has made a career in porn and filmed the first ever sex scene between a male-to-female and female-to-male transexual. She has also modelled for artists such as Marc Quinn in an exhibition at White Cube.

You were born in Cuba and then your family moved to the US? Did you feel like an outsider? Did you grow up feeling different?

I believe anyone who flees to a foreign country in search of exile initially feels like an outsider. We did not leave Cuba by choice; my father was a former political prisoner and we were in danger in Cuba. I was four years old at the time and I can only imagine what is what like for my parents moving to a foreign country without speaking the language, completely impoverished and having to somehow care for my brothers, sisters, and grandparents. As a child it was difficult because at the time I spoke no English and back then there was no assistance for non-English-speaking student immigrants. They basically put you in whatever grade level you were in and expected you to perform. It was sort of sink or swim and I sank for a long time. I had no idea how to even ask how to go to the bathroom in English, so there were many times when I just ended wetting myself in class because I could not hold it in any longer. And then of course I was highly feminine and different than the other kids and that of course set me up for the usual harassment and bullying one experiences at the hands of their peers when one is different. I learned that very young and I learned it the hard way. I never felt different until the other kids pointed it out. I was just being myself and I suffered for many years for just being me.

When did you decide to make the transition? How did your friends and family take your decision? Were they supportive?

I started playing with androgyny, make up, and gender bending when I was 14. I started doing drag when I was 18 and my transition began when I was 21. I don’t remember when there was a moment that I just decided that I was going to transition. I think it was more an evolvement of my femininity and consciously becoming aware of who I was. In hindsight, I now know that I this was who I was supposed to be and all of my thoughts and ideas when I was much younger finally made sense. Mine was never really a defining moment of sorts, it was just becoming self-aware. As anyone who has been in my position knows, there is always a moment of shock from those close to you as to your decision. I can’t say that my friends at the time were supportive. In fact they all pretty much discouraged me from doing so, except my early mentor India Brooks, who really believed in me. For her, I will be forever grateful because she really was an inspiration and gave e the courage. As far as my family is concerened, they believed at first it was a phase and then gradually they came to terms that is wasn’t and  just got used to it. My mother since has been wonderfully supportive and she is really my best friend. I am quite lucky in that respect.

You went to art college. What were your artistic influences? In some ways, it seems like you are your own greatest artistic triumph, in that you’ve had over 60 cosmetic surgeries. You’ve totally transformed who you are. Is that your art?

Beauty and glamour have always been my artistic influences. I have spent the greater portion of my adult life in search of beauty , glamour, and to be surrounded by beautiful things. If I were to pick my beauty ideals I would have to say Jayne Mansfield, Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich , Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor and Marylin Monroe would be at the top of my list. Those carefully constructed beauty icons I admire greatly because it takes so much discipline and effort to be those women. That is lost in today’s culture.  I am also a great fan of women like Grace Jones  and Diana Vreeland because they define a different type of beauty and are supreme definitions of style. Fashion has always played a big role in my life as well. I am very much into dressing for a purpose and not comfort. Clothes are my armor and a reflection of how I am feeling at that particular moment. As far as my cosmetic surgery, they definitely have been a means to obtain a certain look and maybe, yes, an art form. Marc Quinn told me that he thinks that I am an artist and that I am my own art work. I think that was a great compliment from a great artist. 

Your look is very glamorous and over-the-top, almost a burlesque of femininity. Some transsexuals just want to blend in and look like the “average” woman. Did that never appeal to you?

No, it never appealed to me to blend in and look like the average woman. I could have gone that route and I think in many ways that does make life easier for some. I respect everyone’s opinion to define what they wish to look like, so if that is what someone chooses, I am certainly not critical of it.  I am a person who shies away from conventions and am definitely not afraid to stand out. As Truman Capote wrote: “I have always lived the life I liked. I have never skipped a pulse beat over what others thought”.

In terms of looks, who is your role model? You seem to go for a very curvy, retro type of glamour – more Jayne Mansfield than Kate Moss. 

I think Kate Moss is beautiful but my aesthetic definitely reflects Jayne Mansfield much more than Miss Moss. I was always attracted to that kind of explosive beauty. Bombshells who were formidable women and took no prisoners along the way. I definitely molded my body that way. A femme fatal of sorts – though Miss Mansfield always played the sex bombshell who really wanted to be a housewife.

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling low and just wanting to be anonymous – to walk down the street without being noticed? 

Yes, I have days like that, but unless I wear a burqa I know I will get noticed. That is the only drawback to being over the top. There are times when you don’t want to be bothered or want any attention and it always is there one way or another. Those are the days I don’t leave the house unless I have to. And If I must,  I put on my tunnel vision and don’t pay attention to anyone or anything.

It seems that there is greater public acceptance of transsexuals, but that there is still a pressure for male-to-female girls to “choose one side or the other”. That is to either live as a man or have a full gender-reassignment. Have you ever felt that pressure?

First of all, I certainly don’t think choosing not to have full gender reassignment surgery means you are living as a man. There are pre-operative transsexual women and post-operative transsexual women and the choice to have genital surgery for anyone is very specific and the reasons why or why not to are very individual.  Society is always trying to dictate others on how they should live their own lives and what they should or should not do with their bodies. I am a fierce opponent of that. You only have one life and one body so you should do with it whatever the hell you like to. I have heard post-op transsexuals criticize pre-op transsexuals and vice versa, and they both make me angry. From a personal point of view, yes it is something I have thought about it but something that I obviously have not done yet. And if I ever do, it will be a personal decision that will only concern my feelings.

You made the move into working in porn. Do you enjoy it or is it just a job?

It’s a job like any other. And like any other job if you don’t enjoy doing it, you will hate it. When I was actively involved in porn I enjoyed it.

You filmed a sex scene with Buck Angel, who is a female-to-male transsexual. How was that?

It was amazing. It was the first time ever a sex scene had been filmed between a female to male transsexual and a male to female to male transsexual, so it was porn history in the making. I am very proud of it because I think it transcended a sex scene and  became a commentary on gender and sex today and it’s interchangeability. Plus, I love Buck as a person. He was the one that got me involved in the Marc Quinn project, and I will be forever greatful. 

In general, do women accept you or do you still feel resentment or jealousy?

I think jealousy and resentment can come from anyone. I  think I am accepted by anyone who is well evolved and open minded and non-judgmental, whatever sex they may be.

How many times a day do you meet guys who say “I’m straight, but I’d love to sleep with you.”?

More than I care to remember. The ‘am I straight’ card is the most annoying thing I hear because I hate when a man has to validate his masculinity if he is attracted to transsexuals. The one thing I loathe in a man is insecurity and that to me represents insecurity. The kind of sex you enjoy does not make anyone any less than a man or a woman – what you do in bed is not a testament to your masculinity or femininity.

Would you ever like to have children?

No. I think that is a very difficult and selfless job and one that I am not cut out for. I commend anyone who does the job of a parent well because it is a very hard job to do well.

Does size matter?

Of course. I am not sure which size you are referring to, but isn’t size and measurements everything in life :)?

What is your favourite David Bowie song?

Heroes

What’s your favourite book?

Currently it is Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut, but I mostly read biographies of people I find interesting-mostly the Hollywood stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

When was the last time you fell in love?

I am immune to that disease.

You have to spend an evening with Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie. Who do you choose?

Angelina Jolie, because she seems the most interesting and dangerous.

If you were having a date over for dinner, what would you cook?

I would go to hungryhouse.co.uk and order food. I can’t cook, darling. Cooking is not one of my talents.

You’re currently living in London? What have been your highlights so far? What’s been the biggest surprise/disappointment about living in London?

I love London, I always have. To me it’s like a marriage of European capital and New York City (the only relevant city in America in my opinion, because everything that is of any importance culturally happens in New York). I do miss my social life in New York City because in a sense I was very established socially in New York and here it seems like it has been harder to meet people here in London.  Also, I find London a tad bit more conservative than New York but I love the style of the people here. Nonetheless, I am happy being in between here and Paris. It’s a nice change to New York but I love all three cities equally. 

Tell us a joke:

If I did so, I would have to charge you.

Allanah Starr will be hosting her birthday party at the Way Out Club in London on July 17th. Click on the flyer below for further details.

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Interview with Leila Johnston

September 30, 2009

I’ve known Leila Johnston for a couple of years. I think we met through Myspace, of all places. She’s very funny and is an excellent writer, having published her first book, How to Worry Friends and Incovenience People a few years ago. We attempted to collaborate on a few different projects, such as a podcast and a comedy blog and some sitcom ideas, all of which petered out because the world is a hostile and unfriendly place.

ladyinbed

Still, Leila kept busy and has written a fantastic new book, called Enemy of Chaos, which is a satirical choose your own adventure book. Theoretically, that sounds like the kind of gimmicky book that you buy someone you don’t really know very well for Christmas. But it isn’t. It’s the tale of a fortysomething OCD geek attempting to impose order on a series of chaotic episodes. It involves zombies, time travel, pound shops, travel agents, the apocalypse and much more. It is very funny but also quite touching and thought-provoking in places. I would recommend it. You can buy it here.

enemy

Anyway, to promote the book, I decided to interview Leila over Skype’s text chat, which is the best way to interview anyone.

Greg: Hello.

EnemyOfChaos: Morning! I wonder if I can change my name to enemyofchaos on here.

Greg: Is that your new name for everything? As far as branding goes, it’s quite a good name. I shall change your name in the final draft. I think we should include almost everything in the interview. It makes it more authentic.

EnemyOfChaos: Have you prepared questions?

Greg: No.

EnemyOfChaos: I won’t talk about my personal life.

Greg: Ok. I appreciate that you’re not Jordan.

EnemyOfChaos: Only joking. Of course I will!

EnemyOfChaos: I’m not Jordan, you’re right

Greg: What I like about doing interviews like this is that there’s always a slight lag and answers get out of sequence. Much like your book.

EnemyOfChaos: Yes, it’s all out of sequence, I might release another one where everything’s in order or contains a big fold-out flowchart with the winning routes coloured in.

Greg: I want to work out how to save this. I’m paranoid about losing it. This might be my big break.

EnemyOfChaos: Skype saves it, don’t worry. Don’t want to lose this solid gold!

Greg: It may be solid gold. People may look back at both of us and say “this is where they peaked”. I hope not.

Greg: I like the fact that you can read your book as a novel, not following the instructions, just turning the page, and it’s this abstract mess of chaos, which is ironically what the protagonist is fighting.

EnemyOfChaos: aha yes.

Greg: So, tell us all a little bit about the book. What inspired you to write it?

EnemyOfChaos: I think the thing is…

Greg: That was a proper question.

EnemyOfChaos: Yes. I’m trying to answer it.

EnemyOfChaos: I know a lot of older, nerdy men and I was thinking about them and what they’re missing I suppose; and I always wanted to do a CYO adventure book. So when Snowbooks asked for sci-fi and fantasy submissions this year I thought it would be cool to do something geek cultury like that.

EnemyOfChaos: Which is kind of my schtick anyway.

EnemyOfChaos: The book was also a good repository for all the weird ideas I’d had over the previous few months that would otherwise have nowhere to go. It changed massively over the 6 months I had to write it, and I ended up starting from scratch again and doing the whole thing in six weeks.

EnemyOfChaos: I used a Jew word.

Greg: I know. You seem to spend all your time hanging around Jews, trying to steal our comedy secrets.

EnemyOfChaos: I don’t know what it is! Are you lot drawn to me or am I gravitating towards you. I am very envious of you all though.

Greg: We’re like malnourished moths drawn to your Aryan flame.

EnemyOfChaos: Almost all the funniest people I know are Jewish I think.

EnemyOfChaos: See!

Greg: I thought the book was great. I was surprised how much geeky stuff you knew. Did you do a lot of research?

EnemyOfChaos: Glad you liked it. I did watch and read a lot of sci-fi over the six months but ended up mainly refering to things I already knew because didn’t want to seem too inauthentic. The referencess to adventure games, films etc are basically all stuff I already knew, some of the science things I checked out in books/wikipedia.

Greg: I found it quite amusing, because it’s essentially a 40-something socially inept man, whereas in real life you’re an attractive, socially skilled 20 something woman.

EnemyOfChaos: haha well thanks. I’m not that socially skilled really. In fact it made me go a bit mad doing it.

Greg: Well, you seem to do ok. You’ve never embarrassed me in public.

EnemyOfChaos: Every fibre of my being is geared to that. In fact a lot of younger women have been in touch about it, which didn’t surprise me really because of course it’s not about being a middle aged man that much at all, it’s just a load of silly ideas and wordy stuff and a (hopefully) fun game.

Greg: That’s true. I actually found quite a lot of it very touching, because it’s about failure, and entropy and life going awry. Obviously, it’s very funny, but there’s also a sense of life spiralling out of control, which isn’t really very funny. It’s quite sad.

EnemyOfChaos: Yes. I thought you’d ‘get’ that.

Greg: I did ‘get’ that.

EnemyOfChaos: I mean it’s a stupid gift book, but it turns out to be a lot about death, eg. starts with a funeral, ends with a kind of – oh, I won’t say. But I’m obsessed with death and that’s what came out in my late night urgent writing sessions.

Greg: I’m obsessed with ignoring death.

EnemyOfChaos: Yeah, we’re a funny pair. I hope you didn’t find it too depressing.

Greg: No. Come on. It was very entertaining and there’s some excellent jokes in there. I thought it was very original, and it was good to see something that reflected just how funny/clever you can be.

Greg: As opposed to our terrible attempts at podcasts or websites.

EnemyOfChaos: haha, well that’s very kind.

Greg: So, tell us what sci-fi you like. Are there any sci-fi books or films that aren’t that well known that you would recommend to us all?

EnemyOfChaos: Ooh, good question. Did you read the thing I wrote for the Big Green Bookshop? I don’t think they’ve published it yet but I talked about a book called “Stories of my life and others” by Ted Chiang. I’m a really slow reader so I like short story books best.

EnemyOfChaos: “Ted Chiang is a highly-regarded sci-fi writer, relatively new on the scene, and all about quality rather than quantity. This slim tome is a collection of most of his work to date and the stories explore loads of mad ideas about alternative realities. There’s the world where angels exist, but rupture the fabric of spacetime like great natural disasters, amoral hurricanes whisking souls away to heaven or earth-cracking quakes sucking casualties down into hell. There’s the society who wants to build a tower to the roof of the world, with every detail painstakingly visualised for us by Chiang, and there are the aliens who write notes for Earth in strange splayed symbols but disappear without really telling us anything. And that’s the thing I like about Chiang’s work: it has a certain dignity, a holding-back. There’s a genuine fascination with questions but a modest pause where other fiction writers would supply answers.”

EnemyOfChaos: So I thought that book was clever. I also listened to some stories about entropy by Isaac Asimov who’s always good value in his slightly mental way.

Greg: I’ve been working my way through vintage sci-fi films of the 70s and 80s. Some were much worse that I’d expected and some were much better.

EnemyOfChaos: Oh yeah, which did you like/not like?

Greg: I thought Escape From New York was shit, which surprised me as people always go on about it. Capricorn One was great, although it’s more of a conspiracy thriller than a sci-fi film. What about you? What are your favourites?

EnemyOfChaos: Well as I think we discussed on the podcast once, I did like Silent Running. Also really like Alien, of course, who doesn’t… Ripley rocks it… although in general not very interested in aliens in films, always the same. I like things with good original ideas in them, and twisty time travel stuff. Back to the Future is probably the best film ever made, but Primer was a good lo-fi crack at modern time travel paradoxes. I’m not very into big budget things. I watch a lot of films. I like horror as well, Let the Right One In was good. Terminator II for nostalgia purposes and I <3 Eddie Furlong and wish he was my son, but often when you go back, films aren’t quite as good as you remember them. I couldn’t finish watching Fire in the Sky when I tried recently, altho I remembered it being really scary and cool (and partly inspired some stuff in EOC) and as you know I’m a lifelong Red Dwarf fan, but a lot of that doesn’t really count as sci-fi, if we’re honest.

Greg: Liking Red Dwarf is about as nerdy as you can get.

EnemyOfChaos: I’m glad I don’t have to embarrassed about it anymore.

Greg: I can’t believe you prefer Terminator II to the original Terminator.

EnemyOfChaos: Well I like both, don’t get me wrong. It’s just T2 is the one I remember better I think.

Greg: ok

EnemyOfChaos: I realise it’s controversial to hold that opinion.

Greg: It really is.

EnemyOfChaos: But i’m a rule breaker Greg. I can’t be pigeon-holed.

Greg: I know. Sometimes you write in the margins of the page.

Greg: You really enjoy Sex and the City, don’t you? That will probably destroy your geek credibility.

EnemyOfChaos: I’m glad you brought that up.

EnemyOfChaos: What i like about Sex and the City is its consistency and collectable quality. My interest in it is almost entirely autistic.

Greg: One of your best ever comedy lines was about Kim Cattrall.

EnemyOfChaos: It was?

Greg: Yes. Something like “Oh, I love Kim Cattrall, I wish she was MY grandma.”

EnemyOfChaos: Oh yeah. She looks great actually. She’s an amazing performer. I watch it for her basically.

Greg: Yes, and she’s well into her 90s now.

EnemyOfChaos: Yeah considering she’s the oldest living woman in America, she’s fucking amazing.

Greg: I think the Red Dwarf vs Sex in the City is a good microcosm of British vs US comedy, in that the British one is full of ideas but shoddily done, whereas US comedy isn’t often that original, but it’s incredibly slick and well-written and produced.

EnemyOfChaos: Yeah that’s true, though I’d say SATC was not very well written really. Did you watch that “Flash Forward” thing.

Greg: I watched about 10 minutes of it. I couldn’t get used to Joseph Fiennes accent. Half of the actors in Britain seem to have moved to the US, adopted american accents and are starring in thrillers. I blame Hugh Laurie. Did you watch it?

EnemyOfChaos: Yeah. I thought it was a bit rubbish actually and had all the things in it that I hated about Lost.

Greg: I recently started watching Lost again, having put it on hold for 3 years. I’m quite enjoying it, but it’s not as good as it was.

EnemyOfChaos: eg. The sense they haven’t decided what’s going to happen yet and are just going to make up any old shit as they go along. I want my show to be in a safe pair of hands! Not some kind of puckish improv.

Greg: I admire your use of the word ‘puckish’.

EnemyOfChaos: Thanks, it doesn’t get out enough.

Greg: It was weird actually, in the last episode of Lost there was a scene in London and there was an actor playing a doorman in a hotel, and I recognised him from a corporate in-house training video that I did about a year ago. The only video I’ve ever written.

EnemyOfChaos: haha great.

Greg: So I have directed an actor from Lost.

EnemyOfChaos: Brilliant!

EnemyOfChaos: You discovered him, and look at him now.

Greg: I made him, and I can break him!

EnemyOfChaos: I don’t think Doctor Who is very science ficitionistically interesting. Although weirdly I had a choose your own adventure Doc who book when I was a kid called The Garden of Evil that was really dark and scary, that partly inspired EOC. Sorry to change the subject.

Greg: No. It’s your interview. It should be all about YOU.

EnemyOfChaos: Just to get back to sci-fi after talking about Lost.

Greg: Tell me about your love of Magazine, the seminal post-punk band.

EnemyOfChaos: I do love Magazine!

Greg: I know.

EnemyOfChaos: Saw them again recently. Plenty of middle aged nerdy men at that gig I can tell you.

Greg: You must have been in nerd heaven.

EnemyOfChaos: I didn’t have much competition, let’s put it that way. But I tend to fall into these things without realising they’re the kind of things middle aged men like. When I was a student I started a coloured vinyl collection of Stiff Records releases. Wtf is wrong with me?

Greg: I wonder if there’s really a fetish out there, for young women who want to sleep with 40 something men who grew up playing ZX spectrums and listening to Dire Straits. Like the equivalent of MILFS…

EnemyOfChaos: Haha.  I think there is a fetishy thing but I think saying I ‘want to sleep with’ them might be a bit misleading, albeit excellent PR. I just feel an affinity

Greg: “I’m a middle-aged balding Robert Heinlein fan trapped in the body of a young woman.” It’s a bit like Quantum Leap.

EnemyOfChaos: Ha! It IS. That’s another one of my interests, not coincidentally.

Greg: Maybe you have a mission to complete and then you’ll return to your real body.

EnemyOfChaos: Quantum Leap is never as good as you remember it. Never go back. Oh god. Idea for next book!

Greg: There you go.

Greg: You live near the Big Brother house. Is that good? Are you often surrounded by crowds of idiots waving placards.

EnemyOfChaos: Big Brother house is generally invisible but you do see fireworks sometimes. I’m not usually aware of it though, but yeah when it’s an eviction there are people queuing in the street. I say people.

EnemyOfChaos: Have you read any sci-fi novels based on TV series? I read a couple of Quantum Leap books when I was a kid. I liked The Wall because it was set in Europe and about WWII and the military.

Greg: When I was a kid I did read books based on films. I remember reading the Goonies and ET. I think I thought that they were the original books and that the films came later.

EnemyOfChaos: Me too. I read Back to the Future and Gremlins. We should do a blog, reviewing those books.

Greg: Yes, but then we’d have to read them. I don’t want to read them. In my local charity shop I just saw a copy of a Highlander novel and almost pondered buying it.

EnemyOfChaos: Amazing it’s someone’s job to write those things. A friend of mine used to write spin-off CYO adventure books about Sonic the Hedgehog

Greg: For money? Or for fun?

EnemyOfChaos: As a job! But look, that ages us

EnemyOfChaos: you read Goonies and ET, which were earlier than BTTF & Gremlins

Greg: It only ages me. I am about 6 years older than you. You’re still in the first flushes of youth.

EnemyOfChaos: Sadly not. Certainly not in mind. We’re all dying Greg

Greg: It’s true. You have the mind of Kim Cattrall in the body of a young woman.

EnemyOfChaos: If only it were the other way round

Greg: Maybe that could be your next book. Like Freaky Friday, but with you and Kim Cattrall. See if you can email her agent.

EnemyOfChaos: Brilliant yes! You’re a genius

Greg: If only the world recognised my genius and directly rewarded me with money.

EnemyOfChaos: In a kind of cosmic adwords arrangement.

Greg: Tell me about Twitter. You use it a bit, but not as often as me. I’m hooked. Have you met interesting people on it?

EnemyOfChaos: Ah yes. Well the follower I was most excited about was Preston from The Ordinary Boys as it’d never have occurred to me to follow him

Greg: Does he follow everyone? Have you seen his video for his first single? It’s bonkers in an admirable but actually not very good way.

EnemyOfChaos: it’s hilarious = because he finishes every single tweet with a ‘x’. God, I hope he reads this if I link to it from Twitter

EnemyOfChaos: “does he follow everyone”? Thanks.

Greg: Sorry.

EnemyOfChaos: No, he’s quite selective. We have DMed a bit. But I couldn’t resist doing some Chantelle gags and it fell a bit quiet after that.

Greg: Really? You could be the next Chantelle. You could have a brief, ill-fated marriage to him and then you could get fake tits and start dating footballers.

EnemyOfChaos: Amazing. No one would see that coming would they?

Greg: No.

EnemyOfChaos: Quite the career change. Right. i’m going to do it.

Greg: “Whatever happened to that nice girl Leila?” they would ask, not realising that you were now busty glamour model Saturn.

EnemyOfChaos: Saturn, I like that

Greg: It’s a good name.

EnemyOfChaos: But Twitter is good, yes. It’s a good idea and it can be fun, but I also find it a bit hard going and addictive. like it’s turning me into a fucking attention-seeking blathering cunt. So scaling down hopefully, maybe leaving completely after Xmas.

EnemyOfChaos: It is my main point of contact with the outside world though.

Greg: Yes. It has that effect on everyone. “I haven’t been mentioned in 15 minutes!”

EnemyOfChaos: Which is my problem, not its.

Greg: But I think it’s uniquely addictive for people who garner their sense of self-esteem and identity from the praise of random strangers that they will never meet.

EnemyOfChaos: Yes maybe.

Greg: Ok. We should probably call it a day. Do you have any last words?

EnemyOfChaos: What do you mean? Is this tea poisoned?!! Wha…..

Greg: My nefarious plan has worked. Now I can masquerade as Leila and live in her house with her boyfriend.

EnemyOfChaos: It’s all you’ve ever wanted. Wear my face as a mask.

Greg: No. I won’t do that.

EnemyOfChaos: Quite right. Got to have some standards.

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Normblog profile

April 10, 2009

Look! I have an interview/profile up on normblog: http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2009/04/the-normblog-profile-290-greg-stekelman.html

Many thanks to Norm for asking me to take part.

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An interview with me

November 10, 2008

I’ve been feeling quite depressed and morose recently. It’s raining every day, it’s dark by 4pm, I’m struggling with work and it’s an uphill battle to get out of bed in the morning.

So, it’s nice when something good happens. Such as me being interviewed by Simon from the brilliant Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green.

You can read the interview here:

http://woodgreenbookshop.blogspot.com/2008/11/marvellous-marvellous-book.html

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Interview for a German travel magazine

October 28, 2008

Yesterday I was interviewed for a German travel magazine. Kathleen, the journalist in question, emailed me about a month or so saying that they were producing a new travel guide to London and wanted to hear from a proper Londoner, and thought the idea of themanwhofellasleep’s London would appeal to people. I did explain to her that I hardly know London and rarely leave Muswell Hill, but even that didn’t put her off. The magazine isn’t quite a magazine – it looks like a magazine but the guides are only published once every 8 years, so it’s going to be in newsagents for a long time.

The day started with Kathleen, Martin the German photographer, and his English assistant Ian meeting me near my flat. Then Martin took photos of me sitting at my desk, with ashtray, books, and notepad artfully arranged around me as I wistfully stared out of the window, pretending to be a writer.

Then we moved on to Alexandra Palace, where I posed outside the Palace and Martin lay on the ground with the dirt and cigarette butts, taking photos of me from the appropriate angles. We then got the bus up to Highgate, so I could be photographed outside a tube station. I ended up sitting atop a concrete pillar outside the lower entrance to the station, looking out into the distance as people walked by and smirked at me. We then decamped to The Woodman pub where I cradled a pint of Guinness and scribbled into a tiny notepad as Martin took even more photos.

The photographers then left and Kathleen and I returned to my flat so she could ‘interview me’. It turned out to basically be me rambling incoherently about London as she recorded it all on a digital machine. I thought I mostly talked bollocks, but she seemed to think it sounded ok.

I now have to wait until May 09 for the thing to be published.

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