Saturday, 19 December 2015

How not to...Give Magazine Interviews


 Regimental Sergeant Major 'Tina' Turner emailed me when I was just back from performing in Iraq.

  Iestyn my mate, you are truly barking as a turn and I don’t know how you do it, particularly where you’ve just been.  I was surprised to say the least when I heard what you were to be about in the wilds of Iraq.  But I suppose you have little choice but to carry on with it because of the scarcity of Rest Homes for Retired Sugar Plums.  Perhaps you could find one, however, and have a little lie down over Christmas?

  Thank you for your kind information that I have been mentioned in interviews you’ve given to the Mail on Sunday, The Times and whatever Full House Magazine may be.  I would, however…

Take care, kid.  Best...Tina.

 '...whatever Full House Magazine may be...' 

  Therein lies a tail...

  My article came out in Full House when I was performing in Afghanistan; and when the chief executive of Combined Services Entertainment, Nicky Ness, rang Camp Soutar, Kabul, for a progress report on the tour she asked to speak to me about it.  
  'The phone's in Flynn’s office,' Stacks, Royal Marine told me.  'Down here. One of the posh ones.’
  With a handle to its door.
  ‘Hon, your interview came out in that Full House Magazine.  Why did you think it was a trade theatre rag, first question?’
  ‘Its name.  And when I referred to it being a trade theatre rag, Ranjit, who interviewed me, went along with that.  Why?’
  ‘It isn’t a theatre rag.  It’s like Take a Break.’
  Oh, terrific - my interview alongside I Used Burning Sage Leaves Shamanism to Commit Date Rape and Have your bust reduced by four sizes or get slashed!!!” raves jealous, pimple-chested sister.  
  ‘But I told Ranjit all sorts of things about aspects of creativity,' I said.
  ‘That’s obvious, hon – we’re firmly in Cloud Cuckoo Land with the copy you've given them.’
  ‘But I’ve so tried to be careful since the Mail on Sunday invented that I quoted the Duke of Wellington before I went onstage in Iraq.’  I only ever quote Judge Judy, Margot Fonteyn and Ermintrude the Cow, of Magic Roundabout fame, you see.  ‘Will there be official fallout?’ 
  ‘Only thing that pulled me up a bit short was that they also made our PR here think it was a theatre rag, which is how they got sent a photo of you in Iraq dancing with Colonel Curtis. This article’s going to be majorly seen by officers’ wives in waiting rooms up and down the country - the mag being exactly the kind of thing they read.  But we’re covered.  The editors of the mag clearly misled us. And, anyway, the photo wouldn’t necessarily have had to come here: I warned Colonel Curtis after the gig that when you’d got him on his own up onstage there was a sea of red lights in the room as the phones and the cameras went up.' 
  I asked Nicky to read some of the article. 
  ‘You sure, hon?’
  ‘I’ll only imagine it as being worse than it is.’
  She asked if I was I sitting comfortably, and began.  

‘ “I was a different child.  My mother remembers me sitting for hours as a chubby toddler listening to Pinky and Perky sing “I Love Little Pussy” -  turned out it was the same tune as a folk-song that Tchaikovsky used in Swan Lake. And I would stand sideways on to the full-length mirror in the hall wearing just my nappy and say, very sadly, that I had lost my figure…”  “…Foxes have always been a symbol for me of breaking out of something.  Of going forward towards dreams.  A fox was leaping through the marsh fields when I first performed at the Aldeburgh Festival.  I nearly walked into one coming round the corner of the Black Prince Road after closing the first half of Topping and Butch’s show at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.  And after my gig when Madonna was out front at Klub Kabaret a fox was using the crossing on Camden Road by the Tesco garage where the skate park is nowadays…” “…But what was my character’s name?  Suddenly, one day: ‘My name is Madame Galina,' I said to myself in a high-pitched foreign accent. Then I froze. I'd never heard the name before and had no idea why it had come into my head, unbidden like that.  Or in that accent.  Little did I know that my alter ego had just been born”.’  

  'Genius, hon!' Nicky commented. 'We were all wanting to know in the office - what could have been in the press release you sent them after Iraq?'

  * Note to self from January 2004:  Look at all the obsession around with psychic stuff.  And all the weirdness I’ve been having with lights fusing at however many theatres right at the point where Giselle stabs herself in the “Mad Scene”.  Which, remember, Jan, the travelling stage psychic, told the techie in Luton that I was doing because I channeled the spirit of Madame Galina from beyond the grave. Not to mention that I’m the son of a psychic (de-barred, but still…) Think on; put this all into a press-release to send out.  Take a run up and…there: nice comfy seat on the band-wagon...

 Yes, and end up with an article like the one quoted from above.  

  RSM Tina Turner would certainly choose the fucking Beano over that! 

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