Interview: David Bailey / Buffalo Zine

Interview: David Bailey / Buffalo Zine

DAVID BAILEY: Who are you then? You look about 12 years old. What are you here to ask me about?

LIAM HESS: I wanted to ask you about growing up in the East End, and how it’s changed over the past few decades. Do you mind if I move the phone a bit closer to record?

DAVID: I couldn’t give a monkey’s. They’ve changed my life, you know, these iPhones. One of the most important things in my life now. Along with gaffer tape and a Swiss army knife. Oh, and an angle-light. That’s all I need in life. Actually, the Swiss army knife isn’t Swiss, I heard. Someone from Sheffield came up with one that had 200 bits and pieces of Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition in 1890. We were making them as well – not that I’m nationalistic. Especially over an army knife.

LIAM: So what are your earliest memories of the East End?

DAVID: The war. I was about seven years old when the war ended, and we weren’t evacuated, we were there through the Blitz and everything. We moved to East Anglia for a bit after we got bombed, but we spent most of the war in the city. I was born in a place called North Leyton back in the day, but I think they changed it in the 60s to Leytonstone to make it sound a bit posher.

LIAM: A bit like estate agents sticking a ‘Village’ on the end of every area these days.

DAVID: Yes. They even wanted to rename the East End the ‘east side’ at one point. I don’t know why. But my memories from when I was very young, it’s all during the war. Then there were the dull 50s, which were probably even worse actually, worse than you can imagine. I wasn’t scared of the war, because it was all I’d known. I used to have good fun playing in the bombed-out buildings, I bought a bomb home once. I had a good time.

LIAM: Your mother was a sewing machinist and your father was a tailor’s pattern cutter. Presumably they were working locally?

DAVID: Yeah, they worked in Hackney, for a Russian Jew called Poliakoff. And my dad ran a dodgy club on top of Poliakoff’s as well on the side, a drinking club. That’s when I first learnt about the police, and all that.

LIAM: Was it being run illegally?

DAVID: No! [laughs] There wasn’t much that was illegal back then. Everyone was up to something, if you weren’t on the black market, you’d starve. It’s alright for people to say very righteously, oh, that was terrible – but they weren’t there. It’s very difficult to condemn somebody from a different time. The time and place makes all the difference.

LIAM: I read that your father had his face slashed.

DAVID: Oh yeah, I think he needed 68 stitches. That might have been Reg [Kray]. We should look it up actually. I liked Reg, and when you like someone and then find out something shit, it’s difficult to suddenly say you then dislike someone.

LIAM: What led you to believe it was him?

DAVID: My aunt told me, my father’s sister-in-law.

LIAM: What about the gangs? The Barking Boys and the Canning Town Boys?

DAVID: Oh, you know about them. Well they weren’t like the Krays. The Krays kept more to Whitechapel, they never went further than Mile End, I think. Whereas the Barking Boys were all over: Stratford, Dagenham, Barking, of course. Actually from Bow to Dagenham, it was all the same in a funny kind of way. They were a bit poorer in Stepney, but the rest was more or less the same. Everyone either worked in the docks or worked for Fords. Or they were tailors. There were lots of Jews back then, but they all left in the 60s, and with it a lot of that tailoring business went away.

LIAM: And you were doing all sorts of different things during your teenage years.

DAVID: At that stage, yes. I worked as a debt collector when I was 17.

LIAM: What was that like?

DAVID: It was alright. I wasn’t the boss, my boss was someone called Mickey Fox, he was a famous boxing referee. Lots of the boxing clubs were in Mile End back in those days, on the road behind Mile End station. I was his gopher really, for about six months. I’d be cycling in the rain – he had a car, but I didn’t. Sometimes he’d send me to get some money, and I’d cycle there in the pissing rain for an hour, I’d get there and they’d say, “sorry, we can’t pay you.” I’d sometimes just put the money in myself and pretend to go, then go back on a day with better weather. You’d have to drink so much milky tea, trying to get that money off people. The Catholics made more milky tea than anybody.

LIAM: So the religious communities were fairly segregated?

DAVID: No, not really. I grew up with the Jews and the Irish. The Jews because my dad was working with them, and lots of people thought we were Jewish anyway. I got my DNA tested to find out and we’re not in fact, I’m 30% Irish, 30% Anglo-Saxon, a bit of German, and a little teeny bit of French. I thought I’d be more Indian or something.

LIAM: Moving forward a little bit, what was your time like with the Kray twins?

DAVID: Yes, that was in the 60s.

LIAM: Who did you prefer?

DAVID: Reg, of course! I kept away from Ron, he was the really dodgy one. But Reg was alright, actually. Although I did see them do somebody one night, they probably killed the guy after. He was a Scouser, and it was over me and corned beef actually. I was up against the mirror in a pub in Whitechapel, and this guy came up to me. I didn’t know if he was on the firm or not, so I had to be a bit careful. He was trying to pick a fight with me, saying “what the fuck are you doing down here with a camera?”, and all of that. He was really aggressive. They’re really aggressive those people from Liverpool – I mean, not all of them, but you know what I mean. Back then it was Scousers and Glaswegians you wanted to avoid, as they usually had knives. So I was leaning against this mirror on a mantelpiece, and I saw Reg with a drink in his right hand, and then his left hand just flew out and smashed this guy’s face in. And then Ron got him, picked him up by his head and his collar, and threw him into the side of the piano. I remember the pianist, she was called Else, and as he hit this guy’s head against the side of the piano, he said, “Else, play my favourite song – you know, that one – When I Leave The World Behind”. And then the guy was wiped up, slung in the back of a minivan and I never saw him again. Later Reg came over, and he said, “you alright, Dave?”. I said, “colourful evening, Reg”, and he went, “yeah, I could see he was niggling you. Also, when he came in, he brought a great big plate of corned beef sandwiches, and he didn’t offer them round”. While in the background there were mops out, cleaning up the blood. I also remember once driving around with Ron, and somebody went past us and gave us the finger, and Ron had a gun on him. And he said, “let’s go and teach that cunt a lesson.” I was terrified. I said, “no, we’re running late for the pub Ron.” I lived with them for two weeks, I knew them before that as well, but it did teach me never to give anyone the finger. Because it could be the wrong car you do it to.

LIAM: Did they ever consider you to be ‘on the firm’.

DAVID: [hesitates] Yeah. I think so. Especially after I did their wedding. Reg asked me, and I couldn’t really say no. I’ve only done two weddings, Reggie Kray’s and Rupert Murdoch’s.

LIAM: Why do you think the Krays were so willing to be photographed when they were so notorious?

DAVID: Well, I thought they were silly, personally. If I was a gangster, I’d want to make sure nobody knew me. All those stupid old sayings like, ‘there’s no such thing as a perfect crime’. Yes there is! If it’s perfect, you wouldn’t fucking know about it, would you? [laughs] I think they enjoyed the limelight, especially Ron. He had lots of clubs, and there was one in Hackney I used to go to. Do you know that wall with the big red cross on top, on the corner? There used to be a church across the way, and there was a club down there to. That’s where he said the sweetest thing to me once. He said, “I wish I could have done it legit like you, Dave.”

LIAM: Who said that to you? Ronnie?

DAVID: Oh no, that was Reg. Ronnie would never have said that. Ronnie made Rasputin look like Mary fucking Poppins. [laughs] Reg was much better when Ron wasn’t around.

LIAM: What about Ron being gay?

DAVID: Oh yeah, he made a pass at me, Ron. I had an assistant at one point, and I had this two week shoot, and I couldn’t get anyone to come work with me because they were scared of the Krays. And this guy said, I’ll come, I’m not scared! Ron would say to my assistants, “you’re mine for the night”, and then they’d scarper. I ended up having to do the whole thing on my own, dragging huge fucking lights around safe houses and all of that. Francis Wyndham was with me a lot of the time, the journalist. He introduced me to the Krays before this, back when I was doing the boxer pin-ups.

LIAM: Was there much of a sense of community, between you and these other figures that were emerging around the same time, from the same area?

DAVID: What do you mean, community?

LIAM: Were you friends? Did you share notes? I’m thinking about photographers like Brian Duffy, Terence Donovan? Donovan was from Stepney, right?

DAVID: Mile End. Duffy’s not from the East End, he’s from Kilburn, he’s Irish. As was Donovan. It was a colourful time. Actually, you know what, that’s not true. The 50s were grey, all grey. Everything was grey. Then the 60s were all black and white, and then you had the 70s, where everything was bloody colourful. The 70s was the ugliest period for fashion and that.

LIAM: You have this huge archive of photographs of the East End from the 60s..

DAVID: And the 80s, and the 2000s.

LIAM: When you were shooting in the 60s, what motivated you to go out on the streets and document that?

DAVID: I don’t know. It’s just what I do, I take pictures. It was where I lived.

LIAM: But obviously you’re known predominantly for portrait photography..

DAVID: Yeah, I mean, Michelangelo’s known for painting fucking ceilings. He only did one. [laughs] People love to put people into pigeonholes. [we look at Bailey’s ‘East End’ book, published by Steidl]

LIAM: Photographs like these, for example, Brick Lane with all these abandoned storefronts. Was this after the Jewish community had left and before the Bangladeshi community moved in?

DAVID: The Jews were still there then, that’s in the 60s.

LIAM: There’s so many of these photographs though. You must have spent hours, days walking around, and presumably they’re not commercial images – it must have been some kind of personal project, no?

DAVID: They weren’t commercial, no. [points to the book] That place was one of Reg’s clubs. No, not that one, the cover, you dickhead! That one, yes. That entrance was blown up by the Richardsons ten minutes after I left. Firebombed. They had that picture of kids hanging in the entrance of their gambling club.

LIAM: What’s your relationship with the East End today?

DAVID: I mean, East Ham, Upton Park now, it’s all Indian. All those amazing Indian shops, sari shops, it’s a different East End now. It’s funny, because the Muslims used to not like having the Africans coming in, and now the Asians are against the Eastern Europeans coming in, it just goes round in circles. It is quite funny. When I was there it was basically Jewish and Irish. And some Cockneys. There was one black guy in the little gang we had. As one of our childish games we’d honest to god rob buildings. I remember finding some angel wings in a bombed-out church, and I brought them back, but I thought my mum would be angry so I hid them. They’re probably still there, down in the coal cellar, because that’s where I spent probably three or four years. The bomb shelters in the backyard were full of water, they used to flood, and they weren’t any good anyway – it was just a thin bit of tin over your head, it was symbolic more than anything. So we’d spend the air raids down the coal cellar. It probably wasn’t the safest place because all the gas pipes were down there. We were bombed there too, I remember dragging my sister under the table, and I was a hero for about three minutes. It was alright though.

LIAM: Do you go back often? To walk around, or take photos?

DAVID: Sometimes – I’m quite fascinated by Essex now, though. I always do these books like the Naga Hills, north of Burma, south of India, it’s Chinese really but the Indians have nicked it.

[phone rings, it’s David’s studio manager]

DAVID: Hello? You made it to France alright? I was just ringing to see what time the Buffalo guy was coming. Yeah, he’s here right now. I looked in the diary but I couldn’t see it. He’s alright – bit young, bit naive. I’m not sure he knows what he’s doing, but he’s a nice guy. [cackles] Alright. Okay. Bye mate, bye.

[hangs up]

DAVID: Anyway, yes, I go to Essex now. Barking. I count that as Essex, it sort of is. Actually Barking and Dagenham have always been the East End, but it was a snobby thing about coming from Stepney. Like, oh, I’m poorer than you. The English will always find snobbery, in every bloody class system.

LIAM: I read an anecdote about a casting agent you worked with in the 60s – you were on a shoot, and she was on the phone to a model, and then she said the model’s accent was too common to hire her.

DAVID: Oh yes! There was one model I liked, actually it was Paulene Stone, she was a bit rougher then. But the lady said, “we couldn’t possibly work with her, she’s got a terrible accent”. Well I had a terrible fucking accent, and I was there. I mean, you’re never gonna hear her speak!

LIAM: Did you come up against any snobbery like that?

DAVID: Oh yeah, of course.  

LIAM: Like what?

DAVID: Just that public school, upper class thing. I was very young when I started, I was 21, and I used to take my pictures around to other magazines and they’d say to me, “tell Mr Bailey we like his pictures”. They just assumed I wasn’t Mr Bailey. [laughs] I couldn’t work with many magazines, because Vogue were such arseholes about who you worked for.

LIAM: Were you contracted to them?

DAVID: No, but they were ghastly. Condé Nast are like the managers who rip off pop stars. I hate all those big companies because you can’t fight against them. They might have the law on their side, but they haven’t got any kind of morality. I still find that. I’ll send off a solicitor’s letter at any moment I get.

LIAM: Do you actually do that?

DAVID: Oh yeah, I do it now. I won’t let go, I’m like a Jack Russell. I’m not a Mandarin Chow.

LIAM: So do you feel like you’ve been exploited at points in your career?

DAVID: No, not exploited. I just think it’s immoral. They didn’t just to do it to me. Brian Duffy, when he was dying, it was public knowledge that he was dying of cancer, oh wait no not cancer, something to do with his lungs. And they made him close down his show and told him to burn his pictures and that he couldn’t sign them. They did it with – who’s that girl who did the pictures of Kate with the lights around her neck?

LIAM: Corinne Day.

DAVID: They did it with her too on her deathbed. They’re not in the art business, Vogue. They sell fucking frocks. And they should stick to selling frocks, selling those very transparent illusions.

LIAM: And you’ve never been very interested in selling frocks.

DAVID: No. I like the girls. The thing about fashion photography is that it was the only way you could be creative and still get paid for it at that time. Even if your creative input was very minimal. Vogue today only pay me 300, and I’m the highest paid, I think they pay 100 to the others. I think Mario gets a tiny bit more than me, but he probably needs it. He won’t be around as long as me. [pause] Well go on, if you’ve got questions, ask them. Have you done an interview before? You’d be no good on fucking television. You’ve got to be quicker.

LIAM: I like to let people talk. That’s usually when they say the most interesting things, when their mind wanders.

DAVID: Yeah, that’s a good excuse mate. You got any brothers and sisters?

LIAM: I’ve got one younger brother, yeah.

DAVID: You got a girlfriend?

LIAM: I’ve got a boyfriend. You’re interviewing me now.

DAVID: Oh, you’re gay. Have you ever tasted the trifle?

LIAM: Excuse me?


DAVID: [laughs] I mean, have you ever had a woman?


LIAM: I have slept with women, yes. Many years ago now. 


DAVID: Oh, so you know what the trifle tastes like. Many years! You’re a child. In the fashion world everyone was gay. 


LIAM: Not much has changed.


DAVID: Except gays don’t have to make so much of a statement, they can just be normal. Were you always gay?

LIAM: Um, yes.

DAVID: No, but at what age did you know? I’ve written a funny thing called ‘Three Gays and a Jew’. The people that changed my life. They were three gays and a Jew.

LIAM: Who are they?

DAVID: Well the Jew was Charlie Papier, he turned me onto Picasso and all of that, when I was about 16. He’d been to art school, and I didn’t even know there was such a thing as art school. The idea of going to school to learn art.. well it’s still a mad idea to me, the idea that you could teach art. You can teach techniques and attitudes, maybe, but not art. Then the first gay was my uncle, who I lived with. I shared a room with him, he was my mother’s brother called Artie. He was in the Navy – of course! – and he turned me onto Maori music, and he used to bring things back from abroad on his trips. I think he was in the Navy during the war, and then he turned into a merchant seaman after the war. He bought me my first semi-jazz record, an extended play 78 of Frank Sinatra singing Stormy Weather, and I’ve tried to find it, but on the internet even you can’t. So he was a big influence, and he was gay. And then John French, who I was assistant to, he helped me too. He was gay too, very gay [laughs]. Then when I went to Vogue, the only reason I really got in there was because of a guy called John Parsons. He was gay too, bit of a junkie as well. He was great. And so it was three gays and a Jew that put me on the map really. Without them it would have been infinitely harder, without being to existential.

LIAM: Have you ever felt compelled to work as a mentor or a teacher?

DAVID: No.

LIAM: You don’t like it?

DAVID: No.

LIAM: What don’t you like about it?

DAVID: Well you just have to do it. You can’t teach somebody. They’ve either got it or they haven’t got it, you can’t teach them. You can suggest maybe that they’re going down the wrong track, but you can’t really teach art. Nobody knows what art is, so how can you teach it? It’s a bit like love. You love a bloke, I love a girl, I mean, it’s the way the world is. There was tension between my father who was a real.. I mean, you can already guess what he was like with the club, and the slashed face. He was probably an alright guy really, I just barely saw him. I remember the CID used to come in on Friday nights in plainclothes to get their money, but they didn’t call it protection money. They called it ‘beer money’. But my mother was quite strict. And my dad was against me sharing a room with Artie, he was a fucking idiot. I mean Artie wasn’t a paedophile, he was gay! They’re two different things, it’s fucking stupid that people didn’t get it. Artie also bought me my first pair of brogue shoes. He was a bit odd though, he used to change his underwear three times a day. And he’d come in pissed of a nighttime, and where I slept was over the backyard and the toilets were outside. So he used to piss out the window, which I thought was quite funny. I didn’t really know what being gay was then. There was a teacher too, who used to try and kiss me when I was about 13, he’d say, “can you keep a secret?” And I thought.. fucking hell. Then he came round to see my parents and said he’d like to give me private lessons. I couldn’t tell my mum because she would have killed him, and I couldn’t have told the headmaster because he wouldn’t have believed me. So you just had to deal with it. I remember his face coming closer, and he had all broken veins around his nose, until I was about 22 I thought everyone sexual had broken veins around their nose. [laughs] It was funny. But he was great. Then he eventually went to live in San Francisco, and got AIDS in the 1980s. 


LIAM: It must have been quite a crowded house..


DAVID: It was. I used to go the cinema all the time, because it was cheaper than putting a shilling in the gas, that only lasted about an hour.
 Me, my sister, my mother and sometimes my aunt Dolly. My aunt Dolly had a great sense of humour, she was like a ‘rent an East End woman’, you know, she always had the white turban on, hair in curlers. My mother was born in Bow Road, and my dad was born in Hackney. 


LIAM: You obviously have a reputation as quite a lothario. Were you dating girls at this point?


DAVID: I started like everybody else, when I was about 14, I guess.

LIAM: All East End girls?

DAVID: Yeah. I didn’t really have a serious girlfriend until I came out of the Air Force, by which point I wanted to get away from the East End, both of us did. She wanted to get away from her parents, I think that’s why we got married really. Of course, it didn’t work, we were only married for nine months and it cost me thousands and thousands, because my lawyer turned out to be a lesbian and was on her side. I ended up paying her about £50 a week which was a lot of money in those days. That went on for about ten years. I’d had quite an adventurous life by the time I was twenty. I’d lived through a war, got divorced, then all those East End gangs, the Barking Boys. They beat me up once.


LIAM: What happened?

DAVID: I think Terry Waits was the leader.. there was a girl called Eileen Werner that I was after, but she was with the Barking Boys. So three of them got me outside of the East End Town Hall, which is a great town hall, one of the best I’ve ever seen, it should really be done up. Anyway I was left outside all night, beaten up and knocked out, I remember waking up, and the blackbirds were singing. Someone lifted me up, and I thought, “oh, someone’s helping me!” Next thing I know, he’s got his fucking tongue down my throat. Talk about out of the fire and into the frying pan. The only good thing that came out of that was once you got beaten up by the Barking Boys and you didn’t go to the police or tell anybody, they’d look after you in the dancehalls afterwards. I remember someone else beating me up, and then he got beaten up badly. They were a bit older than us, in their early 20s some of them, but we were 16, 17. I also had a little tailoring business, getting teddy boy suits made and selling them to the teddy boys, I made a little bit of money off that actually. Sold about six suits.

LIAM: Was there a moment you remember as a turning point, when you thought, I don’t want to live in the East End anymore?

DAVID: Oh yeah, long before that. It was probably when I met Charlie Papier, and he introduced me to art. I was already mucking about, from when I was thirteen, processing film in my mum’s cellar. I used to nick the developer from the science teacher, and nick bits of paper.

LIAM: How did you know what you were doing?


DAVID: From books. It’s pretty easy. You just mix up the chemicals. I was always amazed that something came out. I wasn’t so interested in the art of it, I was interested in the..


LIAM: Alchemy?


DAVID: Yes. You put a piece of paper in something that looks like coffee and you get a fucking picture! It still amazes me. I still do it sometimes.


LIAM: Where did the camera come from?


DAVID: You could get a lot of the kit at chemists back then, the film for example. The camera came from my mum, and then when I was in the air force, Singapore was tax free, so I managed to buy a second-hand camera that was a copy of a Leica. And then I managed to buy a Rollop that was a British copy of a Rolleiflex. I had them, but then five years or so after I came out of the air force, someone broke into my house in Primrose Hill and nicked them. They weren’t worth anything really. They nicked my mum’s Brownie as well. Everyone had a camera, and everyone had a piano in the East End.

LIAM: But you used to the play the trumpet, right?

DAVID: Yes, very badly though.


LIAM: And you started taking pictures because you fancied yourself as Chet Baker.


DAVID: Oh, so you’ve done a bit of research then. [laughs] I was mad about the blues and jazz. That’s why I always got on with the Rolling Stones, and not the Beatles so much. 


LIAM: What was so appealing about the image of the jazz musician for you to want to style yourself as one?

DAVID: It represents freedom. They can do what they like. All that bollocks about ad libbing, I don’t get – I mean, Mozart and Bach fucking ad libbed, they just wrote it down! Modern jazz musicians started to take themselves too seriously, they disappeared up their own arse. Started wearing dinner jackets and you think, hang on, I’m not sure I want to go down that avenue. Whereas the blues singers just stuck to what they did best. Some of them could only play about six songs, but that was enough to get by, I guess.

LIAM: Do you see your approach photography with that kind of mentality?


DAVID: No. I don’t particularly like photography, I could have easily been a filmmaker or a painter.
 I’d do more, I just don’t have the time. I like doing books because they’re a bit like diaries. I like working in bronze as well. [points to a sculpture] That’s one of mine.

LIAM: It reminds me of Picasso’s African period. I was in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford yesterday, it was unbelievable..

DAVID: That’s one of my favourites. I tried to photograph all the shrunken heads there, and they wouldn’t let me do it.

LIAM: Why not?

DAVID: It’s not politically correct. I actually went for a meeting down there, must have been about eight years ago, very nice guy who wanted me to do it, but it didn’t work out. The Wellcome is great too, they’re a bit more progressive. I liked the show where they did a thing on cunts, and they put curtains over some of the pictures. [chuckles] It was quite sweet. The trouble with all those museums is they get popular, and then they become play centres. I’m on a committee, and some people want to put an outdoor swimming pool at Tate Britain. So that the working class will be encouraged to come and see art. I think it’s the most condescending thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

LIAM: That’s bizarre.


DAVID: It’s typical of those middle class people, like that awful man who runs that magazine, Time Out, it’s so middle class. Not like the guy who did the Big Issue, that was a brilliant idea. 


LIAM: The guy who started the Big Issue is now in the House of Lords.

DAVID: I remember when I was with Catherine Deneuve, and you know how bourgeois the French are, we had an argument because I thought Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley were fantastic, and she thought they were awful. She thought I was being very camp and ironic. I used to see tombs that looked like a Jeff Koons, with all the ceramic flowers and that, and I would say, “that should be a work of art”. She’d say, “oh you’re so camp, Bailey”. And I thought, shit, you’re so fucking bourgeois, girl. And you can’t see it. Elvis is great! So why is it you want to shoot me outside the building?


LIAM: We’re doing everything in the building for this issue.


DAVID: I’ve still got mates down Columbia Road, you know. Sometimes I still do fashion stuff, but I insist on doing it my way, otherwise I won’t do it. I hate that people think of me as a celebrity snapper – I don’t do that! If you want a picture that your mum’s gonna like, don’t come to me. I don’t do pictures to flatter people, I do them to show people how they are. I’ve worked quite a lot with Valentino, I remember they suggest that they wanted to do something in Havana. I thought, oh shit, I’ve just done a book on Havana, I don’t want to do that. I said, I’ve got a better idea. Pierpaolo and Maria, the designers, they’re great, and I suggested doing it in Southend, and they were up for it! So that’s where we did it. We hired out the whole funfair. And we’re doing the next one in Dalston. I think those days of big advertising things like that are gone, everything’s on the internet now. If you want to be president of America, you go on the internet.


LIAM: You’ve worked with Trump before, haven’t you?


DAVID: I used to direct his airline commercials, yeah. There was one story about the model Carol Alt, who Trump later had an affair with – he said, “Bailey, can you get her to say I love Donald Trump?” And I said, “mate, for what you’re paying, I can get her to say whatever you like”. [laughs] Trump and I had an argument about the airlines, because we had all these great people involved, Tip O’Neill, General Haig, Norman Mailer for example, they were all interesting. Don King also, in fact Don King offered me a job to direct his talk show. I said, why are we wasting six seconds on showing an aeroplane that everyone else has got anyway? You’ve got these great guys, why are wasting it. Eventually he agreed, he said, you’re right. He was alright, actually. I mean, he’s a businessman, what do you expect? He’s not fucking Goldilocks, is he.

LIAM: Was he particularly belligerent?


DAVID: Well they all are, those guys, you’ve got to be tough. I don’t think there’s many saints that end up in politics. In fact, I only met one saint in my life, Mother Teresa.


LIAM: What about me?

DAVID: Nice try, mate.