I must commend Rob McGibbon's video interview with Andrew Neil on the former's new and enterprising Access Interviews site. It is quite illuminating.
Filmed in December last year Neil reveals that he attended a Private Eye lunch only two weeks before, sitting just behind editor Ian Hislop. Apparently the two men enjoy an amicable relationship - they exchange stories when they meet and have a laugh together - which will come as a surprise to many Eye readers raised on the mag's regular and teasing misspelling of Neil's name ("Neill") and the much-published photo of him in a vest with an "Asian babe" by his side - in fact an Afro-American friend of his (and not old girlfriend Pamella Bordes) who was the "No 1 make-up artist in America". Why, she even made-up Barbara Walters!
He wasn't too impressed by the Eye lunch. He expected it to leave him fizzing with hot goss but it failed to: "I was a little disappointed". A pity Madame Arcati wasn't there then - though to be fair, an Eye poppet did invite me to a lunch just after I first burst forth on the blogosphere. I declined due to a wardrobe confusion.
One engaging aspect of Neil's character is his need to remind us constantly of his professional successes, his in-demand lifestyle, his Tyler Brûlé-type weekly globe trotting (New York, Dubai, London, etc), the two or three TV shows he had to film in one day, the 19-hour workdays, the blah-de-blahs and etcs. This used to be called boasting but that's an inadequate and blunt word. Neil is a tremendous success by anyone's reckoning: but the self-advertisements alert us to the much-polished career trophies standing on his mental mantelpiece, arranged a little too ostentatiously. Perhaps he checks his reflection in their surfaces once too often. Still, his self-confessed Mr Angriness is the greater worry.
Rob asks him: What happens after death? "Nothing" he replies. For once being a know-all fails him.
To view the Andrew Neil movie, click here.