© The Telegraph – 14 January 2009
Name: Sir Roger Moore
Last book read: Morgan’s Run, Colleen McCullough
Last film seen: Babe
Last music heard: Brahms
Last dose of live culture: Brahms concert at the Royal Festival Hall – I was there as one of the hosts for The Passage homeless charity event
Who would you most like to sit next to on a long haul flight ?
Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard – the first person to perform a human heart transplant.
What ending of a film/book has most disappointed you?
They all do, because that’s when they say: “The End”.
In international competition, what could you represent your country in?
Freestyle swimming – it’s the only sport where people don’t kick you or hit you with a ball.
What cliché is most applied to you or your life?
Which public figure do you think is most overrated ?
What question are you never asked and most want to answer ?
How would you like it if I didn’t ask you any more questions?
What, in human history, do you wish had never been invented ?
The hydrogen bomb.
If you could have been born in a different century, which would it be ?
The 1st century.
Name something you truly believe in?
What has been your greatest discovery online ?
If you could be stranded in one place in the world, where would that be ?
My home in Switzerland.
What is your fantasy other job ?
A brain surgeon.
It’s clear that you think of entertainment as an enjoyable but somewhat frivolous diversion from the serious matters of life and death. Which leads me to sense a hint of pain behind your description of the image of Roger Moore as “debonair”. The following will encourage you to believe that the world of entertainment can change peoples’ hearts and minds, as surely as any brain or heart surgeon.
Recommended film: Creature Comforts – Complete Series 1 (2005)
If the last film you saw was Babe, it’s time to go onto the hard (animated) stuff. Originally conceived by Nick Park as a five-minute film about how animals feel living in captivity in a zoo, it was then developed into a cult television series. Using the voices of everyday members of the public, we are shown various clips of animated interviewees, including Pickles, a guide dog with an over-optimistic outlook and a manic giggle; Fluffy the Hamster, a depressed rodent whose bowl is always half-full; and Trixie and Captain Cuddlepuss, a bored, married couple who argue about bad breath and Yorkshire terriers wearing lipstick. What could be mistaken for a children’s film or lightweight comedy is suffused with brilliant insights into different areas of society, celebrity culture, and the uneasy feeling (which you know so well) of being put on the spot in an interview.
Recommended book: Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Sport can be one of life’s greatest escapes (especially if you like freestyle swimming), so it seemed a book about football would never tell us anything profound about human existence. That’s until Nick Hornby came along. He uses his obsession with his club as a vehicle for talking about his life, beginning in 1968, the year that his father first took him to see Arsenal and the year his parents separated. A wry, humorous, but startlingly profound insight into male psychology and the quest for love and meaning, Fever Pitch is far from just being a look at life through Arsenal-tinted spectacles. Structured in the form of match reports, the book does what the classic, “high-brow” writers were doing in the 19th century: it teaches you about life.
Recommended music – Cabaret Original Soundtrack Recording (1972 film)
Wilkommen to the world of Berlin Cabaret, specifically the Kit Kat Klub, 1931. The soaring voice of Liza Minnelli, who plays cabaret star Sally Bowles, brilliantly conveys a depth of character behind the make-up and fishnet tights, as she swings from brash independence in Mein Herr, to terrible vulnerability in Maybe this Time. But by far the most noirish note struck is the ever-present undercurrent of the Nazi rise to power, which transforms the simple lyricism of the song Tomorrow Belongs to Me by a young Nazi boy into a terrifying glimpse into the future. Simultaneously uplifting and dark, this resonant album turns high-kicks into goose-steps, and will remind you of the importance of taking even the most debonair entertainment seriously.
Interview : Kate Weinberg – Photo : Marie-France Vienne (Paris 2008)