Tom Hibbert's "Who The Hell...?" (Published in 1994)
If, like me, you grew up reading Smash Hits in the early 1980s the name Tom Hibbert is likely to ring a few bells as he was one of their wittiest writers. In the mid 80s Mark Ellen and pals started up Q Magazine and they poached him away. For the best part of a decade Hibbert interviewed celebrities that some would describe as being "larger than life" or as "full on characters" such as Freddie Starr, Jeffrey Archer, David Icke, Chris Eubank, Gazza, Glitter, Rolf, Yoko, and Sir Jimmie Savile. His regular feature was at the front of the magazine. It was called "Who The Hell Does ____ Think He Is?" and it was often the best bit of the mag. Sadly Hibbert died last year. In 1994 Virgin Books brought out a "Best Of". I hope that a more complete compilation of Hibbert's interviews gets published one day.
Here are some interesting quotes from some of the people Tom interviewed...
Gary Glitter: "Cor! It was raunchy on the road, aw haw. It was very good. I used to take my pick of the girls, you know. I remember Helsinki, looking out the hotel window and there was 4,000 girls waiting - at least 4,000 because I was counting, I was standing there on the balcony and I'd get the binoculars and I was saying. Send me up that one. I'll have that one. And that one. It was that easy."
Hibbert asks him if he'd rather be trying to make the world a better place. Does he ever wish he went into politics?
Glitter: "But I am political. I do it subliminally! Cor! There's a long word I never used before... I do it subliminally and I think I'm pretty powerfulI mean, some of my dinner parties, some of the gang go out and do all the talking and I'm the funny little Buddha sitting in the corner."
Tom Hibbert: What are you talking about?
Glitter: " I have power. I'm the leader of the gang. I am power.Power with love, love rock 'n'roll and power, power to... you know? Do you know what I'm saying? That's what I'm talking about."
(Glitter was talking in January 1990)
Dennis Potter: "If you talk about my family, I will kill you. You little shit. The secret in life is not to trust anyone. I am not blessed with great patience. So fuck off. If there's one thing I hate, it's people who drink cider! Oh, for God's sake, why don't you just die?"
Hibbert: Excuse me, Mr Potter, I don't think that's a very nice thing to say."
Potter: "Oh you're so fucking polite, you're like those polite people with bad teeth in a railway carriage..."
(Potter was interviewed by Hibbert in May 1993)
Freddie Starr: (November 1993)
"But, listen. Jesus Christ tried to please everybody. And look what happened to him. Am I right? Am I right? Am I right?"
Most of the nutters he interviews come across ok.
Cliff: "If you think that I'm going to get married just to prove that I'm hetrosexual, well that's absolutely up the spout."
Yoko: "Small things make me happy. Like this morning I woke up and the sky was blue and I thought, thank you, thank you."
The so vile Jimmy Savile is one of the few people Hibbert clearly doesn't trust at all. As he writes in his introduction: "There's something unsettling about the tireless benevolence, something irksome about the infantile banter and spragly self satisfaction, something eerie about this strange old uncle patting the heads of the young and unfortunate."
Here's a page from the book in which Sir Jim boasts about girls chasing him and his famous friends...
He goes on to say that there are no skeletons in his closet!
You can probably buy a second hand copy of Tom's book on e-bay but I hope it get's updated one day.