Tag Archives: love

Mariella Frostrup

I went to Mariella’s new flat to conduct this interview. She was having it painted in different shades of blue (as I recall) and so invited me to lunch at a fashionable restaurant in Notting Hill. She was witty, intelligent and such great company we carried on drinking white wine and chatting well after the tape had finished recording the interview…

Sex is important to me, but only when I’m sure I’m in love: In bed with Mariella Frostrup

SUSAN DE MUTH
Wednesday, 9 March 1994
Mariella Frostrup is a broadcaster and journalist. She presents ‘The Little Picture Show’, a late-night film magazine programme, on Carlton Television.

I’m not really a night person. The Little Picture Show has a late night feel but it’s actually filmed between 9am and 6pm in a blacked-out studio. It goes on air at midnight . . . by which time I like to be tucked up in bed]

I do socialise at night, mostly having dinner or going to the theatre with friends, but take up few of the glamorous invitations I receive. I get asked to parties for people I don’t even know, which is very strange. I did go to the Planet Hollywood party for Sylvester Stallone last year, though. I thought it would be fascinating from an anthropological point of view.

At first I was shocked that I’d got this sexy image – and I suppose that’s why I’m often invited. Now it irritates me; I feel this wave of disappointment if I don’t turn up wearing some incredibly slinky number. Men expect me to be all sultry and cooing whereas I can be quite abrasive. It’s all rather ridiculous.

My favourite nights are when I can be in bed by 10.30 with a cup of cocoa and some good books. My bedroom is an oasis of calm and I rarely allow anyone else into it. I love the thought that I can go in there and enjoy my solitude.

I had an unsettled childhood and moved house quite often myself but there are always certain things that belong in the bedroom and give me a sense of continuity. I have three pictures of my very best friends, a jewellery box that belonged to my grandmother and a drawing of a reclining nude by my mother which makes me feel calm.

I sometimes catch up on videos for the show in bed. I also like to listen to music – really old-fashioned records. You’ll probably laugh at me but a big favourite is Leonard Cohen – but only when I’m very happy. My dad – who died when I was 16 – used to like Leonard Cohen and when I’m happy I’m able to sit and think about him a little bit.

I have occasionally dreamt of my father but fortunately I don’t dream much. I don’t think I’ve ever had a happy dream in my life. I have a recurring nightmare that I’m being chased by a rapist. It’s a terrible fear I’ve had since I was 12 and a girl down the road was raped on her way home from school.

I’m not involved in a relationship at the moment and it’s a long time since I lived with a man. I was perfectly happy to share then but I don’t know if I could now. I have my little routines and resent people interfering with them – even if I’m in love. When I wake up in the morning I want to be rid of them – I set my radio alarm clock at exactly one minute to the hour and like to listen to the news in peace for 30 minutes before I get up.

I’ve been out with lots of men who were so nice that I really wished I would want to spend the rest of my life with them. But there was always something missing in terms of engaging my heart. When I can see that’s the case I move on. I’m very good at making those kinds of decisions and acting on them.

I was married when I was 18 (and divorced at 21). My dad had died and Richard was my first serious boyfriend. I just got my little paws in him and dragged him into the register office. He’s forgiven me now and we’re still good friends. I think if your parents are divorced, as mine were, you take marriage less seriously.

Sex, on the other hand, is extremely important to me. It’s the only thing you do with another person that you don’t do with your friends. I have a rule that I always stick to – I only have sex with someone when I’m sure I’m in love.

If I’m sleeping with a man I insist on nakedness. I hate men who get into bed in their underpants – I mean, why? They know they’re going to take them off. Totally unsexy. When I’m alone, however, I confess that I’m usually to be found in a pair of comfortable pyjamas.

(Photograph omitted)

Paula Yates

This was the first interview I did for the series, and I had asked Paula to do it because I was, basically, nicking her format (she was doing In Bed With interviews on the Big Breakfast). Actually, it was Emma Freud who first had the idea, she did live ‘in bed with’ interviews at an arts club night in Soho I used to go to in the early 1990s.

On my way in to the Big Breakfast studios, I met Chris Evans who was very tall with a bright orange face (make-up). ‘You should be interviewing me,’ he said as he strode past, obviously convinced of his own stardom even in those early days.

Paula was incredibly sweet and welcoming. We conducted the interview on the big breakfast bed which was enormous and covered in velvet.

Afterwards she showed me a skirt she had had made. It had plastic pockets in each of which was a picture of her kids. She was obviously crazy about those girls and very proud.

In bed with . . .Like sleeping in a railway station: Susan De Muth talks to Paula Yates: In the first of a new series, the Big Breakfast presenter explains how she sleeps with all the family and gets up at 3am to hop from one bed to another

SUSAN DE MUTH
Monday, 19 July 1993
Paula Yates is a presenter of Channel 4’s ‘The Big Breakfast’, on which she interviews people in bed. She is also an author and the mother of Fifi Trixibelle, 10, Peaches, 4, and Pixi, 2 . She is married to Bob Geldof.

‘I WOKE UP, stark naked, in the middle of the main road, at 3am. Bizarrely, my mother happened to be on her way home at that moment and found me with all these cars going past. I was 10 years old.

‘I used to sleepwalk a lot when I was a child. I hated bedtime. I was always afraid that my mother would leave while I was asleep. I found the night incredibly frightening when I was little: you’re totally alone, it’s totally silent, there’s a bloody owl hooting on the mountainside and you don’t know if you’re going to wake up parentless.

‘Bob and I have a 9ft bed so that the children can sleep with us whenever they want to. I get up at 3am on weekdays so that I can write for three hours before I go to the Big Breakfast studios. Bob doesn’t come to bed until 2am and there are little girls coming and going all the time. It’s like Grand Central Station, a frenetic hive of activity with people rising and plummeting and moving into other beds. It is disturbing . . . especially when Peaches turns up, because she snores really badly. I don’t think I ever get really good quality, deep sleep.

‘Bob thinks it’s ‘complete bollocks’ as he puts it, letting the kids sleep with us, but I’m a great believer in the ‘continuum concept’ of raising children and holding them all the time. It’s probably also selfish because I like them kissing me and being on me all night. We extended the bed so Bob could have a bit of space . . . He’d been spending nights hanging on to the edge with a prehensile lip and it had to end. I don’t think he feels excluded from my affections. But we are the lark and the owl.

‘I love writing when everybody’s asleep. It’s deathly silent and the most fantastic time. My mind is totally clear. I have an office in our house where I write. It has a big log fire and huge windows overlooking the street. I’ve just finished one book about the countryside and now I’m working on another. I do bound out of bed at 3am and feel happy to get up but I’d be crying and crying if I had to do it in the evening when I’m always whacked. I usually go to bed with the girls at 7.30pm but if Bob is home I pretend I’m an erotic dream and stay up till 9pm – but I’m not telling you about our conjugal rites. I always read a book till I fall asleep.

‘At the moment I’m on volume four of the History of the Church of England. I’ve been reading it for ages and it’s really gripping. There are lots of things about parish vicars, which is very useful as they’re basic characters in country living.

‘As soon as I arrive at The Big Breakfast it’s back to bed with my interviewees. I suppose I interact well horizontally. I never get worked up about an interview. When you’ve got one or two celebrities in your bed every single morning you’re only concerned with the next question and keeping on top of everything . . . as it were. There’s no scope for tremors.

‘We take the Big Breakfast bed with us when we travel to do interviews. I went to Madrid this week to do Arnold Schwarzenegger and they’d given me a massive holdall with all the bedding in it. It burst open in customs and all these sort of prostitute’s bed covers came out and something really bizarre which was actually part of the headboard but looked exactly like a whip. I was so embarrassed. All these bewildered little Spanish customs men just stood there staring. They probably thought I was part of some travelling circus.

‘Since I’ve been a grown up I have only happy memories of bedtime, which is nice, because when I was a child I hated everything. My father died recently and it was very painful for me. I dream about him all the time now, though I never did before his death. I meet him in my dreams and we’re in places we’ve been together . . .

‘But the best bedtime stories of all are the births of my children. When the last one, Pixi, was about to be born, Fifi and Peaches were both there with Bob at the hospital; they were old enough for it to be thrilling for them, too. And I was breathless with the excitement of it, it was like waiting for Santa Claus when you’re a child. She came into the world at midnight and it was all so magical and so perfect.’

(Photograph omitted)