Lynn Barber, by her own admission, has always suffered from a compelling sense of nosiness. An exceptionally inquisitive child she constantly questioned everyone she knew about imitate details of their lives. This talent for nosiness, coupled with her unusual lack of the very English fear of social embarrassment, is the perfect blend for a celebrity interviewer. Barber takes us through her early career at Penthouse where she started out interviewing foot fetishists, voyeurs, dominatrices and men who liked wearing nappies, through her later more eminent career at the Telegraph, Sunday Express, Vanity Fair, Observer and Sunday Times. Barber has interviewed a huge cross-section of celebrities throughout her career; politicians, film stars, comedians, dancers and musicians, including Gore Vidal, Rudolph Nureyev, Lady Gaga, James Stewart and Dirk Bogarde to name but a few. Characterised by her witty and honest style, An Interviewing Life is full of glorious anecdotes such as the interview with Salvador Dali that was only supposed to last one day and ended up running into four at Dali’s invitation, culminating in him gifting her a conical hat made of wax that he had originally designed for his wife to wear to fancy dress ball in the 1930s. Filled with transcripts of interview highlights, such as her infamous interview with the hilarious and spectacularly rude ‘ratty old rock chick’ Marianne Faithfull, and the interview with Rafael Nadal which infuriated his fans so much Barber saw her Twitter followers double so that his fans were able to abuse her online. Not only is An Interviewing Life a fascinating window into the lives of those has she interviewed, but also into the world of journalism itself and into Lynn Barber's own life.
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ON BEING NOSY
- CHET YARBROUGH