just did a 5 part series all about Britain for Belgian TV, What
Makes Britain Great how did that go?
Loved it. Loved doing it, a belgian TV crew and a mad dog Englishman!
(laughs). The idea of being paid to be a tourist in your own country was
fascinating, utterly fascinating! And a bloody brilliant experience. And
it might sound like a flippant remark, but the thing that makes Britain
Great, the people. The people.
Even though it was Belgian TV, the whole thing was done in English
Yeah. The station its done for is called Canvas, which is like a
small little independent, but very pro-British network, and they broadcast
mostly in English. They had budget problems and had to close down for
a while, and this show kind of opens them back up again. Which I thought
was a good idea. I liked it from that approach.
Of course I didnt understand quite what all of their motives where.
I was a bit suspicious at first. I thought they had came to take the piss.
That was my fear. And they probably thought Id be the perfect wrecker,
you know? So I let them have that assumption. But let it be clear with
me; when something is worthy of getting the piss taken out of it, it will
happen, but only then.
You were travelling round with a Belgian Historian werent you?
Reynebeau, I can never pronounce it! (laughs). He was an
odd bod. Weird looking chap, thin, hideous teeth, and two eyes pointing
in different directions (laughs). But I tell you, what could have been
a great cultural divide between the pair of us, actually benefited
the show, because I can get on with just about anybody, and I found that
to be the same with him. If you just give people a bit of space they lighten
up, and stop acting their role in life. He had a great mild sarcastic,
dry humour. And worked at a much slower pace than me; my brain
works very quickly. I mean ponderous historians! You know! Its like
they are flicking through their library manuals before they make a comment.
But it was fun! Ill tell you one thing about it; Blackpool shocked
It shocks most people to be fair!
They just couldnt take it, British people on holiday, you
are disgusting! (laughs). But, you know, if thats how
people like that want to have fun, well, thats absolutely alright
by me. Its just a little tired, and its gone into a kind of
a violent, threatening thing underneath. Its not like when our families
took us off to the beach when we were young, theres a bigger nastiness
now. And then youve got a bunch of loose tarts tearing it up in
the middle! (laughs).
Yeah, that sounds like Blackpool! So was the plan for you to take the
Belgians round certain places and towns, giving them an insight?
Sometimes. Sometimes. It would be plotted where a location was, then
wed just go there. After the first day they quickly realised that
the concept of scripting these things is just not going to work with me,
because you know, when youre talking to people you cant predict
what their gonna say, or where that conversation will lead. Thats
freeform, and thats an art form in itself!
Ive read that you were traveling round in a Rolls Royce, but
I know that wasnt true
Yeah, I know the Belgians want to swing it that we travelled everywhere
in a Rolls Royce, but thats not the case. I drove in a Caravan,
and Marc drove in a Rolls Royce, but every day Id sit in his Rolls
Royce and wed have a chat about what we done. Dont get me
wrong I like posh sometimes, Im not shy of a posh car, but I mean,
its uncomfortable and tight! And Id like a bloody caravan
please, Im sorry! (laughs), its more space!
It was very difficult to explain that to the Belgians, for them
the Rolls Royce is a symbol of the British economy, but so is a Caravan!
And this they missed. And lets get it right, the Rolls is no longer a
symbol of the British economy because its been bought out by the
foreign car companies. Same with Jaguar, or whatever, I mean just about
everything Britain has ever had has been passed off.
Theres not much left these days.
Yeah, but doing that show, going round Britain, it was clear; yes we do
have a culture, and yes it is still valid. It might not be understood
by the BBC or Tony Blair, but you know, dont wreck it. And theres
definite movements there to just take it all away. And oddly enough it
puts me in the position of defending the Royal family, because they are
part of our culture. We cant just dispense with it to suit
a currently topical form of politics. Socialism is a temporary come and
go, but the Royal family has survived historically for many, many, many,
centuries. Dont throw things away until you properly understand
them. Id like a serious look at what the Royal family could
and should be doing
Did you cover that, is there a whole show devoted to the Monarchy?
Well, in slots, but not quite. I want to do that on another programme.
I want to put together a proper, proper, show about that.
Im telling you, I was shocked at how low-rent everything has become
on TV in Britain. Theres nothing new being introduced, everything
is being treated so frivolously, theres no sense of obligation from
people to just be accurate. Theres just not enough effort made,
and with this accountant take over thing of just make money,
expense is the first thing that is spared. So quality goes out of the
window. Theres no what you would call research or investigating
your subject or topic, or any sense of professionalism. Its just
cheap and not very cheerful. And thats a rubbish on Britain, thats
a real, real error. Class has gone right out the window, and Im
not talking working class, you know, its trashy and just not informative
anymore. Its all idiots mocking somebodys elses work.
Theres a lot of that jealous spite kind of comedy, and I didnt
It seems to be just smarmy sarcasm or horrible unfunny pranks these
Yeah, and endless channels dedicated to Hindu or Muslims. Thats
all well and fine, but come to England to be English, right? Stop creating
these independent fucking states. I mean, I wore a T-shirt with a Union
Jack on it, and I was asked if it was a racist statement! Bizarre. Its
just ludicrous. It seems now that the only people that are wearing things
like that are tourists! Its bizarre. Bloody hell, that flag is part
of your country. That means its part of you. If your country
is lousy, and then so are you! Do something to change it.
How can wearing your own National Flag in your own country be offensive?
It drives me nuts. How can it possibly be offensive!
You tell me! You tell me. That bloody idiot from Croydon, Billy Bragg,
I mean he sees the Union Jack as a racist symbol, right? So what are we
going to hold up? A glass plate? A glass? Crystal clear, see straight
through it, no content? That flags about your history. Of course
history is full of mistakes, thats why its history! (laughs).
Ive seen arguments on TV, with the MPs waffling their nonsense,
and theres even that transvestite comedian [Eddie Izzard] going
on about Britain being a nation of immigrants.
Of course it is! But it doesnt mean we dont have a culture.
And it doesnt mean you should negate the culture you now have because
it threatens any new immigrant. They come here because of that
culture, not to spite it or ignore it, and if they do come for those reasons
then they shouldnt come at all
I should tell you about the Mosque in Finsbury Park… we had just
done a small bit of filming outside of Arsenals stadium and we were
driving up to the Arsenal shop, in my little caravan, but got stuck in
traffic right outside that Mosque. There were two Police guards there,
so I just opened the window and shouted, What time does it open!,
and they went, I beg your pardon! So I said, Well,
thats supposed to be a religious centre isnt it? And therefor
as a religion the public should have free access, right? Dont
be cheeky, move on comes the reply! (laughs). At which point
I gave them what for! And seriously challenged them on many, many levels.
Im surprised they didnt try arrest you for speaking your
I tell you why I wasnt arrested, because I started turning the cameras
on, and they didnt want that to happen. But I was facing arrest
for asking why I could not go into that building, and I find that very
odd. I wouldnt have given a toss about being arrested because then
that would have to be debated elsewhere, and that would open it up to
a public debate, and you know Im quite prepared to take these situations.
Because if youre telling me to accept that kind of thing in my life,
I will not. Some very nasty people have come out of that centre. And theyre
being protected by policemen? For what? So they can plan to kill us? Im
really puzzled by that. Anything that doesnt have open doors
is a problem. We had to open our doors, they should open theirs too.
And I find it monumentally crazy to put that Mosque in such a working
class area. You can see what a problem that might create, but guess what?
No! Because working class people arent like that. If they wanted
to create threat and attention it didnt work. Its just enormously,
laughingly ignored. But at the same time, a structure like that is a seriously
contemptuous insult to Britain. Thats not a place of worship. It
looks almost like a prison. Its very, very, unfriendly in its architecture,
its a statement. And, you know, dont build these antisocial
structures and expect people to tolerate it. And dont you think
its quite poignant that years ago just for making a record I was
discussed under the Traitors Act in Parliament, and now years
later there are people plotting bombs and they cant be done under
terrorism (laughs). Its just stupid, stupid. Preaching hate, and
theyre not questioned
Unfortunately in England no one questions any more. Just about everything
is bloody taboo, and that is nonsense to me. Im finding that Im
being asked to compromise more and more when I do any kind
of TV work; we cant discuss this, we cant
discuss that, and thats a nonsense to me! I dont want
to live in no society where I cant speak freely. I do not. If theres
anything in the world thats taboo, it should not be. Because when
idiocy is openly discussed its clear nobody would want it! (laughs).
The Nazis only rose to power because nobody questioned it. Apathy
is a luxury you can not afford, because the cost is, youve just
lost your life.
you manage to get any footage outside the Mosque for the show?
Only snippets. It was kind of off the subject. But I was more or less
plotting out the script for really doing something proper with Britain,
because I dont think the situation there is clearly understood by
anybody. Everything seems vague and in the shadows. Theres no real
energy in anything, its all dissipated and lost focus. And honest
debate seems to be a problem, you know, I see no reason why I cant
interview Prince Charles. Thats my ambition. And if hes not
up for that, well, that tells you everything, because if you want
things like that to be understood then thats how you do it isnt
it? You take two odd ends and you put them together, and you see what
comes out the other end.
And if the presumption is that oh, Im just going to be naughty
or bad, well, what are you basing that on? Certainly not any of
the work Ive done. Still to this day approaching TV networks and
production companies, it still seems to follow this line that Im
going to be silly, daft, negative, and swear a lot. And wherever that
came from, its a shame it isnt looked at or questioned. That
lack of attention to truth and detail is what is letting everybody down,
your own media are ill-informed, and thats going to reflect all
the way down the line.
Look at Best of British £1 Notes I dont think
theres one swear word on that album, all this stuff about you being
obscene where are they getting it from? Its just a convenient
What is obscene? Its in the bloody song! What is obscene, what?
These are words, you take words away from us and youve taken away
our best, best creation. Were top dog as an animal
because weve created language, we can imagine things through language.
Every single word matters. You can not remove them, when you do that you
are negating on free thought.
I mean, let the likes of some ignorant twot swear his head off, if hes
got nothing to say it should not offend you. Those are just words. It
can be really hard to listen to someone that only has five words in his
vocabulary, but at least he has five! And they might all be seen as obscene,
but theyre not obscene, thats all hes got. People use
words to express their meaning. When I said You fucking cunts
on that Im A Celebrity thing, it was like; What
you like me! You voted me to stay in? You fucking
cunts, Id be glad to leave! (laughs).
I dont think anyone really took offence to that anyway, I mean
I know even my Mum laughed at it!
Exactly, there you go! Those so called swear words or obscene words can
be used in the most friendliest way, because it is obvious I dont
mean it that way, right? Important. What is genuinely offensive is that
they let the lie run that I supposedly apologised afterwards. Excuse me,
when did that happen? That was all done behind my back, I didnt
need to apologise, Id done no wrong. Dont try and cut my balls
off, cos its not gonna work. Why lie? Why bother?
And its sad that people need to do that cos I think just the
truth would be more fun, and easier to follow. You can not manipulate
real human beings. You cant presume you can orchestrate the behaviour
in others. And Britain does have that terrible School Mam
attitude, and thats the attitude middle class TV people seem to
assume, you know? What should be a reality show, they try to script
and plan and fake, and take the energy out of it… What a bunch of
tossers. They offered me nothing, nothing after that show. Nothing. Everything
Ive done since is nothing to do with that at all. They actually
made life quite difficult, then made presumptions that they could steal
and nick songs and use them in all sort of Granada productions, and so
I just put a stop on the lot of them. They did not behave well with me,
so I have a problem with Granada, I do not trust them.
The others still seem to be working with them. Kerry just did something,
and obviously there was the whole Jordan and Peter wedding malarkey.
Well, they signed long-term contracts with Granada, right? And Im
not so stupid just to sign a blank page, nobody owns me. Basically they
got themselves into a position where they are owned, and thats no
achievement at all. But thats alright, if you want to fill up the
TV with useless people, thats fine, I dont care. I mean, I
dont think anyone got much joy out of Jordans wedding! What
a lame duck to operate your whole Granada spin-offs on. Unfortunately,
most people were saying, Was Johnny Rotten invited? Of course
I still think Im a Celebrity was brilliant TV, but youre
well shot of all that mob anyway.
Oh, cmon it was great fun! There was no gain for me going into that.
No gain. And it was hard, hard work, knowing that it was all about trying
to compromise me, or make me look silly, or an idiot. Well, I dont
think I am an idiot, and you cant make me look like one. So I had
that positive thing in me, that positive energy, and its a shame
that aint respected, because when you get my guff up I know how
to turn on you, and I do. They could have had the fun me right from the
start, but no, they made me feel like an outsider. There was no relationship
to me as a human being. Im assumed to be cannon fodder for selling
a TV programme, but they approached me at the wrong angle. They took me
for a dope, and I spun it right round on them, and fucking knew it, and
dropped them in it too, because when I walked that was it. Hello, you
notice me now dont you! And all the time implying I was doing it
cos I was desperate to be famous again, I mean what the fuck
Youve not exactly been hiding have you? Thats what I always
say, PiL, the Pistols tours, the TV and radio stuff, or when you did your
book, etc etc. Youre always about! All that What has he done
in 25 years nonsense! Just fuck off, theres no excuse to be
that ignorant about you in this day and age.
Yes, why dont you know? Whos telling you that, and why are
you believing it? I mean cmon! Look, it doesnt matter what
theyve said after anyway, because Ive dont think anyone
fucking believed them, and I think that was an amazing achievement too.
When I was going round Britain for the Belgian show I was talking to regular
people of all walks of life, and all ages, and they were coming up and
saying so. They are not led by that media thing. Its almost like
the population of Britain is separate from the media.
the media now is tied in very, very tightly with TV. ITV and Granada have
really got it under control, very powerful control. I found this out after
Im a Celebrity, when that fake, made up Razor Ruddock
story was put out, and I could not respond to it. Not one newspaper would
print my response; and Im stating categorically The News of
the World!. What? Someone is allowed to make up a lie about me,
and Im not fucking allowed to respond to it. Whats that telling
They should be able to say what they want, but they should also know theres
a price to pay for being wrong. There is a price you should pay, and you
shouldnt think youll get away with it. Ive got to say
that I find the drop in standards a shocking thing. Or has it always been
like that? Who needs to sell that down low-rent thing? Those papers sell
anyway, and you could have good content with good journalists, but that
of course requires effort, or you can have slop and kack. I dont
ask for much in life but if youre gonna call yourself a newspaper,
thats what you should be, news! An opinion is fine, as long
as it is based on fact. I mean, you gotta know when the John Savage
book [Englands Dreaming] came out that was murder for me. That ridiculous
toffee nosed opinion from a complete outsider, with a complete bias as
one of Malcolms friends. And then when I put my book out Im
not even used a reference point, my book is called opinion! I remember
reading those reviews and finding that completely strange
Going back to the Belgian TV show, hows it looking? Have you
saw any episodes or edits?
No, this is the strange thing, they just havent returned any phone
calls. Very bizarre way of working. Theyre being very closed fisted
with it, you know, it makes me wary, but its me, you cant
poison it too much
With you being away from the UK for so long, you probably notice the
changes more than us, but I think most people in this country realise
there has been big, big changes, and not for the better
Its so dissipated between wealthy and poor now, torn apart,
and you know, it wasnt quite as bad as that under the Conservatives!
This is a Labour government doing this. The centralist politics of Tony
Blair really left a gaping wound in the Conservative Party, which was
a good thing, because that was a bad piece of work originally, but now
I look at it, and Im oddly surprised that I think the Conservative
Party has a hope! But it still keeps on putting up posteriors ludicrous
nonsense, and so youre stuck with Labour.
And all over Britain this was a consistent feature, everywhere. Whether
it be a tiny little village pub outside Macclesfield or anywhere you like,
there was the feeling that the government is negating on its original
population, or a very large part of its original population. And its
an outrage to assume that anything that comes from that culture and those
people is racism. Thats not true. You are making them racist to
suit some other purpose. People are being led into these things. Blairs
Britain has a media very closely monitored by the Labour Party, they pay
for it to be that way
There are still a lot of good people out there, but unfortunately there
now seems to a huge undercurrent of selfish, lazy bastards. A whole wave
of people who dont give a fuck about anyone but themselves. Did
you pick up on that?
Hmm, yeah, that sense of allegiance to other people, and an obligation
to other people has almost been totally and utterly removed. And I miss
it, I miss it. Working class areas did not have crime like it is now,
because its been broken up. No one could get out of order because
everyone would be on you. It was one large family. And it sorted itself
out. But, look, poor working class people are still looked down on. Utterly
despised, right? And thats going to become a very violent, violent
thing, and a serious force to reckon with because you can not keep on
pushing them aside, and rolling them over for any latest import, or political
movement. Theres nothing being done to help it, nothing.
And I keep seeing this nasty little reminder that the only way out of
that slum situation is to fake middle-classisms, and move to Milton
Keynes (laughs). Well hello, thats not an offer, thats torture!
Thats mediocrity, with a posh accent. And its just a shame
in England I find the more money people have, the less sense they talk,
thats notable too.
I think Blair is on his last legs anyway.
I just dont know what Blair is anymore, other than, how can that
still be acceptable? Im sorry, but Blair is Bushs lapdog,
and Bush is a fucking half-wit. This nonsense I keep reading about Blair
that oh, he put in a good word to Bushs ear, and
hes gearing him the right way. What a load of nonsense (laughs).
Do you think they listen to that silly sod, hes straight out of
the ministry of silly walks! They laugh at the whole pantomime when he
comes here; its like, look at this idiot, this goofy brain dead
And when Blair attacks the BBC for biased reporting and anti-Americanism
on the New Orleans disaster. That is shocking, shocking. That was a disgusting
tragedy, with a negative government response. And Im sorry, the
truth has to be told. Blair might not like it, but it has to be told.
And you can not call that bias. Why are you telling us not to notice these
things? Do you want the world to be all like that? If somethings
wrong fix it. Theres errors being made, and theres a terrible
fault in America that when they do a wrong, they dont fess it, so
it repeats itself, and thats just the way that is. All we get is
merely waffle. In reality were under some big fist here. Someones
got a big army, but you know, its not such a bloody good one is
When Bush and Blair were over here at the G8, Bush made it pretty clear
that Blair could ask for things all he wanted, but at the end of the day,
he would just do what he thought was best for himself or America. Bush
will just do as he pleases, he couldnt give a toss what anyone else
thinks, let alone Blair.
No. And can you tell me what the G8 conference is about? I mean does
anyone in the public have any insights? No. Its closed doors. Like
I said earlier, anything that doesnt have open doors is a
Well, thats the thing, and thats why all the G8 protesters
are little more than a smokescreen, cos youre not questioning
what theyre actually talking about inside the G8, everyones
too busy complaining about the protesters causing trouble or making an
arse of themselves in their silly little hippy communes. Its just
Yes, and its a shame. And I found this out outside the Republican
Conference, and particularly the Democratic Conference, here when I was
doing my Eyada thing, that the demonstrators dont know quite what
their subject matter is. It seems to be just professional demonstrators,
with a left wing leaning. Well, they werent allowed to demonstrate
outside the Republican building, so they didnt, but they were
allowed to demonstrate outside the Democrat building, so they did. And
did their best to wreck it basically, and create a scene, and an uproar.
But, hello, what kind of demonstrator are you that youve got to
get permission to demonstrate? Youve been organised, and you dont
know what your cause is, you just dont know it.
I remember hearing you talk about the organised Anarchist march!
Foolish! Foolish. I stood there and watched that go by. How can Anarchists
organise themselves into a march? (laughs) I mean just march please! That
is contradiction (laughs). Youd almost think it was Government sponsored
to look stupid! Its like some of those Anarchist web sites in America,
they are just laughable beyond belief, there was one I saw that was selling
cellphones! If Anarchy is no law, no order, well, if you want a world
without order and law, let these sods like Bush and Blair carry on what
theyre doing! (laughs) cos that is what they are giving you
As I said earlier with you
being away from Britain for so long and coming over for that six weeks
or so, it must have been the longest you spent over here for ages, you
must really see it differently.
Im puzzled by it. Everything there now seems silly and daft to me,
the clothes that people wear, its this revisionist 60s, mock
public schoolboy look, with your hair stuck into a fin! You look dopey
the lot of you! You all look like young Irish blokes at the Irish dance
in Holloway Road, 20 years ago (laughs). They look like Paddies out on
a Friday night. Or public schoolboys, its about the same dopeyness
I know exactly what look you mean! Its either that or the sportswear
look. Everybody is wearing poxy sportswear. Its like an army of
trainers, hooded tops and tracksuits up and down the country.
Shopping mall cultures are very pervasive things. Oh, fucking hell,
Blair banning hoodies, oh for Christs sake! Now this shows to me
this is a politician not on the ball, hes oblivious to logic, oblivious.
Thats a childish and idiotic reply to a non-existent problem. If
I wanted to be a criminal, and get up to bad behaviour, I dont think
I would be wearing a cliché! Right? I would not want to be noticed,
because the idea of being a criminal is to not get caught! Not look like
Yeah, theyd be better with a black and white stripy jumper and
a swag bag!
And if thats all the youth of today can get up to, a silly thing
with a hood on, Ha! You know? If youve got to invent threat? Because
it is a shock to me in Britain that there is no real youth movement, not
at all. I mean the way its going, you might have to just take a
university course on being a rebel. Because this is what theyre
doing, theyre going to evening classes to take courses on how to
be a rapper! Or how to make a disco tune, its silly.
Its worse than that, there was one on Punk not that long ago!
Thats not punk, thats plonk! (laughs). Thats what plonkers
go and sign up for! I cant help those kind of people. If they would
just listen to me in the songs they should know better! But quite seriously,
I just think Britains lost some motivation, it needs a good kick
up the arse