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Clive James at the Theatre Royal

PUBLISHED: 13:57 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:03 20 February 2013

Clive James

Clive James

The Australian-born novelist, poet, essayist and broadcaster shareshis thoughts on journalism, interviewing and missing Down Under...

You've been given a lot of titles in your career, but what would you describe yourself as, and why? I'm an all-purpose writer. Even when I'm on my feet on stage and appear to be making it up, I'm writing it in my head just before I say it.

Is there anything you haven't done that you have a burning desire to do? A long flight into deep space, but I suppose that's coming up eventually anyway.

Do you have a daily routine? If only. My only rule, on a day set aside for writing, is to do nothing else even if the ideas don't come.

Are there any one-liners that you're particularly proud of? I never set out to write a one-liner, and wouldn't know how, but when I described the early Arnold Schwarzenegger as looking like a brown condom full of walnuts, the image somehow lingered in the general public awareness.

What's your proudest achievement, and why? I'm very proud of having helped to pay off the mortgage, which turned out to be a very wise move.

What did you want to do when you were a kid - what were your ambitions? I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer, but I couldn't do the maths. Luckily, this deficiency was detected in time.

Last year you were awarded the Orwell Special Prize for Journalism. Are there any journalists you've been particularly influenced by? Orwell himself, of course, and then the theatre criticism of George Bernard Shaw and Kenneth Tynan.

What was the most difficult interview you've ever conducted?I still wake screaming in the night when I remember interviewing a man called Clive Jenkins.

And the most enjoyable? Katharine Hepburn

Clive James will be appearing at the Theatre Royal Brighton as part of his live touring show Clive James in the Evening on Tuesday June 16. For tickets and further information, tel: 08700 606650

Also appearing in Sussex this month...

Louise Jameson
Appearing in Women on the Verge of HRT
Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue June 16 to Sat June 20
Tickets: £16, tel: 01323 412000

Ken Dodd
Ken Dodd's Happiness Show, Brighton Dome, Sun June 7
Tickets: £30, tel: 01273 709709

Matt Monro Jr
This witty and intimate show celebrates Matt's father and friends, including Sammy Davis, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond, proving that Matt has established himself as a great showman and artist in his own right.
Worthing Pavilion, Thu June 25
Tickets: £15.50, tel: 01903 206206

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