You may have noticed we have a thing-a-ding-a-ling for Brian Paddick off-of silver fox, formerly off-of I’m a Famous… Get Me Some Work!
He’s out of the jungle and apparently selling the words that come out his mouth for 10,000 of Her Maj’s golden coins, per bundle. That’s a pretty penny, that is. That link is also to the Daily Mail, so prepare yourself for a whole bunch of hatred.
We, in the meantime, will just look back on our days of watching Brian Paddick in his Speedos/nights with our hands down his pants at an unnamed Big London night club, with fondness. We don’t really give a flying rat’s arse whether he’s grabbing money like the proverbial homeless on Supermarket Sweep, bearing in mind none of them went on the show for health reasons alone – so take the dosh sayeth we, before Ant ‘n’ Dec spend it on Secret Santa.
And seeing as we go back, ooh, years, here’s an interview he granted us for no money whatsoever – we believe they call that ‘free’ – in which Brian talks about keeping the police uniform, being mates with Elton, and some serious stuff like homophobia and whether there’ll ever be a gay Prime Minister (an out gay Prime Minister!). We even used some long words. Excitement…
Hello Brian Paddick. Do you miss being in the police?
Do you still wear the uniform for special occasions?
No! (laughs) I don’t even have the uniform any more! I was so paranoid when I left the police that I gave everything back – I thought there might be a raid on my house! You see we didn’t leave on very good terms – I was the only senior officer opposed to ID cards and detention of terrorist suspects for long periods without being charged. It got very uncomfortable.
We’ve heard Dame Elton John is a fan…
Basically, I met David Furnish through my ex, which led to meeting Elton. I’ve met him on half a dozen occasions. Both David and Elton like me and think I am competent. Then the Evening Standard put on their front pages that I was thinking of running for mayor, and I got a text from David saying, ‘Please stand for Mayor – we’ll support you!’ I didn’t approach them and say ‘will you be my celebrity backers’. I know celebrity counts for a lot, but it just happens that some of my dear friends are Elton John and David Furnish.
Do you ever get homophobic cunts shouting abuse at you on the street?
Yes. I take issue with Matthew Parris’ view that gays have ‘never had it so good’. I’ve been walking along the street hand-in-hand with my boyfriend… white van drives by sounding his horn and you look and he’s doing the wanker sign. This is how integrated, this is how much homophobia there still is in this city. As soon as we ease off, things will start going backwards. We have to keep up the fight.
Homophobia seems so institutionalised – the idea that it’s excused still, whether it’s on the grounds of religion or just ‘culture’, in the same way that racism is never, quite rightly, excused. How do you tackle this visceral homophobia?
People have this stereotype that needs to be broken. There was a documentary – ‘The Problem With Gay Men’ by Simon Fanshaw – explaining the ‘problem’ was that gay men are obsessed with youth, always down nightclubs, always taking drugs, laying about in saunas but, here we are in Scotland Yard, here is Brian Paddick, a senior officer… The point is we need to get away from this idea that gays are weak and effeminate, and only do particular jobs. We are successful in every field of life. To have had a gay mayor would’ve been such a shock to stereotypes that it would even get homophobes thinking, ‘Well, hang on a minute, maybe I got this wrong.’
America now has a black president, a long time before that we had a female Prime Minister – do you think we’ll have a gay PM in our lifetime?
Maybe! The difficulty is that there are probably lots of gay MPs – I know a particular Conservative MP who is very friendly and has a wife and two kids! But there are a lot of people still concerned about coming out. We’ve had two (out) gay cabinet ministers in the past, we don’t have any at the moment, but it is a real possibility. Every time we reach a more senior position, the more chance there is of the next gay person going even further.
What advice would you give to a young gay who’s struggling with coming out?
From my experience, the most important thing – and where you really begin to impress people – is when you are really who you are. If you try and be something that you’re not, people pick up on that. Being able to be yourself, completely yourself, including your sexuality, is very liberating. People feel comfortable in your company because they know you are being yourself.
Do people throw their knickers at you on the street?
The reaction from gay men and straight women has been very positive! And the number of Facebook friend requests I’ve had since running for Mayor… And the number of times I’ve had to say, ‘Thanks very much, but I don’t think my boyfriend would approve!’
And finally, do you like being surrounded by beautiful things?
Who doesn’t like being surrounded by beautiful things? (laughs)
The obligatory sell-through bit:
Brian is currently available for comment-if-you-can-afford-him, and bumming. One of those may or may not be a joke.