I'm filling in an interview for the lovely Jess at The Book Bar at the moment - but have stalled on one question. In fact, this question has taken over my whole mind because I'm struggling to pin down the answer.
It is: Which six people (alive/dead/real/fictional) would you invite to a dinner party, and why?
You might think it's easy but I'm telling you, it's not.
First, I went for the fit men approach - Hmmm, George, Brad, Orlando, you can all come. Then I got a bit worried about what Hollywood A-listers would think of our house. I wouldn't want anyone turning their noses up at me. (Also beloved partner might get a bit p'd off with me for making eyes at George Clooney across the table.)
Then, I started thinking about people I could imagine having excellent dinner table stories to make me laugh: Jonathan Ross, Ricky Gervais, Peter Kay - yep, all hilarious, you can definitely come. But what if they got a bit competitive about who was the funniest? What if there was an almighty ego clash right there in my kitchen?
Hmmmm. Tricky. Then I started thinking about guests who'd be able to provide excellent showbiz gossip. Graham Norton - too annoying. Charlotte Church - she'd be a laugh but she'd want Gavin to come too and no offence, but he seems a bit dull.
I was starting to feel a bit shallow. Is this how I choose my friends? People who can make me laugh and provide excellent gossip? Well, actually... Pretty much, yes. Oh dear. Quick, I thought, think of someone historical, to add a bit of gravitas to the occasion. Ummm... Henry VIII? No, that fat bastard would eat all the food. Queen Elizabeth? Looks a bit up herself. Can't imagine her spluttering wine down her nose at Jonathan Ross's jokes. Gandhi? Well... I'd feel I couldn't get properly lashed and cheeky in front of someone like that.
See what I mean? It's difficult. I mentioned it to partner who immediately said, "Oh, I'd definitely invite Tony Benn". And that's the difference between us. He (clearly on a higher intellectual plane) invites a legendary politician. I (on a low, low barely-intellectual-at-all plane) would be put off by Tony Benn's pipe smoke, and pick someone I can have a laugh with.
Maybe I'm taking this a bit too seriously? It's not real, I keep having to remind myself. You aren't really going to have to cook for six famous people, some of whom might be dead/not actually real.
All the same, I'm never going to be able to finish this interview. The only definite is J K Rowling so I can get her tipsy and persuade her to tell me how Harry Potter is going to end. But that's five places left to fill. Suggestions, anyone?
Hostages to Fortune
19 hours ago