If­teen and py liv­ing lin. Then her died …

Ostrup on the tragedy that turned her ow it changed her. By Louise Gan­non

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE -

Ge­orge and they would stay up work­ing and drink­ing. I’ve put the hours in and trained my­self up, so now I can get in a cou­ple of hours talk­ing and drink­ing be­fore go­ing to bed. I’ve turned down hun­dreds of work of­fers be­cause I don’t want to be stereo­typed. Blon­des can have brains just as beau­ti­ful women can have brains and be suc­cess­ful. Peo­ple have asked me why I don’t just change my hair colour if I feel so strongly about it, but that is ab­so­lutely my point. Why should I do that just be­cause of other peo­ple’s mis­guided opin­ions? I’m al­ways up for a fight. I can’t bear in­jus­tice, and whether it’s about poverty or be­ing a blonde stereo­type or the po­si­tion of older women in tele­vi­sion I will have my say. I have never been any good at tak­ing things ly­ing down. The other day a car bumped into my bike with my daugh­ter on the back. I was straight off and rag­ing at the driver. Then a lit­tle voice piped up, ‘Leave him alone, Mum.’ My daugh­ter felt sorry for him. Mariella’s fa­ther, orig­i­nally from Nor­way, was once the for­eign edi­tor of the Ir­ish Times. The

fam­ily was liv­ing in Kil­macanogue when he

died at the age of 44 Sim­ple Minds tricked me into be­ing naked in front of them. When I was 17 I was sent to an old farm­house in Wales where Sim­ple Minds were record­ing. In the evening I asked where I could have a bath and they told me the best bath­room was down this cor­ri­dor with a big frosted win­dow. When I came out they were all laugh­ing – the win­dow was seethrough and I’d been conned. I worked in the mu­sic busi­ness in one of its most deca­dent pe­ri­ods. That’s when it re­ally did have a li­cense to print money. I was at all the par­ties with all the big stars of the day, but I would be the sen­si­ble, bor­ing one rush­ing about say­ing: ‘I don’t think you should have an­other one of those’ or ‘Let’s get you home now.’ I had this ab­so­lute need to show that I could al­ways stay in control. Glas­ton­bury ter­ri­fies me. I mean, what do you wear? How cool do you have to be? It’s all too much. I’ve done a lot of mu­sic festivals in my time and I’m happy to no longer go. It’s all very dif­fer­ent at the Hay- on-Wye lit­er­ary fes­ti­val. You get old, young, par­ents, teenagers, kids, ladies from Blooms­bury mixed with grungy stu­dents. It’s what a real fes­ti­val should be. I’m not a snob about books, but I have not read one of Katie Price’s. I tend to read books by au­thors who write their own. I get through six books a month. I can’t go to sleep un­less I have read – even if it’s just a cou­ple of pages. Books can be a great form of es­capism – they can ed­u­cate you, help you and give you some­thing to talk about. Bob Geldof stole my desk at Live Aid. I vol­un­teered to work on both Live Aid and Band Aid and at some point Bob de­cided he’d share my desk. He’d sit there bul­ly­ing the big­gest names in mu­sic and I’d be won­der­ing whether I’d get my phone back. It was an in­cred­i­ble time. I re­mem­ber turn­ing up at stu­dios in West Lon­don early on a Satur­day to get things ready for the mu­si­cians who were com­ing in to record Do They Know It’s Christ­mas? No one knew what would hap­pen or who would turn up. Then the doors opened and in shuf­fled Du­ran Du­ran, Ge­orge Michael, Sting... It was amaz­ing. Rock stars and au­thors are very dif­fer­ent. The big­gest dis­tinc­tion is that au­thors spend an aw­ful lot of time think­ing about in­ter­est­ing things to say. While a lot of rock stars don’t ac­tu­ally spend any time think­ing at all. I am go­ing to be an in­cred­i­bly ir­re­spon­si­ble 60-year- old. I’m go­ing to buy my­self a sports car, drive around with my hair blow­ing in the wind and em­brace ev­ery friv­o­lous ex­pe­ri­ence with gusto. Re­gret is the most wasted emo­tion. In a dif­fer­ent world, I would have be­come a for­eign correspondent, but I didn’t. My life turned out like this and I’m happy.

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