Ed Sheeran, who is currently leading an invasion of the American charts along with One Direction, is now touring with Taylor Swift, prompting speculation that he may have displaced Harry Styles in the tempestuous young singer’s affections. But he was having absolutely none of it when I interviewed him today. ‘Not true! I think you can be friends with someone without having to sleep with them,’ he proclaimed. ‘I’ve got morals!’
‘You wouldn’t want to be stranded with her on a desert island, then,’ I asked him. He smirked. ‘No. Actually, you know who I would like to be stranded with? Jennifer Lawrence. She’s got a great sense of humour. We’d have fun on an island.’
As for his morals, Sheeran practises what he preaches. ‘I remember when I was quite young, seeing one dude racking up lines of cocaine on a family photograph — it put me off drugs completely.’
‘ How did you feel about what happened to Amy Winehouse? I wrote about her a year before she died, saying, “For God’s sake, Amy, do something. You’re wasting a magnificent talent.”’‘I think it’s sad there weren’t more people telling her that. But to be honest, is she necessarily going to listen to you? I listen to the people who are closest to me, or people like Elton John. Getting advice from him is the best option because he’s done everything, good and bad — and 10 times the amount that normal people have done. He’s sold 10 times more records, and done 10 times more bad things. And he loves music. So I listen to him.’ Sensible lad. America’s greatest movie critic, Roger Ebert, who died today, once said: ‘Never marry someone who doesn’t love the movies you love. Sooner or later, that person will not love you.’
I knew my wife, Celia, was the one for me when she declared she couldn’t watch horror, science-fiction, ‘goofy’, or fantasy films. True love is knowing that life’s simply too short for Chucky, Transformers, Bridesmaids or The Lord Of The Rings. Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 when I was 14. She was the first person (and to date, the only Tory leader) I ever voted for. That was in 1983 — I was inspired by her extraordinary courage over the Falklands war.
As a highly opinionated — I know, hard to believe — politically strident student in Lewes, Sussex, I wrote to her after winning a glorious victory in a college debate on nuclear disarmament against some CND supporters. Thatcher replied, congratulating me on my win, and sending a signed photograph.
I wasn’t a fan of her pitiless treatment of the miners, her betrayal of the Hillsborough victims and their families — or the repulsive poll tax. But she inherited a Britain in decay, turned it into a nation of entrepreneurs and house-buyers, smashed the unions’ stranglehold on many industries and gave the country great stature on the world stage — not least here in the US, where people still revere the Iron Lady.
I first met Thatcher at a party in London thrown Next week’s Whi te House Correspondents’ Dinner is the most star- studded event in America’s political calendar, and tradition dictates that all news anchors take a celebrity guest. Last year, I escorted the fabulous Goldie Hawn, and wasn’t sure how to top it.
Then I noticed that Gerard Butler had shot to No. 1 at the box office, playing the role of a heroic secret service agent who saves the White House from North Korean terrorists in Olympus Has Fallen.
I called him up. ‘Fancy being my man-date?’