LAST WORD: SUGGS
The Madness singer shares memories of Bowie, errant underwear and all-nighters.
When was the last time someone called you Graham? Oh God, probably my mum. She’s still like, “Suggs, Spuds, Smudge… whatever. I gave you a perfectly good name and it’s faintly ridiculous to be called that when you’re a 56- year-old man!” When did you last break the law? Well, I’m smoking in this hotel room in Butlin’s, Minehead, right now, but I don’t know if that’s actually breaking the law or not. There might be some punitive fine or something. When did you last speak to Morrissey? Um, maybe two years ago at some awards ceremony. It was very brief and he was very friendly, as much as he can be anyway. I don’t dig a lot of what he says, but I like his work. He says a lot of outrageous things, but often I think it’s just Morrissey being Morrissey. When did you last get the fear? A few months ago when we dug up a 500kg German bomb for TV show WW2 Treasure Hunters] in the marshes around Merseyside. I’m no expert in tangled metal stuff, but I quickly recognised this big, bombshaped thing coming out of the ground. We’re just about to run when the director goes, “Can you just do a little piece to camera?” and I was like, “Er, not unless we do it five kilometres away!” When did you last stay up all night? About two months ago, at either Trisha’s or Gerry’s in Soho. Just the very mention of the name Gerry’s and you know you’ve got on the wrong side of the alarm clock. When was the last time you said, “Do you know who I am?” I don’t think I’ve ever said that. But I do remember being outside a nightclub once and Billy Idol was saying that and everyone around him was rolling around on the floor laughing. So I’ve always been very wary of that sort of outcome. When did you last get mad? Two weeks ago when we were trundling around northern Europe in this very flash tourbus. One night we’d had a few cold drinks too many and we started talking about politics and it all went a bit haywire. “Fake news this, fake news that…” Who was I arguing with? Pretty much everyone and anyone! What was the last conversation you had with David Bowie? Well, there’s the famous incident when I went with our producer Clive Langer to visit Bowie’s home in Gstaad, Switzerland. We just happened to be driving past with our families on holiday and we turned up with all our suitcases on the roof and there he is in the garage, the Starman. And just as we drove in we heard this loud crunch and my suitcase came flying off the roof and my underwear was blowing around Bowie’s drive and there he was, the great man, picking up my socks and vests… it wasn’t the first impression I was hoping for! He was a very, very charming man. I think he’s one of the last of those people who can engender that sort of enigma because when you met him he wasn’t like that at all, he was actually very down to earth. What’s the last thing you’d do before the Apocalypse? Well, in my current situation, I’d probably go for a swim in the sea, get a bag of chips then spend a couple of hours at Billy Butlin’s funfair.
Suggs: aka “Spuds” and “Smudge” to his mum.