Harrogate Advertiser’s celebrity quotes of the year

Actor Davis Suchet backstage at the Royal Hall with the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers. (Picture by Paula Duck)
Actor Davis Suchet backstage at the Royal Hall with the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers. (Picture by Paula Duck)
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The success of the Harrogate district’s arts scene means it’s become a bit of a magnet for celebrities - and the Harrogate Advertiser’s Graham Chalmers talked to most of them in the course of 2013. Here are a few my favourite quotes from star interviews in the past 12 months.

January

Funeral for a Friend lead singer Matt Davies-Krey

On nearly splitting up:

“We were burnt out and tired and allowed ourselves to be affected by outside influences who tainted what we did. It got to the point where I didn’t recognise my own band anymore. I did think about stopping altogether during the worst period but I realized eventually myself and Kris still had the same self-belief.”

February

Ken Livingstone, ex-Mayor of London

On the London Olympics:

“It was really funny. Boris Johnson said to me it was pretty bad that I hadn’t got the credit for the Olympics I deserved. But he only said about half a sentence about me in public.”

March

Slade’s Noddy Holder

On punk:

“The Damned and the Stranglers and even a couple of the Pistols would come back stage at our London shows. Of course, they couldn’t admit liking Slade in public at the time. They had to pretend to hate all the old’ bands.”

April

Gaz Coomes, ex-Supergrass lead singer

On Britpop:

“We never felt part of Britpop. It meant so little to us we wouldn’t even bother to say we weren’t Britpop. It just seemed to produce a lot of average bands. I always felt we transcended it. The I Should Co Co album still sounds really fresh today.”

May

John Cooper Clarke

On poetry:

“The smartest move I ever did was joining a poetry tour of schools about eight years ago with the likes of Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy. Having my worked rammed down the throats of reluctant schoolchildren brought me a whole new generation of fans.”

Midge Ure

On Live Aid and Bob Gelfdof:

“Just after Live Aid I had my first solo album out, which did really well and I was playing Wembley. Bob sent me flowers with a note saying ‘you lucky bastard.’ I thought, hold on, I’ve got a hit album but he’s been talking to the UN. He’s a mover and shaker in world politics.”

July

Dave Simpson, author of The Last Champions: Leeds United and the Year That Football Changed Forever

On the death of Gary Speed:

“If someone had said he would do what he did a few weeks later I would have said they were insane. He was a thoughtful person, the nicest guy. I do know he wasn’t enjoying it as Welsh manager with all the complexities of the politics of keeping various camps happy. He definitely thought football had changed for the worse.”

September

Ex-England footballer and TV pundit Danny Mills

On cheating:

“I believe that cheating in sport is acceptable if you get away with it. If it was only a matter of black and white then appealing for a thrown-in or lbw when you suspected you were wrong wouldn’t be acceptable. The biggest game I played in was when we beat Argentina in 2002 in the World Cup. Michael Owen said later that he might have “exaggerated” the dive that got the penalty for England. No one was bothered.”

Richard Jones of pop band The Feeling

On his wife Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s chances in Strictly Come Dancing:

“She’s been in training for three weeks already. I think she will do well in the competition. The show is really gruelling, practicing eight or nine hours a day then performing on television. It’s much harder than being in a band!”

Comedian Andy Parsons of Mock the Week

On filming his new video at Harrogate Theatre:

“It’s the first time I’ve done a DVD outside London. Harrogate Theatre is a fantastic venue. I love playing here every time. The beauty of recording over two nights is, if you muck it up, you’ve always got another chance to get it right. ”

October

Steve Harley of 
Cockney Rebel

On (Come Up and See me) Make Me Smile:

“That song has a life of its own. I was in Russia recently in a taxi cab in St Petersburg and the song came on the radio. He was singing along, banging the steering wheel as he was driving. He had no idea it was my song. It’s wonderful.”

November

Actor David Suchet

On Poirot and women:

“Poirot does love the company of women but he doesn’t flirt. It’s not in his nature. He knows in his heart that no one could suffer him. He is a gentlemen in that regard but it’s not that he is suppressing a hidden passion. He simply doesn’t exist on that level. It’s part of his sadness. People have asked in the past if Poirot is gay. He’s not gay, he’s totally asexual.”