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28 July 2021

Caitlin Moran Q&A: “I owe Nye Bevan almost all of my pain-free wazzing“

The journalist discusses Laura Bates’s Men Who Hate Women, Jim Henson and town planning. 

By New Statesman

Caitlin Moran was born in Brighton in 1975 and began her career at Melody Maker. She is now a Times columnist and bestselling author. In 2014 her Twitter feed was added to the list of English A-level set texts.

What’s your earliest memory?

We moved from a one-bed flat in Brighton to a three-bed council house in Wolverhampton when I was two, and I ran around the house shouting “PARTY!”

Who are your heroes?

The Eighties were pretty thin on role-models for a cheerful, fat girl, so I really clung to Madame Cluck, the joyfully hefty hen/nursemaid who looks after Maid Marian in Disney’s Robin Hood.

What book last changed your thinking?

Laura Bates’s Men Who Hate Women makes the game-changing proposition that we should start talking about the terrifying stats on men murdering women as “terrorism against women”, and cover and sentence it accordingly.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

Indie music in the UK, 1989-93.

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Which political figure do you look up to?

As someone raised on benefits who spent most of their time in a library and has caned a lot of NHS antibiotics as a result of recurring UTIs, I owe Nye Bevan a good half of my life, and almost all of my pain-free wazzing. But everyone in the New Statesman says “Nye Bevan”. Shall I shake things up and say “Michael Portillo”?

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In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live?

I would like to have been involved with the Jim Henson workshop in 1976, when they moved from sunny California to Elstree, in Hertfordshire, to film The Muppet Show. There’s a rumour that they brought over a load of LSD hidden in Gonzo’s head.

What TV show could you not live without?

I love Location, Location, Location from, say, 2005, when a woman called Linda is being sniffy about a three-bed in Plymouth being “too small” for, like, £25. Linda! I’m from the future! All houses are SIX MILLION DOLLARS! Buy the fucking house!

What’s your theme tune?

Me singing the words, “THEME TUNE! You know you’re listening to my THEME TUNE! It’s my theme tune and I’m SINGING IT TO YOU!/Even in Peru!/I’m singing you my THEME! TUNE!” to the tune of the theme tune to Black Beauty.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Courtney Love screamed, “Caitlin! I used to be as fat as you! The secret is: don’t eat cheese!” across a crowded room – but who can give up cheese? Even a rock hero?

What’s currently bugging you?

Magpies need hands. I’ve been watching two of them try to build a nest in the tree outside my window, and they’re shit at it.

What single thing would make your life better?

A bigger garden. One big enough to fit a small pond in, so I could swim in it.

When were you happiest?

Wednesday was pretty good – I bought a rotary washing line.

In another life, what job might you have chosen?

I would be a superlative town-planner. I’d design a beautiful, fully green, 21st-century garden city in an economically depressed part of Wales.

[See also: How pandemics shape town planning]

Are we all doomed?

Nah. Not if we all live in my beautiful, fully green, 21st-century garden city in an economically depressed part of Wales. 

“More Than a Woman” by Caitlin Moran is published by Ebury

[See also: How the Strokes’ Is This It captured the short-lived optimism of the millennium]

This article appears in the 28 Jul 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Summer special