New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
  2. Radio & Podcasts
10 September 2015

Pain is so close to pleasure: Max Mosley on BBC Radio 2

Mosley was coming over as the most clubbable man in the universe. Not a peep from Jeremy Vine.

By Antonia Quirke

Max Mosley was reading a self-penned essay called “What Makes Us Human?” – also an occasional series in this magazine – to Jeremy Vine towards the end of his show (weekdays, 12 noon). “Our defining characteristic,” he suggested, “seems to be the nasty side. We see it everywhere.” It was a sincere if sometimes rambling essay, revealing aversions to war and road accidents alike, but ultimately it went along the too-chestnutty lines of: were an alien to come down and cast over us an innocent gaze, it would doubtless think, “Why are these creatures so peerlessly vile?”

Mosley, on the other hand, was coming over as the most clubbable man in the universe, even playing Janis Joplin singing “Mercedes Benz” and affectionately declaring it “so funny in so many ways” – after which Jeremy admitted, “I’ve not heard that before, ever, [not] once in my life.” Never much of a freewheeler, Jeremy.

Before long, Mosley was talking about his 2008 sex scandal, in which the News of the World falsely alleged that there had been a “Nazi element” to an orgy he had taken part in. “I never regarded those women as prostitutes,” he stressed. “They were just pursuing an interest a lot of people have . . . I would describe them as just ladies.”

But what exactly was he doing with those ladies? Can he talk us through it? The nation pauses the dishwasher for a mo. “Well, the basic scenario . . . The thing that was going on, if you like, was . . . a sort of prison scenario. And in one part of it, I was the oppressed and, in another part of it, I was the oppressor. It’s a very characteristic S&M scene.” Jeremy, with a shrug in his voice, said, “Yeah.” I kind of knew how he felt. There was something mesmerising about the way Mosley spoke – the equitable tone, the boyish lisp. So reasonable, so optimistic. A person ever turning his (other) cheek towards a distant but beckoning spring.

But what of those pesky Nazi slurs? German was spoken among the ladies, Max conceded, but simply “because one of them was German! And another one liked to be ordered around in a language she didn’t understand. I know that sounds odd.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Not a peep from Jeremy. Before today, he’d never even heard of Janis Joplin. Baby steps, Max, please. 

The Jeremy Vine Show is on BBC Radio 2

Content from our partners
<strong>The future of private credit</strong>
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce

This article appears in the 09 Sep 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Syria: the world order crumbles