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A Question of Scruples- Richard O'Brien

From the Daily Mail, Feb. 27, 1999

with Lester Middlehurst

You have an 18-year-old daughter who wants to be a stripper. Would you try to discourage her?

People who take the moral high ground are generally on shifting sand. I would rather hope that it wasn't the only avenue open to her, and if she was capable of being any good at that particular job I would suggest her talents might be better served in musical theatre. I would certainly attempt to persuade her to aim a little higher.

Your mother is taken seriously ill and says she wants to live with you. What would you do?

Move and not leave her a forwarding address.

You are judging a talent show in which your nephew is competing. Would you declare your relationship?

I know in my heart that it would have no reflection on my decision-making, but I would make it known to the judges.

A singer is ruining a song you have written for your show. Would you try to get her sacked?

I would plead on every level to get rid of her. There is nothing worse than having people miscast—not only for the show, but for their sakes as well. If people can't deliver the goods, it is better for them not to be there at all.

Your parents offer to pay for your children to go to a top public school instead of the state school they already attend. Would you accept?

If my children were happy where they were, then going to a so-called better school wouldn't be an issue. All I have ever asked for as far as my children's education is concerned is that they are happy.

Your son asks you to lend him money for a sex change operation. Would you?

Of course I would. But I would encourage him to have a lot of discussion about whether that's what he really wanted. I do know people who have gone down that road and, at the end of the day, are no more self-enlightened or any happier.

An actress offers to sleep with you to get a role in one of your shows. Would you accept?

I would say 'It's a bit too late in the day, darling. You should have got me 20 years ago.'

Your wife confesses that she was unfaithful in the first year of your marriage. Would you divorce her?

No. There would be recriminations, but I don't just love people because they are great all the time. When you really love someone, you love them for their weaknesses and their mistakes as well. That's why true love goes on for ever.

What would you do if you discovered that your daughter was on the Pill at the age of 15?

I would want to know why. I think it's wholly reprehensible that doctors are allowed to prescribe the Pill to under-age children without their parents knowing about it. I would want her mother and I to talk to her about it first and deal with it as a family.

What would you do if you were told you only had six months to live?

I would probably be full of self-pity for a few weeks and tell nobody with the exception of, perhaps, my wife. Then it would be bound to leak out so I would probably have a party for everybody I knew before I popped my clogs.

A close friend tells you a guilty secret in confidence. It would make a great plot for your next play. Would you betray your friend?

Yes, but I would disguise it heavily so that nobody could point a finger at my friend. I think, unfortunately, everything is grist to the mill when you are a writer. Even being married to a writer is a terrible thing because your own life can be used as material.

Your bank statement shows that L5,000 has been wrongly credited to your account. Would you tell your bank?

It sounds dreadful, but I wouldn't notice. It would probably be the bank manager who would point it out to me several weeks later, and I would just be glad that somebody was keeping an eye on my finances.

At a dinner party, you are sitting next to a critic who had just given your new album a negative review. Would you mention it?

I'm not very good at controlling my emotions so I think I would probably leave. One critic who had given me a particularly hard time died a terrible death and I thought, at the time, that it served him right because he was very mean-spirited.

What would you do if you saw a man being mugged by three thugs?

Unfortunately, I would go straight in without regard to my safety or to whether I was going to do any good.

Your house is burgled and you make an insurance claim. After receiving the money, you discover that one expensive item wasn't stolen after all. Would you return some of the money?

I should say yes, otherwise my premiums will probably go up, but I do have a problem with insurance companies. If I insure the contents of my house for L50,000 and put in a claim for L5,000, they say I should have been insured for L80,000 and give me L3,500. Because of that I would keep the money.

The Richard O'Brien Crusade est. 1996