Dual personalities: Simon & Kim go wilde in the pantry

Wouldn’t it be great if you could eavesdrop on a conversation between two heart throb pop stars while they dined together in a secluded restaurant? Imagine the things you’d find out about them, things they could never discuss in front of an interviewer.
Well, you need wonder no more. Kim Wilde and Simon Le Bon both accepted an invitation from Flexipop to interview each other over dinner. What emerged was an extremely frank and revealing conversation which threw new liht on their attitudes to music, the people around them and each other.
So sit back and read the results for yourselves as we bring you the unexpurgated version of the Wilde-Le Bon Tapes. We pick up the action while the two of them are talking about reading each other’s interviews…

Kim: So you’ve read some of my interviews?
Simon: Yes. I’m interested because I don’t know anything about you and I want to. You have a very striking image – a striking way of approaching entertainment, of approaching the business, of approaching the audience. You are definitely the first in your class in exactly the same way as The Beatles were the first in theirs. There’s simply nobody else around like you – not Toyah, not Siouxsie, not Janis Joplin. You’re very much the, er, Tomboy. That is your image, isn’t it?
Kim: I suppose so.
Simon: Y’know when you pose like that, with your hand on your hip…
Kim: I DO NOT put my hand on my hip!
Simon: Oh, I’m sure I saw you doing that in…
Kim: Oh, I’m SURE you didn’t Simon. I NEVER put my hand on my hip! NEVER!
Simon: But I know I’ve seen you doing it.
Kim: NO! You’re completely wrong. I wouldn’t stoop that low. It’s an awful pose. When photographers ask me to stand like that I flatly refuse.
Simon: Well, I guess that’s what separates you from Joan Jett.
Kim: Tell me Simon, do you ever put your hand on your hip?
Simon: No, but I often do elephant impressions…

Kim falls about laughing as Simon demonstrates. Pause.

Kim: I never read Duran Duran interviews. Mind you, I never read anyone else’s either. But I guess I would read an Elvis Costello interview. I’m totally infatuated with him even though I’ve never met him.
Simon: He’s quite a nice bloke actually. I met him once.
Kim: I’m sure I must have read a Duran Duran interview – but usually I just have to look at your pictures and that’s enough. You look so good.
Simon: Well you look pretty wonderful to me.
Kim: A mutual appreciation society. Do you think looks are important when it comes to selling records?
Simon: No, not at akll. I was never the rebel. I thought I was very straight and conventional. If you’re going to stand up in front of a lot of young people you have to have the qualities of a rebel and some kind of leader. I never dreamed I was like that but I guess I discovered it by accident. Do you believe in chance?
Kim: Fate, yes.
Simon: I don’t believe anything is predestined. I think the whole universe is based on chance. There’s no great schoolteacher in the sky who’s gonna come after you. That’s what growing up is all about – it’s realizing you have a freedom of choice.
Kim: Well I always wanted to be a pop star, ever since I was tiny. To me then the big pop stars were Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw. But I want to know about the ads you did.
Simon: There are a group of people who are important to artists like us who do stress a lot of importance on age and looks because they themselves are at an age where looks are very important. But as you become more established you tend to pick up a much wider audience part of which are more into music than image.
Kim: I just look at all the different shapes in the charts and end up thinking the way you appear isn’t that important – though I do think that say, a good face will keep a career going. Adam is an example of that. He’s got a lovely face.
Simon: Sure, that helps him a lot – but he’s also had good people to work with. Marco’s brilliant. But I tend to think a good face will give you the break in the first place and after that it’s down to your music.
Kim: Right. People are not going to put up with shit.
Simon: Being a teen idol is a very relevant way to start your career. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. People tend to put us down for being just that. They accuse us of being just a bunch of pretty boys in the Bay City Rollers’ vein who can’t play a note. That’s crap.
Kim: Just because you’ve got a pretty face it doesn’t mean to say you are attractive. That’s down to your personality.
Simon: Right, and people can get their personalities across in three minute records and that’s precisely why Top Of The Pops is so popular. Meatloaf isn’t a particularly pretty person – but he’s got loads of female fans. And Buster Bloodvessel is positively repulsive – and he’s got a great following.

Cut to restaurant balcony. Coffee is served. Birds sing. Kim chats…

Kim: You have a very expressive way of talking, Simon, whereas I’m a closed book. People don’t get much out of me. I just don’t like talking very much. Oh sometimes I feel I can really open up and get very deep with my mates. Other times I just want to watch telly and say absolutely nothing. I accept what I am. That way I don’t have anything to live up to.
Simon: We’re in a rather difficult situation at the moment. I don’t know what they said to you but they told me Kim Wilde is going to interview you and you’re going to interview Kim Wilde. It sounds very simple but it isn’t. Oh we do the same job and there are a lot of parallels between us. I feel a kind of empathy with you on a much more personal level than a public one. I’d love to sit down with you over a cup of coffee and hafve a chat… with the tape recorder off. I’m sure we could become good friends.
Simon: I was in the Persil ones. I was the kid with the dirty shirt.
Kim: Oh no! You’re kidding!
Simon: No. I had to walk down the street in a white shirt and this kid comes up to me and his one is even whiter than mine. That gave me a terrible inferiority complex for years afterwards. The last ad I did was for Pepsi -“Well you can tell the way I’m walking etc. …” I was an extra. Funny, my dad wanted me to play football but I never liked it.
Kim: My mum thought I was pretty enough as a kid to become a successful model – but I hated it. I hated all the other little girls at the auditions. They were all so confident and all they did was fart about being totally obnoxious.
Simon: I went to loads of auditions. Between the ages of 10 and 14 I went to 2 or 3 a week. I had an Equity card when I was 15.
Kim: Did you like doing all that?
Simon: I hated it. I just wanted to be like all the other kids at school. Normal. But last year I realized for the first time that what my mother put me through was a build up. She could take me so far and then I had to carry it through myself. That’s why I could never have done what I’m doing now without her. No way. I’d have ended up a bank clerk or something.

Pause for more coffee. The conversation gets around to other pop stars.

Kim: Artists in the business like talking to each other. You’re easy to talk to Simon. I get on with most people, from Aneka to Clare Grogan. But sometimes it can get you into embarrassing situations, like that whole thing with Steve Strange. He’s a really nice guy but when I was spotted with him the press, who are dying to pair me off with someone, made a field day of the whole thing. It was so absurd.

The sky clouds over, Simon suggests they should retire back into the restaurant again. For the next few minutes they discuss books – “My favourite is The Magus”, says Simon while Kim reveals a liking for books on pygmies. Then a representative from Flexipop wanders in drunk and gets the two of them talking about sex.

Kim: I look at everyone sexually. I look at everyone with that undertone. I think most people do. It’s like when you get two girls who’ve just met somebody, a man or woman, and they talk later in the loo and say “Wasn’t he nice,” or “Wasn’t he a pain in the arse.” It’s all that element of attractiveness which boils down to that word ‘sex’. I’m not talking about the physical side of it, just as a way of looking at someone.
Simon: I think that’s something to do with a kind of freedom you allow yourself when you’re young. Then people start trying to stop themselves doing it and that’s wrong. I don’t look at a man as being attractive but there’s a sizing up. That’s to do with a natural instinctive behaviour. It may be aggressive. I don’t see sex as an aggressive thing. It has a positive quality.
Kim: That’s the way I describe my attitude to everyone around me, in its purest sense. People distort sex for no reason and that’s a sad thing. I’m sure it’s a very basic instinct for everyone to look at everyone in a very sexual way.
Simon: Right. Sex doesn’t have to be News Of The World-ified. But if you do find someone sexually attractive it can canse a great deal of tension.
Kim: Yes, if I find myself attracted to someone and they are in the same room as me I’ll probably end up as far away from him as possible.
Simon: That’s what I mean by tension. That person presents a threat and it shows up a chink in your armour. I know women who do try and exert a sexual power over you.
Kim: You must get lots of girls trying to pull you.
Simon: Oh yeah.
Kim: I don’t get many girls trying to pull me (laughs).
FLEXIPOP: If you weren’t a pop star would you be intimidated by Kim if you were her boyfriend?
Simon: No. Why? Because she’s successful? Because lots of men dream of going to bed with her. I’d find it flattering.
Kim: I’ve been out with a couple of guys outside the business and we’ve got on fine. I don’t understand why someone should find it difficult to go out with me. It’s like trying to separate the pop business from the rest of the world.
FLEXIPOP: The pop business is very sexual.
Simon: I’ll agree with that.
Kim: I don’t know if it is, but when I hear good music I buzz out of it. I don’t know if that’s sexual. Maybe it is. It’s the same feeling you git when you see great dancers, or see a great play. You’re not in it for sex, you’re in it for music. The sex part is put into the business by people who are not involved in it. Oh there might be a few girls but they’re in the minority.
Simon: some people get jobs in the hope that they can make quick money and buy fast cars and pull birds. I like to think Duran Duran are enjoyed by both boys and girls. It’s just that girls take more interest in you outside the music itself.
Kim: Of course you have to accept the fact that in some people’s eyes you’re a sexual object but I wouldn’t insult the general public by thinking I could sell records by being sexy.
Simon: That’s completely true. It’s a total lack of respect to think that if I wiggle my three card in front of the audience it will sell me some records. Naturally, the way pop artists are promoted and sold involves a certain amount of sexual pressure i.e. “Buy this girl’s record and you can have her in bed tonight.” That kind of psychology.
Kim: They sell their papers by selling sex. It’s a kind of manupulation. They really debase it to tits and arses. They turn it into something that’s disgusting. To me sex has always had an undercurrent in most things I’ve done whether it’s the pop business or anything else and I believe it has for all people whether it’s conscious or subconscious. As far as selling records goes I would be lying if I said it had nothing to do with it but at the same time I’m very confused as to its importance and relevance to me as an artist. The reason I don’t give clear answers when I’m pushed on that subject is because in my own heart I’m not very clear about it myself. All I know is I feel it’s debased by a lot of people and that its possibilities are limited by a lot of the press. It’s a very confusing subject but one which is not to be taken too seriously. I think people get far too wound up about it. All I know is that nothing makes me feel better than singing. If I wanted to be a sex symbol I’d be a page three girl. I’m sure I could be a very successful model if I wanted to get into the pure sex thing.
Simon: By making sex public you lose what is so beautiful and so important about it. It’s a very personal thing that happens between two people, not between you, your girlfriend and the people who read the newspapers.

End of conversation.

In a quiet corner of the restaurant we ask Kim what she thinks of Simon after meeting him for the first time.
Kim: He is very intelligent. He is a human being. He’s a very nice guy, someone I would like to get to know quite well… as a friend.

And in another quiet corner, what does Simon think of Kim?
Simon: She’s great. Very nice indeed. I’ve never really had a chance to form an opinion about her before. People tend to think she’s a pretty hard person. She has a hard image, but she’s a lot softer, a lot more natural and a lot more human than many people would imagine. I like her a lot.