Closely barbared, or my interview from hell…

Toby Young in the Spectator on being interviewed (reg needed) by a woman he clearly both admires and fears…

Before long, a pattern began to emerge in her line of questioning: she clearly thought I was borderline autistic. The book I was attempting to plug is a humorous memoir about my largely unsuccessful efforts to be a responsible husband and father and she zeroed in on a particular passage in which I describe a skiing accident that my then pregnant wife had in 2002. I took Caroline to see the local doctor and he was sufficiently concerned to call an air-ambulance. However, I was so worried about the expense — a friend who’d been airlifted off the mountain the previous year had ended up with a bill for £30,000 — I overruled him and insisted on driving to the nearest hospital myself.

‘Didn’t that strike you as rather odd behaviour?’ she asked. ‘I mean, weren’t you at all concerned about the health of your unborn child?’

I tried to persuade her that the chances of the air-ambulance making the difference between life and death were so remote it just didn’t seem worth shelling out £30,000, but it didn’t cut any ice.

‘I think it’s monstrous,’ she said. ‘Perfectly monstrous.’