BusinessPeople In BusinessThe corridors of power…

The corridors of power...

Perhaps middle age is taking its toll, but my memory is not what it was. Trawling through my back-catalogue of Times articles I came across interviews with a group of people who I had forgotten had ever existed.

There was the leisure industry executive who took me on a tour of northern
bingo halls, with lunch at a motorway service station along the way. And the
manager of Wembley Arena who spent his evenings pandering to infantile rock
stars.

But if a few have slipped from the memory, you never forget the difficult
ones.

Harvey Goldsmith, the pop impresario, was an appaling interviewee. He
released words with extreme reluctance and appeared ready to attack me
physically at the slightest provocation. He went bankrupt soon afterwards,
although this was just a temporary blip and he was back on top form with the
recent worldwide Live8 concerts.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber was a tricky character, although it was worth meeting him
just to nose around his Belgravia home. The place was very green – green walls,
green plants – and the walls were adorned with oil paintings of buxom
nymphettes.

Accountants are usually chatty enough, especially if you get them on the
subject of vintage cars or fine wine.

One of the more memorable interviews was for a series called Partners in
Power in which we played KPMG senior partner Colin Sharman off against Gerry
Acher, then head of the firm’s London operation.

Acher admitted that he climbed mountains, and I spiced the piece up with an
anecdote about how he had nearly fallen 800 feet off something called Pillar
Rock.

Many others have passed through my tape recorder over the years. Too bad I
can’t remember their names.

Jon Ashworth is business features editor at The Times

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