Earlier this week, blather.net dispatched crack reporter Dan Brown to meet with the diminutive American pop-star, Britney Spears, for an exclusive interview. What followed was an intimate conversation over some fine wines, posh nosh and a wayward Bush.
Breakfast with Britney
I was sitting in â€˜Silk,â€™ a restaurant in the Courtyard Keminski hotel, opposite Libertyâ€™s on Carnaby street, waiting for my guest to arrive. It was unconscionably early, but she was hungry.
I was intrigued by her choice of restaurant, a converted courtroom that offered a choice of Thai and Indian food, served by authentic Asian people. Was the courtroom setting an omen, or was my guest a fan of red curry? By the time lunch was finished I hoped to find out.
Heads turned as Britney entered the room. Though now corpulent and spotty, with buttocks that caused tidal waves as they swayed inside her loose fitting pants, she had a slutty sensuality that reminded me of an enjoyable evening I once spent in the company of an open-minded babysitter. I had doubts this lunch would be as rewarding, but the vague promise gave me cheer as I rose to greet her.
â€œHi. Iâ€™m Britney.â€ Holding out her hand, there was an awkward moment as I cupped her waist and kissed her on the lips. â€œWhile in Asiaâ€¦â€ I said, casting a theatrical hand around the room. My remark confused us both and we sat down.
Britney straightened her tight t-shirt. I groaned involuntarily. The waiter wiped dribble from my mouth and winked as he placed a napkin on my knee. I liked him. We were going to get along.
Britney ordered in fluent Thai. I was impressed: she knew more than I expected. My knowledge of the Texan education system was sketchy, but I didnâ€™t think Thai was on the curriculum. The waiter smiled sadly and explained he had no idea what she was talking about. Britney translated into English – a large vodka and vanilla coke, two bottles of red wine.
‘I’m curious as to why you think I’m here” she asked, getting straight to business.
A wave of pornographic dreams flooded my head. I tried to be professional. The waiter wiped my dribble. He was a pro.
â€œIâ€™m curious as to why you think Iâ€™m here?â€ she repeated.
Muff and Bush
â€œYouâ€™re divorcing that little prick Kevin? Youâ€™ve recorded an album of jazz songs? Forgive me if Iâ€™m overstepping the mark, but Iâ€™m hoping you and Madonna have collaborated on a coffee table book. Iâ€™ve thought of the title and everything. What do you think of â€˜Muffâ€™?â€
â€œNot bad, but not why Iâ€™m here. Iâ€™m here because Iâ€™ve been used. I feel like a cheap whore.â€
â€œDonâ€™t let that put you off the book. I think thereâ€™s a market for -â€œ
â€œIâ€™ve had it with Bush.â€
â€œYou just havenâ€™t met the right girl. â€œ
â€œGeorge Bush. He invited me to the White House a while back. When we first met when I was, like, s-o-o-o youngâ€¦ right in the middle of my school uniform phase. I donâ€™t know if you remember -?â€
â€œEhâ€¦ yes. I do.â€ The waiter removed my napkin and replaced it with his cumberband. It was dirty but drool free.
â€œGeorge asked if Iâ€™d be interested in educating America. I said I wasnâ€™t qualified. He said Iâ€™d get a contract with Diet Coke. I agreed. Did you know I was the first pop star to sit at the War Council? Have any idea how cool that is? I had access to information that would make the hairs stand up on the back of your legs. Did you know over half a million negroes in Iraq have nuclear weapons? When I heard that I was like, well, â€˜Someone has to tell America!â€™ This made George happy. I went on talk shows, spoke to the kids – I even went down on Michael Moore. And now I feel sick.â€
Britney burst into tears as the waiter came over. She stretched her t-shirt over her face and dried her eyes. I think the waiterâ€™s eyes were glued to her stomach. I canâ€™t be sure â€“ mine were, too. Admittedly there were a few stretch marks; her stomach had developed a layer of flab that would look unbecoming on most other 22 year olds.
But this was Britney.
Now it was my turn to burst into tears. I wept for everything Iâ€™d never experience in life. Who had been lucky enough to spend time with her? Was she even 17% as good as I hoped? Did the school uniform still hang in her wardrobe? I looked down and noticed the cumberband was missing from my knee – the waiter held it to his face as he sprinted towards the kitchen.
â€œYou havenâ€™t taken the orderâ€¦!â€ But he was gone.
Britney and I were emotional but she was determined to get her message across. I had to admire her professionalism.
â€œIâ€™m starting to think George doesnâ€™t tell the truth. He hasn’t come good on the Diet coke thingâ€¦ He told me the CIA would re-release the â€˜Just Say No!â€™ single. He said Puff had signed up for the chorus but Iâ€™d get the first verse. GEORGE BUSH IS A LIAR! NONE OF IT WAS TRUE! Frankly, Iâ€™m beginning to think heâ€™s nothing but a dumb, uneducated pig, and I want people to know the truth before we go to warâ€™.
â€˜Ehâ€¦ actually, I think weâ€™ve already gone to-â€˜
â€˜You know he told me the Iraqis had weapons – guns, bricks, knifesâ€¦â€
â€œWell, actuallyâ€¦ I think they do. It was really more about the, eh, nuclear and chemical situationâ€¦â€
â€œWhatever. We have to warn people before its too late.â€
â€œEhâ€¦ I think it may already be tooâ€¦ We went to war, but itâ€™s finishedâ€¦ sort of. The bombing part went okay. Weâ€™ve had to rethink the reconstruction. Cut backsâ€¦â€
Britney weighed up my words as she threw back her vodka. â€œThat means Iâ€™ll never get the â€˜Just Say Noâ€™ single.â€
â€œThereâ€™s always my idea with Madonnaâ€¦â€
A chef, carrying a sliver platter, arrived with a tray of food – â€œYour waiter had to lie down. It really isnâ€˜t my job to bring out the food – they donâ€™t pay me any extraâ€¦â€
The platter held amusing small dishes – scallops in a lime and ginger sauce, tiger prawns in filo pastry, breads and rices, yellow and red curriesâ€¦ on the side was a Big Mac and fries.
Britney looked at the burger with youthful horror – â€œYou see!â€ – and threw it across the room. â€œThis is what George has done to me. Why do people automatically assume Iâ€™m a greedy, burger chomping US whore? I DONâ€™T DESERVE THIS!â€
I looked round the room and smiled sheepishly at the other diners. Britney was getting irate and they didnâ€™t like it â€“ this wasnâ€™t the sunny, fresh faced girl they knew from the videos. Thank God there were no children present.
I had to get things back on track, though I couldnâ€™t remember what I was hoping for. Should I finish the interview or try to get her drunk and take her back to my place.
I finished the bottle of red and ordered another. I took her by the hand. â€œBritney, Iâ€™m intrigued by this chance to get some insight into your life. Youâ€™ve had bad advice. I can help youâ€¦â€
â€œOkay.â€ Britney dipped a handful of fries into the yellow curry sauce. â€œSo ask me why I brought you hereâ€
I tried to gulp but my throat was dry. â€œâ€¦ â€¦ Why?â€
Britney pointed to the judgeâ€™s bench. It was empty â€“ the coach parties were saving themselves for lunchtime. â€œI want to put Bush on trial. I want to put that lying cocksucker, his family – and every single one of the treacherous hyenas who surround him – in the dock. They canâ€™t lie to me and expect to get away with it. Will you help me? Youâ€™re a journalist. You can tell people what heâ€™s like.â€
Was I imagining it or had she leaned forward a little? Her nipples were almost exposed. â€œItâ€™s impossible â€“ I write about food,â€ I told her. â€œBut also, heâ€™s cheated, deceived, lied, swindled and betrayed the American people more than any other president in history â€“ well, Nixon runs him close, but Iâ€™m on a role here â€“ and there are still people out there who like the guy. They think heâ€™s affable.â€
â€œAffable? Are you looking at my breasts?â€
She was right. I was looking at her breasts. Britney wasnâ€™t leaning forward. I was. Britney was talking politics and I was more interested in looking at her breasts. I couldnâ€™t go on like this. I was going to have to change. I sat back in my seat and stroked my chin â€“ my best look when Iâ€™m out of my depth.
â€˜In fact,â€™ I continued, â€˜It looks like weâ€™re all doomed. Iraqâ€™s getting worse â€“ it most likely wonâ€™t exist in three or four years timeâ€¦ Iranâ€™s undoubtedly next. In this country, they moved Jack Straw from the foreign office because he said – â€˜I don’t see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran, full stopâ€™. Britney? Are you listening?â€™
â€˜Whatâ€™s does this have to do with Coca Cola? Youâ€™re getting off the issue. There must be something we can do? Could that other party help usâ€¦ the Young Republicans?â€
â€œI think theyâ€™re the same party as Bush.â€
â€œBut younger â€“ everyone prefers young people, right?â€
â€œI donâ€™t think it would work. You might have more luck with the Democrats.â€
â€œThe Democrats? Is that Billâ€™s party?â€
â€œYou know Clinton?â€
â€œOf course. George always used to joke about how heâ€™d like to Kill Bill. Billâ€™s sweet – how many men of his age do you know whoâ€™d keep a scrap book with my pictures?â€™
â€œThat is nice. But Bill canâ€™t help you either. You see, the Democrats were scared of Bush. They thought that if they stood up to him, theyâ€™d be called un-American. As a result they have even less credibility than the Republicans. Weâ€™re all doomed.â€
But Britney was young. She had youthful enthusiasm. â€œIâ€™ll start my own party. Help me?â€ She ran her tongue over her cracked red lips.
The offer was tempting. â€˜I canâ€™t. I have a restaurant column to write – the public rely on me. Next week Iâ€™m meeting Jude Law â€“ heâ€™s going to tell me about how great it feels to fuck your nanny. Alsoâ€¦ I donâ€™t know how to tell you thisâ€¦ Youâ€™re not as young as you used to be. Youâ€™ve gained a few pounds. This gig just isnâ€™t for me.â€
We didnâ€™t talk much during the rest of our lunch. She wolfed down the burger in the end, shrugging as the minced beef congealed on her yellowing teeth. As I paid, I realised how much Britney had moved on â€“ she was no longer a young but nasty, idiot-savant fascist, being manipulated by forces hurrying the world to an end. Now, she was no longer young.
As we kissed goodbye, Britney smiled sadly. She knew her days, like Bushâ€™s, were numbered.
Dan Brown on Sven Goran Erikson