“Phooo!” I say. “When was the last time you were in a supermarket?” “I’ve been in a supermarket,” says Madonna. “I’ll give you 50 pounds if you were in a supermarket in the last year,” I say. “I definitely was,” says Madonna. “You definitely were not,” I say. “Here in England I have been,” says Madonna. “I’m talking about American supermarkets,” I say. “No, not in an American one,” says Madonna.
She looks at me and raises one eyebrow expectantly. “Oh! Okay! Okay! I’ll give you 25 pounds because you were in an English supermarket!” I say, pulling out my wallet. “I collect all bets,” says Madonna, smiling and flopping out her hand like a big cod.
“I’ve been popular and unpopular, successful and unsuccessful, loved and loathed, and I know how meaningless it all is, therefore I feel free to take risks,” Madonna says.
I look at her and think, This poor woman’s about to don the hideous Robes of Hymen. She’s yakking about ‘risks,’ and yet her cheeks are glowing like strawberry ice cream. I never say anybody so happy! Even worse, I hear Guy Ritchie, her handsome fiance, thinks Madonna will make a great wife! He’s obviously besotted and should be locked in the house. I had better advise her about wedlock right away.
And just as I begin…just as I am forming the first words and wallowing in Madonna’s total, undivided attention–her friend David Collins arrives with a big bouquet of chrysanthemums. He is the Irish designer who did the Blue Bar and Madonna’s New York apartment, and let me tell you, if there had been a bucket of paint handy, I would have painted his buttocks blue!
Because, alas, this is it for the interviewer.
Oh, I could drag it out, gentle reader. God knows I’ve brought enouch tape. But unfortunately, just as David Collins is saying how “time has stood still” for Madonna, I get so flustered I sort of heave a full glass of water all over her.
“Wooooo!” she cries and jumps out of her chair, sopping wet from waist to boot.
As the waiters descend on her with enough napkins to sop up the English Channel, she laughs and says, “That was unpredictable!”
“Have you got any food?” I say. “I could hurl that on you next!”
And before I know it, everyone has their coats on; I’m jamming my stuff back into my bag, and in the midst of waving and throwing kisses, I find myself outside on the street in front of the Berkeley Hotel.
Man! What a scene! I say, chuckling to myself.
As I walk to my own hotel through Knightsbridge, I think back to what Madonna said earlier about performing. She’d been talking about being onstage for the first time in five years in New York (where she’d been so awesome in her rockingness–more awesome than ever–that poor old yours truly nearly passed out from screaming).
“I don’t see the point of doing a show,” Madonna had said, “unless you’re really going to make some great theater. I’m pretty bored with most live shows I see.
I don’t want to go and watch someone just stand onstage and play music. I want my senses overwhelmed.
I hadn’t been onstage in a while. The last time was pre-children. And before I went on [at Roseland], my kids were backstage, and I thought, This isn’t how I usually do it. I’ve got kids, and I’m thinking, This is weird. It’s weird juggling children on your knee while you’re in your rhinestone outfit. And I’m thinking, Okay, I’m gonna go out and do a show and I’m gonna be Superwoman! But I’m not really, ’cause I’m a mom. It’s all very strange.”
Yes, indeed, Madonna, you’re a superwoman all right.
And it is all very strange. But you’ve freed more females than Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan put together, and make the world a more entertaining place. I’m walking along, thinking about what a marvel Madonna is, and it suddenly occurs to me that I have stuck her with the check.