crossrhythms interview 1993
Songs like "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" and "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music" are just two of the classics written and originally sung by LARRY NORMAN, the founding father of contemporary Christian music. In an in depth interview from his hospital bedside Larry talked at length about rock 'n roll, life and death.
Time magazine once called him "the poet laureate of Jesus music", the New York Times labelled him "Christian rock music's most intelligent writer and greatest asset"; while 20 years on from those quotes, CM magazine admitted Larry Norman was "one of the inventors of contemporary Christian music".
Yet despite these accolades Larry Norman has not quite found the fame and fortune his gigantic contribution to contemporary music should surely have brought him. The sheer brilliance of those seminal early albums, 'Upon This Rock' (1969), 'Only Visiting This Planet' (1972), 'So Long Ago The Garden' (1973) gradually gave way to a flood of eccentric releases where some classics would rub shoulders with half-finished demos and rambling blues jams. Shuttling around the world (with Europe and Australia particular favourites) the Christian rock pioneer and poet laureate became in the 70s and 80s a quixotic half-madman-half-genius who never seemed able to quite find the place of rest or the acceptance of the contemporary Christian music industry he had largely set in motion.
In 1989 he almost found belated American CM acceptance with 'Home At Last', his first album on a major US CCM label, Benson. Larry even turned up at the conservative Dove Awards. But no US Christian radio hit transpired and soon Larry was off on his European travels again, signing a deal with small Dutch indie Spark Music.
Larry grew up in a Christian home. By the time he was 15 he had written his first Christian song "Moses" and by 1967 he'd formed his first rock band, the People, and made the Hot 100 with "I Love You". By 1969 Capitol Records had released Larry's debut album 'Upon This Rock'. Recognised as the spear head of a revolution dubbed 'Jesus Music' by an agog media, Larry almost single-handedly wrenched the church into the post-Beatles age. He went on to put out his own limited edition albums before signing with MGM/Verve in 1972. But an unhappy marriage was beginning to dominate his songwriting themes and his songs often shocked the sensibilities of conservative church goers. He was criticised by Christians who saw this radical longhair as hardly the role model for their sons and daughters they'd have liked. Larry formed Solid Rock Records and produced some albums for himself and others like Randy Stonehill, Daniel Amos and Mark Heard. But somehow the really big sales and recognition never came Larry's way, though Cliff Richard covered a couple of Larry's classic songs on his 'Small Corners' gospel album.
In 1978 a freak accident on an aeroplane caused, Larry believes, brain damage. He separated from his wife the same year, and was divorced in 1980. He told journalist Brian Quincy Newcomb, "After that happened I just moved to England. I couldn't run Solid Rock Records any more because of my mental condition due to the accident. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't finish anyone's album."
Spasmodic recordings appeared through Chapel Lane, but there were many more releases of questionable quality released as "collectors items" on Larry's Phydeaux label and sold through the mail to his loyal fans. In 1989 he made an album for Benson which promised much but which Larry later dismissed in a Belgian press conference as "just a collection of tapes I had... some were even recorded before the plane accident."
In 1991, after recording a live album at Holland's Flevo festival, Larry reports that he was healed from brain damage while on a visit to England. HE told a journalist, "A man prayed for me. I heard a lot of noises in my head, a lot of heat and from that day the man prayed for me my brain has become so clear, so I've been excited, wondering how quickly can I make a new record now I have my old brain back, it's a good brain, not the damaged brain that I had. That's also a comparison that now my brain is healed so I can make music like I used to make."
His subsequent album 'Stranded in Babylon' was considered by most critics to be his strongest for many years. But Larry's creative resurgence was cut short by two heart attacks in 1992, and it was rumoured that the veteran Christian rocker would never play again. Then in the Spring of 1993, the veteran rocker amazed fans and doctors alike by undertaking a tour that was to take in four concerts in Holland and one in Belfast.
He never made the Belfast gig. Larry was rushed to hospital after his final Dutch concert in Drachden on June 19th. A week later he gave this interview from his hospital bedside to Cross Rhythms reporter Jan Willem Vink.
How were the four concerts in Holland?
The concerts in Holland were a lot of fun to do. I performed with the band called Thesis, which are very good at rock 'n roll, and jazz, and anything in between. We made a gound sound, complicated arrangements, and there was a lot of powerful musicians on stage. I did a lot of jumping around, a lot, which might have been a mistake since I felt very healthy. I was running around too much, jumping up and down too much, having too much fun. I had a problem with my heart. After four concerts I had to go in the ambulance to hospital and stay there for a week while they gave me medicines to try to stop my heart beating too fast; 200 times a minute instead of 60 or 70 which is the normal range. I don't know - I had a lot of fun on the tour but maybe I can't perform any more.
So the problem with your heart came after the tour and not during it?
Well, actually it wasn't after the tour because I had one more concert to do in Ireland. But I was never able to leave Holland and fly there , because the doctor said it was too dangerous to go on a plane. The doctor said until they do some more tests, and they can see that the tachycardia is stabilised, it's not legal to go on an aeroplane. No airlines will let me fly.
Is it hard for you to accept that you may never play again?
Not really. My ministry is telling the gospel, not singing it. That's why I talk in between songs, because that's where the message comes from, not through the music. There's a message in the music, but people don't usually decide to become a Christian because they hear you sing. They're watching your performance when you're singing. When you stop singing and you start speaking in between songs - then I think the message really comes across and can go deeper. Like when I spoke at Greenbelt in between songs in 1984. Many people came up to me and said that was the only gospel they had heard from any performer for several years. But the Greenbelt committee banned me from the main stage at Greenbelt and said I could never perform there again because I gave the gospel, and that's not their policy. So I think that's funny, to be banished for giving the gospel at a religious concert festival. If I'm not gonna deny Christ at the end of the world, when they're taking Christians to court and prison, why would I deny Christ now at a Christian festival? So no, I'm not disappointed that I can't sing any more because I can still talk about Jesus; even if I can't tour. I can write books, or preach, tape the sermons. It doesn't matter to me. I'm only here on Earth to serve God. I never had a career. I don't care about commercialism. I have a ministry and I'll fight for the ministry. I'll continue to minister until I don't have any more breath in my body. Maybe that's a year from now, or two years from now. But I'm happy. It's not a problem to give up rock 'n' roll.
When you had your first heart attack you came very close to death. Did it give your message an extra urgency?
Well, when my heart stopped they thought that they couldn't get me to come back to life. When I came back, I wasn't even aware that I had died. I felt completely safe, and unafraid, protected. So it didn't give me more urgency, like 'Oh, now that I am possibly going to die soon I have to work harder.' My work is not for me, it's for God, and there are millions of people that don't know the gospel message. I can't take it to them. I could never take it to them. I can only reach thousands of people, and not millions. So, there is no reason for me to work harder. I'm already working as hard as I humanly could, for the last twenty-five years, and I'm working for God...I'm not working for my music. I'm not working for any manager or booking agency. So I have no pressure on me from any human being on Earth to do more work. I'm already working as hard as I can work and I'm doing it for God, not the record industry.
And that's something you were doing before your first heart attack?
Yeah, I've been working against the stream, against the odds, since I started recording in 1966. The record company wasn't supportive of me, that was Capitol Records. After five years there I went to MGM records for three years. They weren't supportive of the gospel message, they just want the music. They don't care about Jesus. And then going to ABC, which bought Word Records, making music, again having problems with the company; they don't really want the entire message that I have. They just want the things that are pleasing, so I had censorship problems even on Solid Rock Records. So I've been working as hard as I can, and against the flow, against the odds, ever since I started recording. So nothing's changed. Maybe I'm trying to do too much with music. Some singers say that they're artists, and they don't want to put too much meaning in their music because it's front for entertainment or it has enough of a message or because a song cannot support a theological proposition, but this is not my belief. I think that music is not limited and you can say a lot more though your music and you can say even more through speaking.
In interviews on your last two tours in Holland and Belgium you talked a lot of discovering God as a father.
Yeah, I think that the revelation of God as a benevolent, loving, all-caring Father is not what the majority of Americans are taught. We're taught the God is very judicious, and unrelenting in his ferreting out of your sins, keeping a list and you're going to have to answer for every failing upon your death. That's the God that I was exposed to growing up in America. But then finding out that God is all-loving toward his own children, his own sheep that know his voice - that's made the last few years of my life completely different in texture, and I feel that I have a lot of freedom that I never realised was available before.
Do you think your first heart attack and what you're going through now were experienced in a different way to what it would have been like without knowing God as a father?
Can you expand on that?
Knowing that God is waiting for me with open arms makes me feel very eager to go and be with him. I'm not afraid that I'm going into the court-room of Heaven when I die. I'm going to be with my Father. I'm part of his family. So it's been very peaceful for me. I've had three different types of heart attacks. I've had the first kind, which was myocardia infection where my heart stopped and I lost forty per cent of the tissue, it's dead. The next time I had problems with congestive heart failure, and this time I had ventricular arrhythmia tachycardia which is where the heart beats very fast. It gets confused and pushes the blood away from the heart so you can't breathe very easily, you're not getting enough oxygen, and you're not getting enough blood. Each of these kinds if problems; I've just gone through the experience with a big smile on my face. I'm in the hospital for three or four weeks and I'm using it as an opportunity to talk with the nurses about their family and find out how many children they have, are they having any problems, and writing notes to their kids, giving cassettes away and witnessing to people. Just another opportunity to give the gospel.
I've heard you have written some new songs. Can you tell me about them?
I write songs all the time. They just don't usually come out on record. What usually happens is that I'll write songs when I'm not getting ready to record, and by the time I'm making a record I've either lost interest in the songs or I've lost the piece of paper the songs are on, or they're just buried under other songs. So this time I thought I'm going to just record a couple of songs if I feel well. I just wrote them and want to record them immediately instead of waiting two or three years. So it's a little more fun to record an idea two or three days after you write it.
Some artists in the new CCM magazine have named your records in their all-time top ten favourites. Does it hurt you that you are neglected by so much of the Christian music industry and on Christian radio in America?
I never felt part of the Christian industry. When I was on Capitol Records and MGM I never even heard of Word Records. I didn't know there was such a thing as a religious record industry. I didn't know that Bible bookstores sold music, I thought they just sold Bibles. I never even went into a Bible bookstore because I already had a Bible. So I don't feel neglected by them. I don't read this magazine you mentioned, and I don't know what artists have mentioned records. I don't really feel part of the gospel, commercial, industry. I feel that Christian music is a subculture directed towards the Christians. It's not really being exposed to non-Christians and it's not really created for non-Christians, so non-Christians almost never hear any of this music. It's just a subculture, a religious subculture, and it really doesn't have much meaning beyond the Christian community because of the way it's written. The lyrics don't transcend the topicalism and Christian myopia to a plane where the non-believer could identify with the song. So it's an enculturated and limited form of communication, and that's not where I'm interested in being. That's not the kind of music I ever would like to make. So the fact that I don't get played on Christian radio is pretty much a delight to me. The only few songs they've ever played that I found out about were 'I Wish We'd All Been Ready' and 'Messiah', and that was not by my choice. I never sent promotional copies to Christian radio stations in my life. It's not what I'm interested in.
Couldn't a Christian or secular music company give you a bigger platform for your music?
Well, as I was kind of saying before, although I believe that music is not limited and I believe music can support a deeper message, the music is not the finest implement for preaching the gospel. The greatest tool is preaching, is talking. So the fact that I don't have larger record sales has nothing to do with me talking. Only in a concert situation do I have access to people directly to preach to them, and I don't believe that the bigger your platform is, the more people will pay attention. If you look at someone, a great artist like Cliff Richard, who had a gigantic platform; I'm not sure that the masses of people that come to see him are listening with the same intensity that they might if he were a smaller, less popular artist. There's a lot of silence in my concerts when people are listening and I'm speaking. There's a lot of focussed attention when I'm singing an it's kind of like a party, a quiet party. When someone like Cliff is performing people are so excited and they're jumping up and going to get a programme or a T-shirt or a Coca-Cola or something. That's not something that, I think, is helpful to what I want to do. So I don't want the largest possible platform. If I had crowds the size of U2 concerts I couldn't communicate very much at all to them. So I'm only trying to help a few people to become converted. I'm not trying to popularise my music to thousands of people at one time. That's why I used to say that Solid Rock was 'music for the minority'. I'm trying to reach a minority on a certain evening in a certain town. I'm fishing for men with a certain kind of bait, and the bait that I am offering is not a candy; it's a very specific thing that I'm offering, which is a deep gospel and a deep conversion. So I wouldn't even like hundreds of people to come forward. Billy Graham was asked, 'How many people became Christians at your last meeting?' and he said, 'Ask me again in twenty years.' I want only the few that God is calling to come forward. I don't call anybody. I let the Holy Spirit call people and then I just give them the opportunity to pray and ask for a conversion in their spirit.
Is that why your stage act has become more standardised?
When I have an audience come and see me, it's very often people who never even heard of me. Their friends, who have my records, are dragging their neighbours to the concert. I'm singing so of the exact same songs that have, I would say, a more refined medicine. There's something like 'I Wish We'd All Been Ready' or even sociological argumentation like 'Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?'. America's still a problem. The Christian community does not like rock and roll, for the greatest part. So I'm singing some of the same songs because what's the point of writing another new song that says exactly the same thing as a song I've already written? Why not sing this song originally? Then anything else I write that's new will talk about something completely different. I'm writing new songs and performing them but I'm never going to stop performing the old songs. In fact, Cliff Richard told me that when he performs he always does two old songs and then a new song, then three old songs and a new song. He never does one old song, one new song, one old song, one new song. He believes people want to hear what they're already familiar with. I agree with that. People want to hear what they know, and then they want to hear something new.
What subjects are you writing about today?
You'll have to wait and see, when the record comes out. What I'm writing about is the things that I want to be heard within the format of the music, because the music is also part of the expression of the idea. It's not just the lyrics. Lyrics without music might be poetry, or it might not be, but poetry that is really meant for music has more power than the printed poem on the blank page. So you can hear what I'm writing about when it comes out. One thing I'm writing about is the churches in the world, the different kinds of churches, the different kinds of emotional orientation that people have toward the gospel. Some people are legalistic, some people are very affected by their experiences which often doesn't follow very closely to scriptural theology. So, that's one song examining different kinds of thought, and the outcome of that thought is that people take certain kinds of actions based upon their theology. So the person that believes God likes it when you have two or three cars and a big house and you're happy and you all have clean clothes and stuff; those people may not be giving very much money to the poor. Based on what you believe God wants from you or for you, you then enact your Christianity in a certain way. So that's what the song is examining. See how boring it sounds when you explain it? The songs is really a funny song, and a vicious song, and a kind, gentle song all at the same time. I even attack myself in the song, just to make it fair to all the other types of Christians that I'm lacerating.
Compared with previous tours you seem happier and more relaxed on stage.
Oh yeah, I'm having a lot more fun in my last few years. I would think that's because I see my relationship with God as being different than I had imagined it. I don't live my life as a Christian with trepidation, feeling that perhaps I've failed to give the best gospel possible on each occasion, but realising that God's taking care of a lot through his Holy Spirit. I'm just making myself available, and I don't have to worry that God is disappointed in my message or my preaching but that God is happy with me, even if I do nothing. He doesn't love me because I'm working for his kingdom, he loves me because he loves me. So that's why I'm having so much fun in life. I realise how much joy it's possible to have as a Christian.
How's your son doing?
He's doing really well. He's a really happy kid. He likes everything; he enjoys music and sports, he likes mathematics and he loves words. He likes to find out what words mean and he likes to know, 'What's the name of that tree?' and, 'What's the name of that bird?'. He seems interested in everything. He's recovered from his encephalitis - quite well. Well, he was sick; I though that was what you meant, 'How's he doing.' He had a problem, called encephalitis, for several years where he stopped speaking and it seemed that he wasn't aware of what was going on around him. That's all been healed, and he's a very avid student of everything around him.
Have recent events entailed a reorientation of what you're supposed to do?
No, I'm supposed to do the same thing I've always done. Just let God guide my path, and follow him and let it lead where he takes me.
Do you feel you can do it with the same intensity?
Intensity is spiritual commitment. Intensity is not how aerobic your heart rate was when you were doing it. I can still be spiritually intense even if I'm not going to be jumping around the stage any more.
And the same speed?
I'm supposed to take it easy and not kill myself, so to speak. Not working late hours, and not staying in the studio so much; so I guess you could say I'm slowing down my daily calendar, but very often your activity and the frequency and participation of your energies doesn't result in very much. So maybe I'm economising on my energy level but getting more results by making sure I don't sit there spinning wheels if there's no traction. Writing songs and going into the studio immediately to record them seems like it's having a different result than writing twenty-five songs then never releasing them.
Some people have said how useful it was that you came despite the risks.
Well, I didn't think I was at risk. I didn't think I was going to have another attack or I wouldn't have come. I thought I was doing better. I talked to the doctor, I took a treadmill and pushed myself for twenty, twenty-five minutes as hard as I could; then we took video pictures of it with some kind of sonar equipment - they put this thing on your chest and they look at your heart and you watch the replay on the video. He said, 'See this part of your heart wall is dead, it's not moving, but the other side is moving, half of what you need. So I think you can go to Europe. I think you can do some concerts.' Maybe he thought I was a folk singer. So he said I was fine, so I came and did a concert but like I said maybe I had too much fun; jumped around more that I ever have before. I wasn't aware of it. I wasn't trying to jump around more. I just love this band Thesis; I have a great time with them so maybe I had too much fun.
Are Thesis different to any band you have played with before?
Well, before the best band I ever worked with was a band called Q Stone from Finland, and I just loved their music; very precise, clean, great ideas. Thesis have a lot more education, perhaps, in music. They're not just a blues band. They can play anything, so - I just had more fun with different colours. We've done new arrangements of some songs and gone for different pastiches of colour, different textures. So maybe that's why I was more loose than usual. Some people said that these were the best concerts I ever performed. I don't know, maybe they were. I've been happier than I was for years. Maybe these were the best concerts. That's nor bad; if these were the best concerts I ever did then this is an appropriate way to end my rock and roll career, instead of some little night club with 25 people smoking their heads off all night.
Do you follow what's going on in secular rock and roll?
Yeah. I'm aware of what's going on. I don't think much is going on in the world of art. I don't think the music has any great meaning. I think that right now it's just a lot of entertainment, and different styles of artists scrambling for different demographic audiences. There's so many different tastes in music now that it's not easy to identify what kind of music you do; then it's hard for people out of all the myriad of CDs available in a store to happen upon your secular album and discover you, without the help of friends that happen to see you in clubs. So I don't think there's really any strong direction in music now. There's such a schism, and a fractured panorama of musical tastes and styles, that it's really hard for an audience to find the right artist. You know, you go to a store, buy a CD, hate it, throw it away or give it to your friend; but there's some music out there that you just love and it's hard to find it. You don't know who the artist is until you discover it by accident through a friend. So I know a lot of what is going on in secular music but I don't care very much about most of it, and I think that the Christian artists who are trying to imitate the avant-garde and the secularism of regular commercial music are doing probably the worst job. Instead of listening to God and listening to the Holy Spirit and trying to create something original their desire to be cool and eccentric is very immature and a waste of time for the audience too. But there's a lot of hurt kids that like to think that they're avant-garde. They'll turn on this kind of music, you know, and you can sell 1500 or 2000 copies of some real weird music that you call Christian. But those kids that are interested in it, it doesn't feed them very much; and maybe later, a couple of years later, they've grown so far beyond it that they can't believe they ever liked these bands. But I don't mind all the hybrids and the experimentation. If it's the Holy Spirit's leading them then it has value, but if it's just based on being cool and effete on some level then it's just egotism.
You said earlier that a lot of music is not culturally relevant. How can your music be relevant and still incorporate deep gospel?
Well, what was 'Step Into The Madness' about? It was about the CIA selling heroin. It's about kids carrying Uzis in big cities. It's about incest. It's about global weaponry. It's about all kinds of stuff. That's not exactly a one-note melody, that's an expanse of observations. So I think Christian music can be aware of the culture that's thrust upon us and respond to it. You know, I'm not turning Babylon upside-down on the bottom where it says are you four or six. The people in America have never heard of this until just recently, but people in France, of course, have known about it for years. I'm sure more countries in Europe are aware of it. But, you know, in a few years some of the kids that have that CD are going to go, 'Hey, look at that...I never noticed that before.' They might even think it's the catalogue number of the album.
Do you think singing about the end-times makes sense to non-Christians?
Yeah, I think my songs make sense to non-Christians even if they don't make sense to Christians.
Because I'm not writing for Christians. I'm writing for the unconverted mind.
But in a tour like this one in Holland 80 or 90 per cent of the people who come to your concerts are Christians.
Yeah, that's great. I assume that's why, if eighty per cent are Christians, the other twenty per cent of non-Christians showed up at all, because they got invited. I'm not responsible for who listens to my music. If Christians want to look over my shoulder while I'm writing to the non-Christian mind, that's fine. Because these Christians, that are listening to the music or coming to my concerts were at one time not Christians - and the letters that I've gotten here, I've got over 600 letters so far at the hospital and here where I'm staying to recuperate - a lot of these letters say that I was the only Christian artist that ever made any sense to them when they decided to become a Christian. So the fact that they're a Christian now doesn't mean they're prohibited from listening to the next album that I'm making. You don't have to be a non-Christian to listen to my music. It just helps to understand that if you didn't grow up in a WASP church in America... No, I think the only thing I ever wrote for Christians was 'Sweet Song Of Salvation', and I wrote that in my sleep. I woke up singing the chorus and scribbled it down so that I could go back to sleep and then recorded it. I really didn't want to but when I did my album 'Upon This Rock' the publishing company encouraged me to include that one, and so I did; and wouldn't you know it, that was one of the big songs off the record, even though it's hardly a respectable ditty. It's kind of silly, I think, but my publisher was right. That's the song that they heard, which they said, 'This is going to be covered by a lot of artists' and 'People will want to sing this.' But it was pretty inferior to the rest of the songs on the album. So that's the only song I've ever written specifically for Christians, and I was asleep at the time so I don't want to be held responsible too much!
What are the most outstanding incidents in your career, or what moments have been most precious?
Any time somebody became a Christian and came up afterwards and wanted me to pray with them. Any time I've gotten a letter that explained their journey through life. Any time I've walked up to somebody on the street and talked to them and they decided to become a Christian. These are the precious memories I have. I met a girl a couple of years ago who said, 'Have you ever been to England' and I said, 'Yeah, lots of times'. She said, 'Were you there in '73', and I said 'Yeah'. 'Were you ever in a place called Mayfair? I know who you are', and I didn't recognise her and she turned to her friend and said 'I never told you this, but I used to be a prostitute. One day Larry walked up to me, started witnessing, and I became a Christian.' So those are the best memories I have. Street witnessing, helping paper, and finding out years later that they stayed with Christ, they didn't fall away, and that they weren't destroyed by their sins.
Are there any things you wish you had never done?
Yeah, I wish I had never produced all of the artists I've produced, because some of it was kind of a waste of time. The artists enjoyed the success of their record sales but never continued to preach the gospel once they became popular. So I regret working with those kinds of artists. But I am really happy about the artists that I helped, that I discovered and produced, or heard and got them a record contract with come company; I'm proud of them for continuing to preach the gospel.
But that's something you used to do more in your early years than you do now?
Well, I keep it a secret now. I don't tell people that I'm interested in helping artists because I get too many cassettes from people. But every time I hear somebody that I like, I help them. I get them a record contract with some company, or I produce them, or I do a duet with them on one of their songs, or I do a video with them, something like that. I think we're supposed to be working with our brothers and sisters for the good of the gospel and I continue to do that, but I'm always telling artists that I no longer have a record company, and I can't produce you, and I can't help you place your songs with somebody else. Unless the music knocks me to the ground with its power I don't want to encourage somebody to get into the commercialised industry because I don't want their souls to get lost. It would be better if they never became an artist than for them to become an artist an remain shallow in the Lord and then fall away as the years go by. I don't want to be encouraging somebody toward perdition or toward collapse.
How did the death of Mark Heard affect you?
Well, it was really a shock. After I got out of the hospital we went out to dinner together and I talked to him and explained how happy I was. I told him how much I loved him and have always respected him as a human being and a Christian and that I also was a big fan of his music. I thought he was a real genius, an undiscovered genius, and I told him that I think in the future when a lot of people start to grow up they'll discover your music and think, 'Wow! This is intense'. I'm really glad I got to talk to him because I didn't know he was going to die a couple of months later. So I was real shocked, because at the time I told him, 'Mark, I've put you in my will. I don't know how much longer I have to live. I just want to tell you now face to face how much I love you and I want you to know that there's something for you when I'm gone.' So I was pretty demolished when I found out that he was in the hospital and real sad when I found out he was not going to live.
Thanks for the interview.
It's nice to sit here in my pyjamas and do an interview instead of having to get dressed up and go down to some newspaper. Thank you very much.