Thursday, 25 February 2010

"Hugo Chavez thinks we're dating"

Courtney Love, it must be said, isn’t the sort of guest who usually graces The Guardian’s morning conference. On the days there is an invited speaker, it’s usually director of policy at this, or deputy chair of the national association of that – not fast-living former strippers.

But she stalked into the packed room in six-inch scarlet and black heels, skinny as a model, squeezed herself between the bemused editor and deputy editor, and held the room in thrall.

I can't really tell you any more – everything she said was off the record, and I'm an honorable journalist. But we’re among friends, so I’ll try to give a flavour of how extraordinary she is. Bonkers is another word for it.

“I’m here to share my thoughts with you, high brow and low brow,” she announced, tongue in cheek. Nothing was censored – she used the f-word liberally, was wildly indiscreet, and made grand pronouncements: she knows, for example, with unwavering certainty, who the future president will be.

Her thoughts, how can I say this politely, meandered – when asked a question, she would veer off on a tangent so unrelated that not only she, but everyone else, had forgotten the question. It didn’t matter – the tangent was always more interesting.

She was genuinely funny. She noted that drugs may have once played a large part in her life – “but don’t tell anyone...” she said. When asked how she felt about ageing (she’s 45) she said: “I’m here, aren’t I? I think that’s pretty age appropriate.”

She’s an Anglophile: she loves Russell Brand and Noel Fielding – “comedians as rock stars” – and the hip taxidermist, Polly Morgan, and is obsessed with fashion. She talked Hollywood, foreign politics, split infinitives, feminism and – movingly – about how hard it is for her daughter to listen to her Dad’s music. I admired the way she was unintimidated by the crowd of opinionated journalists. She was a match for any one of them.

Most of all, she made me feel like I’ve lived a really, really boring life.

And the Venezuelen president? Apparently he may have taken a shine to her, she claims. That’s it – no more revelations from me. But get me drunk and I’ll tell you everything.