THE DAN RATHER INTERVIEW ON ASX TV - 23RD AUGUST 2014

In this hour-long exclusive, Simon Cowell, THE X FACTOR creator and judge, sits down with Dan Rather for a frank and open interview. Filmed on location at his summer home, Simon opens up on what life is like as both a reality TV tough guy and hugely successful music and TV producer, while also reflecting on events in his personal life that he has never before publicly shared.

Dan asks Simon about his 'Mr Nasty' image as a talent show judge

 

Simon: - 'In this hour-long exclusive, Simon Cowell, THE X FACTOR creator and judge, sits down with Dan Rather for a frank and open interview. Filmed on location at his summer home, Simon opens up on what life is like as both a reality TV tough guy and hugely successful music and TV producer, while also reflecting on events in his personal life that he has never before publicly shared.'

 

"I always say hits pay the bills. I mean, it's as simple as that. At the end of day, you can't survive without being number one."

 

Dan: 'You're a father now for the first time?'

 

Simon: Yeah. (CHUCKLE) I mean, there have been surprises in my life. But that's number one.

 

Dan: 'Well first of all, thank you so much for doing this.'

 

Simon: 'Thank you for being here.'

 

Dan: 'How could I make you feel important in this interview?'

 

Simon: 'You already have, (CHUCKLE) you're sitting here. So I feel important.'

 

Dan: 'I noticed one of your sayings, one of the first things you try to do is convince the other person that you are going to make them feel important.'

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And it's something I've always been very aware of that when you make a show and you've got 150 people on it, every person on that show, rightly, has to feel that they're acknowledged for the part they play. If you start thinking it's all about you, you've got a big problem.'

 

Dan: 'Well, about your father-- two of the things you've been quoted as saying, he was or was not the originator of-- "Don't leave the fair too late"?

 

Simon: 'Well, he-- he said an abbreviation of that. The most direct person who actually said that was when I met David Geffen. We went on his boat with some friends and-- and we're dying to ask the same question, if-- he could give us one piece of advice, what would it be. And he said, "It's very simple. Always know when to leave the fair." And that stuck with me.'

 

Dan: 'And was it-- your father or Geffen or someone else who said, "Take yes for an answer and leave"?

 

Simon: 'Um, it was, "When someone says yes, shut up." 

 

"And-- and I have lived my life like that-- which is if-- if I were fortunate enough to sell something, once they said yes, I'm out of the room in five seconds. 'Cause I've been in the-- in the reverse situation where I've yes to somebody or some-- some people and after I said yes, they keep talking and talking and talking. And then I'm thinking, "You know what, I wish I hadn't said yes now." (CHUCKLE) So-- it's really good advice. Just get out the room as quickly as possible."

 

Dan: 'You've had-- you've lived your life that way. Have you always lived your life with this relentless honesty?'

 

Simon: 'I think so, yeah. I mean-- when I-- I-- when I was young, Dan, I-- I got into the music business via the mailroom. And you kinda hustle your way, you know, into the main part of the record company or the music publishing company as it was in those days. And you try and work your way up. And the interesting thing is, it's a business where they invest millions and millions of dollars. But they give you no training. So, you know, when you-- when you screw up, and I did in the early days-- I mean, I was told in no uncertain terms, why I'd made a mistake. 

 

And I-- I was taught tough love. And in return-- I try and do the same thing back. Because the worst thing that you can do is-- particularly when I do a talent show, if somebody comes in with absolutely no talent whatsoever and absolutely no chance of a career, I think it's-- I think it's a crime to say to these people, "Well, take a couple singing lessons and it will all work out." Because it just doesn't work out that way."

 

Dan: 'Well, I think you'll agree that it's increasingly-- uncommon to find anyone who is steadily so, I'll use the word, relentlessly honest as you are. My question, do you use this only in your professional life or professional and personal life?'

 

Dan: 'But when you're this-- honest in your-- and candid, even some would say brutal in your comments in professional life-- there's a price to pay for that, isn't there?'

 

Simon: 'A little bit. Um-- I think I've learned along the years that-- you know, to do well in film, music, TV, particularly, you know, this business, it's-- it's not a popularity competition. And-- you know, it's-- it's-- it's a constant battle to win. And that's really all I care about. And whether I'm liked or not is sort of immaterial. I'd like to feel I'm respected, but liked is something completely different.'

 

Dan: 'Well, what advice would you give, what counsel would you give, say, a young person, 12, 13, 14 years old who sees you on television and says, "Boy, that-- I like that honesty. I like the candid-- that's the reason I like that guy. On the other hand, I wanna be popular." (LAUGHTER)

 

Simon: 'Be Paula. (CHUCKLE) It's not really a problem. I think, you know, to do what I do, the only thing I-- I-- that bothers me is whether or not I'm relevant any longer. Because I think if you're sitting on these shows but you're not having hit records or hit artists in your real life, I think you look a bit of an idiot. So I-- that's all I really care about, Dan. Is that I can sit on one of these shows and justify why I'm there because in my day job, I am creating hit artists. Otherwise you're just a judge for hire, which I just couldn't do."

 

Dan: 'Were you ever a pleaser? Or have you always been-- harsh your buzz kinda guy?'

 

Simon: 'Well, when I was at school, I was always in trouble for talking too much. (CHUCKLE) And I got bored really quickly. And I kinda knew school wasn't for me or college or anything like that. So I was-- I was impatient to-- to-- to-- to start working. And-- and interesting, when I was a very young kid, what I used to get a kick out of was making and earning my own money by washing cars, mowing lawns or whatever it was. I used to love that. And then when I used to go to school and I was bored-- I would get into a lot of trouble. So I'd-- I don't think I've never-- really been a pleaser.'

 

Dan: 'Well, you made it big by definition, you know, that time of your life. And then you lost it by the time you were 30?'

 

Simon: 'Well, it was an interesting time. Because it was in the 1980s, the banks were really giving you a ton of money to spend. The stock market was going crazy. We all wanted Porches. We all wanted nice houses. And we all believed the hype. And-- and I was doing okay. But then it all came...  

 

This is in the music business. I wasn't doing fantastic. I was doing okay. But I was living way beyond my means. I borrowed money to buy a Porsche, to buy a nice house and-- and everything. And I was out every night. I was spending a fortune drinking and everything else. And then the whole thing came crashing down-- to a point where I think I owed the bank about half a million dollars. And I had the equivalent of maybe five dollars in my pocket to get a cab home to my parents. That's how bad it was. But I went home. I did a deal to pay off the bank, which took me three years. But I paid every penny. And it didn't bother me, interestingly enough. Once I got rid of everything, the Porsche, the house, I didn't want it. And I was now living a more honest life. And I just thought, you know, I'm gonna start again. But I'll never borrow money again.

 

Dan: Well, how humiliating was that? Or was it? At age 30, to move back in with your parents?

Simon: Well, funny enough it wasn't embarrassing-- at all. If-- in a weird way, Dan, I think it was more embarrassing me driving around in a Porsche I couldn't own or pretending I could own it, than actually getting rid of the whole lot and buying a car for $7,000, which I could afford and I liked. But I didn't lose a single friend. And no one was-- was-- was harsh to me or made me feel embarrassed. My parents actually loved me going back to live with them. But it was probably, in hindsight, the best thing that ever happened in my life because it taught me, you know, how you can get things spectacularly wrong. And it took me about three years to get myself back on my feet. As I said, I paid off the-- the loan to the bank.

 

'I was given a chance to build a label with one of the large labels. And then just slowly, bit by bit, I started to have more hits, more success. And it was probably round about that time when I understood the value of television-- in setting records. And I-- I kind of was one of the first to I think understand that and start to build an area within that where I was successful.'

 

Dan: 'Well, let's talk about the business. For-- a young person who's saying-- "I wanna be that person. I-- I wanna be what you are today." What can they do? What should they be doing to give themselves a chance?'

 

Simon: 'Well, it's a good question, Dan. I think that what, you know, you and I had when we first started is what I called an apprenticeship. And I think we were both fortunate probably to have mentors who-- I mean, I certainly had two or three people in--my life-- you did as well, yeah. And I learned from them. And-- and there was one guy when I was in my 20s, I used to follow around like a dog. And I used to sit in the studio and watch him work. I mean, he never paid me. But I- - it was like a free education. So I was patient. And I kind of gave myself about a 20-- 25 year window to kind of learn and achieve what I wanted to achieve. I think the difference today is-- is that very few people are prepared to wait that long. Because you have to learn to get good at things. You know, you're not born with a gift of making records or signing artists. It's through experience and learning and making mistakes. But-- I would say that getting there was more fun that being there.'

 

Simon: 'I think it depends what you want in your life. I mean, what I realized very young is that I didn't want to live in fear. All my years in school, I did live in fear that if you got something wrong, they would beat you (CHUCKLE) literally. So you were kind of nervous. And I-- I was always scared that I could have a job which I may not be very good in. And my boss could hate me. And if he hated me, he could fire me. And I thought I couldn't live my life like that. So I-- I kind of prepared myself to be good at something where I wouldn't have to have a boss.

 

And then I would only have myself to answer to. And then I wouldn't live in fear any longer. And there are times in this job where you get nervous or you-- or you lose your nerve. But I don't wake up every morning like I did when I was going to school or wake up on a Monday morning feeling sick 'cause I've got to go to school. So I'm a great believer of-- if you're not bright at school, and I wasn't clever at school, you can teach yourself something good, provided you have a good mentor and providing that you're patient.'

 

Dan: 'You named your son after your father?'

 

Simon: 'Yes, I did. Interestingly-- Lauren and myself came up with it. And-- and funny enough, Lauren was more insistent than me. 'Cause I wanted (CHUCKLE) to call him Simon. And then one day, I called her. I went, "Maybe it's not a great idea." And she went, "Thank God you said that because I've been worrying about this for the last three weeks."

 

Dan: 'So you-- you considered having him being Simon?'

 

Simon: 'A hundred percent. A hundred percent.'

 

Dan 'Did you-- did you did you not think that might-- place a very heavy load on him as he went through life?'

 

Simon: 'Well, I did in the end. I think, you know, when he was old enough to go on Google and he would've typed in Simon Cowell, he (CHUCKLE) might have had a few misgivings. So I didn't wanna give him that pressure. So Eric was a very, very good-- good-- good decision.'

 

Dan: 'Let's talk about where the television business is, where the entertainment business is. First of all, five, ten, 15 years-- from now, will we have television, in your opinion?'

 

Simon: 'I think we will have TV in 15, 20 years time. I think it's gonna be still the most important thing. But, you know, what's interesting, I think, if we had been talking even just a year ago and you'd have asked me to say, you know, "Where do you think the future of TV is," and this is prior to House of Cards and Netflix, I would've given you a completely different answer. I think what's exciting-- after the success of House of Cards is that suddenly we have more buyers than we had 12 months ago, whether it's Yahoo, whether it's Netflix, Amazon and this list is gonna get bigger and bigger and bigger. We're not so reliant upon the big networks as we used to be before. Creatively, when you look at the quality of something like House of Cards, I mean, just the direction, the writing, the cast, they're like movies. So I think TV has kind of gained back its credibility again. I actually hate going to the cinema. I went the other night. I mean, it was just the worst thing I've ever done.'

 

Dan: 'But you're in the movie business now, big time?'

 

Simon: 'I am. But I don't (CHUCKLE) like going into movie theaters. We-- we watched this movie the other day. I mean, I've gotta tell you, watching ten minutes of trailers in 3-D with these stupid glasses, and everything looks identical and then the film comes on, after 50 minutes, I had to walk out. I mean, it was like being assaulted. Maybe I'm just showing my age. But I love, you know, movies with a story. But all these crazy special effects at the moment, it was just too much. And I-- and I hate 3-D movies.'

 

Dan: 'Well, yes, but One Direction has made a new movie. And now into a second movie, as I understand it.'

 

Simon: 'Yeah, that was in (CHUCKLE) 3-D actually. I like-- I like some 3-D movies. Yeah, I-- it was something I always wanted to do-- Dan. I think if I was a kid and you just said what would my number one thing I'd like to do, I would've said I'd love to produce a movie.'

 

Simon on One Direction: I remember looking up saying, "Thank you, God." I just knew we had some-- something incredible, the-- the chemistry, the dynamic was unbelievable. And then they got into the live parts of the show. They were finalists. We got all the way through to the final. And I'm already preparing my acceptance speech as their mentor.

 

And they came third. And I wasn't expecting that. But then what was fascinating, off the back of that, was about 2 or 300 what I called super fans who'd supported them all the way through the competition-- made it their-- their job to promote this band around the world. Because I had signed them to our record label even though they didn't win.

 

And then I saw something I've never seen before in 30 years in the music business, which is fans, not a record label, marketing and promoting a band worldwide t-- to the point when we released their first album, and they'd only been to three countries, they went to number one in 43 countries simultaneously.

 

And I still to this day owe and credit everything to this 200 or 300 hundred group of fans who just did the most phenomenal job I've ever seen. And that's now the age of promoting bands with what we have on the internet. That's when the internet is so powerful, it can do your job for you.

 

 

Dan: 'Internet is so powerful it can do your job for you. But it can also destroy you in an instant?'

 

Simon: 'A hundred percent-- a hundred percent (CHUCKLE) trust me, Dan. I think about that on a daily basis. No-- nowhere to hide.'

 

Dan: What does that do to the music business? What does it do to the television business? What does it do to the entertainment business, this new internet reality that you've just described?'

 

Simon: 'For us, and for me, I think it's the best thing that's ever happened. I-- I can remember trying to promote a band in America 15 years ago. It would take a minimum of six to nine months to get a small amount of awareness on a group. You would have to go to radio station to radio station.

 

You'd have to do really horrible little clubs, gigs, anything to get known. And you could do nine months and get absolutely nowhere at the end of it. Today, you can have a song, have a video. It can go viral-- Susan Boyle was a good example, who was on Britain's Got Talent.

 

She was 45 years old or whatever. She was living on her own. She didn't look like a pop star. And we'd all written her off before she even sang a note-- along with the audience. Started singing. We looked up and thought, "My God, we've made a huge mistake here."

 

When that clip was shown-- and I was in LA when it was transmitted in the U.K., I watched this thing in 24 hours go to 50 million hits, within a month, 100 million. And now it's over a billion hits on YouTube. So the internet made this girl a global star within days. And that's when it can work for you.

 

Without YouTube, Susan Boyle never could have been a hit outside of England. It would've been impossible.'

I think-- as long as you are-- I mean, as you-- as quite rightly said that it can hurt you as well it can-- it can do great things for you. You've gotta be careful. I mean, when—when our shows are transmitted, when X Factor, U.K. goes out on-- on your channel here, you know, people are gonna be watching this minutely, expressing their opinions on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else.

 

And-- you know,it's a whole different ballgame. I personally-- I love it. I love watching our shows back when they-- when they go out live. And I'm-- and I have my computer on at the same time. I'm watching the social-- social stuff on Twitter or wherever else as I'm watching the show. And both are equally entertaining. So I think the fact that viewers have such strong opinions now, it's almost as much fun as watching the show.

 

'As a producer, I mean-- it's intoxicating. It's so exciting, you know, have-- having that ability to actually have that instant, instant feedback as to how-- how people are-- are reacting to your show or not.'

 

Dan: 'I could understand-- it being exhilarating. But it also can be depressing if you see yourself (CHUCKLE) going down the tubes all of a sudden.'

 

Simon: 'I've seen it go the other way, trust me. Which is this show (CHUCKLE) is a complete dog, if I'm looking at the reaction now. And they were right.'

 

Dan: 'You have made the transition. You've brought programs that have been very successful in-- in the United Kingdom to our country sort of seamlessly. And I'm interested to know whether that's still true.'

 

Simon: 'You know, I was told exactly the same thing back in reverse about-- about Americans. I heard that before I came to America, Dan. But once I came to America, and maybe I was naive.'

 

But I-- I realized that we-- we had a very similar sense of humor. We all-- react to a strong emotion in the same way. If we hate someone or love somebody or feel compassionate about somebody, we have very, very similar emotions.

I think the difference was when I first came here was I think you are more polite in America than we are in the U.K. So, you know, the very first time I was, you know, recording American Idol and told someone they were useless, Paula, who was sitting next to me was like, "You can't say that." It's like, (CHUCKLE) "Yes, I can." And-- and she was shocked. And I think the audience were a bit shocked. But then I think they started to understand that, you know, that that's-- that's the-- the whole point of the show, is to try and be honest and-- and not, you know, be-- lie to people, I guess.'

 

Dan: 'Well, I would-- I'm gonna turn that on its head. I've always thought that people in Great Britain and the United Kingdom, if anything, are a little more polite than we are in this country. True, they may speak more bluntly. And I'm not here to blow smoke at you. But anybody who knows you, whatever your flaws are, you are a very uncommonly polite person, particularly for someone who's in-- I'll go ahead and say it, in the entertainment field. How and why did that come about?'

 

Simon: Well, thank you. My mum told-- taught me. She had an expression as a kid which she said to us, "Manners maketh the man." And-- and I suppose going back to what my dad said as well about acknowledging people around you. I-- I do have that ability. If I walk in the room, I'm aware of everybody. Because it's important that-- that they feel part of what we do and appreciate it. And by the way, if you don't like people, you can't do this job. It's as simple as that.

 

When you're sitting as a judge judging-- judging these shows. I mean, this is one of the issues I have at the moment when you put too many singers on a judging panel. Singers don't want to find other stars. It's just not (CHUCKLE) in their DNA. They only think about themselves. That is the nature of being a solo artist. I am a cold hearted A&R guy, record-- I own a record label. So the only thing I'm interested in is finding a star. Now, you put a singer in my seat and somebody ten years younger than her comes on and is better than her, she does not want her to do well. It's a fact. That's why it's kinda crazy what's going on at the moment, that you've got singers judging other singers. It-- it doesn't work.'

 

Dan: 'Was that your problem with Paula?

 

Simon: 'A hundred percent. (CHUCKLE) Of course, she'll kill me for that.' 'Paula was the exception to the rule. (CHUCKLE) She was better than others, let's put it this way. I do watch other shows sometimes. And I'm thinking, "You're not sitting there thinking, 'I wanna hear you.' You're sitting there thinking, 'I actually wanna promote my next record now.'" And it's so obvious and visible, Dan. And it just goes against the way you find stars. We never hire artists from my record label to find other artists. 'Cause they can't do it. And they won't do it.'

 

Dan: Yeah. Well, having complimented you about your manners and I love what your mother said, "Manners maketh the man." What a nice saying. You know what's said about you on the negative side. So let's start with a few things. Say to me, "Dan, what you don't know about Simon is he's really greedy." (CHUCKLE) Not the first time you've heard that.

 

Simon: 'Greedy? (CHUCKLE) I'm not greedy. I'll tell you what it is. I-- 'cause-- you said to me-- awhile ago, I must have made a lot of money when I first did Pop Idol or American Idol. I mean, the truth was I-- I got paid nothing on the first series of Pop Idol. And I got paid not-- not much more than nothing on the first show of American Idol.

 

Once the show became successful my feeling was if you're making a lot of money, then so should I. I mean, it's just fair. You can't have it all if I'm having a part of this. So I believe in balance. But as somebody, when we go out for dinner, I'm-- I will always try and pay the bill. And I don't like people who don't try and pay the bill. I don't like meanness. But I've always been very strong about being paid what I believe I'm owed.'

 

Dan: 'What do you consider to be-- your biggest weakness or vulnerability?'

 

Simon: 'My biggest weakness is probably being led by your heart and not your head. There are things I've done, artists I've signed, shows I've made where my heart, at that time, as I said, was-- was-- was definitely the more dominant. And then your head kicks in a few weeks later and goes, "What the hell (CHUCKLE) have you done?" But at that point-- I am pretty good at holding my hands up and saying, "That was my responsibility. That was my mistake." But-- it happens.'

 

 

Dan: And what do you consider to be your best strength?

 

Simon: 'I-- I would say my best strength is-- is that I-- I'm a good listener. I like to have a lot of people in the room. I like to hear their opinions. I understand that people outside of my company could have better ideas than us and we have to be aware of that.'

 

'I like every day, to learn something new. And-- I'm curious. And I think that when-- you hire young people, they have much more knowledge of what is happening in the world today than I do. Because they are on their phones. They are all on internet all day long. They're on way more different channels on the internet than I am. So they actually know more that's going on than I do. So it's their job to tell me, rather than the other way around. (CHUCKLE) That's why we pay them.'

 

Dan: 'Professionally, best day of your life?'

 

Simon: 'I would say, Dan, that it was the second week's rating of X Factor, when it cemented itself enough for me to know it was gonna be a hit.'

 

Dan: 'I asked you about professional life. In your personal life, what's been the worst moment of your personal life?

 

Simon: 'Worst day of my life, Dan, was the day my-- my dad passed away. It was-- without question, something I'd never expected or experienced. So when it happened, I mean, I could recall every moment of that day. It was horrendous. Nothing's come close.'

 

What I took from it, Dan, was in relation to my mum, is that every day I spent with my dad, meant something. Every day I didn't spend with him, meant something. And therefore every day I can, that I can have some interaction with my mum or my family is gonna count for something when it's all over. And I was lucky that I-- I was able to say that the only good thing about was that we'd had a fantastic relationship. You know, and to-- to the day he died.

 

Dan: 'What are the chances now that you're a new father, your son is not-- not even a year old now. Have you thought about something along the lines, "How can I be as good a father to my son as my father was to me"? Or is the world turning too fast for you to think that way?'

 

Simon: 'Well, it's an interesting question. And I've lot about it a lot. I mean, look, the times are so different. I-- I guess, (CHUCKLE) what I don't want him doing is-- is being on an iPad for too long during the day. I-- I-- I-- I would encourage him to play football, swim, be outdoors, as much as possible.

 

And learn how to talk. Because you know, the more people text and the more people start to abbreviate these text messages, it's gonna be very difficult for people to communicate as you and I are able to communicate now, in the future. Because, if you-- if you lose the ability to learn how to communicate with people, even telephone calls are rare now.

 

I avoid emails as much as possible. I-- I-- I'm not crazy about telephone calls. I like face-to-face-- communication with people. And so that's-- going back to my son, is that that's what I would-- I'm gonna try and-- and-- and teach him, which is how important it is to be face-to-face with people, try not to text too much and be kind to animals.

 

Dan: 'Well, as you've gone through life-- have you ever been what you considered to be too heavily into drink?'

 

Simon: 'Of course. (CHUCKLE) I'm not-- I-- I mean, I have a rule, which is never drink in the day time and never drink before-- before you eat-- when you're having dinner. A couple of vodkas at nighttime. No, I once said, it would be fun to do a live show drunk. (CHUCKLE) And-- I need to kill everyone to do it.'

 

I think I will one day. I have-- it's just something-- 'cause I think I was watching a Dean Martin-- talk show years ago. And he was definitely sloshed. And it was one of the funniest interviews I've ever seen. And-- and those the days where (CHUCKLE) you could go on a talk show and have a few whiskeys and a cigarette. And I thought I would have loved to have been around those days.

 

Dan: 'Who out there now has it? Who do you see or hear and you say to yourself, he or she has it? What are the X factors, they have it?

 

Simon: 'Without question, Beyoncé. Because she has, more than any other artist I've ever met in my life, total utter steel in her eyes. She's what I call, and I mean this as a compliment, a killer. She is so aware of herself, the business, her star power, what it takes-- the hours she puts in.

 

She was like Michael Jackson when she-- when Michael Jackson was-- on the top of his game and he was asked what are the three important things to be a star. And he said rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. And when Michael was on the top of his game, he had that. And she has that. She-- you can just tell that she is-- like, I said, she's a killer.'

 

Dan: Well, Simon, what's ahead for you? You've accomplished so much.'

 

Simon: 'I always say hits pay the bills. I mean, it's as simple as that. Some will pay more. You know, some will pay less. But at the end of day, you can't survive without being number one or being close to number one. And you gotta have hits, whether you're making movies, TV shows, music. It is-- th-- that's all I ever say to my staff. "Don't tell me a record going in at number 12 is better than a record going in at number one." If you're number one in the ratings, number one in the box office, you're doing great and that's all we ever aspire to be.

 

And like I said to you earlier on, for me personally, is to be relevant. I never wanna be sitting in this chair talking to someone like you or-- or-- or judging a show where I really don't know what I'm talking about. 'Cause that's the point you gotta stop doing what you're doing.'

 

Dan: 'I haven't asked you this question. I've waited til the end. Who are you? I mean, who are you really'

 

Simon: 'Happy and lucky. I would put it like that. And-- I say happy and lucky because luck plays a part. Obviously skill plays a part. But I'm fortunate enough to say-- I was asked a question the other night over dinner. We were playing this game.

If you met this-- the-- the 16-year-old self and you're able to go back in time and you met that person at 16, what would you say to that person? (CHUCKLE) And I would've said, "It's all gonna work out fine." Because genuinely, I don't think it was.'

 

Simon: 'Happy and lucky. I would put it like that. And-- I say happy and lucky because luck plays a part. Obviously skill plays a part. But I'm fortunate enough to say-- I was asked a question the other night over dinner. We were playing this game.

If you met this-- the-- the 16-year-old self and you're able to go back in time and you met that person at 16, what would you say to that person? (CHUCKLE) And I would've said, "It's all gonna work out fine." Because genuinely, I don't think it was.'

 

'You know, I wouldn't have changed anything. You know, it's-- it's been a blast. And-- and I'm lucky that I can, you know, wake up on a Monday morning without that-- that pit in my-- in my stomach and actually look forward to what I do.'

 

Dan: 'Tell me something about yourself that I don't know and the public doesn't know.'

 

Simon: 'I like people. I really, really do. I mean, it doesn't always come over that way. What I don't get are people who are on TV or making records or making movies who bleat about the paparazzi or going out in public, et cetera, et cetera. I always say, "Well, then do a different job." You know, (CHUCKLE) you put yourself in that position. And the people are buying your records, watching your shows, the least you could do is shake their hands when they come up to you. I mean-- who cares. 'Cause one day they won't.'

 

Dan: 'Is there anything that you came into this interview saying, "Listen, I'm gonna talk to Dan." But if it's-- just one thing I want the audience to come away from this interview thinking and knowing about me, what would it be?'

 

Simon: 'Honestly I think you covered it. I'd like you to meet my dogs. although I've got one proper baby, these are my two other babies. (CLAP) Here they are. Here's Squiddly and Diddly. Come on, guys. Put 'em down. They'll run up. (VOICE) Come on, guys. Hello. (CHUCKLE) Say hello. These are my two other babies.

 

Dan: Now, have you trained them yourself? You don't have time to train the dogs?

 

Simon: 'I've-- Dan, I've tried. They are untrainable. (CHUCKLE) I mean, literally. Or maybe it's just me.'

 

END

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