To write this anecdotally charged blog approximately Max Clifford, the movie star publicist and convicted sexual predator who died the previous day, is to contravene two conventions that he might have little time for himself.
The first, brilliantly parodied with the aid of Private Eye in their “The [insert famous name] I knew” and “Farewell, then [insert famous name]” skits, is that treating someone’s loss of life as a possibility to parade your very own dealings with them is the very top of conceitedness. The 2d is that we do now not speak sick of the useless.
Alas, that second conference is frequently stimulated via the desire amongst awful humans to defend their legacy, and in reality, we have to communicate of the dead as we talk of the dwelling: that is, judiciously. As for the primary, well, it’s far continually a privilege to be the hobby to Private Eye.
Max Clifford become an envoy for a vanished technology who used his journalistic nous, braveness, and sheer malice to come to be large of post-warfare British subculture. Not awful, you may argue, for the son of a Surrey electrician addicted to playing and alcohol, and a mother – defined via her son as “fats, jolly and flatulent”- who once in a while pawned her wedding earrings so that the own family might be fed.
For all that hard upbringing, and for all of the work, he did for charities and certainly his reportedly exemplary elevating of his daughter Louise, who had an incapacity, at its core Clifford’s dealings had been, like Iago’s, pushed by way of one thing – grime.
‘Good sincere dust’
Clifford died after being taken unwell in prison, where he became serving 8 years for the sexual abuse of ladies and ladies as younger as 14. He changed into attractive towards all of his convictions and instructed all who asked that he changed into confident of clearing his call. This factor has been widely said, as has the truth that a great deal of the trial centered at the duration of his penis, and his boasts thereof.
Less broadly stated is a point made by the presiding decide, who said that had the offenses taken location after 2003, when the regulation changed, he might be tried for rape.
As a reporter a few years in the past, I knew as him on several events to corroborate memories. (I never, as some distance as I can don’t forget, handled him as an Editor). It is a curious reality that every single one of the perhaps dozen conversations we had at the cellphone proceeded with the aid of the identical trajectory.
Clifford could be at his residence in Surrey. We would exchange pleasantries. I could say I had a tale regarding a few person he represented. He would concentrate attentively, it appeared – then say he could not speak approximately the challenge, either because he had signed an extremely rewarding settlement with a tabloid, or was approximate to. Then, like a master novelist – and Clifford becomes nothing if not a mythical tale-teller – he could drop a touch that, sincerely, there has been something he should possibly point out to me.
This potential to make newshounds experience special, and that they’re getting morsels of data no person else knows, is one of the maximum essential capabilities a PR could have, and Clifford became superb at it.
After bringing up he might be capable to speak about the situation at hand, he would constantly – usually – make me maintain the road for three or four minutes, as he wandered spherical his Surrey home attending to some home subjects. I as soon as heard him ask a workman if he wanted to jam on his toast. Another time, I bear in mind him soliciting for a kettle to be turned on; and as soon as he said something inaudible to a person cleansing his car.
This delay changed into designed, of direction, to heighten the anticipation for his interlocutor. A junior reporter – indeed, this junior reporter – might think ‘Blimey, Max Clifford is ready to offer me a tale’. Instead, with what became absolutely predictable intonation, he would pour poison in my ear, almost constantly approximately ladies.
Clifford could preface each unmarried sentence with “Off the record”, earlier than saying something vile about a public discern on the wrong side of him. I heard him be abusive about Sharon Osbourne. I clearly do not forget he referred to as each Faria Alam, who he changed into representing after her affair with Sven Goran Eriksson, and Victoria Beckham “slut”.
That changed into after he offered the tale of an alleged affair between David Beckham and Rebecca Loos to the News of the World. Amazingly, he later claimed that if Beckham had come to him first, he would have killed the story by way of telling him to lend his telephone to a friend, who could have been paid to lie that he had sent the incriminating textual content messages.
Time and once more, his messaging to me, a junior reporter, become approximately ladies being unclean, or cheap. Like Donald Trump, some other conceited sexual predator, he seemed fanatical approximately the concept of female purity. Trump stated an interviewer’s menstruation. With Clifford, the talk would frequently turn to vaginas and clitorises.
I in no way met the fellow. But I wasn’t surprised to examine him describe, in memoirs that shamelessly chronicled his sexual exploitation of susceptible people, that the sex events he organized for celebrities inside the Sixties and 1970s were “excellent sincere dust”.
This is the context in which to peer the ludicrous claims that he made on behalf of his very own public career. Clifford raised cash for charity and the profile of several charities. But given he becomes a compulsive liar, it’s miles tough to know exactly how plenty he did, and for whom. What we do know is that the maximum of the claims he made for himself was absurd, and render him a hypocrite.
Clifford claimed to be a lifelong socialist. But he made millions of kilos by way of exploiting human beings often desperate for money. He deluded himself that it becomes his tale about the Tory MP David Mellor having intercourse in a Chelsea kit (a lie) that tarnished the Tories’ popularity for probity. In other phrases, that through associating them with sleaze, he was given them out of the presidency. But Clifford’s motivation wasn’t purifier government – it becomes a bigger pay cheque, for himself.