1. Actor Paul Schneider on Hollywood fitness
Usually what gets me into the gym is just the sheer terror of a sex scene, and not wanting to look like a refrigerator next to a gorgeous woman. Not wanting to look like a fool doesn’t sound like a pure motivation, though. It seems to be that the main reason you go to the gym is because you want to look like you belong in this club full of really good-looking people, who you feel like you don’t belong with anyway…
2. Magician Penn Jillette on Paul Daniels
When we first got to England, I had mean jokes about David Copperfield, and Jonathan Ross said: “Say ‘Paul Daniels’ instead!” So I did mean Paul Daniels jokes – then I bumped into him. He was ready to be enemies, and I said: “Jonathan Ross gave me your name to plug in! I was talking out of my ass!” When I saw him work, I liked him: there was no one better at telling stories. The great jazz pianist Thelonious Monk said a genius is someone who’s most like himself. Paul Daniels was so like himself.
3. Hip-hop DJ Tim Westwood on food storage
My fridge is always empty, but in my freezer I’ve got some bananas. They last longer if you freeze them, but you’ve got to peel them first. If you put them in with the skin on you’ll never be able to unzip them when they’re frozen. I didn’t realise that at first and I lost a whole bunch.
4. Musician Rick Wakeman on charity
My band used to play charity gigs at a pub in Buckinghamshire. The pub held 100 people, but word got out about one gig and 2,500 showed up. They ended up on the roof. As the alcohol flowed, a group of them decided to have a competition going down the main street of the village and urinating through letterboxes. To cap it off, they then knocked on the doors to ask if they could measure how far they’d got down the hall carpet. People were upset by what went on, but at least we did buy three guide dogs!
5. Explorer Levison Wood on a near-death experience
Once I was hitchhiking across Afghanistan. There were about 15 of us in a minibus, me and a load of locals. The brakes failed [on a mountain]. We were trying to throw people out the window, but I couldn’t get out. The driver could have bailed, but he didn’t. He purposely crashed into another truck that was parked on the edge of the cliff. Rather than going over the edge he sacrificed himself to save everyone else: he was flattened. If it wasn’t for him I’d have been very much dead.
6. BMX legend Matt Hoffman on his memory
I’m kind of the poster child for BMX injuries – I’ve lost my spleen, lost a lot of blood, been in a coma. Once, I slammed on a ramp and I lost eight months of my memory – it’s almost like your brain is a hard drive and it has to be refragmented.
7. TV presenter Steve Jones on the “fight”
8. Former England cricketer Graeme Fowler on Ian Botham
In Adelaide, I was really nervous before going out to bat, and I said, “I’m just a little lad from Accy, what can I do against these Australians?” Beefy picked me up and threw me against the wall of the dressing room. “Well, how do you think I started?” he yelled. That calmed me down.
9. Cuban Brothers performer Miguelito on gym etiquette
I’ve pulled a couple of people up about not shouting enough when they’re doing weights… You’re doing your benching, can we please have some shouting?
10. Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais on Christopher Guest
By far the biggest mentor in this industry, from early days to now, and still the person I call, is Christopher Guest. This Is Spinal Tap was a direct influence on The Office, and he called me after saying he loved the show. He gave me a part in For Your Consideration, and I gave him a little cameo in The Invention Of Lying, just because I wanted to fly him over and play with him for the weekend. We once spent a week where we were meant to write something together – I flew from London to New York, and he flew from LA, and we just spent five days taking stupid selfies of people behind us in restaurants. Complete waste of money, didn’t get anything done, but we had a great week. He actually gave me the guitar from Spinal Tap for my 50th birthday. I don’t play it, I tell people, “Don’t even look at that one.”
11. Pilot Jerry Grayson on extreme survival
I once worked for the German film director Werner Herzog, who had to change flights to a different destination in South America at the last moment. The flight he was supposed to be on broke up in mid-air and a young girl fell two miles, still strapped to her seat, onto the canopy of the Amazon rainforest. She released herself and walked for 10 days to safety.
12. Rapper Example on music industry temptation
The music industry is also known for excess, partying and being drawn into that side of things. “Oh, you can’t play football tonight, you have to go to this gig,” or “Don’t go and do your circuit training, because you need to go out and get fucked with this producer.” Those have been the main battles for me – the amount of partying, which may or may not lead to better opportunities in the industry, versus wanting to treat your body as a temple.
13. Musician Nikki Sixx on Aerosmith
When I was going through the ’80s, on a real bad run with heroin, Steven Tyler used to call my voicemail – it would go: *beep* “You have three messages,” and it would be like “Yo, it’s Steven Tyler, you gotta get off the junk, boy!” And he’d start singing me songs like “Because I love you, I love yooouuu, call me back!” My hero was calling me and singing to me about my drug addiction – he’d just got clean himself, I’ll never forget that of Steven. I remember during our Girls, Girls, Girls Tour we had a private jet that was painted black with a naked woman on the side and we were at our worst behaviour ever – our stewardess was topless and brought us silver trays with cocaine and champagne, that was our dinner after the show.
14. Eddie The Eagle on the best piece of advice he’s ever had
15. Writer/filmmaker Jon Ronson on his favourite interviewee
Her name is Martine Rothblatt [born Martin Rothblatt]… As a boy she’d been on a tour of NASA and suddenly had a brainwave that ultimately led to the invention of satellite radio, which made her an absolute fortune. Later she was told that her seven-year-old daughter had an untreatable lung condition called pulmonary hypertension and would be dead by the time she was 10 – so, even though she knew nothing about medicine or lungs, Martine went to a library, invented a treatment for pulmonary hypertension and now thousands of people, including her own daughter, are alive because of it.
16. Actor/comedian Miles Jupp on plugs
I had to go to hospital once because I hit myself in the eye with my own mobile phone charger. It’s a very pathetic thing to find yourself in A&E, where everyone has had an overdose or something, and you’ve got a bad blink because of a plug.
17. Rapper and actor KSI on being honest
I’ll be real – I keep fit for women! That’s my main motivation, 100%.
18. Musician Travis Barker on near-death
The plane bounced a few times before it crashed into a ridge next to a highway, and that broke my back in four places, but I was still able to get out of my seat and open the emergency door. Unfortunately, I jumped straight out onto the wing, which was covered in burning jet fuel, and my whole body lit up like a firework.
19. Comedian and actor Chris Ramsey on leg day
20. Comedian Joe Lycett on unexpected injuries
I pulled my back out two years ago because I sneezed in the shower – I had a really bad back for about two months. And I love a sneeze, I never try to stifle them – I really try to enjoy them.
21. Journalist David Walsh on Lance Armstrong
When everyone is telling you you’re a great guy; when everyone is saying yes to your every request; when George W Bush wants to go with you on a trail ride; when you have Bono texting you; when your social life is being acted out with Hollywood’s finest, some two-bit journalist from Ireland isn’t going to bother you – you think you can crush him. Lance never wanted to beat his opponents, he wanted to crush them to dust.
22. Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes on saying goodbye to a body part
Even though my fingertips were mummified and dead, the pain would shoot down into the nerves whenever I brushed against the furniture accidentally. It was like the Gestapo were trying to make me talk, so we bought a workbench and a microsaw and decided to trim the frostbitten parts off. The thumb alone took two days to saw off – you have to go very carefully through the bone.
23. Comedian Al Murray on TV magic
I remember I had some TV work coming up, so I went for some boxercise and at the end of it, I just thought, “You know what? I don’t mind looking a bit chubby on television.” It puts weight on you anyway – people always tell me I’m not as fat as they thought I was on the television. It really is the cameras – it’s 10lb a camera, and we used to have 10 cameras...
24. Comedian and broadcaster Matt Richardson on embarrassing injuries
I did once stand funny on my foot and break it. Are you ready for the most middle-class story of your life? I broke my foot in a pottery café in West Hampstead getting up to get a caramel macchiato. That’s more embarrassing than falling off a treadmill, isn’t it?
25. Writer and political aide Alastair Campbell on wake-up calls
My nervous breakdown in 1986 made me successful. I was only 28 and I had just been promoted to a high-powered job on Fleet Street that I was too young for. I was drinking heavily under all the pressure and I cracked up. Luckily, after a few months of recovery, my old boss at The Mirror offered me the chance to start again from the bottom, which saved me. I still suffer from depression, but I have a yardstick now. If I’m feeling down, I can compare it to the breakdown and it’s never as bad.
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