The Confessions Of David McGillivray: An Explosively Hot Interview
20-years-ago the world wasn’t ready for the scandalous truth about his lavish parties and hedonistic lifestyle, but next month, David McGillivray’s autobiography will hit the shelves -‘ taking us through the cocaine-lined world of London’s media industry, the tragic heights of the AIDS epidemic and the sinful celluloid backstreets of Soho’.
After numerous discussions with hundreds of nervous lawyers – now seems to be ‘the right time’ for McGillivray to reveal all.
The book hits the shelves on August 1, are you nervous?
Yes, I’ve been getting increasingly nervous, first of all of the days of the launch approached, now I’m obviously worried about the reaction. I cannot predict what it’s going to be; I’ve joked right from day one that I’m expecting that no one will speak to me again erm, that’s kind of – oh no I shouldn’t say this because it’s giving away too much – but it’s my sort of attitude, it’s a bit of a publicity ploy, lets face it.
I’m hoping to sell a few more copies because people are going to assume, I hope, that it’s the most shocking thing they’ve ever read.
You’ve published a book before. But do you feel different now you’re writing about your own life?
Yes because I’ve been so incredibly rude about everyone so I think that’s gonna be a major issue. I never really wanted to be nice, I think ‘nice’ has all the wrong connotations, it means in fact boring.
I’ve never particularly wanted to be liked but obviously, I’d be upset really if friends decided that I’d gone too far and they didn’t want to be my friend anymore.
So tell us what the book is about.
Essentially, it’s a book about the way we were living our lives nearly twenty years ago at the turn of the century. I thought there was something going on other than the ridiculous superstitious fears about the end of a thousand years and the way everyone was celebrating madly particularly under a dome in Greenwich. I thought that there was more to it than that.
I sensed a great change in society that people weren’t writing about. And so that’s the essence of the book but then as I was writing about that I thought oh well I’ll write about my entire career from birth and I’ve had a rich full life – okay, no one has heard of me, but like I’ve rather pompously imagined that someone might be quite interested in what I’ve been doing for the past 71 years.
Has it been difficult to get a publisher willing to promote such an explicitly queer book with a lot of sex and drug references?
Well, you’ve mentioned all the things that make the book what it is. Yes, it’s been an enormous battle and – as I said at the launch – it’s been waiting for 20 years. It’s been through so many publishers I can’t tell you – it’s been extremely difficult.
The publishers up until FAB press who actually agreed to put it out were very very tense about the amount of detail I go into – particularly in regards to gay sex and drug-taking – and there was a hell of a lot of rewrites, an enormous amount of lawyers went through it and it went from one publisher to another until basically I was fed up with it and I put it on a shelf and thought well obviously people aren’t ready for this and I’ll just leave it. But then, along came FAB press and we started again.
Harvey, the guy in charge, decided he was going to take a gamble with it and maybe it’s just a case of now the time is right, maybe 20 years ago the time wasn’t. Personally, I think that the time is right to reveal a lot about life, the kind of life that wasn’t being written about from about 1997 on-wards.
Have you had to cut any parts of the book out?
Well, I had no control whatever, of course – publishers were saying you can’t say that, you can’t mention that person. There was one ridiculous period where it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to even mention my mother’s name because of the connotations – that was when I nearly threw up my hands and thought well, I don’t want any more of this.
Publishers and their lawyers in this country were very very nervous about the book. Yes, I’ve had to make a lot of cuts and even as recently as last October, I removed the name of a Hollywood action star because somebody had decided no no we can’t, we can’t, mention him and so this has gone on almost up until the day of publication.
I don’t really have any regrets because if the version that I’d wanted to publish had actually reached the shops I would have been sued from here to kingdom come, you know? But the lawyers knew better, so this is the version – the only version – that could be published.
I want to add, however, that I think it’s still probably a pretty good read. There’s still a lot of adventure here, the parties you mentioned, that I was throwing in my house – don’t get the wrong idea, this was long before Chemsex, so we’re not talking about that kind of party. But they were still pretty damn colourful and I don’t think people will be disappointed when they read about them.
Has having to be honest about your past left you feeling vulnerable?
Well, what is the truth of course? I mean, it’s my version of the truth, it’s the truth from my viewpoint and I wanted to be as honest as possible because otherwise, I think there’s absolutely no point in going through this rigmarole. You know, books take a long time to write. It’s not a novel, maybe one day I will write one, but this is supposed to be an accurate reflection of me and my times.
There’s a quote on the book from Julian Clary – for whom I’ve worked for many years now. he wrote his own autobiography which is in many ways just as explicit. And I remember talking to him about that – as he was reading it through before it went to press he said ‘Oh, wait a minute, my mother is going to read this’. He really hadn’t considered that but by that time it was too late and he never altered anything, he just put it out there. Of course, it was no big deal, he didn’t, in fact, lose any friends, and his family didn’t turn his picture to the wall, and the only people who complained were those who hadn’t been mentioned. So, deep down, that’s what I’m hoping will happen with my book.
Time will tell – at the moment very few people have read it. It’s only available on pre-order. It’s not a slim volume, so the people who have got it are ploughing their way through it, but at the moment I haven’t had one call saying ‘seriously you’re going to be hearing from my lawyer’. In all honesty, I think we’re in the clear. It was read by lawyer 107 last October and she passed it. So I’m cautiously optimistic.
What does the future hold for you?
If this book doesn’t end up in the remainder bin, maybe there will be a sequel. I’m still trying to set up a feature film which I’m going to produce. Life will go on.