13/05/2014 Newsnight


The boss of AstraZenica comments on being taken over, and a former defence secretary is being investigated for war crimes. Plus a look at London gangs, Google, and Blondie.

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It's a Titanic battle for what we are told is a vitally important


British company. But the boss of AstraZeneca admits to Newsnight that


for all his posturing he will sell the company to Pfizer if the price


is right. We can't hold out to do a deal, because ultimately we have to


represent the interests of shareholders. This Nobel


Prize-winning scientist thinks a cut in research will be inevitable and


will be disastrous. In his own words, the life of a gang


member on a London estate. I remember seeing one of them with a


machete, I thought he was Superman and try my hardest to disarm him and


end up using it on him. That did not work. And Debbie Harry talks to us


about 40 years of Blondie. # Soon found out


# A pain in the ass! If the great American pharmaceutical


company, Pfizer, succeeds in its attempt to take over the British


drugs manufacturer, AstraZeneca, jobs will vanish and combined


research spending will probably fall. That much was confirmed today


by Pfizer's boss when he appeared before MPs. Although it may have


been frank, that did little to reassure much of the political class


who have been worrying very publicly that however good the takeover might


be for shareholders, it could be catastrophe for British science. Yet


the boss of the British company he's stalking, although he turned up with


a had he rehearsed story of the damage done to public health has


other concerns all together. How is this for corporate speak? Pfizer


gives employees their own special coin to carry, one side stamped the


words "own it", to encourage accountability, on the other is


etched "straight talk", apparently to empower staff. But MPs and


employees of the rival Pfizer is trying to buy, rather hoped for both


from its boss Ian Reid. REPORTER: Good morning Mr Reid why should MPs


here in Britain be able to he is trust your assurances on jobs? I'm


looking forward to talking to the committee today. What chance of


Pfizer's promises on jobs coming unstuck? The commitment of 20% of a


global company's R in the UK is an unprecedented commitment. Yes, but


in terms of numbers that is no hard commitment to either sustain or


increase the numbers employed. There is a hard commitment of how many


employees are successful growing company is prepared to put in the


UK. Your two previous sizeable increases in company size have meant


a sizeable reduction each time in the number of jobs? We will be


efficient by some reduction in jobs, what I cannot tell you is how much


or how many or where. You must have some indication and forward planning


about the number of such staff you are going to drop, how many? I can't


tell you today how many people are going to be in research and


development in the combined company. I haven't even seen the books of


AstraZeneca. So far so not quite clear on job numbers. But what about


that big fat tax cut? Pfizer stands to gain if they global gobble up the


firm? That is sensitive information and premature to disclose that this


early in the process. Would you agree there is substantial tax


benefits to your company and their shareholders if this merger goes


ahead? Yes there are. Thank you. Mr Reid was short on specifics, but the


committee was introduced to that special corporate coin. Remember the


one Pfizer's staff get to keep in their pockets. But MPs believed he


flipped it the wrong way. I believe you span it this morning and got


"own it", and we haven't had the level of straight talk we needed,


perhaps you should toss is again when you come tomorrow. I can


straight talk right now. Ian Reid had more than an hour trying to


answer repeated questions fromp. He said again and again he's a man of


his word and he can trust the commitments. But the sense was that


MPs inside just did not believe him. MPs were entirely more sympathetic


to the Frenchman in charge of the British company AstraZeneca. He


claimed the proprosed takeover of his business pritt bithe Americans


could claim lives and it could delay the release of certain drugs. One of


the medicines was delayed and a father died from lung cancer, it was


relaid because in the meantime the two companies were involved in


savings costs and taxes. Quite a charge. Pfizer's desire to save tax


could harm patients, later I asked him if he was willing to stick to


it. You say lives are at risk if the deal goes ahead, is an emotive way


to get your way on this and push it away? I'm only highlighting


potential risks associated with this transaction. You know, we have a


very broad portfolio, we built it over the last 18 months and we have


made enormous progress. We have a few product that is are really


exciting and moving very quickly, and addressing cancer types for


think which there is no option today. Isn't it the case though that


if the price was right, you would accept this deal? We will consider


proposals, offers that are made to us in the context of the value, the


price that's offered and the potential other terms. But certainly


the price that is offered is a very important dimension. But you can't


rule out doing a deal then? We have a if you had dubry duty - fiduciary


duty and we have to represent the shareholder, if the price reflected


is good for the company and justifies the transaction and tax,


we will have to make a positive recommendation. You would recommend


a deal even though you say the disruption could cause lives? The


disruption is substantial but manageable, but it is certainly a


big risk that we would have to manage as best we can. Ultimately we


have a large number of stakeholders that we are responsible to, but of


course very importantly our shareholders, so the value that is


offered we will certainly have to consider. You have said the


disruption is manageable if the price is right? It is a risk, that


is what I'm saying, what we are looking at is an overall proposal


that reflects the value and the operating model. We don't know what


the operating model will look like and how we would conduct the


business of the new company. Therefore it is hard for us to


understand whether we would be able to manage this risk or not. Pfizer


are committing for five years, how long do your commitments to jobs and


investment in the UK run? Our commitment


investment in the UK run? Our UK is ten years, 20, 30


investment in the UK run? Our committed to this country. We


investment in the UK run? Our you butt this isn't some kind


investment in the UK run? Our David versus Golaith battle, you are


investment in the UK run? Our companies, both of whom who have


investment in the UK run? Our made job cuts in recent years in


investment in the UK run? Our UK. Both of whom are taking


advantage of UK tax rules U said this morning you didn't pay any


corporation tax here last year? I think we have gone through a


transition, suddenly we have, you know very well we have our own


challenges in terms of revenue. But challenges in terms of revenue. But


I think we have made the point clear that we are reaching the end of our


transition, we that we are reaching the end of our


pipeline, we are going to be launching new products over the next


few years and we want to return to growth as quickly as possible.


few years and we want to return to you very much for talking to us.


Now we have a physicist at the University of Manchester, who won a


Nobel Prize for University of Manchester, who won a


FRAF even if, a virtually University of Manchester, who won a


graphene, a virtually indetruckedable material made from a


layer of atoms, and guest from Oxford.


The kerfuffle is all about the future of science in this country,


if the takeover future of science in this country,


share that worry? I'm sharing future of science in this country,


worry about this country developed the model in which it is


very profitable to be my on pick, -- myopic, it is easy to get the gold


and not care about the goose. Professor you have had


and not care about the goose. sponsored by both companies, do you


and not care about the goose. worry? So I do worry. I also worry


that we will worry? So I do worry. I also worry


pharmaceutical industry that the country really needs as well. So we


have been funded both by Pfizer and AstraZeneca to do


have been funded both by Pfizer and research. And I would say there is


one positive aspect of this merger or takeover, and that is that


Pfizer, or it looks as if they are going to invest very substantially


into the UK. Well, for what the assurance is worth?


into the UK. Well, for what the business person, so if they do


invest as I understand 20% of the R budget into the UK, it may be


business reasons for R budget into the UK, it may be


would like to think that is the science base and infrastructure here


is excellent? Although the cumulative total of both Pfizer and


AstraZeneca if the merger goes ahead according to the boss, the amount


spent on R will be slightly smaller than it is now? I don't know


the details of that, if we can attract Pfizer to invest or reinvest


in this country what I would like to see is multiple other pharmaceutical


companies following their lead. It isn't just Pfizer who have downsized


their research in this country over the last decade or so, there is


other pharmaceutical companies. If we can provide an environment to


attract three or four pharmaceutical companies back to the UK it would be


fantastic. It is not a perfect analogy but the car industry might


be one. We have Honda, Nissan, Toyota here, I would like to see the


same kind of thing happen in the pharmaindustry. -- pharma-industry.


Can you see that happening here? I wish I would be that optimistic,


that we as human beings developed a completely new model of the economy


when we don't have an external strategy. We forget about basic


science and fundamental knowledge. Because look at executive boards,


what they are interested in, they are human beings, they are


interested in appreciation, imagine someone from the board would say we


will invest a lot of money 50 years from now, they would be immediately


taken to an asylum. They are interested in bringing shareholders


value. And one of the ways to cut research and that is what has been


happening, with companies, with Governments. It didn't stop you


inventing a completely revolutionary substance did it? At some intuitive


level people do understand that we need fundamental knowledge that it


is eventually the basis for the technology, but the disstabs between


fundamental knowledge and the market, it is a very long chain and


the chain is very obscure, try for example how many people will you


find who would understand how quantum mechanics plays a role in


computers. Some people at school will probably learn that Bill Gates


invented the computer and Steve Jobs invented the mobile phone. It is 40,


50 years between the discovery. But, yes, we still understand, but there


is always a pressure on both Governments to cut fundamental


research at the universities and the companies have this model operating,


new models operating that will have everything fundamentally done at the


universities. Why are you so optimistic aboutifier? -- Pfizer?


I'm not optimistic about Pfizer, if we can attract them here, the idea


will be to get other companies come in, it is not just a question of


optimisim it is a question of need as well. In this country we have an


ageing population, looking forward decades ahead. There will be very


serious medical problems, for example, with Alzheimer's disease,


and at the moment there are no real cures for those in prospect at the


moment. This is basic science problem that will involve investment


for tens of decades. Is that investment more likely if this


takeover goes ahead? Yeah, I can't comment on, that I think the


translation of the basic biomedical research in this country, which is


very strong at the moment, into actual medicines is much more likely


if we have a strong pharmaceutical industry, local to the basic


research. That would imply that you this is it is better AstraZeneca


isn't taken over, wouldn't it? Obviously the best thing would be if


both companies were super-strong and doing super-well and both located in


the UK and we had two or three others. Are you in favour of the


takeover or not? I can't comment on the business side, from the science


side if it does happen there is potential to use it to engage or


encourage other industries to come to the UK. This idea that there is a


sort of critical mass at work, when you get a successful company,


successfully relocated here, or developing here. Does that work in


your experience? There should be a critical mass, of course, when the


mass becomes too critical it becomes what is happening now. That was a


bad idea to come at you with a science metaphor, I agree! It can


become an explosion, yes! But big companies in terms of research, they


are looking at what is happening at the universities, that's where


fundamental research is based these days, it was not like that 30, 40,


years ago, a lot of fundamental research was in companies


themselves. Has something happened in capitalism? Yes indeed. What has


happened then? I said before there is no external looking, that makes


us saying imagine the moon programme, it is unimaginable


because the moon programme was only because people were afraid of


nuclear war and people did understand that technology is very


important. And now it is more we are living in a safe world and we are


sinking, OK, not 50 years, not many parents think what their children


how they would go to the university in 10, 20 years, so you would like


both of the companies to think what will happen with this company in 0


years. This isn't a specifically Pfizer problem? It isn't,


AstraZeneca is presented like a bullet company. It is the same. A


couple of years ago to tell you an anecdote, I had a dinner with the


chief executive officer, he was complaining that their shares went


up and he was disappointed, I said why not close all the research labs,


well it is not of course because of my advice, but he later, he was


later following exactly the same scenario, and their shares precisely


went up, positively. Thank you very much. The European Court of Justice


handed down a fascinating ruling today, a Spaniard had complained


that when you googled his name, you can discover once upon time he was


found guilty of an unchess charged debt.


found guilty of an unchess charged listen when there are complaints


about this, and comply with requests to have personal information removed


from requests. It is personal to celebrities who Google themselves


and find untrue stories. But it has implications for everyone. What are


we entitled to know about others and what are others entitled to stop us


knowing. ??FORCEDWHI What happens when you Google yourself, don't


pretend you haven't done it. If you don't like the results that come


back, perhaps it would be nice to make them go away. Two more or less


everyone's surprise the European Court of Justice, which is there to


interpret EU law has concluded that an individual can get Google or


another search engine to remove a link that is either out of date or


damaging. This is the man who wanted to be forgotten but


damaging. This is the man who wanted come. Mario Gonzales, he had his


home repossessed in 1998, he was unhappy that this embarrassing


feature appears when his name is searched. He believes today's an


important ruling. TRANSLATION: If Google is great tool it is


important, if people have a problem with an image or photo that is


damaging and the data isn't relevant, they ask for it to be


withdrawn. The ruling is only about the search engines and the links


they return, it doesn't say that the original article has to be removed.


It can stay on-line, just unlinked to. Particularly confusing his Emma


Carr from Big Brother Watch, since the judges have gone against a


previous decision? The Advocate-Generals are right that


saying to Google that you have to remove legitimate content is wrong,


it d have a chilling effect on free speech. For this new ruling to come


out and say completely the opposite was a huge surprise. We need to


digest what this really means, and whether this in practice can happen.


Previously it was accepted that the original publishers of the


information were responsible for it. If they took the information down it


would eventually disappear from search engines. Now, under the terms


of EU law it appears that the search engines control the information.


That's absolutely delighted the European Commission who have been


pressing for just such a change. The ruling is good news, because it


confirms the position of the European Commission. First that


European law can apply to a search engine and that Google is a


controller of data, and can be regarded as a controller, and this


is the position the commission has taken in this case, this is also the


position that we have taken in the European data protection forum, so


it is, above all, not only good for the commission but citizens who will


see their data better protected. The European Commission is at the moment


trying to bring in new data protection rules that would give


people the so called right to be forgotten. This was mainly about


social media, to prevent web sites keeping data about you if you decide


to close your account. But should we worry that the EU judges want to


include search engines as well? The court had to strike a very difficult


balance between the fundamental freedom, fundamental rights they are


called of freedom of expression and privacy, all it did was say that


Google isn't outside the law. It kicks the ball back into play, it is


actually national courts that then have to decide whether somebody's


complaint is really excessive and invasive of low privacy. It is often


said the Internet is written in concrete, but that could be


crumbling, giving us more control about what people see about us when


they search. Some of the most senior figures in


the British defence establishment, including the former Secretary of


State Jeff Hon, Hoon, are being investigated by the International


Criminal Court in the Hague, it is set up to bring to justice those


accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The United States


doesn't accept its jurisdiction, precisely to avoid this sort of


embarrassment. The current British Government says it will help with


the examination, but it doubts much will come of it because this country


is already investigating the claims. Videos shot in Iraq in 2003, it


shows a British corporal shouting and swearing at hood the detainees,


some are held in stress positions, meant to have been banned. A day


after that was filmed this man was found battered to death in British


custody in the same detention centre. Corporal Donald Payne, who


we can't identify, was the only person punished forped what, he was


jailed for a year and expelled from the army. For years campaigners have


argued abuse was far more widespread, through six years of


military action in Iraq. In 2006 the International Criminal Court in the


Hague was first asked to look at allegations of war crimes. At the


time they determined the required threshold was not met. In 2010,


after calls for a wider inquiry, the MoD set up a team to investigate


allegations of historic abuse. It has paid out more than ?15 million


to settle 200 claims of mistreatment and unlawful detention. Then in


January, a file containing 250 new pages of factual and legal analysis


was passed to the ICC by lawyers representing detainees. It contained


evidence of what they said was more than 400 new cases of mistreatment


and unlawful killing. Among those named in the file a former Armed


Forces Minister, and former Defence Secretary, Jeff Hoon. Today the


international criminal court said it would now open its preliminary


examination into the allegations. It is the first time the UK has ever


been the subject of an ICC probe. We are not saying we will go after the


military or we will go after the civilian or political, we will be


looking at the persons, whoever they are, who bear responsibility for


those crimes. The MoD has long claimed the vast majority of


soldiers served in Iraq with professionalism and decency.


Ministers say they completely reject the suggestion that abuse was


systematic. I have never seen any suggestion made that there was a


policy of abusing prisoners being carried out by Her Majesty's forces,


and it would be an extraordinary thing if it were true, it would be


contrary to every tenet under which British forces have always operated.


But more than a decade after Mr Mousa was killed in this detainee


facility, accusations of wider abuse will not go away. When Britain


signed up to the International Criminal Court, it surely would not


have seen itself being the subject of any investigation. Even at the


earliest stage. The decision to reopen the


investigation into the MoD was taken after a 250-page dossier was


submitted to the ICC by the British law firm Public Interest Lawyers,


headed by the human rights lawyer Phil Shiner. I spoke to him earlier.


The gist of the case is throughout the period that the UK were in Iraq


there was systemic issues leading to a detention and interrogation policy


that was completely unlawful, which means there are now hundreds and


hundreds of Iraqis coming forward and saying they were subjected to


prohibited interrogation practices and techniques, and there are also


unfortunately lots of people skilled. Killed. Are you really


suggesting that soldiers on operations were given orders to


behave in ways you believe to be illegal? I'm suggesting that the


training materials and training manuals I have seen and we have all


seen, and in the inquiry they were analysed and made public, makes it


absolutely clear that at Chick Sands, the interrogation training


for questioners and ingators was completely unlawful. I'm also


suggesting that there are at least 11 other deaths in custody just like


Mr Mousa that we know of and the Ministry of Defence point blank


refuse to tell us of. Or how many deaths in custody is the Ministry of


Defence aware of. You are alleging it goes right to the top, up to the


Defence Secretary himself? I am indeed, Geoff Hoon was in charge to


the run up to the invasion of Iraq, that is when all these people were


trained. If he didn't know he ought to have known. But the fact that he


didn't know specifically isn't going to help him one bit. Are any of your


claimants former insurgents? As far as I'm aware every single person who


is claiming, and making allegations of torture, cruelty and inhuman


treatment is a civilian in the wrong place at the wrong time. So there


are no claimants who are former insurgents? I think you are making a


reference to the on going inquiry, I thought you were, and the Ministry


of Defence are trying to make a great deal. We will have to wait and


see what is said about the very serious allegations of torture,


cruel and inhuman treatment which he will report upon in December. But is


it the Ministry of Defence's case then that if you are an insurgent


you can do what you like to them. That is obviously not the case, and


that didn't help marine A in the recent murder case from Afghanistan.


But it is the case, is it not, that some of your witnesses there are


former insurgents? I have just said and I will say it again, as far as


I'm I aware, none of my clients who are breaches to the prohibition of


torture before the prosecutor are insurgents. If some of my clients


are it will come out. It makes no difference whatsoever. You are


saying that you have done this entire case free, gratis and for


nothing, correct? Correct. Why? Because I'm a principled human


rights lawyer, and it seemed to me with the evidence that I had,


particularly after the Mousa inquiry that it was the right thing to do. I


know that is not what the Ministry of Defence want to hear. But it


happens to be the truth. Some lawyers, like myself, actually


believe in the rule of law. We actually believe in fairness and


justice and democracy. We are prepared to pursue that, at times at


our own quite considerable expense. That is not what the Ministry of


Defence want to hear this evening, it happens to be the truth. They


know it really. Thank you very much for joining us. Major General Tim


Cross was the most senior general involved in the planning for a


post-war Iraq, and is part of the House of Commons defence committee.


He joins me from his home in Hampshire. When you hear that sort


of dedication from Mr Shiner, taking the case for nothing, his commitment


to the cause shining through at every level. It is rather impressive


isn't it? In one sense it is, but I would say his comment that some


people believe in the rule of law I think is a bit unfair. I would


suggest that the vast majority of people, lawyers, Government


ministers, and certainly senior military people, absolutely believe


in the rule of law and would want to ensure as far as possible that rule


of law is followed on operational theatres. We shouldn't be holding


him up as a par gone of virtue. I don't know him but I know his


reputation, his reputation is a bit sullied, it has to be said. If


indeed no wrong has been done, the British authorities surely have


nothing to fear from an inquiry by the international criminal -- --


criminal court. I have been a witness, and they are long and


ponderous, if the ICC have a look at this inquiry again, and we have


signed up to the ICC, as your reporter said. We should do all we


can to assist in that process. It is important to say that the ICC was


set up to investigate issues like genocide and mass war crimes and so


on, it wasn't established to investigate individual or relatively


small cases, nor was it set up to do this inquiry if the host Government,


in our case the British Government, were doing an inquiry themselves


into this instance. And the UK is doing an inquiry. If British


soldiers were mistreating Iraqis, prisoners or otherwise, that is


surely something that should be investigated and for which people


should be brought to justice, isn't it? Absolutely it should be. That


has happened and the British Government have set up an Iraqi


inquiry unit to look at some of these issues, and that is absolutely


right. And anybody who would suggest that over the last 10, 12 years the


tens of thousands indeed hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have


served in Iraq they there haven't been issues like this would be


kidding themselves. They need to be investigated. But I do think the


point I'm trying to make sheer is the International Criminal Court, we


are not talking about genocide, I don't believe we are talking about


systemic or systematic abuses, which have been supported by the chain of


command, all the way up to the Ministry of Defence, I think that is


idle to suggest that. But individual cases, yes, there have been mistakes


and yes they should be investigated and if people are found to have done


criminal actions they should be punished. That has happened. Your


initial response to this accusation from Mr Shiner is to respond his


reputation was some what sullied, for which you have no evidence? I


said I haven't met him but heard a lot about him, that is the


impression I got. The House of Commons defence committee report


that was sub illusioned recently has look -- published recently has


looked at some of these issues, it is a very good report and I


recommend people read it. There are potential conhe is uences from all


of these issues, I don't know -- cons sequences from these issues, I


wouldn't suggest anything other than I have heard. You have no evidence


for that? I'm sorry. You have no evidence for your claim then? I have


said what I have said Jeremy, no I would say it is more than tittle


tattle. But there is no point in entering that debate, I have said


what I have said. The important issue here is I have no objection at


all to these investigations being conducted, but we need to look at it


in the context is it right for the ICC to be doing this work, should


our own Government be doing it, in my view this is a UK Government


issue and I regret the fact it has gone to the International Criminal


Court. It is generally thought to be one of


the most difficult things a young man can attempt, how do you escape


from the world of gangs. We are going to hear now the story of one


young Londoner who spent nearly a decade rising through the ranks of


his gang, and until the futility of it all dawned upon him as he was


treated for serious knife wounds. He spoke to us through the offices of


the charity Gangs Line, to tell us how he changed his life or jumped


off. For fear of retribution, he asked us to call him JT, his words


are spoken by the actor, Ashley Thomas.


Gangs, I seen them when I was younger, I saw a stabbing when I was


nine, I was sleeping and someone was shouting, I opened my curtain, there


was a green door and blood on it, the guy was holding his body, I


called my dad and he told me go back to bed. So yeah I see that. I


enjoyed football a lot, that is what I should be now, a professional


footballer, I had to stop going training and started hanging around,


that is when I messed up. There was a football cage and a lot of older


boys there, they were having problems with others, that was how


the rivalry started, always violence. We saw one of the olders


killed and that got to us, I was 15, the older guys told us how to do


things, beef and make money, don't leave your boy, don't run, don't


snitch, don't get caught slipping, telling me not to slip it telling me


to have my wet on. If I meet someone a they have a knife and I don't, I


will get stabbed. I have hurt people, when you are jumping, when


you are in this life you know what's coming, and I knew in the back of my


head I would end up in a peak situation, I would get stabbed or


killed. I would never go out of my way to hurt an innocent, never, I


always go someone that I have got beef with. Innocents, they are


intimidated by me, I don't like that. You hear the car lock, you are


walking and the person will cross the road, it is not nice. I didn't


think about my actions, I just did what I did and kept it moving. And


get respect, girls, girls love a bad boy innit, fee MRAELs are impressed


by violence, I don't know -- females are impressed by violence, I don't


know why. The olders told us go shop for this guy and that way, they will


give you say an eighth of weed broke down into shots, it was instinct, we


knew what to do and how to get rid of it, sell it on, sell it on to the


cats to anyone You know what keeps people going, money, nobody wants to


run around stabbing and shooting people, if you make money because


you are on the roads and seeing dough people will continue. I was


seeing from weed ?450 a day, that is too much work, it is not like you


finish at this time, 24-hours, sleepless nights, it starts getting


long. I clocked on stupid when I was sliced, I remember clearly I got a


phone call, one of my lot was sitting waiting to go to court, it


is peak, it can be anyone from any area there, I met this pig and he


smack in my face, and we do it together, he was come, come, I got


there, there was there lot, three cars came, I thought I know what I'm


doing, I will run at him, my lot have legged it, thinking it would be


a fist fight, I was getting my head kicked in, they got closer and it


was a blur, one had a machete, I thought I was Superman, and I


thought I would disarm him and end up using it on him, that did not


work. Flaps were coming out of the arm of my jacket, my arm was split,


I thought this is peak, when I was going into hospital and I was


thinking about revenge, as soon as I came out and I would do what I was


doing, I was operated on straight away. They put you to sleep, I woke


up not angry, I thought what is the point in getting out of the bed and


doing something knowing I will go to jail for it or someone coming to do


me again. I don't tell my friends I would jump off, none of them jumped


off, everyone is thinking the same thing, this is getting long. If you


told one they would say you are soft. Then I met a girl, I met a


girl, and started seeing opportunities to make good money and


keeping it without getting arrested and put in cells, I thought yeah,


man, the beef goes on. Even now if I have to see someone from them sites


I would have to do something. If I want to go to west London I will be


carrying something just in case it gets political. I'm much happier


though, much less stress, I will never fully go back on the block,


that is over for me. My little brother is ten, he got stopped and


searched, they said he was looking suspicious, older guys make younger


boys carry for them, he's a good boy, for him it is football, that's


it. If he wants to carry anything for a guy I would kick his cars.


Yeah man, I would kick his cars. Then I would confront the guy.


You know you are old when the band to which you danced is releasing its


40th anniversary album and you discover its rock goddess singer is


68. That is the state untold number of us find ourselves in with the


release this week of Bondar's Ghost of Download album. They are playing


Glastonbury this summer. Because the restraining order is still in place


I wasn't allowed to go when the invitation came to meet them. Kirsty


went and spoke to Debbie Harry and Chris Steyn and saw them performing


at the studios. This record is a very collaborative effort, there are


a lot of people involved. There is never a grand overview scheme to


what we do, I just do what I like as far as music goes. I think some of


the fans were upset when I say it is a character and I'm playing a part.


# They tell me I should try it # Each way not that sky


# What I know that I would learn to # Do the mile high When you started,


in a way when Blondie came about, it exploded, you weren't an ingenu, you


came out fully formed. I wasn't. You knew what you were doing.


came out fully formed. I wasn't. You different to what anyone had ever


seen? I guess so. You know, I certainly had an idea that what I


wanted to do. But I also feel that a lot of the girls that had strong


personas and ideas, you know, lot of the girls that had strong


how they didn't get past a certain point. We were very much in the


moment back then, I don't know if we were aware of what the effect was as


much as in retrospect. There was a certain kind of incredible


detatchment, it certain kind of incredible


effortless coolness to that. Inside it was trauma! Every minute was


trauma! # Inbetween


# What I find is pleasing # And I feel it come


# Love is so confusing. Did you ever think you still be touring in your


60s? It is the same answer as previously, which is we are very


much in the moment, I don't think anybody was thinking ahead. But also


you know when we were kids the only people in their 50s and 60s were


jazz and blues musicians, no musicians were that old. Rock 'n'


roll is a young form. When you were young I read that you had actually


thought perhaps that you had been Marylin Munro's daughter? Yeah, but


I don't think I was ever young actually. I think that I have always


I don't think I was ever young # Call me I'm in love


When I met her she was 26, I think, and there was a really big deal when


Cream Magazine outed her as being 33 years old in the beginning of our


career, and that was like whoooo. I just flashed my underpants a took


care of that! You said I think you were so glad you had all the radical


experiences in your life that you had. Does that also include, you


have talked about this so long, the drugs period, are you glad in a way


you had that, is that still something you don't regret? I think


I regret certain aspects of it for sure. But you know it is part of,


definitely part of the culture and the times and I certainly think I


was you know of a mind to experiment and I think that I stillam perhaps


not in the drug world but I think experimentation and trying things is


that's deeply rooted in me. It is a problem with drugs and smoking pot


every day is it makes everything have the same importance. You know


that the little things are as important as the big things, and I


don't know if that is a good mental state to be in. We're going to do


rapture, after the guitar solo how do you want to do that? We never do


the same thing twice. You are funnily rude to Clem? He's a


complete pain in the ass but he's great drummer. His playing gets


better, he's living the dream. It is like this old family situation, it


gets like that. The band is pretty stable now, really, but there are


aspects of that. All right, whatever. The creative partnership,


you had to have each other for this didn't you? Yeah, it is a weird


thing, click, it goes on. # That's very close


When you actually split up romantically did it not make any


difference to the work? While there was some moments of... There was a


period when we weren't working for a year or so, and then it just started


up again. Debt is the godmother -- Deb is the godmother to the kids?


Are you good at fairy godmother things? I'm terrible. I still


haven't left them with her yet? What age are they? Eight and ten? Really?


You have had a life and rock 'n' roll, do you feel you are a lifer,


that has been in a sense that has been the entire focus of your life?


God forbid we are on death row, we are lifers! You know I don't know if


we will retire ever, I keep hearing that as soon as you retire you are


dead in five years, you have to keep working. We are lucky and appreciate


it and I mean I certainly never expected to have this kind of life,


I don't know if my kind of life actually existed when I was a child,


there was nothing really to pattern myself about. I think you know I


knew that I wanted to perform and you know I think originally I was a


little girl and I wanted to be a movie star! My ideas were probably


always very visual and that has attributed to me sort of creating


this Blondie persona. Is there anything you regret that you haven't


done yet or you still want to do, are you two cooking up something


else? Sure, plenty of stuff. There is this little comedy workshop I


have enjoyed doing recently, so I'm not funny you know but I play it


very straight. You are pretty funny! Are you funny? Him? He's funny!


She's funny too. We can be funny. She has a good sense of humour. That


was nice. That was Kirsty talking to Blondie, you can see the full


Blondie sessions if you press the red button on your remote at the end


of the programme. It is on iPlayer too. That's it from us, the BBC's


body clock day today revealed among other things that smartphones and


computers trick the body by emitting blue light which makes it think that


it is not really time to go to sleep. At last we all understand the


reason for this programme's colour scheme. Well it's finished now.


Sleep well. (Soft jazz music) After the big downpours that many of


us experienced during the course of Tuesday, Wednesday is looking a lot


better although it is not going to be a perfect day. There is some


cloud and rain in the forecast. Let's start with Northern Ireland


first of all where the weather is not looking all that great. Cloudy


The boss of Astra Zenica comments on being taken over, and a former defence secretary is being investigated for war crimes.

Plus a look at London gangs, Google, and Debbie Harry and Blondie.

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