Sunday, February 14, 2010

Interview with Luke and Val

LD:           This morning we are talking with the British pop sensation Val Quentin, and bodyguard and partner, Luke McNeil from their hotel suite in London where Val will be performing tonight.
LD:            Welcome gentlemen. Thank you for spending a few moments with me us this morning. I don't want to keep you so let's jump right in with the questions.
LD:            So do your families know about the different relationships with your partner?

VAL:           That's hard!
LUKE:        My family aren't really in touch with us. Val hasn't met them.
VAL:           Some of my family know. Peter and my Dad
LUKE:        Maybe they know at some level.
VAL:           Mom maybe? The rest no.

LD :             What is your partner's worst/best trait, Val?
VAL:            laughing, looking under silky lashes at Luke Let's start with the best.
LUKE:         Watch it. This is being recorded.
VAL:             Laughing He's kind.
LUKE:         He sings nicely. When he's in the mood.
VAL:            He's punctual. Too a fault.
LUKE:         You just don't like keeping ANY appointments!
VAL:            Mood? When am I ever NOT in the mood to sing? And I go to those     
                     appointments that I must.
LUKE:         Those I drag you to.
VAL:           wide eyes Drag, me? I go willingly. laughing
LUKE:        Mmn. Kicking, screaming. That's his best quality. He only kicks below the knee.
VAL:           quick glance at Luke I DO have my standards.
LUKE:         Worst fault? Hmmmmm.....
VAL:            I wouldn't go there... laughing Sorry.
LUKE:          I'm still bigger than you...
VAL:             Gorilla.
LUKE:          Horror
VAL:             They are ALWAYS bigger. Now what were you saying?
LUKE:           That's my worst fault? I'm bigger than you?
VAL:              No. I've a few other ideas.....
LUKE:           He cheats at strip poker.
VAL:              looking at interviewer, hand to mouth I have to...
LUKE:           Falling about laughing!
VAL:               NO ONE wants to see him undress.
LUKE:           Clips Val around the ears, still laughing.
VAL:              He can be too single minded.
LUKE:           Yeah. Not distractible, unfortunately for some people.
VAL:              Doesn't bend. Me.
LUKE:           Much.

LD:                 Does Val ever try to charm his way out of a spanking and does it ever work?
VAL:               Kiss my ass.
LUKE:             Excuse us...
VAL:               Winks at LD.
LUKE:            Shall we find somewhere a little quieter and debate that?
VAL:      sir. Your question.
LUKE:             Oh no. You're the expert in charm and diplomacy.
VAL:                trolls eyes Of course I am....And yes I do. And no it doesn't.
LUKE:             Often.
VAL:                Ever.
LUKE:             Smiles. He tries hard though.
VAL:               looking at interviewer Wouldn't you? He DOES have large hands. 
LUKE:           They go right around his neck.

LD :                How did the two of you meet?
VAL:               Meet? He picked me up.
LUKE:            Off the floor.
VAL:               Tripped.
LUKE:            I was employed as head of security and we worked together for a while. Found 
                        we liked each other.
VAL:               Yeah, after like a month or something. He was REALLY into his job.
LUKE:            We did try for a while not to let it happen, but it didn't do much good.
VAL:               No, he was too insistent.
LUKE:            Smiles We haven't regretted it. We do have to be careful though. Publicity. 
                        There are cameras everywhere.
VAL:              Yeah. The Company. They wouldn't like it much.
LUKE:           I keep close tabs on the press anyway and the Orion press office are pretty 
                       good. But we've got the perfect excuse to be together 24/7 anyway. It doesn't 
                       cause much suspicion really, and Val's close team are discreet.

LD:                 What are the pet names you call each other?
VAL:               Gorilla.
LUKE:            Horror. Brat. Quentin.
VAL:               McNeil. Mr. Perfection on a Stick.
LUKE:          Not to my face if you want to live.
VAL:            Mr. McWhatever it is that I'm upset about.
LUKE:         That TO my face whenever he's upset enough.
VAL:            Then I say sir.
LUKE:         NOT often. Tousles Val's hair.
VAL:          Can't let you think you have the upper hand ALL the time.

LD :           When did you decide discipline was going to be needed in your relationship 
                    and how did you reach that decision?
VAL:          looks cross-eyed at Luke
LUKE:       We didn't really sit down and discuss it. The world Val lives in moves very fast 
                   and it's emotionally very draining. Sometimes things move fast and I need       
                   tactics strong enough to cut through it all. And there are times when I 
                   seriously need him to stop and to listen to me. The stress can be horrendous.
VAL:         Yeah, so he makes me think about things. In the corner a lot of the time. When I go off in the wrong direction, he sort of pulls me back.
LUKE:       And emotionally he's a very intense person. Things can roll out of control for him very fast. Particularly when he's under pressure.
VAL:          Having to "get up" for concerts, yeah, I can bounce from one emotion to the other quickly. He's kind of like the steadying influence.
LUKE:       Until you've experienced it you don't realise the emotional pressure to be on a high so much of the time. He can reach crashing lows in response. If we didn't move to fairly tight rules and to a lot of security between ourselves, I don't think we'd be able to hold down a relationship.
VAL:         He peels me from the ceiling and scrapes me off the floor more times than I care to think about. Laughing, leans against Luke who pushes him off, smiling

LD :          How do you think your relationship will change when/if Val stops singing?
VAL:         Bite your tongue! I won't quit for a long time.
LUKE:      We know it'll happen. By Val's choice as much as anything else, it is something   we talk about.
VAL:          NOT for a long time.
LUKE:        It will take the pressure out.
VAL:          We would be able to relax a lot more. Settle down.
LUKE:      Val isn't the sort of person to 'stop' doing anything- the skills will just feed into other work. Which he'll do with the same energy.
VAL:         I'll always be involved with singing in some form or fashion.
LUKE:     And he'll still need the protection for years to come, which is something I intend to go on supervising.
VAL:         But more in one place than traveling around. Yeah, there are those strange people out there, Luke is good at scaring them off.
LUKE:      It would be nice to have a home rather than permanently live in hotels. That IS hard.
VAL:         Yeah, the computer gets plugged in a different location each night. Makes it hard to find. laughing
LUKE:      And the geography changes frequently!
VAL:         And trying to remember how many doors to get to mine I have to count. And where the restaurant is. The bar. And not being allowed animals.
LUKE:      The hotels are always full of people, the rooms are always temporary, we always have to be careful And the animals are a big thing for Val. The day he stops working, we'll have a menagerie.
VAL:         No, cats. laughing
LUKE:      Yes. Tigers. Leopards. Lions.
VAL:         Tiggers.
LUKE:       Smile.
VAL:        serious It's hard, you know? Not having a home, a place I can lay my stuff down in, and know it's going to be there. Having to "hide" from the staff........
LUKE:      It's very stressful never to go to the same place twice. You never really relax in a hotel.
VAL:         There are always people wanting to talk to you. Or about you.
LUKE:       Living on room service food. You've probably guessed. We hate it!
VAL:          Luke's good with food, but I don't get to try it much.
LUKE:      That would be about the nicest thing. To have a house, a kitchen and garden we can be in on our own, long term.
VAL:          A gate we can close to keep out others.
LUKE:       Not get up thinking the maids are due in at ten. Yes, and keep the place under consistent protection instead of plans that have to be made and adapted every few days.

LD:            How do you handle punishment if Val is sick or hurt?
VAL:         If I'm sick, then things are usually more quiet, subdued. I don't get spanked when sick, but I may get a swat or two...or three. But for the most part, I'm relegated to bed, no visitors, nothing much until we deal with whatever it is that I've done wrong.
LUKE:      Val doesn't tend to crash unless he's really ill- too much adrenaline and too much pressure to keep going. If he does, he's usually pretty upset and easily upset for a while.
VAL:         He tends to be a little more.....kind....when I'm sick. I get more warnings. But eventually, if I've done something that requires a spanking, we'll sit down and discuss it. I hate the waiting, but usually I'm too caught up into not feeling well that it doesn't bother me too much. Besides, even if I ever DID want to get a spanking over with, if I had a cold or something and my breathing was hampered, it just wouldn't happen. Luke would never do something that would endanger me like that.

LD:            How do you balance the needs of your relationship against the other people and other demands in your lives?
VAL:          Luke?
LUKE:        Yes?
VAL:          I think you can start with that one. winks
LUKE:      That's hard! We have three agendas between us. Mine is security, his is performing, ours is each other. They DO pull in different directions sometimes. We do have to balance our own working agendas with each other and that CAN affect our relationship- we work together as well as live together, it's bound to happen. At the end of the day, work HAS to affect us and I've had to make security decisions that have made Val very upset with me. Val has to keep sight of the needs of his performance over everything else, and argue that through with me, the sound team, the lighting team, he's the one with the overall view of what'll happen on stage. Other times, Val's been in the middle of a performance or a large crowd, or with huge work commitments and it isn't a good time to sit down and have a long and complicated discussion about behaviour I'm not happy about. It's a lot of give and take. We neither of us tend to bear grudges and we're neither of us people who let things stew, I think that's how we handle it mostly. If we've got a problem, we talk- or shout, or fight- but we take it through to the end and then it's finished with, dealt with and we can forget about it.
VAL:         seriously I try not to "push" Luke - my partner – into getting mad at me. But sometimes I DO push Luke - my security agent - to the edge. I want to try things with the audience. He doesn't think they're safe. So we butt heads often like that. And it does get personal, I mean, my behavior isn't ignored when I'm Val the superstar, and paid attention to when I'm Val the partner. You can't really separate it out.
LUKE:      Nor would we want to. It does make it more complicated that the person I'm planning security for, and who is at risk, is my partner.
VAL:         And we do work things through, quickly. Too much going on...looking at Luke...and too much love to hold grudges.
LUKE:      smiles And we're both fireworks by nature. One good blow up until we come to a mutual agreement.

LD:           If you could make your partner throw away 1 thing in the house, what would it be?
LUKE:      That dog eared, moth eaten panda that has to go everywhere with us. OR the pink leather trousers.
VAL:         His clock. ANY clock.
LUKE:      Is that all? I thought you'd say the truck.
VAL:         ALL clocks.
LUKE:      One item.
VAL:          You got two.
LUKE:      I hate the panda more than the trousers. You don't take the trousers to bed when you think I'm not looking.
VAL:         shock LUKE! You do NOT get to tell everyone about my......bear.
LUKE:       He'll edit that bit out, relax.
VAL:          It's a family friend.
LUKE:        It's falling apart.
VAL:           I *might* have to mention - looking at Luke, bambi eyes
LUKE:        hand over his mouth, sweet smile at dictator Next question?

LD:           How do you handle discipline when the brat is being a royal pain in a public situation?
LUKE:      This happens a LOT.
VAL:         Does NOT. sticks tongue out
LUKE:      Usually in front of a few thousand people. He's giving an excellent demonstration of the technique now.
VAL:         You think THAT was a demonstration. I can give you a demonstration. stands up
LUKE:      So can I. LOOK
VAL:         sits down I think I'd rather not.
LUKE:      Next question? No, we have ways. If worst comes to absolute worst, we can go somewhere quiet for a few moments. And talk.
VAL:        crosses eyes One sided talk. If you can call it that.
LUKE:       If I have to, I'll get close enough to get physical hold of him. The press are forever on about us holding hands. Seems to be listed as a standard security technique. If I've got his hand, everything but his mouth is pretty much under control until we have a chance to talk things over.
VAL:        Yeah. That steel grip.
LUKE:      And a few discreet threats.
VAL:          After that, blood dripping from what's left of my ear...
LUKE:       You do exaggerate
VAL:           And try NOT to get someplace quiet. winks
LUKE:      We were in an airport once, with his lordship throwing a REALLY good one, right in front of a crowd. In front of about eight hundred people, he gets away from me, dives into the crowd and comes back to present me with a toy gorilla?
VAL:        It was PERFECT for you.
LUKE:      You nearly got your neck wrung in front of the entire tabloid press.
VAL:          to LD I couldn't resist.
LUKE:       I did with great effort.
VAL:         He dragged me away from my public!
LUKE:       We were in the middle of an out of control crowd, he's tired and in a filthy mood, there are 3 times the press there that we'd been told about and NO crowd control...
VAL:         I was just trying to be nice to everyone.
LUKE:      Not me.
VAL:         He does the "bad guy behind every corner" act, and takes me to a conference area to talk.
LUKE:      We talked.
VAL:          And I........listened. Passionately.
LUKE:       We both got out of there alive....
VAL:          One injured....
LUKE:       Rubbish.
VAL:          quietly gorilla.
LUKE:       pulls his chin up, kisses him. Shut up Quentin.

LD:         What song do you most associate with your partner?
VAL:       ANYTHING by the Monkees, they're his relatives.
LUKE:      There's a song Val does sometimes as an encore if the crowd are too high at the end of a concert and won't leave. You my boy are on thin ice.
VAL:         and stepping carefully...
LUKE:      Karen Carpenter song? Why do stars suddenly appear...
VAL:         Close to you. Yes.
LUKE:      That's my all time favourite of him. Not just because it means he's finished and we can go home.
VAL:        to LD I do sing it. And it's TO him. Every time.

LD:         How does it affect your performance if Luke isn't watching?
VAL:       It hurts, definitely. To know that he isn't there to catch me if I fall.
LUKE:      The one time I missed it, I watched on TV. Once. And I was hospitalised at the time.
VAL:          Yeah, when he was hospitalized, that really hurt. I was only thinking of him, NOT what I was doing. The crowd didn't notice.
LUKE:      We spent a lot of the evening on the phone. Once you get on stage you don't let anything get to you anyway.
VAL:         Before and after was horrible though! I had the phone plastered to my head right up until I stepped onstage. Then I called him for the short break before I went out to finish. And I left the press hanging afterwards.

LD:            So what about the song, Val?
VAL:         The theme from Flash Gordon? eyes rolled at Luke Saviour of the universe? sorry, just joking. I think one of those that remind me of him is I Only Have Eyes For You.
LUKE:      I WISH...
VAL:         Well, you DO get the rest of me....The eyes can wander.
LUKE:       In between sharing you with about two thirds of the rest of the population.
VAL:          You should feel SOOOO special.
LUKE:      I do. When the three millionth teenager of the day collapses into my arms, sobbing as you pass, I think.... Mmm I feel SOOOOO special.
VAL:        winking at LD He does SOOOO well with the ladies.

LD:           Would you ever tell Val he couldn't perform for some reason, and how far would you go to enforce that, considering Val has a responsibility to perform?
LUKE:      This has actually happened. I had to stop a concert before the warm-up band went on. It wasn't the usual sort of crowd, very boozy, very wild and not well managed by the arena staff. The crowd were right out of control by the time Val was getting ready to go on and I wasn't happy about the safety of some of what he was being asked to do in the show anyway. Val's safety comes before everything else. At the end of the day, what he does is a job like any other. Something he does for money. And I'd go as far as I had to in order to stop a show if it came to it. Although I know if I say things are too dangerous, Val will listen. He may not be very happy with me and he wasn't that time, but he will listen. I don't make those kind of decisions lightly but sometimes they have to be made
VAL:         He hasn't done it much, and at least now, I can agree that it was the right choice. At the time, I'm usually too upset about not performing to care.
LUKE:      It wasn't easy for you. You were hyped up and ready to go, and you're a nervous wreck at that point.
VAL:        We've had a couple good rows over that. And he's always won.
LUKE:     I wouldn't have let you walk out in front of that lot no matter how upset you got.
VAL:        I tried sheepishly
LUKE:      And I've cut shows short before now if he's been too tired, or under the weather to stand the full run.
VAL:         I REALLY didn't appreciate those. I was tired, but still pumped up for the show. I would have been fine. But then, snort I don't think that it matters.
LUKE:      It doesn't. You'd do a show from an intensive care unit
VAL:         If it would keep the crowds happy, yes! I can't disappoint them.
LD:           Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to talk with our readers. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.

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