[ "Mondo Thingo" was an Australian pop culture television show which aired for 37 episodes on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2004. The show was presented by Amanda Keller. Here follows a transcript of Amanda's interview with Clive; we have been unable to locate a copy of the corresponding video — Archive Editor, September 2020 ]
In 1962, Clive James left Australia to conquer the world. Instead, he conquered several worlds. He's been everything from an influential TV critic to a poet, author and TV personality. No wonder 'The New Yorker' magazine called him "a brilliant bunch of guys".
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He's now set his sights on conquering the Internet. Oh, talk about busy! So I'm thrilled he's taken some time to talk to me.
AMANDA KELLER: Clive James, welcome to Mondo Thingo.
CLIVE JAMES, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR, WRITER: Amanda, it's a thrill. You've got a terrific show and it's always very exciting, so I thought what you'd really need now is a chance at dullness, so that's why I'm here.
AK : Ha! Well, welcome.
CJ : Prepare to be bored.
AK : Now clivejames.com — tell us about that.
CJ : Well, it's my real name. I was always called clivejames.com.
AK : What are the chances?
CJ : Actually, I had to buy my name, you know? I had to buy it from the pirate who had bought up all the well-known names in England and is now selling them to the original people at £1,500 a throw, which is slightly less than what it costs to sue the bastard. Am I allowed to say that?
AK : Of course you are.
CJ : So I bought my domain name, and shortly I hope to launch the first personal multimedia website, which sounds like megalomania and probably is.
AK : So what's on your website? How does it work?
CJ : Well, all my latest articles and poems all go on it before they're published in book form. And there's about 20 little TV shows I made in my living room in London with all kinds of people — authors and dancers and playwrights, and the occasional star, like, a mate like Cate Blanchett very kindly did it. You know, I couldn't afford her, but she said she'll throw her hat in the ring just to explore the new medium. It is a very, very new thing.
AK : You say you do the show in your lounge room at home. Is it a bit like 'Wayne's World'?
CJ : I get the celebrity and they're doing it for nothing, but they get a Chinese meal. And the Chinese meal is ready waiting when the show is over. And you sit there with the cashews and the noodles and you talk about all the things you might have said, and then you can go and do that too, go and shoot it again.
AK : Well, you are funding this yourself, and you don't get the influence, I guess, or the kudos of being on TV. Why are you turning your back on the television media to do this?
CJ : Well, basically I'm a kamikaze pilot, but it's new. And I did TV and all those things, and I had my time, and I'm clocking on a bit now. You know, I might not look it, but I'm 45 years old.
AK : Oh! No!
CJ : And it's time to think of the eternal verities.
AK : You don't strike me as sort of a techno guy.
CJ : You're right about that. I can't even work a microwave. I never caught up with the old typewriter. Remember the things we threw away 20 years ago? You probably never saw them — you're too young. They used to make a lot of noise. I couldn't change the ribbon on those. I look forward to the day when someone can press a button and log onto clivejames.com and see all the things that I can offer, which by that time might include my own death. I might put my own funeral on it.
AK : Your own video with Paris Hilton.
CJ : Paris Hilton. You know, I always thought Paris Hilton was a building.
AK : I think possibly she is.
CJ : I think I stayed there once. On the fourth floor.
AK : We all have. I had to laugh when I saw that they'd asked you to take part in the reality TV series 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here', which is like 'Survivor' for celebrities. It was in the Australian outback. You said no!
CJ : No, I...
AK : Scared of snakes?
CJ : The outback was of course 100 square yards of artificial jungle 100 yards behind a hotel in Murwillumbah, and I told them, "You know, I was born there. Who needs it? And I need another show — 'I Used To Be a Celebrity, Leave Me Alone'." And I made these cracks down the telephone, but nobody believed me, 'cause they're very confident. They figure you want to do it, and they're right — a lot of people do want to do it, 'cause it's instant fame, huge fame.
AK : I know that Peter Andre got together with Jordan, the big enormous busty page three girl, on that show.
CJ : Jordan, she wasn't a building, she was a place. I went to Jordan once. And this woman is almost as big as the actual country.
AK : Did you ever watch the show, seeing, "Hey, he got together with her"? It could've been you!
CJ : You certainly meet girls, don't you? And if you're the only guy on the show who knows how to light a match and start a fire, you could do very well. They start worshipping you. And they're... "And he's read a book! Perhaps he knows how to get us out of here. Let's follow him."
AK : Well, look, good luck. Thank you for joining us on Mondo Thingo. It was lovely to meet you.
CJ : Mondus Thingus, I think they say in Latin. Mondo Thingo. I'm not quite sure whether that's grammar. Mondus Thingus. Mondum Thingum.
AK : We'll take it any way.
CJ : Should I shut up now?
AK : Thank you!
CJ : You race my motor, Amanda. There's no doubt about it.
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