I CONTINUE to be stunned by the change in motormouth DJ Chris Moyles. The bragging and laddish self-proclaimed ‘saviour of Radio 1’ has matured in to a much more thoughtful and considered chap.
Regular readers will know of mine and Chris’s run-ins in the past – we know each other from way back and a year or so ago, we didn’t see eye to eye at all.
I was cross with him because he’d been dismissive and rude to me when our paths had crossed at some do or other, he pulled a schoolboy face of disgust when I mentioned that Michael and I had our civil partnership.
Meanwhile, he was annoyed that I’d badmouthed him a bit in this column, calling him aggressively heterosexual and homophobic after his ill-advised use of the word ‘gay’ on air to mean ‘rubbish’ or ‘lame’.
Anyway, we had a chat about it all and cleared the air and we’re getting on much better. I greeted him at a book signing he was doing at Waterstone’s in his hometown of Leeds – his new one’s selling very, very well – and there were queues of fans right around the block.
The shop said this event and the signing that Chris did for his first book have been their most packed appearances ever, which shows just what a big name he is.
For the record, he told me that he wrote his latest book ‘more or less’ by himself and only brought a ghost writer in for the editing stage. How did he find the time? "Oh, I scribble notes constantly," he says.
We shook hands and he shocked me a bit wrapping his arms around me for a big hug. When it was time for a photo together he pressed his cheek against mine.
Chris was staying at the plush hotel Mal Maison – I asked him why he wasn’t kipping over at his mum’s and he said: "Well, I do sometimes but it depends who’s paying."
The night before, he told me, he’d had a drink in the hotel bar with his old friend Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs, but I got the impression it was quite a quiet one – they weren’t painting the town red.
I asked him if he was going to switch on the Leeds Christmas lights like he did the year before last but he said they hadn’t asked him yet. And, bless him, he asked how my civil partnership was going. "Very well!" I assured him.
I’ve seen a massive, massive change in him. He used to be so rude and aggressive. At the signing, he kissed a transsexual fan on the cheek like he’d thought nothing of it – he’d have never done that in the past.
He used to talk at people. Now he’s pleasant, he listens to you, he remembers what you tell him. I wonder if he’s realised the benefit of being nice?