John Sturgis

My Sinéad O’Connor story

She was once my cover story

  • From Spectator Life
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It must have been late 1993. She was at the height of her fame and I was in the earliest days of my journalism career. I was working for a small press agency in Clerkenwell whose stock in trade was day work for newspapers: court cases, press conferences and particularly door knocks and door steps. As a rookie, I did an awful lot of these.

With my cover story now established, I went back to bed on that sofa

Away from work I was in my twenties in London and had quite the party lifestyle – clubbing every weekend. The club of choice was Subterranea in Ladbroke Grove and I’d go most Saturday nights. But on this occasion, I was the rota reporter on the following Sunday, due in at 9 a.m., so when midnight came around I made moves to go home to bed. My companion, however, would hear nothing of this and he cooked up a slightly ridiculous and elaborate plan to keep me out all night.

He worked for a national tabloid and the plan was that he would ask my agency to do a fictitious job for him which would allow me to stay in bed all morning. It seemed like a great idea at midnight but when I came to ring my news editor at 8 a.m. and enact it, suddenly it didn’t. I had had barely two hours sleep and the hangover hadn’t even started. So to make the plan more convincing before calling my editor, I had a flip through the Sunday papers to find a story I could pretend I’d been asked to follow up. Which brings us back to Sinéad. She was a newspaper staple in those days and there was a page lead in one tabloid about something she’d supposedly said or done, a nothingy forgettable story.

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