It seems like it would be very uncomfortable having Big Brother-style reality TV cameras on you 24/7. If you were filmed in such a manner what would you be most nervous or embarrassed about people seeing?
I mean, apart from the obvious private things, I think probably some of my obsessive-compulsive disorder habits, which are a bit peculiar. I think it would be difficult keeping those under wraps under 24-hour surveillance.
How does your OCD manifest itself?
I just have to do things, generally, in fours. I’m not really good at doing things in other ways. Why am I telling you this?
Because I'm asking.
[Laughs.] Oh, dammit!
In fours—that's interesting. I've heard of threes.
Oh, no, no, no. Threes, you've got your Holy Trinity, whatever, but for me, I have to go one step beyond. [Laughs.]
You just had to be special.
I just had to be special. I had to be different. I just couldn’t help myself. I take things to the next level, you see! Not exactly. No, I 've just got this peculiar…I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive and I think that would be a little bit peculiar for people to see.
Doing things in fours doesn’t sound that bad.
But you don’t know what those things are that I have to do in fours—and I am not revealing those!
[Laughs.] All right, all right. In real life, you are actually quite a world traveler. What is the craziest, most dangerous situation that you’ve found yourself in?
Two come to mind. I went for a walk in the Arabian Desert once on New Year’s Day and I got lost. A Bedouin tribesman helped me on my way but then things went a little bit awry after that as well. I managed to wave down a Dutch guy on a four-wheel drive who was thankfully not driving too far away and he told me I was 4.2 miles away from the nearest town—and that was at 4 o'clock, about an hour before the sun was going down.
I was in the Himalayas, at 15,000 feet in an electrical storm, with visibility of about five feet, trying to get down 900 feet on a roughly 45-degree rocky ice slope. It was one of the moments when you go, Oh yes, this is when the tourist died in the middle of an electrical snow storm in the Himalayas! Stupid idiot!
That was unnerving, but the scariest one I’ve had was being in the Himalayas in India, at 15,000 feet in an electrical storm—and when I say in an electrical storm I mean in it, because you are in the clouds with the electricity sort of buzzing around your ears, with visibility of about five feet, trying to get down 900 feet on a roughly 45-degree rocky ice slope. It was one of the moments when you sit there and go, Oh yes, this is when the tourist died in the middle of an electrical snow storm in the Himalayas! It’s just that classic, they went a little too far, and well, what the hell was he doing up there anyways? Stupid idiot!
So you're a bit of an adventurer?
I am not very dynamic. I’m not one of these people who jump out of airplanes, bungee jump, or ski lofty peaks. I tend to just sort of ramble but I suppose I do ramble in some interesting places. I like to get out…away from people. That’s my quest when I go out on journeys, and whether that is on the top of the Himalayas or in the middle of deserts I am, I definitely like to hear the silence.
When we first met, I discovered that you lived in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where I grew up, in the early '90s. Do you have any favorite Brooklyn rappers?
I don’t have any favorite Brooklyn rappers. Back in '93, I kinda got into the Ice Cube music whilst I was living in Spike Lee country. Where is Dr. Dre from?
Dre is from L.A.
OK, because on Saturday I was driving down Sunset Blvd. with a friend of mine and this great big massive Rolls-Royce rolled up alongside us in the traffic with the windows down. I have a beaten up old hybrid I’ve had for the last 10 years, and I rolled down the window and I said to the guy inside, an African American gentleman, “Hey buddy, is that the new hybrid?” and he looked at me and went, “No, not exactly.” And I said, “Well, it’s a very nice car all the same,” and he said, “Yeah, man.” I said, “How big is the engine?” He said, “It’s a 12,” which I really didn’t understand—I think it was a V-12 or something.
My buddy next to me is laughing and when the traffic went off, my buddy said, “You know who that was, right? That was Dr. Dre.” So I just had a hybrid conversation with Dr. Dre, who was driving the world’s biggest Rolls-Royce.
I wasn't aware anybody rich enough to own a Rolls-Royce actually drove themselves in it.
Yeah, he looked pretty happy to be driving in his Rolls-Royce.
Sure, I just always pictured it as a chauffeur car.
Well, it was pretty blinged-up; it had a little extra razzle dazzle about it. [Laughs.] It wasn’t quite the English countryside Rolls-Royce. Or maybe it was a Bentley. I don't know. They're pretty similar to me.
I know you're a passionate supporter of Arsenal in the English Premier League, so I must admit to betting $100 that your team will fail to finish top four in the table and miss out on the Champions League.
That's it! Interview's over!
[Laughs.] So I need to know, will the Gunners finish top four? Will they finish higher in the table than their rival, Tottenham?
I think because of the implosion that is taking place in Chelsea... I mean, there is a great spirit going on at the moment. It’s still fragile, the Arsenal spirit, but generally it’s very good. They have their fragile moments but I actually think they are getting stronger and stronger in that sense and I’ve got a feeling we are going to have a good run in.
I think Spurs are going to be a little bit shaky because they have the uncertainty of whether or not Harry Redknapp will stay on as manager or leave to manage the English [National Team], and just the general inexperience at being at that end of the league at the end of the season—it's just gonna play against them I think. And I wouldn’t be surprised if, after one of the shakiest seasons ever, Arsenal ends up finishing in third place, ahead of Spurs and Chelsea.
Speaking of Redknapp and the England job, what are you expecting from England at the Euros this summer?
Absolutely nothing. The English National Team is, let’s just politely say, in a period of great transition. [Laughs.] Let’s say politely we have some promising youngsters in the future, but naaah, that’s just a team that’s not going to win anything.
As told to Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)