5 minutes with … Paul Hooper, reporter
1. How much do you use social media, which sites do you use the most?
Twitter each day; Linkedin and WhatsApp occasionally; Facebook only for work.
2. Have you/or would you like to write a book? If yes, would it be fiction or non fiction?
Yes, ‘JFK and Vietnam’ and ‘Desert Island Dusk’; and have nearly finished ‘Shadow of The Bridge’, a crown court-based story; ‘The Stairs’, which is based in Tours in France and ‘Who’s Afraid Of Alan Bennett?’ Stories, about my family and other anecdotes.
3 If money and career was no object, where in the world would you like to live?
Durham. Tony Bennett left his in San Francisco. I left mine in the North-East.
4 Which fictional character do you believe to be most like yourself?
Armand Duval in ‘La dame aux camélias’.
5. What are your three (main) weaknesses?
Loquacity, sentimentality and hypocrisy.
6. If you could only have one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Flossie Malavialle singing ‘Can’t Breathe’, because that’s how I felt when my wife died.
7. Thinking of music, I understand one of our clerks has been permanently damaged after a Lennon & McCartney dispute with yourself – would you like to enlighten?
After the Beatles broke up, Lennon gave us ‘Imagine’, McCartney brought us ‘The Frog Chorus’. Three hours in a car after a Neil Young gig and still the clerk wasn’t convinced who clearly was the most talented Beatle!
8. Which scoop (had to get that in) are you most proud of and why?
The Deal Bombing in1989, I broke the exclusive story about where the terrorists had been staying.
Best by-line: Paul Hooper at checkpoint Charlie, the day the Berlin Wall fell.
9. Have you any secrets from inside no10 (Downing Street) that you wish to share with us?
Not from inside No10 but I always recall my grandfather’s words: ‘Never vote for MPs … it just encourages them!’
10. What is your earliest childhood memory?
Kissing Suzanne Hicks in a field near the school. I was seven years old and my mother found out. I never got a second kiss.
11. Which is your favorite season of the year and why?
1999 when Manchester United won the Treble! Oh sorry, you mean the four seasons … well I hate spring for personal reasons while I adore Dylan Thomas’ autumn poem: ‘Especially When The October Wind ..’ and its line, ’Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire and cast a shadow crab upon the land’.
*** The accolades for Paul keep coming – has been voted Reporter of The Year before and has just received from the Kent Messenger Group the award for “Reporter showing the most Passion for 2015” – will not ask him to enlighten us on this subject!
– Angela Maynard and Marion Crittenden