My editor had called the previous day and told me that they had finally got through all the 'PR Shit' his phrase not mine, and they'd secured the biggest interview if the week. They had managed to get time with Andy Clart, this years winner of The X-Factor; The biggest best and boldest version of the show since it started as a singing contest in 2004.
Andy was no Steve Brookstien, he wasn't a Leon Jackson, he was something set apart.
If you go back to the 2011 series you'll understand why the format had to change, the moribund idea of a singing contest leaked viewers after the 'bootcamp' stage; It coincided with the announcement that the Large Hadron Collider at CERN had found that neutrinos can travel faster than light... We all know what happened next. It was a moment that can be likened to the realisation that Phlogiston doesn't exist. Suddenly the old certainties of the laws of physics had been broken and we started the age that some have called the 'Second Enlightenment'.
So why have a singing contest? Surely there were better things to do?
Simon Cowell the Svengali figure behind The X-Factor and (it's recently become clear) the building of CERN knows where the money is and this time it was in the mind... Out went the terrible versions of 'Hero' and in came the terrible versions of 'Boyl's Third Law'.
The first auditions were a revelation. Chemists, Physicists, Engineers, Philosophers, Librettists, Mathematicians, and assorted intellectuals queued for hours out side the O2 waiting to see the Judges; Richard Dawkins, Elinor Ostrom (hot from her Nobel triumph), Jocylen Bell Burnell, Andre Geim and for some reason Gary Barlow.
Most of the auditions were riffs on some classic work, one young hopeful even tried to give an account of Graphene whilst Andre Geim held his head in his hands and openly wept. The video of that has since become a youtube sensation!
Back to the restaurant and the tall thin man sitting in front of me, Andy Clart. Andy was one of the stars from the start, his unconventional thoughts on the work of Derrida was an elegant audition, but through the later stages he started to wow with his mixing of disciplines. His visual representation of Heisenberg is now in The Tate Modern, and his oratorio covering the events of the Franco-Prussian war is due to open the Proms this year.
So what does the future hold? Andy is the poster boy for modern intellectualism, some are saying he's like a sexy Prof. Brian Cox. He doesn't want to get involved in all that though, "I want to do good, and I'm not designing clothes, or endorsing products. I really wouldn't want to become a Nietzschien cliche."
(Taken from The Star newspaper January 2013)