Louis Theroux: "The Thing That Makes Me Great At Work, Makes Me Bad At Life!" | E198 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Louis Theroux: "The Thing That Makes Me Great At Work, Makes Me Bad At Life!" | E198".


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Intro (00:00)

What makes me good at my job is also what makes me bad at life. This is maybe more than you bargained for. Well, that's guess, doesn't include everyone. Nada da da, do y'all! My money doesn't drink or drink. It's a cathedral of poor. That's a little offensive. You're a very fascinating person. How do you connect with people? I'm just so curious about what takes someone to that place. Why people do the things that they do? The question I get asked most often is how do you not get angry with some of these people, especially the ones who are sort of spewing hate? If people see like your attempt to wrestle intimacies from them, that's never going to go well. I think also, there's some part of me thinks maybe other person's got it figured out and I haven't. Your former wife said there's nothing real about you. Jimmy Savile, he also said something about insincerity being your speciality. It's good, glad you brought that up. I remember it vividly. First of all, I neglected my personal life to focus on achieving professional success. The price was paid by those nearest and dearest to me. When did you get that feedback? I saw my relationships as a life support system for my kind of work self instead of the other way around, saying to my wife, well, this is what I do. I did a lot of great segments just by being available at a moment's notice. I just think, oh, this isn't going well. So it became a bit of an impact. Is it something that comes with a cost and is it something you want to change? Before this episode starts, I have a small favor to ask from you. Two months ago, 74% of people that watch this channel didn't subscribe. We're now down to 69%. My goal is 50%. So if you've ever liked any of the videos we've posted, if you like this channel, can you do me a quick favor and hit the subscribe button? It helps this channel more than you know, and the bigger the channel gets, as you've seen, the bigger the guests get. Thank you and enjoy this episode. Louis, you're a very fascinating person. Thank you.

Personal Background And Insights

Early context (02:02)

And I've, as I've read through your story, I read your autobiography as well. I was trying to understand what I needed to understand about your earliest experiences, to really understand the man that you are today, the interesting personality you have and the trajectory you went and took in your life. So please enlighten me. What are the most pertinent things that I need to know about your earliest years to understand you? Oh my goodness. I could, I could, I spent two hours answering that question on its own. I don't know how interesting it would be. I'll try and give you a brief answer. I like the long answers. Do you? Yeah. Well, first of all, my parents are, my mum's British, my dad's American. They are both in different respects, free thinkers. They grew up in the 60s and they embrace aspects of the counterculture. They regarded their own parents as being certain respects, are limited and cloistered. And so my mum joined a VSO volunteer service overseas to get experience of life in Africa. My dad joined the Peace Corps. He would have been probably enlisted to serve in Vietnam and he didn't want to do that. So he went to teach in Africa as well and that's where they met. So I was raised, I was born in Singapore where they were teaching. My brother was born in Uganda where they were teaching at that time, my older brother. But then we settled in London. And so growing up, I was conscious of them as people who really encouraged us to open our minds. And maybe, it was a 99% positive. I want to use this term social justice warriors as a talk form of judgment about overly do gooding. There's an element of, I don't tend to use that term because it's been weaponized. But I suppose in a sense, my parents were kind of social justice warriors. They were very much encouraging me to challenge, or us to challenge racism where we saw it, to challenge sexism, to be open to new experiences, not to fall into easy judgments about other cultures and other countries and other people. And I only say the 1%. Sometimes that can be inflected with a little bit of a sense of superiority. And I talk a bit about that in my book of slight feeling that we weren't really like, quite like other people. Other people were maybe not quite as smart or not quite as literary. I strive not to endorse whatever is in me, remains in me of that. I try to unpack and eradicate. But nevertheless, that's the way looking back on it. That's something that I see and pick up on. My dad's a writer, novelist. My mom is a, after teaching, my dad became very successful, literary novelist and travel writer. My mom went on to become a radio producer and worked for the BBC World Service, which is for those who don't know, that's the service that broadcasts all over the world. And it's a bit like radio for, but broadcast, this tiny language, it's extraordinary institution. It sort of represents in some ways the best of the BBC. But so I was growing up sort of aware that we were a family that loved books and loved reading. And we watched TV and listened to pop music and did the normal things. But I think underneath it all was a feeling that to really count in life, you should be a literary writer. That was without me fully maybe acknowledging it. That was underneath this thing that you should really, I think still my dad probably feels like he's very supportive of me and my TV making. But he's like, Lou, you thought about writing another book. Lou, you've got time, you've got the talent, you can, I don't want to push you into this, but Lou, you should think about writing a book. That's a great idea for a book. That kind of thing. Anyway, so all of that was underlying my attitude to life. Then they sent me off to school, primary school. I mean, you wanted a long answer. This is maybe more than you bargained for. I suppose alongside that is the influence of friends. And I can start. And so the countervailing impulses of growing up in the 70s and 80s in South London and being exposed to funny creative people and my friendship group, which some of them had gone on to work in civilian quote unquote lives as restaurateurs or music other stuff. But saliently were Adam Buxton Joe Cornish and another friend, Zach Sandler, who were super creative. Adam and Joe went on to have their own TV show. And I was conscious of bawling in with a little group, Amelia of light-minded kids who were very funny, really into movies, TV. And that was where I suppose I began to feel that there was, well, you know, I don't want to, oh, in hindsight, it's tempting to sort of read back, read back what I do now into that. But I just know that that friendship group was very important to me and maybe counteracted some of the more because I was academic. I was I did really well at school. I feel like I just go on and on. Shall I go? Shall I keep going? I just listen here. Because the other part of it was that I was I was quite an anxious child. So I would I worried about everything. And I would think about things that were on the horizon. Like when I was five or six years old, I remember exciting. You know, there were various things that came and went that really worried me. But one was the idea of maypole dancing, which was a big I don't know if it's still in state primaries at that time, every May holiday like you would do maypole dancing. What is that? It's an old English or maybe British tradition where there's a big pole. I think it's like a fertility right. You know, to touch a wicker man about it, you know, it's a normal kind of masked a pole like a maybe like like a totem pole almost like 20 feet high. And then there's ribbons around it. And it's children. You would skip around it and you would sort of braid the ribbons together to form nice patterns. And I remember seeing them doing it in primary school and thinking like, that looks really hard. And I'm gonna have to do that next year. And I don't know how I'm gonna do it. And just I remember being preoccupied with how am I gonna learn how to do that. I only mentioned that as an example. Like there were other things that just reading before I could read or remember seeing my older brother reading and think, I don't know how you do that. And just getting very worried about it. So in general, well, I'm someone who is pre I know everyone worries, but I just feel as though that feeling of worry and anxiety was quite a strong background note. And sometimes I would control my anxiety, not consciously, but again, looking back by working hard, like by sort of just sort of becoming almost like super focused on academic work. And as a result, I did very well in school. And you know, like those people who look back and say, like, well, I was a fuck up in school. I was the opposite. Like, I didn't always, you know, I would get in trouble. Like, and sometimes I was regarded as, especially when I was younger 12, 13 as a disruptive element, because I was also quite cheeky and sometimes tried to communicate and connect with people via teasing, right, just I don't know, that's a common, it's quite a British thing in a way. There's certainly a big thing in my family was what's now called bands, right? And sometimes I'd try and do bands with my teacher, and then it wouldn't go well. And so, but in general, which is confusing, like regarding being regarded as a black sheep in class or a disruptive person in class, and then, but then also getting in trouble, they said, like, it's fine for you to mess about and get in trouble. And then you do the homework and you're fine, but you're a bad influence on the other kids. I used to get told that you're a bad influence on your, I was like, that's not true at all. Like, if anything, my friends were just as naughty, and were leading me astray, but nevertheless, because I could sort of go home and then become sort of organized and focus on my work, I got a, I got for a brief period, I got labeled as the troublemaker. Anyway, going through school, I sort of, the sort of the load stars for my sort of sense of who I was and how I would progress in life, such as it is. I mean, I was never that tactical, but as I went, as I went through school, I thought, well, I'm pretty good academically. I guess I'll just do well in exams and stuff and then see what happens. And meanwhile, with my friends, we'd be seeing movies, I got into rap music in the late 80s and sort of would dress like a sort of hip hop nerd. I was smoking quite a lot of weed, but still studying. This was sort of, again, age 16, 17, but it never really interfered with my, with my work. I went on to Oxford. And then having done well at Oxford, left university. And at that point, it was like, well, what happens now? That was when it felt like, okay, now I have no longer really got a clear path. Does that make sense? Yeah. You know, I think if you, if you are, if you're academic, if you find academic work, not easy, but you find that you do well at it, because it's not easy, but you apply yourself and you do well at it, then sometimes life can be a weird bump in the road, like real life. It's something like, well, where are the exams? Because I know I can do those. You know, what do I do now? So for a while, I thought maybe I would be like a professor or an academic or something, but then something in me told me that wasn't quite right. So then the rest of life is another story, but I hope that sort of answers your questions about or those different, those different sources of how I, you know, my, whatever it is, personality and interests. One of the things that really stood out to me in the answer was your, your early relationship with work.

Your early relationship with work (12:18)

You said you used to work hard to kind of suppress or kind of distract yourself from the anxiety of life. Is that accurate? Well, what it is is, well, I worried about things in general. And, you know, one of those worries was homework or doing well in school. Another worry was getting on with my peer group, but in so far as I can, I could control those sources of anxiety, like, you know, work is actually relatively straightforward. Like, it turns out, how do I get more, you know, how do I attempt to relate to people better? Well, that's, that's kind of hard. It's like mysterious, but how do I do well? These assignments are being given. Then you just sit down and do them until you get it right. And, and, you know, a lot of these things are, are subconscious. Like, I'm not thinking like, Oh, how can I control my anxiety? But I would just find that I, if exams were coming up, I'd get super anxious. And, and I don't mean to pathologize it. Like I've never been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I've just slightly worry prone. And as it happens, I've become less worry prone as I've grown up. And it may be that there were other things going on, you know, in my family life, who knows? In, in, you know, my parents, marriage wasn't always happy. They subsequently divorced. There are other things that probably were going on that were stressful. But for whatever reason, I found that almost without, almost without meaning to, I, I would, I took my studies very seriously. I have to sort of slightly check myself when I say this, because I do, I'm also aware that I've looked back at some of my reports, having kind of got quite attached to this narrative of myself, a sort of super swatch, right, super studious. And I've looked at some of my old report cards and some of them are, especially when I'm six or seven, sort of say, you know, Louis, a pleasure to have in class, but sometimes it would be nice if he would let other people speak. He enjoys the sound of his own voice, kind of thing, which is very appropriate for this podcast, probably, you know, and like, so, so I had a sort of rambunctious side. And it almost in social settings, my mum tells a story, essentially, in my book, but of how when I was about five or six, I would come home and I'd be really sad. I'd be like, I don't know. I don't think I don't like school anymore. And she'd sort of think, well, Louis, obviously not getting on well at school, I need to talk to his teacher. And she went into, to class and, and talked to the teachers and said, you understand, Louis is very sensitive. He's a very sensitive young man. As I said, would have been maybe five or six, seven years old. And the teachers were like, really? Yes, he's a very sensitive, like, you just be mindful that, you know, things you can say might hurt his feelings, something like that. And they were like, struggling to recognize her description of me. And then in the way out of class, she passed the classroom, could see through one of the glass windows in the door. And I was running along the desk tops or doing a dance on top of the desk. In other words, like, it was almost like in the setting itself, I was a wild child and, and just as you're running a muck. But also, I had like, is doubling, like, then I go home and be kind of be worrying about small, which I think is probably still true of me in some ways that I have a, I have that sort of disruptive trickster impulse alongside a certain, a certain sensitivity. Is that defense mechanism or a way to, I don't know, survive in a social setting? Or is that the truth? Who I am. And I think, you know, I could say, oh, well, I was a younger child and my parents found me funny and I wanted to perform and I wanted my dad to, you know, I wanted to get the approval of my parents by being silly. But the fact is, is who knows? Like, I just know that, you know, things like your sense of humor or your inclination to, to be cheeky. That's just always been in me, you know, and, you know, I'm slightly wary of attempting to, to sort of, um, unpick where that comes from, because I just know that's, that's, that's always been in me. The relationship with work, I think even for myself, I learned my relationship with work at a very young age. And I think I developed quite an unhealthy relationship with work at the expense of other things that matter in life. Yeah, me too. I think I can relate to that. And that's what I was trying to understand is like, when did you, where did your relationship with work come from? On one hand, I was guessing maybe it's from his father who was very, you know, insistent on him, being an intellectual is a, is success, Louis, or is it from the distraction of from anxiety and from the social thing where you could be successful at exams because you were good at that. So you doubled down. I think it was all of the above. Like my dad's got, most of my parents have work ethics that border on the sort of being over the top. My dad would, you know, he's a, he's a, as I say, he's a writer and at the weekends, like he didn't really take weekends off. Like, certainly Saturdays, he would often be writing and Sunday mornings, he was often writing and and he, he's an extraordinary, I wanted to give both my parents a shout out. See, my parents were, were basically first generation university educated came from very much not at the high table of life. And, and so for my dad to, to sort of become a wealthy literary writer, it's kind of an amazing thing that he did. You know, in the world of, it's one thing to be a popular novelist, that's hard. Anyway, to be a novelist or travel writer who's extremely successful, hadn't, you know, sold hundreds of thousands of millions of books, just without any leg up in life is an amazing thing. And I wonder if I've ever told him that. I hope I have anyway, he'll listen to this probably because he follows my, he follows my career with interest. So some of that I would have taken on board just through osmosis of seeing that. Likewise, my mum being super studious going to Oxford, she grew up in tutoring, you know, and her, her sense of self belief or her sense of her own destiny, whatever it was. And in her small, you know, peer group of kids who were educated at a state school and then through her own hard work and the support of her teachers going to Oxford, you know, in the sixties as a woman, that was extremely unusual. So that was, that was in the air. But in the end, and my older brother, who was very studious. And the other thing just to reflect on is that I saw my brother as the more brilliant child, like he was, the way I saw it at the time was more effortlessly brilliant, like sort of child prodigy material, you know, and I thought I was just kind of a sort of irrelevant bit of after birth, that, you know, trailed around after him. And so when I noticed that I was getting fairly good results, when I saw of 1112, it didn't feel particularly impressive. Like it felt like, well, I guess I can do well if I work hard. It's not like I'm kind of brilliant, like my older brother. But I think when I, you know, again, in hindsight, I think mainly what I see is, is a sense that I just felt like this was something I had to do. It wasn't a choice. And I even later on when I was at university, I sometimes used to worry that I wonder if I'm missing out. You know, people say, it's the best years of your life. And you should be hanged. You should be just going wild, having fun. And I did a, you know, some of that, but I was also conscious of, like, maybe I'm missing out by working, by studying too hard. That's what I read in your story of university was that I wrote, I actually wrote in my notes, worked his arse off at Oxford. On the point of affection, this is also something I probably didn't learn from my parents, if I'm honest.

Affection (20:47)

I still call my parents by their first names. Did they encourage you to do that? Yes. Yeah. I just didn't, I didn't learn affection. And actually, you know, even growing up at 10 years old, when one of my friends turned to me and went, you're my best friend, my body, like, oh, because the idea that I was someone's best friend made me cringe. And I had this, I think I had this, like, emotional intimacy, affection issue, growing up. Although I think being a best friend is something you show, but don't say, yeah, I'm a bit creepy. You're my best friend. I'm not feeling stressed when a friend said that to me and thinking, because then you feel like if you say, oh, you're my best friend, and then it feels a bit inauthentic. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like, do it. Don't say it. Yeah. Do what I mean. Yeah. Yeah. I love you. It didn't feel necessary to say. Exactly. But what is what did you learn about affection at a young age? I feel really lucky that my parents, I feel as though they were, you know, they worked hard, like, I had a working mom, my dad was, as I say, had a huge drive to be successful. But I always felt like the love that they had for me was just taken as red. Like, I never questioned it. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. In a way that felt positive. And even though, you know, I think there's a tendency or a temptation nowadays to look back and be thinking about things that could have been otherwise. And I think, you know, parts of that therapy culture are really valid, but there's also a sense in which you can focus on negative stuff. And I'm not sure at a certain point how healthy or helpful it is. And so for me, I never kind of questioned the love, the love that they had for me. And it was, it was never the case that I felt I was kind of seeking their approval. Like, I remember friends at school saying, well, my, my parents say, if I do well in common entrance, they're going to get me a watch. And I remember thinking, that's quite weird, you know, or my parents never, I never felt like they needed to be, that I was in any sense doing, like, working hard for them. And if they took an interest, that was kind of a bonus, but I didn't rush to show them like, I got all A's or, you know, I was, I came first in all the exams or whatever. I wouldn't really talk to them about it. Like that was just something that I did for me. What about emotional expression? I think that's something that we learn, how to say like, I love you and to hug and to be, to touch and, because you said, you said, yeah, like, I, my, humor is really important. I say such a kind of, what, that's so dead, it's cringe. I mean, my kids voices in my head, but, you know, humor is a very important way of communicating. You know, humans, really, I often think, you know, in terms of how I see life, that's why I'm worrying that sound a bit humanless. But anyway, how I see life is like, humor is like the missing dimension in terms of, it's almost, it can't really be expressed. But we shared a sense of humor as a family. And so we would make each other laugh. And so teasing was important. I'll just not take yourself too seriously. My parents, I would say, like I respected them, I would have, I see how my kids behave towards me. And I'm that classic thing of like, God, if I did that to my parents, that would not have gone well. It's not that I think of them being especially strict. I didn't feel they were at the time, but I wouldn't have dared to, I don't know, like, there was a sense of, of them having boundaries that I would respect and observe. They slightly cheated, because we went to boarding school, me and my brother age 13. So those difficult teenage years, I was sort of 13 to 18 or 13 to 17. They were part timing it. And if mom and dad, if you're listening, I'm sorry about that's what it is, right? They, I mean, it was weekly boarding, and they got me in the holidays. But other than that, they were getting me half of Saturday and Sunday. So I've got kids who are teenagers. And you know, that that's where like the, a lot of the conflict kicks in. So when I look back at how I related to my parents, there were times when it felt like they didn't get me or they would be too hard on me or the mixed messages, because they were sort of one hand being free spirited and saying like, if you want to smoke some spliff, Louie, like that's fine. Just be careful. You don't get caught like kind of thing or other times you'd be like, how dare you? You're going out there. You know, what do you do? Like it was like, well, which part of the, are we being, are you being counter cultural kind of dudes? Or are you going to be like Victorian parents? Like, which is it? But in general, I kind of, I kind of got it. I kind of got, I got, I kind of got that, you know, that it was about there was a foundation of love and approval that was, you know, was unconditional. And, and, and I think if I had anything to sort of, and I just sort of reflect, reflect on, or approach them for, not reproach, but sort of reflect on things that in hindsight could have been different. It's the feeling that because they were work focused. And also, because their relationship was complicated, sometimes it felt like, that me and my brother and I were slightly a side effect, like we weren't, each again, I could spin that as a positive actually. Like there was a sort of a level of us being autonomous, you know, up we had whatever the opposite of helicopter parents is, they, we slightly had that like they were like, okay, cool, you know, you do you and, and, and, and I think again, that can be like, I kind of quite grateful in some ways for that. But, you know, they had their own thing going on. It reminds me of something Tim Grover said, which I've repeated a few times.

What is your dark-side (27:18)

He says, he used to train Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. And he, I spoke to him on this podcast when we did the LA run. And he said that sometimes an event that happens in our life or something that happens can create our brilliance. It can be responsible in the case of that kind of void of independence your parents create, create someone that works and that goes and gets stuff and that's able to travel and be an island. But it also can create our dark side, like the same event creates our brilliance, but also our dark side. So my question to you is, from that particular experience of having that independence and feeling a bit like you were a side thing in their lives, what was then the dark side? I can see the upside. I can see the upside. For me, it felt like the upside you were saying is the independence. Yeah. Yeah. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. Being the space to grow and become your own person and not feel that you're especially kicking against anything but licensed to follow your own interests. I think that's all positive. I think what is that? Look, I think in general, I've said this and probably someone else said it as well, that what you think maybe your disability is also your superpower. Exactly. And I think I think that I think I've struggled with intimacy sometimes. I think in terms of relationship building in my private life, it's a running joke between me and my wife, that she's extremely emotionally acute and that I'm slightly the opposite, which is kind of weird when you think about my job, which hinges on supposedly being sort of maybe emotionally or psychologically perceptive. But it's almost as though, but I see in my mum as well, my mum having worked at the BBC went into therapy and became a relationship counselor. And it's funny because my mum also finds it difficult sometimes to fully inhabit her emotions. If it does, it's not an odd thing to say. I'm going to probably regret saying that. But let's make it about me. And I think with me, I think yeah, I don't always find intimacy easy. So I sort of experience like a lot of times my work is a license to be intimate without consequences, like to get a bit like what you're doing now. Like you talk to people, someone in a prison, you know, it's been sentenced to 10 life sentences, he's like, okay, how does that feel? So what's life like? And then kind of getting it, or whatever happens to be all the work I've done in some sense is about attempting to peel layers back and see inside someone's psyche. And then get on a plane and fly off and go home and live my normal life almost at a less intimate plane of existence. And so clearly, you know, and the other joke I've made over the years is like, what makes me good at my job is also what makes me bad at life. So so for me, it's I think, and I think you, if you ask my friends, they might say, you know, be like, Oh, yeah, you know, Louis, a good guy. I hope they would say that. But but they also might say, like, he's a little bit absent, like he's a little bit, I don't feel I'm an especially attentive or present friend. And and and you know, I'm not, you know, some people are really gifted at friendship by the like really get there and they think about and they make arrangements. And I don't make really, I'm not very good at social arrangements, all these sort of boring things that are the qualities that really the stuff of life, like just getting together, reaching out, you're okay. How's it? It's been a while since I saw you, I wanted to, let's meet up. Let's, which in general, this is a cross generalization, but I think women slightly better at than men. And I think that's been one of the many gifts my wife has given me is actually involving me in life, like in just a normal, so neurotypical way, whereas my tendency would be to sort of disappear into my slightly in cell like shell, you know, of kind of in a metaphorical shed of kind of counting. I, the joke in making my book is like, you know, separating my collection of screws and nails into their different jars. You know what I mean? Like that for me is like that, you know, a lot of guys be like, yeah, that sounds like heaven to have two hours to organize my shed, you know, and not realize that you're missing out on the tapestry of life. So I plead guilty to whatever that is. Maybe that's just being a man.

Struggling to connect with people (32:13)

I can, I can relate to it's funny. I was having this conversation yesterday with my friends where they're all saying, yes, Steve doesn't like to socialize. You know, I would rather sit upstairs for seven days on my own working than like, it was someone said to me, listen, you meet all these wonderful people in this podcast. And you, and it's such a wasted opportunity that you don't text and say, Hey, let's go for a coffee. Yeah. And it's just outside of my nature. My nature is to sit alone on my laptop and work. Yeah. And so again, my girlfriend, my partner is the opposite. Yeah. So she's dragging me and so I really. It's quite a common dynamic. You know, not bragging two nights ago, I was a GQ man of the year. I thank you, applause. Thank you. I was one of the honorees. And so there was a, like, there was a banquet, like a, a day, a posh dinner catered by Heston Blumenthal. And, you know, Staunzy was going to be there. Mo Salah, Lea Williamson, the football. I didn't get him in for it. So it's not just men. Now it turns out, extraordinary list of, like, Andrew Garfield, an extraordinary list of incredible people. And it wasn't even an awards bag. It wasn't even like the bafters, like, where you sit and sit through the speeches and then a half past 10 when you're starving, hungry and quite tired. You sit down and eat your food. This was like a banquet, banquet where you just sit around and have a delicious meal. And then a few people pop up and say a few words between starter and the main course. So it was like, and it wasn't even that. It was like maybe a couple hundred people, like quite small as these things go. But the point is is before on the evening of, I was like, I don't want to go. And I said, I knew I had to go, but I said to Nancy, my wife, I was like, I am not feeling this. She's like, what is it? I said, I just, I can't, you know, I don't know. I just feel really anxious. And she's like, but you're not even giving a speech, are you? You know, because sometimes it's that like, what if we win and I have to give a speech or, or you're worrying about whether you're going to win? I knew I was an honoree and I knew I wasn't going to say any, I wasn't going to have to give a speech. And it was just the idea of having to talk to people like, oh, and in a relatively high, high wattage setting. So you think like, I don't want to be wandering around like a blithering idiot. So there's a sort of little stress that sits alongside that. But there was no real reason on paper why I shouldn't have been thinking, well, this is going to be amazing. This is going to be a night. I remember my whole life, you know. And I attempted to adjust my mindset, you know, using kind of Paul McKenna like or Yuri Geller, like, you know, just visual, like think about what this is. This is going to be, no one's expecting anything of you. This is a chance to sit down with some amazing people and have fun. But nevertheless, for the first kind of hour, I was there just thinking, I kept just sighing and then she was like, what's the matter? So I think that's just for what I think that's in me, it's probably in a lot of a lot of people. And you just deal with it. But that, you know, why, why should that be the case? I don't really know why. Is it something that comes with a cost? And is it something you want to change?

Feeling anxious doing new things (35:22)

If you're being really honest, if I could dial down, I think sometimes I think I have changed it actually is the first thing to say, because there were times in my life where I said no to things just because I thought that's going to be a bit like that. You know, I did the Maypole dancing in the end and it went fine. I did learn this will surprise you, but I did learn how to read. And you know, despite all the anxiety I had about doing that. And so, and then as life went on, I think there were times when I said no to things, opportunities, which probably just because the idea, I was asked to go on David Letterman's chat show. When it was on CBS, this would have been in around 2001. And I said no, because I thought that's just going to make me anxious. And looking back on it, I probably wish I'd done that. It's not with that. Why would that make you anxious? I find the chat show experience, not especially. I mean, I've done it a few times and as life goes on, it seems, you know, the idea of public speaking or, you know, when I first got into TV, it was like, why am I doing this? This is not me. Like, this is not what I was cut out for. This is not something that I aspire to do. And it sounds really, you know, the whole notion of it feels intimidating and just a bad fit. And nevertheless, I knew that, you know, just briefly, like I was working in magazines as a journalist in New York. And that's, I aspired to be a TV writer. Partly as a way of sort of avoiding comparison with my dad, not directly, but I suppose that was in my mind was like, I want to write and be creative. But I know I'll never write books. You know, I didn't feel like I wrote when I wrote, it didn't feel especially as though it came as easily as I as it should. You know, it's hard when your dad like I relate to people with famous parents, like, you know, people like, you know, Jacob Dylan, yeah, he's Bob Dylan's son. I don't know why I reached for that comparison. But Jacob Dylan, that track, one headlight, do you remember that one? No, for people who know, you know, it's a great track. It was a huge international hit. But his dad's Bob Dylan. That's a painful, maybe not painful, but that's an extraordinary legacy to be born into. And in a related way, like I was conscious of my dad, his name as a writer really meant something. And that it was that if I was to attempt to write something, it was going to be a case of very likely kind of falling short, at least in my own mind. But the idea of writing in television was less, I felt that would set, wouldn't invite the same comparisons. Plus, I used to watch TV and I liked TV and there was something about the democratic kind of nature of television. The fact that everyone watches TV, I thought, well, that's a way of working in a medium that will connect with people. And so it was in the mid 90s, TV was in a kind of mini golden age. The Simpsons was on, Seinfeld was on, Friends was just about to come on. There were all these amazing TV shows. Larry Sanders was another one. Did you want to connect with people? You say in history at Oxford, and as someone that appears to be a bit of an introvert by nature, from what you said about your experience? I have a duality. Yeah. I'm partly shy and introverted and then partly outgoing and an extravert. So with your writing and with the TV writing, was your and with the magazine writing, I knew you did some, as did to spy, was it Metro in Boston? Metro in San Jose, San Jose, California. Was your objective and the thing that you found fulfillment in your work from? Was that connecting with people? Or was it just? I think I connected with people not to sound oxymoronic or whatever it is, no tortologists by connecting with people. In other words, I always find I do my best connecting. Sounds a bit face to face. Maybe at one level, but in the end, I think I was just trying to do good work and get approval, maybe more than connection, just trying to get an A at work. Do you know what I mean? So I would feel good and think, oh, I got 10 out of 10 on my article, or on my piece of writing, my film review. And then if people said to me, that was really good, that was like getting, you got a good review or whatever, you know, people say, you did a good job, then it was maybe a way of, it's just a little spurt of whatever that is, like, just kind of pleasure. You know, just worthiness, a feeling worth. I think I've got a healthy relatively healthy sense of self-esteem, but nevertheless, I think I, whether I require, I enjoy, you know, getting, I got a series out at the moment. This isn't my attempt to segue into the promotional portion of this interview, but nevertheless, here we are. I've got a series out at the moment on I Play called Louis Through Interviews. And we had one that went out a few days ago, where interviewed Bear Grylls, an alumnus of this very podcast. I listened to your interview with him, by the way, in preparation. And when it went out, for whatever reason, I think, because I thought it was a good show, and I hoped it would, I hoped it would get a good reception. I was on, I thought I'm going to go on Twitter and see what people were saying. And it was surprisingly quiet. And then I felt a bit like, okay, now I want to, I'll try at Louis Through, I'll try hashtag Bear Grylls, I tried a few different search terms. And then I suddenly had a vision of my, you know, you get a vision of yourself like, oh, I've become that grubby guy, kind of like, it's sort of sad. It's like, trying to fish for, fish for approval in the vast swamp of the Twitterverse, right, casting my line, and nothing much is coming back. And I thought, well, and then one that came back, I looked at it and said, just watched Louis Throughs interview with Bear Grylls, wow, it was hella boring. And I was like, I just caught a boot. And then I was like, well, that's what you get. And by the way, it isn't boring. No, it's not boring. And the point I was trying to get to was, then a couple of days later, I got a review, great review in the Times. Just sort of pointing out all the things about it that I knew to be really, really good. It was sort of the perfect review, you know, rave, saying like, this is fresh, it's new, it's different, it's fun, it's entertaining, it's revealing. And I felt really good. And in one level, it's like, because before that, the first three episodes, I hadn't really checked Twitter. I thought, I'm not that guy anymore. I don't really care. Like, I make the shows, and I know they're good. And the ones that aren't so good, I know none of these is a clunker. They're all solid. And then I suddenly thought, oh, I went back to, I regressed into being the needy, sort of the needy and secure person, which is, you know, and that guy is always there, by the way, I think a lot of people could probably relate to that, which doesn't, it doesn't mean, you know, which is fine, by the way. But I suppose to your point, in all the kind of work, the work I do is not like, is it an urge to connect? Like, it's an urge to do good work. And then it's nice for that to be recognized. And as much as I could, I'd like to pretend that I don't really care whether people like it or not, I do care, actually. Do you know what's funny is my team are very honest with me, and we're in the car the other day.

Your new series (43:24)

And I believe it was Holly, Holly and my team, who might be upstairs now. And I said, we were talking about your, Louise coming on the podcast, I said, always got the new series out where he interviews people. I turned to, I think it was Holly, it might be someone else, sorry if it's someone else. I turned to them and said, how is it? Because they'd seen it before me, and they went, it's actually really good. Oh, nice. That's what they said to me. And they would be, and they would be so honest with me, they went, it's actually really good. And then they explained why it was good. You know, it was not because of me, here's my thing, like, that actually, like, isn't it? It's actually like, when I, it's actually really good. But you see, when I, because I've, I'm a very glass half empty kind of guy is with respect to praise. Yeah. So what I'm hearing there is it's actually surprising. Yeah, I'd be like, because I'm here, is that a surprisingly, in which is, why would that be surprising? I can, I think I can assert why it would be surprising. I think that the generation Holly's in, they don't watch shows like that on BBC One, typically. And so, BBC Two, BBC Two, sorry, on the BBC, should I say, yeah. But that's what I got from it, is her generation, who are like 22, 23, who spend a lot of time on like TikTok and Instagram and these other platforms, I think it was, I was actually quite surprised. Well, that's right. And I think that's what we drew. And also, I think in my world, if I'm going to talk about stuff, you know, there's a trial in all of us, right? And in general, it's more enjoyable to talk about stuff and dunk on stuff, because it's shit, right? Like, I know that sounds horrible, I'm slightly oversimplifying. I think you're right. There's a little, especially in the journalistic or the, in the, in the media village, it's like, did you see it? Yeah, yeah, that was rubbish, wasn't it? And there's a sort of reassuring feeling of like, yeah, let's all give it a kicking. So, so when you acknowledge that something's good, you sort of say like, I'm going to grudgingly acknowledge that that was good. Yeah, I think you're correct. You know, that's a bit of that. Yeah. I think pretty much everything, especially when, because we probably consider ourselves working in the media industry. Sure. So for the team to go, it's actually really good. Yeah. And then she went on to explain to me. Most things aren't that good. They're not. I mean, most things are fine. Yeah. But most things are like, only about as good as they need to be. Especially in the interview format, like how many other ways can you can create an interview format that is original and inspiring? Yeah. And that's also what I got from her was like, she was talking to me about the way the format was constructed. Yeah, I think we pushed things forward a little bit. Like, it's not a paradigm shift. Like we haven't completely flipped the script, as they used to say in hip hop circles. But it is, you know, we worked on the grammar. We tried to do things a little differently. So we created a, for one of a better term, format, you know, that allowed for elements of actuality, just being silly, having fun, or being in life's settings where the unexpected could happen, but also bits of conversation that would be going to places that were quite deep. So yeah, thank you for that. And that's, thank you for parting that one. TV, I read when you were 18, I think maybe 16, if someone had said to you that you would end up in TV, you would have, you would have been sort of perplexed at how that would have the steps that it would have taken to get you there.

Conforming vs being disruptive (46:34)

Yeah, definitely true. You're in San Jose, I believe at the time. Is that where Spy was, the magazine? No, I was at Boston. So let me rewatch, just to rewind. And I also want to mention one other thing, which is because we talked a little bit about studying and I feel as though whatever that is, that work ethic has stood me in good stead. But I don't feel that that's, I often think there's a very understandable misconception about the level of importance of academic work, that whole stay in school, kids. And we were talking, I think, off Mike about Mr. Beast, the YouTuber, and the media landscape we're in now, it would just simply not correct to say that, oh, the path lies through academic work, right? And I was talking to my cousin Justin Thoreau, oddly enough, he says Thoreau, who's an actor, he's a director, a writer, he wrote Tropic Thunder, Iron Man 2, he's been, he's also like high profile Hollywood actor. I interviewed him for my podcast, I'm not trying to plug, that would be weird to plug one podcast on another podcast. But he, and he was like someone who struggled in the academic setting, like he had ADHD, he flunked out of a school, he went to another school where they recognized his special needs. But the point is that I sort of think so many, I think we under, there's a tendency to undervalue those parts of, of, of life that lead to success that exists. I mean, maybe you, maybe I'm sort of out of line here, because it sounds like you are all over this, but those parts of, like the parts of life that helped me become whoever I am, part of its academic, part of its was almost inimical to academic success. It was the part that was free spirited and naughty and that was bunking off school and seeing movies and, and or getting me in trouble and, and, and, and whatever that is, and it's hard to really bottle it and know quite what it is. You know, there's something that I struggle sometimes with over discipline, right? And, and, and, or a sense of like doing well in controlled settings, but actually it's that you need the yin and the yang of both. And, and when I went out and did stuff that was successful on TV, like working, doing my first segments at a show called TV Nation, having been hired by Michael Moore when I was 23, partly like a work ethic, you know, doing preparation and being, you know, turning up on time, as they say, is like 90% of the battle, but actually then being just sort of allowing those creative juices sort of to, you know, whatever that mysterious quality of, um, humor and connectivity, just being silly and disruptive, like those are really valuable. They say, don't they? They say conformity is great to succeed in school, but it's not great to succeed in life. Maybe that's what it is. You kind of need to be to unconform once you get out. You sort of do. And I think, and I want to come back to your question, but, but I do think that that's also, you know, three, four years ago, I started a company and there's a part of me that's overly, um, so overly conventional, you know, and, and as a result, seeks out unconventional in my work. And that's positivity. I, because it means that I love spending time with people who feel like they give free reign to the darkest, weirdest impulses that I think to an extent we all share, but keep repressed, you know, whatever those happen to be, people involved in sex work or, or, or people involved in religious cults or hate groups and, and that's all my stock in trade is talking to those people because I feel as though I kind of get it. Like, I understand that though that that's part of the full compliment as horrible as it might sound to say, like, we all have like, unacknowledged and secret impulses that, you know, we have sort of civilized, you know, and kept and repressed into, into, you know, we've inhibited them into our souls so that we can function and not go to be sent to prison or whatever be canceled. But, um, for me, like, I, I, I sort of, I do it to a fault to the point where I worked at the BBC in-house in BBC studios just because I sort of liked the idea of the structure, like, I'm a company man going to the factory and, you know, building my TV programs but not owning them. And, because I just thought, you know, and I like going to the can, I used to love working at TV center because it felt like going to the factory and then eating at the TV center canteen, you know, it just felt felt like comfortable. You know, my, my granddad worked at the London Waterboard his whole life. He had one job that he started when he was 18 and finished when he was whatever, 65, you know, to some extent those were the times but that temperament is slightly in me. The whole time when he, when he left they gave him, um, some box of cutlery, you know, that was like, you know, you were here for 47 years. Here's your sort of, your silverware in a walnut case and was on a, it was in pride of place, like, not pride of place. It was on the mental piece but you used to, we used to look at it. That's what Grandpa got when he worked at the London Metropolitan Waterboard for 47 years. You know, you sort of reverence it like and it was only used for special occasions. And, and there's a little bit of that in me. And so when I finally went outside the BBC and set up a company three or four years ago, I'm sure most of your listeners probably have their own, many of them, not most, but many of them will have their own companies or will be fully cognizant of what it takes to make it in the sort of the world of, of free market and entrepreneurship. But for me, that was just absolutely not my lane. And it was my wife who pushed me to do it. And so that was a case of me needing to break out of whatever I was doing and say, you know what, whatever you think that is risky or mysterious or, um, you know, a bit, a spivy, you know, like, just a little judgment like, oh, I don't want to be one of the yuppy guys. I would just do an IPO. I've just got my first mezzarati like that cut there because I'm antagon, you know, I've completed that whole mindset. I feel like I'm alienating maybe some of your listeners. That's not my mindset. Like I'm just like, I almost valorised the opposite of that. You know, to, to probably an extent, this so faintly unhealthy, like, like, I don't want to be the guy. I don't want a flash car. I don't want to flash clothes. I don't want anything. I want to be anti flash. Right. Like my watch, you can see this. My wife was saying to me last night, um, you know, maybe time for a new watch. This is a Casio. Whatever that one is. It's a F 911 w these costs like 10 pounds, 15 pounds. You can get them at our costs. Have you ever seen that watch before? I have. I was listening to the program about Andrew Tate on the way here, a podcast. You know who Andrew is. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, I don't really take feels like he's that guy reduced to its quintessence where he's like, if you have one of his catch phrases was, um, people say, why have you got a, you know, green Bugatti? Did you know this meme? And what does he say to them? He says, um, well, he says what colors I say to them, what colors your Bugatti? Right. That's him in a nutshell is like, unapologetically troll like, ostentatious displays of wealth and arrogance. Right. So I'm the anti-tate. You can put that on my, you put that on my gravestone, the anti-tate. So I'm like, I don't give a fuck about your Bugatti. I think it's embarrassing that you have one. But you know, fine. You know, and that's kind of a joke. Like that's, I, I want, my point really is that that's something I need to keep an eye on, you know, because actually ostentatious, almost like ostentatious humility is its own poison. Like, like, why are you so wedded to the idea of having a shitwatch? By the way, it's not a shitwatch. It's completely reliable. And it's, I've never had it. The only thing that goes on it is the strap. So you, so I've got one that's got a, you can replace the strap. After about five years, the strap goes, I've got two of these. I'm not bragging. I've got one. I've got my, I've got my spare one in case I can't find this one. Anyway, last time my wife said, might be time for a new watch. I've got to embrace, I'm trying to lean into being the guy that isn't showing off about what a lack of, what a not show off he is. You think I've lost the thread, I haven't. The point I'm getting to is that, so I needed to start a company and not, because it's, it's oddly infantilizing after a while, like there's nothing, there's nothing cool about making like hundreds of hours of TV and, and not owning any of it, right? That's just me being a little bit of a chump. And partly that's, you know, there's a quid pro quo, I suppose like, well, you don't get stressed, you turn up, you're making things for a public broadcaster, you're getting a decent salary for sure. But people would say like, why, you know, everyone else. So the, who do you work for? I was like, well, I'm BBC, I'm on contract. I work from contract to contract three years at a time. Like really, you don't have your own company. Like, no, why not? Like, you know, because everyone else does like Jamie Oliver or Hugh Burnley, Whitting Store or, you know, whoever you care to mention any presenter, bag reels, bag reels of any longevity would be making their own shows. You know, it's, it is a no brainer. And I was like, I guess I just, I'm fine doing my, I'm a creature of habit. You know, that was sort of what I've just sort of find I want to mess around with it. And then having done it three or four years ago, like, yeah, I probably should have done it a bit earlier. But it's so, so it's that thing of the point, which now landing on the point sounds a bit vanilla was that you can sort of get in being a creature of habit, being sort of embracing them, whatever that, you know, your own sense of self as risk of verse and conventional. Sometimes, you know, I needed to challenge myself in order to discover that there was a world out there that was sort of more creative, more lucrative, more fun, more adventurous. That's happened a few times in your life where you've kind of taken a leap into the unknown, which is actually quite surprising having, you know, described yourself as a creature of comfort, even habit have habits.

Feeling like an imposter (56:49)

What I don't mean to habit, like, like, I'll try and like, tell you what, I just say habit. I, maybe of comfort as well, although, you know, but habit is really what I meant. Yeah, creature of habit, because I, because I was reading about when you made that transition from being a writer to a TV presenter. And I remember writing some quotes about how, like, there was one about feeling like an imposter a little bit to some degree, and getting on that plane to go and interview these Christians once Michael Moore had sort of put you at front and center of the country and thinking, what the fuck am I doing here? Yeah, that was, I remember it vividly. It's extraordinary as you go through, like, so much disappears, but there are times when you realize you're at this momentous moment, I suppose often it's high stress moments, which is really revealing, isn't it? Because actually risk avoidance, you know, that, that almost like, my mind's whizzing now, but that bent for my idea, like, the greatest happiness, you know, in philosophy, there's a utilitarian ideal that's supposed to be the, the metric for how you judge whether an action is good or not. And it's like the greatest, will it cause the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people? But then if you unpack that, like, well, what is happiness, like, and what actually, how do you measure it? And how do you measure is it happiness in the moment? Is it happiness as it's recollected over time? Is it happiness that, you know, you can, that will spread to other people or, you know, it will exist for 100 years? And so actually, there's a sense of fear and discomfort that will subsequently lead to sense of, of, of triumph or self satisfaction. I don't know, is it happiness? Is it, I don't know, like that feels such a such a blunt instrument for attempting to make measure reality. And, and in general fear, which you would equate with unhappiness can very often be what ends up creating the conditions for real achievement. And I, I, I remember sitting on this plane, having been given a job by Michael Moore as a presenter on your TV nation, it was a network TV show on NBC, one of the, what, there were then three networks in America. I was 23. I was, as I say awkward. In every apparent way, disqualified for being a correspondent on a network TV show, I was in, I was having, I was in the union, like, you know, as probably still the case, but definitely then the TV shows were unionized to an extent in America, further than they would be in the UK. So I would be, I was in the right as Guild of America as a result of being hired. And so they were required to fly me business class. Like, I don't think I'd ever been in business class. And somehow that contributed to my imposter syndrome, my sense like, I shouldn't really be here. I remember sitting there thinking like, this is all kinds of wrong. Like, I don't know what I'm doing here. I don't know why they think I'm qualified to do this. And nevertheless, this is what's happening. And I was, that it was a segment that was about, you know, TV nation was a kind of satirical, fact-based comedy show where you went out and slightly made fun of people with to prove a political point or to sort of make some sort of social point. So I was interviewing religious cults about when the end of the world was going to happen. So it was sort of like slightly cheeky, irreverent take on religious fanaticism or religious weirdness. So you guys are like, I wanted to know, so when will the world end? Is it on a Tuesday? How can I get prepared? And I was sort of in a wide, in a wide, wide way. Oh, no, like, will there be, you know, I know the spaceships going to land. And what will the aliens look like? But I was just incredibly conscious of, of thinking like, why have I been given this huge? It felt like a big slab of pressure and sort of licensed to fail very publicly and very embarrassingly. And, and I also knew I wasn't, you know, but I'm also wasn't so disconnected from reality that I didn't think like, well, it's a huge opportunity. Like, my, my, my girlfriend at the time was very supportive and it's like, you know, you, you should, you can do this, Louie, like you're, you're really good with people and, and, and, and, you know, don't, don't worry, like you can, you've got this, you can handle it. When you try to talk yourself out of it, I was, it wasn't like I ever thought, I, I won't do it. Like, it was no question of like, I'm going to do it. Like, I have to do it. But I, I sort of didn't want to do it. Does that make sense? Has that been typical of your life, where you know you've got to do it, but it feels kind of painful and anxious as you approach the challenge, even like starting your own company. I think so. Like, there's times when, like, you know, I suppose that's where the work ethic part fits in or whatever, like that part of if, if you commit to doing something, like I'm very, I hate to let people down. Like, if I commit to doing something, um, or turning up on time or, I still struggle with that part, like, especially as you're in the, when you're in the public eye or you're in demand, and people write and ask for things, I still, you know, will you come to our school and give a talk or I do, I, I'm a very, I'm very agreeable in that sort of technical sense. I'm very inclined to agree to do things and that can get you in trouble because you find you're over, I find I over agree and make unrealistic commitments. Like, that'll be fine. And then I'll do that. And then I'll do that. And then you look at it and you're like, there's just no way on earth. I can do all of these things. So I try and ring fence my commitment levels, but that's not easy. So, but in a positive way, um, that sense of like feeling like I need to show up having agreed to do it. Have you been offered a, um, an opportunity, even though it might sound enormously stressful, like, I would never, I think there's maybe a world in which I never got into TV. I don't know quite what I did end up doing. The thing that it makes me reflect on is the extent to which we're conditioned and groomed into behaviors that can be healthy or unhealthy or positive or not positive. And I think that's the part of the libertarian ethos that I have a huge, well, among others, I have a huge issue with, it's like, Oh, just let people be themselves. People need help to fulfill their potential, right? That idea that, Oh, you know, you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps, like, I, with all the advantages I had of like a first rate private education, supportive parents, even I like didn't see myself as someone who would have various kinds of success. I didn't feel that that was in me for whatever reason, but other along the way people, Michael Moore, people at the BBC who then commissioned me to do my own series off the back of TV nation when I got commissioned to weird weekends, my wife Nancy, other people along the way have sort of seen things in me that I didn't see in myself. Even this interview series going out the moment, I never, it sounds awful. I never aspired to have a TV interview series like, it was something that would be mentioned from time to time. And I would say like, that's not really me. You know, I like going out like my, my comfort, like my happy plays really is in terms of TV, like, Oh, go and be in a prison for two weeks and film the inmates or go to a mental hospital or go to a, um, a brothel, like I made a film about a brothel and just hang out there for two or three weeks and just be a flop. That, that to me sounds awful, but that's, that's like pure bliss, like work wise. But the idea of, Oh, we'll have a formal sit down interview and you're talk to someone famous who probably only has a couple of hours for you and then we'll piece it all together and do shoot. I never thought like that's really something I want to do. But Patrick Holland who was then in charge of BBC two had listened to my podcast and said like, I really think this would work. So I'm not this exactly, but there's, there's a TV show that takes aspects of this that could exist that would, you know, involve you talking to people. And I, and I remember you were thinking like, Oh, that would, that must have been exciting. Like someone saying like, I want to do it. This TV format involves those partly chat show, partly documentary. I just thought, I didn't think like that's something I'll never do. I did think like, I just felt very blank about it. I know that's horrible. Like people are going to listen to this and throw up in their cars. But I just thought that sounds sort of stressful. I'm not sure if I really want to do that. What I made myself the point is I made myself do it because I had a team around me who I knew expected me to do it. And at some level, I had enough sense to recognize that it was an opportunity. These people that have seen things in you that you maybe couldn't at the time have seen in yourself or seen roles for you that you maybe at the time couldn't have seen for yourself, Michael Moore, Nancy, and then people at the BBC that you mentioned.

Are you now aware of what people saw in you? (01:06:01)

Are you aware of what they're seeing in you? Now in hindsight, what they saw. Yeah, I think so. And I think with a bit of time, I've been able to appreciate that. I know it sounds sort of glib and maybe even false modus, but to appreciate that I have something to offer. What is that? Well, makes people feel uncomfortable when you ask them these questions. No, no, I'm fine with it. Like, because I feel as I can analyze it, with the benefit of 25 years of doing it, I think it's something to do with it. Like, a little bit of intelligence, a little bit of humor, a little bit of sort of unsort awkwardness. Like, I think that's part of it, like just being a little bit awkward, a little bit of sort of authenticity, or whatever that is, like just sort of feeling like, I think maybe that same thing of not really fully chasing it or fully sort of needing it, oddly enough, is almost the... You know, it's like to go through the door, you have to not want to go through the door too much. I don't know if that's even... That's definitely not saying, and it doesn't actually make any sense. But whatever sense you can make of that contradictory statement, if you want it too much, I think that this then you need to step back and think about quite... It's almost like then you're not ready, grasshopper. Is that the... Is grasshopper? Is that what these are saying, Karate Kid? I think if I can call you a grasshopper, Steve, no. You know, it's that feeling of, you know, at the end of the day, there's more important things in life, and I don't want to overdo... I actually got lost in my metaphor a bit, but I think in the end it's like those different qualities of... It's that complement of qualities, and then just luck, but I don't think luck really is a quality, but alongside... I'm now at the position where having done my job for long enough, it's put me in a slight... I think there's loads of people who could be whoever I am, like occupy that cultural place that I'm in, but, you know, and partly I've earned my plays here and partly I've been really lucky. But I think, you know, when you said something earlier, it also made me think of another quality which is to do with... which is a negative thing, which is that, you know, that idea like, when you were when I was told that, oh, you know, Patrick, you know, it's quite keen to do some sort of talk format or some interview thing where you're on TV, and I just think like, well, I'm not really sure. I think one of my... Because it goes back to what you were asking earlier about, what is the downside of these various qualities? Like, I do think there's a term and hedonic. Have you ever heard that term? It just means... I think it's a clinical term, but it sort of means a verse to pleasure or lacking in pleasure. Like, there's a part of me, again, I think my wife has helped me with... Is that a kind of sense that I'm not always connected to pleasure? Does that sound weird? Like, I... You know, sometimes I sort of drift through life and I have to sort of stop and remind myself. I think because I sort of... I tend to see downsides and I'm working on that and I really do like... I sort of need to... It's really odd, like, I've won three bafters, not bragging. It just came up and I mention it's a fact. And when you win a bAFTA, you've got a lot of awards up there. I'm not seeing a bAFTA. And maybe those are just... I presented bAFTA to someone else. Some of them... One's a camera. I'm not sure that camera is an award or you can do a cut away of that later. You know, it's odd, like, my main thing on winning each time I won a bAFTA, my first thought was been, "Oh, shit, now I have to give an acceptance speech, right? And I have to get up there." And, you know, in hiding... Like, the pleasure, you know, you get a little pleasure over the subsequent years when you can bring it up again and again, as I like to do. But actually, it's really odd, like, most of the time when I get good news, sometimes I don't even... I can't notice the good news. Does that sound really weird? No, that makes sense. I don't have that, mate. It's... Thank you for saying that. I think you're being polite. Yeah, I am. I'm not someone who... I'm not someone who... Who automatically feels connected to the good things that happen to them. How does one remain happy if they have that kind of default... Oh my God, why am I going to put this third bAFTA that I've won or now I have to do a speech?

How do you remain happy? (01:10:51)

Well, it sounds awful, but you just sort of follow your routine, you know, and actually, I am a happy person. And I... You know, I take pleasure in the simple things in life. You know, I like doing stuff with the family or, you know, really... I really am a good son. Terrible. I've met a simple place. I like watching Match of the Day at the weekend. Like, you say, like, yeah, okay, lots of people like doing that. What's that? But, you know, like, that for me is one of the small things in the week where I'm like, I know I'm going to be happy for the next 45 minutes or hour. You know what I mean? Or on a Saturday night, I listen to loose ends on Radio 4, and often I'll be cooking, and that's a small thing. And I get a little tiny little boost out of, I'm going to enjoy it. I'm usually, I enjoy listening to it. This little thing, I mean, I'm not... If someone says like, you're going to go on holiday to the Bahamas, you know, I'm trying to imagine what a really big, happy thing would be. I would normally experience that as stress and anxiety. I think that's quite normal. That holidays are stressful, aren't they? Maybe you've got your priorities in order, in fact, because you don't seem to be compelled or... Or drive your happiness from like the big, wanky stuff, from like the Lamborghini, the Bugatti, the BAFTA. Yeah, what colors are you up again? The GQ Man of the Year stuff. You seem to derive it from the simple, intrinsically fulfilling things like, you know, cooking, listening to a thing that's intellectually stimulating. So maybe we're all like... Maybe everyone else is a weirdo, and you're actually incredibly normal. I don't know. I think there's more of us out there than you might think, but maybe not. We're all trapped in our own brains. There's no way of measuring. I do think that... You know, I mentioned that when I saw that I got a nice review in the times that gave me like a... As I said, I gave me a buzz. You cared about your work there. I really cared about... Well, that wasn't even about... I mean, I do care about the work. I mean, work is a big source of pleasure, like in the sense of either being on location and being aware of it going well and getting into an almost like a mindset in an interview of feeling like, "Yeah, this is all good. I feel connected. I feel... Because it's a high stretch." In a way, I'm sure you have a little bit... If you have an interview with someone you feel like you've been trying to book it for a while, the moment comes, you're like, "The next two hours are really important. You want it to go smoothly. You want it to feel like a revealing encounter. You want to be probing and insightful and attentive and immersed and not distracted but also thinking ahead." And all of that's going on and then it starts and then you feel like, "Oh, it's going okay." And then afterwards you're like, "That was a good one." And then in the edit, you're putting it together and you're piecing things in like that. All of those, the simple pleasures of craft, you know, like, it's really... And it is simple. It's no great mystery, but that's a big part of how I connect with people. Well, my own happiness. How do you connect with people? So actually, I wanted to ask you this for my own sort of learning.

How do you connect with all these people? (01:14:10)

You've done this for multiple decades. You've sat with people from every corner of the world. You have all of these different experiences and some of them are a little bit, you know, and the nicer sense, a little bit out there. I'm glad I landed with a PC word. A little about there. Wonder what the non-PC word is. But you have... It was funny when I asked you about the qualities you have. I think you absolutely nailed it. And all of those make you incredibly disarming. That almost lack of intense seriousness makes you a really disarming individual. How do you connect with people? How intentional is your approach to connecting with them in your new interview series, but also just generally? Some of it is stuff that... You know, I just sort of came by by accident probably most of it, which is a thing, you know, natural curiosity, which I think you have. A feeling of just wanting to know why people do the things that they do, right? And sort of getting out of your own way a bit, you know, in the sense... Because the question I get asked most often is like, well, how do you not get angry with some of these people, especially the ones who are sort of spewing hate or coming out with stuff that's really objectionable? I find it a slightly confusing question because I think that's so far from what's in my head most of the time. I'm genuinely like, why... If it is someone like, say, a neo-Nazi or someone involved in religious intolerance, I'm just so curious about what takes someone to that place, what's in their mind, but to actually berate them, to give them a hard time, or even be particularly journalistic confrontational, that's not my default mode. - That's so interesting. Because I just think in life generally, those who like, seek to own, even on our personal relationships and romantic relationships, those that seek to understand tend to build bridges. But if you seek to like, as you say, berate, I get told off on this podcast a lot on like Twitter and in the press, like, because I don't berate people, like when I had my hand clock here, I asked him the questions I really wanted to know, but I didn't come to berate him. He would have gone... The wall would have gone up had I done that. - There's other ways of... Some people use a confrontational approach and that's fine. And then I think in general, you know, there's many ways of doing interviews. And I think probably... I haven't interviewed many politicians and it's probably related to that, the feeling that they have their... They tend to have their guard up. They tend to be... Follow a strategy of attempting to be as risk averse, headline averse as possible. And it's like, those aren't the people. I'm interested in people who are genuinely attempting to feel like they've got something figured out or involved in a world or a lifestyle or just some situation that is either self sabotaging or filled with angst. So in the end, I see it as... I'm not trying to get one over on people. I'm not trying to... Honestly, most interviews I see as a potential win-win. You know what I mean? Like, I should think like, "Well, there's no reason why you shouldn't tell me the truth." And you're involved in something that you're relatively open about. And I'll just assume that that's probably the case. Now, obviously, you're briefed. You've done as much research as you can. But I think if you feel as though you're coming from a position of shared inquiry, then that's contagious. I think also... I sort of tend to think... I think there's some part of me who thinks maybe the other person's got it figured out and I haven't, right? A level of humility. So that when they say stuff, I'm genuinely thinking like, "Well, I guess maybe." Or they say something bonkers. I'm like, "Well, that isn't right." But I enjoy bumping up against that. And I don't go in there thinking, "I'm going to get this person. I'm going to get one over on them." I sort of feel as though you come in and you just sort of try and just see what's going on. If people see like your attempt to wrestle intimacies from them, that's never going to go well. You just create the space in the sense of understanding and allow them to walk through that. Everything you've just described there, that creating the space to understand the humility, which ultimately creates that safety, which allows them to open up, are the exact things that I know my partner wants from me in all of our interactions. So because you've got that skill in your work, I'm here assuming that you also have that at home. Is that correct? I think I could work better on it. I'm very aware that the skill set. I often think about the skill that I have in my work of being supposedly a good listener and an empathetic and present person, I slightly fail at. You know, kind of think a very probably normal way in my relationship. I have a very happy marriage and probably you should check that with Nancy because I'm aware I'm slightly reviewing my own restaurant if I can use that metaphor. But yeah, on Goodreads, I gave my book a five out of five. And I'm giving my marriage five out of five. So I think I could do, I think I could improve. This episode has brought you by Mercedes Benz, who recently got in touch to support the Dirovacio. Thank you. I'm a huge fan of their cars. In fact, I have one of my own, which is like an office on wheels. And they have an exciting wide range of cars that I'd love to tell you about. The Mercedes EQ is the luxury electric range of Mercedes Benz. And it is available across many models from the SUVs to the saloons, meaning they're ideal for all business needs. 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Work-Life Balance And Mental Health

Being insincere (01:21:49)

Are you serious? Yes. Gotta get through this. My life and strange time is in television. Do you know what I'm going to say? Get it on audiobook for an extra chapter about Jimmy Savile. That's true. Speaking of page 157, Jimmy Savile, on that page, your former wife, seeing as we're talking about relationships and reviewing them, etc. She said, there's nothing real about you. To the point of Jimmy Savile, he also said something which was to the same vein about insincerity being your speciality. Yeah. That's good. But I'm glad you brought that up. It's quite a telling, ringing piece of soft exposure where my wife and Jimmy Savile both make the same critique of my interpersonal qualities, finding me lacking in basically authenticity, lacking in sincerity. There's nothing real about it. Well, the first thing is when a relationship is ending, you seize whatever you can to hurt the other person. I think it's, I think when someone you really love and you think really loves you, I mean, it was my girlfriend at the time, although we were married and that's a whole other complicated. But yeah, when that relationship was ending, I think there's a feeling of betrayal, isn't there? It's like, I thought we were together forever and I trusted that that would be the case. And here we are. Clearly, you don't feel the same way. And so I'm in the position of, in her eyes, being a kind of traitor and inauthentic, somebody who didn't deliver on what was promised. Although it wasn't promised, but what was, what seemed to be implicit. I think, yeah, in sincerity, I mean, I remember where we were, like when the Jimmy Savile, the first documentary I made about Jimmy Savile, when he was alive, when Louis met Jimmy, not available on the Mac layer, but it's on the internet, you can find it. And I remember when we promoted it before, I think it was when we promoted it. And he, he agreed to do an interview to promote it. And he, part of that was a profile interview in the Guardian. And he was interviewed at the Kings Cross in one of the, in the hotel there, in one of the hotel rooms and the guy from the Guardian came down. And I don't even know why, I don't even know why it came up. But I made a joke and he said, ah, in sincerity, your speciality. Gosh, you asking me to get inside the mind of Jimmy Savile to think about what he meant when he criticized me? I think he thought that I think that journalistic role where, well, I think part, I think you know what it is, is like the best, there's two constructions I can put on that. One is just that in journalism, you sort of required to inhabit this place of intimacy, like actually like, hey, let's do this and let's do that. And then afterwards, you sort of disconnect. And sometimes that can feel jarring. I don't think actually that's what he meant though. Like, I think, I think maybe in some cases, there's a, there's a pop journalism that can feel slightly sort of transactional way. Like, let's bro down on location and have fun. And yet if you look to it dispassionately, it's slightly cynical and calculating. He's like, well, you're doing this for a TV program. And so there's a pilot slightly feeling a little bit uncomfortable. I think really what he was talking about there was a sense of humor. He was, he was calling out my sense of humor, which is some type, an aspect of it, which sometimes involves almost self parody, like an element of where you say something almost as a way of sort of parodying or satirizing your own. This isn't going to make any sense, Steve, but you satirize your own worst impulses. Like, the best example I can give is when I said to, when I was with Neil and Christine Hamilton, right, I did a program and they were accused of sexual assault and while I filmed with them. And then I, and they would become media circus and I carried on filming. And then they did a deal with the male on Sunday to sell their story. And I was interviewing them during all of this. And I said to Christine, how, how much did the male on Sunday pay for you for the interview? I was just curious, because I knew probably they got 10 or 15 or 20,000 pounds and I was just curious. And Christine said, I'm not going to tell you. And I said to Christine, Christine, this is me. I'm not a journalist. I'm a friend. Like, you can tell me. And a lot of people gave me shit for it, right? Like that, what I said. But in my mind, like, that was a funny thing to say, because quite obviously, I am a journalist. And whether I'm a friend or not, is actually not established. I'm not clearly not a friend, but I'm not also clearly a friend, right? So that was kind of a funny remark, because I was being nakedly insincere, which is fun. Like sometimes, to me, what's funny is saying, like, not like, sort of saying the wrong thing, saying the thing that sort of brazen as a way of, of just sort of identifying the hypocrisy and having fun with it. So I tend to think that I think that's what Jimmy Savile meant was that sometimes I would say things that would kind of definitively either untrue or quite clearly being said because they were not clearly true. Anyway, that's the way you ask that question. And when you ask a question about Jimmy Savile, I'm going to give you a long answer because it's easy to be misconstrued. But I think that's what he meant. I think I'm in general, like fairly, a fairly straight up person. But I also think that the tendency to believe your own bullshit, to drink your own Kool-Aid is almost universal, almost a precondition of life, right? You know, Nietzsche, the German philosopher, who I try not to quote too much because it makes me sound pretentious, but yes, a couple of really good quotes on this where one is for the true deceiver, you know, for the most effective deceiver, first, he must believe his own deceptions, I say, amangling that quotation. But the idea that in order to con someone, you sort of have to believe that most effective con artist is the one who believes their own con, you know, and you know, like a or a seducer, like they say that about Casanova, you know, one of the most notorious womanizers in human history. And they say that he actually, for each time he seduced someone, he fell in love with them. You know, and maybe it's true for sales in general, like you really got to, but if you believe in that, and so I'm fully aware that for me to say like I'm an authentic human being and that my journalism relies on a kind of true connection, I'm, you know, the little part of me thinks like, I think I believe that. I'm pretty, I know I do believe that, but I'm not my own best reference on whether or not that's really the case. I neglected my personal life to focus on achieving some sort of professional success.

Neglecting your personal life for work (01:29:32)

The price of my lack of emotional mouse was paid by those nearest and dearest to me. When did you get that feedback? Because I remember the times in my life where I've got that feedback from friends, family, romantic partners. And at first sometimes we sometimes argue against it, we are a fuck off. And then we walk away and we go, this is true. I think I've had that feedback in my relationships more or less, some consistently until maybe four or five or six years ago, like I think, again, like I feel like I'm reviewing my own book like, and now folks, I am happy and healthy and well adjusted. And I've arrived at a spiritual place of tranquility, but I do, I am conscious that I am all through my 20s and 30s. I saw my relationships as a, I think the other phrase I use is like I saw my relationships as a life support system for my kind of work self. Do you know what I mean? Amen, I can relate. Instead of the other way around, you know. And so I would say like, well, I would take off, when I went to work for Michael Moore, it was even back in the 90s, it was a source of friction in the relationship that like without much warmth, because I became the fill in guy who, when other sick people couldn't do segments or because they were, they found it weren't available, weren't stressed about it. I'd be like, let's get Louie to do it. I did a lot of great segments just by being available at a moment's notice to fly somewhere and never thought really, which I don't know that it was the wrong thing to do at that time. We didn't have kids. So I'd be like, okay, I'm off for three or four days. And but as it went on, and then as I had kids, and I was still doing the same thing, sort of saying to my wife, well, this is what I do. There's a chapter in my book, this is what I do. You know, you knew when we married that we would be that I was a sort of go-trotting TV documentary maker. And she, she said, yeah, what did I do when we met? I was a TV director as well. And I've changed what I do. And you need to change what you do. Like, I don't mean to sound like she was being horrible about it. But her attitude was like, people make a, you need to make an adjustment to accommodate the fact that we now have two small children. And how did you receive that? At first. I think I received that as, well, not well. Like it didn't make me angry, but I was somewhat inflexible. Because my attitude was, look, I was, because I went, you know, my parents had my dad traveled a lot for work. My mom was a full-time TV producer. And we had people at home, Opair's, who, who made sure that when we got home, someone was there and would make us a meal. And so I was like, well, we just need to get help. She said, I don't want, I don't want us to get help. I said, she said, what, I said, you can do whatever you want to do. You can carry on working five days a week, six days, you can travel as well, if you want, we just need to get help. And she's like, I don't want one of us to be here. And I want for some of that, I want it to be you. I don't know, does that sound so you sound like me? Really? Yeah. Yeah. And I was like, well, I said, I guess I don't see it that way. So it became a bit of an impact, in past for a while. And then, and then, um, well, then we had another child and, um, and she said, well, now we've got a baby and two small children. And you've agreed to take to make sure you only work in the UK. And I was like, did I agree to that? Yes. And I couldn't remember it. But I was like, well, she's probably right. And, did you make rules? I read that you made some rules. I had a rule that I wouldn't go away for more than two weeks. And, um, and actually for most of the time, it was pertained sort of a week in 10 or 12 days. Are you flexible now? I don't want to make my wife sound like, I know there's some people out here that go like, well, you know, Louie was obviously bringing back the bigger wage. And so he should have been, I honestly think my wife was right about most of that. I feel the same way about my partner. And it's almost identical that it took me to find the right person to compromise my inflexibility, where they made the case to me that quality time and this relationship was actually an equal priority. Let's say to the work. And with the right person, I was finally willing to bend. And I was finally willing to, you know, so, but I think it takes the right person. Yeah. It does anyway. Yeah. The right person, the right relationship, the right life stage. Yeah. I also say that these interviews I'm doing part of that is an agreement that we made. Well, even an agreement, a kind of agreement I made with myself in lockdown and being around my kids are now 16, 14 and eight. You know, it turns out older children in many respects need more management, need more sort of parental presence in their lives than younger children. And so, I said, well, maybe a way for me to travel less and not be taking off for, you know, two or three months a year, because you aggregate those two week trips or 10, and they add up to maybe a quarter or a third of the year. And now I can, I can, my schedule is much more, I said, if I do these interviews and we make TV shows in the UK and there's a more controllable schedule, and I can be around more Nancy, help me set up the company. She's working more. I'm home more. And so, it's actually like, it turns out conforming to those expectations of family involvement is really positive. Like, it can actually be a creative boon, you know, it's not the enemy necessarily. It can be, it can make you a more rounded person that ends up being beneficial. That's exactly what I used to think it was. I used to think it was the enemy of my professional success, but I've come to learn that as a friend. It's the, yeah, serves it. You mentioned anxiety throughout this conversation.

Your experience with anxiety (01:35:58)

Now, sometimes when people talk about anxiety, they talk about it as in, like, like an emotion, they kind of, it's a flippant word to describe a situation where you're thinking a little bit much. But then there's what people would describe as sort of real anxiety, that kind of crippling, like, oh, you know, that we've all felt that it's like insane and shakeable sort of deep nervousness about a situation and worry. Which one are you referring to? I think the first one, I don't think I've ever had a panic attack, for example. I don't think I've ever had a feeling of kind of being incapacitated. I mean, I've had moments where I've had stage fright or moment, you know, that thing where due to, you just get even recently, like, there's been moments where you just get this sort of tremulous feeling of nerves and your voice starts to shake. Have you ever had that? Well, you've been in a situation where, or sometimes it's just, sometimes it's to do with your, you get into an argument with someone and you get really upset and your voice goes a bit like this, like it doesn't, you know, it was just kind of horrible. Or sometimes it's just where you feel like you're, you're like, I've been once or twice in situations where I just think, oh, this isn't going well, and then your confidence goes. I don't know if that's quite, that's sort of nerves, which is slightly different from anxiety. Anxiety, like, where, but the anxiety I mainly mean is just a kind of sense of foreboding, a pervasive feeling of worry about something that's going to happen. Because one of the things we talk a lot about on this podcast is about mental health and about how that affects people that are in high profile, high stress positions.

Your mental health (01:37:44)

What she would, you know, mental health is a topic that kind of emerged in cultural relevance about maybe a decade ago now. But when I was a kid, I didn't understand it. I didn't know what that was. And I, I'd be honest, I think the stigma was very much my belief. It was kind of like people, like some people are crazy. What's your journey been like with your own mental health? I feel really lucky to have broadly speaking good mental health. I also think what you're saying is exactly right. And I think that there's a kind of, there's a continuity, a blurring that exists, so that you think mental health, as opposed to mental illness, is a good way of thinking about it. Like that, because actually, we should all be striving towards being our best selves. We should all be managing our anxiety. I think a lot of men especially fail even to recognize when their mental health may not be as good as it could be. I mean, the extreme end, you've got incapacitating mental illness that requires a set of interventions, possibly medication, even sort of residential rehab settings. But for the rest of us, it's just, it's keeping an eye on, on how you're doing and know, you know, sometimes I notice my emotions from the outside. Like, I noticed that my voice is raised. I'm like, wow, I'm angry, you know, like, or, or even when I'm sad, I, or grumpy or whatever it is, I'm not the first really to see it. Or my wife will say, like, you're in a bad place. I think we've been guilty of failing to see mental health as a holistic condition. Like, in other words, that your support network needs to be in place. You need social, these are really basic, but you need social interaction. You need, you need exposure to things outside of work. You also need endorsement and approval in work. And all of these things need to be sort of pulling in the same direction. And there may be people in your life who are undermining you. And you may need support from people to nudge you in the right direction. But, you know, not to sound really bland about it. I feel as though I've, you know, through through sort of my wife's that's our perceptiveness and her ability to sort of see how how just so involved me in life a bit more, that that's, that's kept me in a good place. We have a closing tradition on this podcast, which, which is the previous guest writes a question for the next guest.


The last guest's question (01:40:17)

Oh, wow. Okay. And the previous guest, you don't get to know who the previous guest was, but the previous guest has written a question for you, not knowing it was for you. And they said, what is your opinion on hallucinogens? Hallucinogens. My opinion is, I think, you know, if you're, if you feel like you're, if you're of age, like 18 plus, I don't know how your younger listeners are, you know, maybe even maybe slightly older. And you feel like you've got solid mental health. I think it's a, it's not a bad avenue to go down. It's not something I've massively dabbled in. I've noticed, I don't know about you, like, in my social settings, it seems to be mushroom oil is something that's increasingly being used. And I think actually, you know, you know, I think we're all aware of the slight there's a dissonance between our levels of acceptance of alcohol and then the sort of relative unacceptable of things like whether it's marijuana or mushrooms and mushroom oil. Like, I'd like to see that leveled out. Like I'd like to see, as it is in California and elsewhere, I'd like to see cannabis legalized. And I think mushroom oil, without giving too much away, could be really positive. From what I understand. Louis, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you. So much from you for so many reasons. Thank you. And your new documentary on the BBC, BBC two, and on I player, Louis through interviews is incredible. The two people you're in. So six, six, six of them out there. They're right now. They're incredible. And you're interviewing some incredible people that are being very vulnerable and open with you. But thank you for the inspiration as well. You're someone that I've watched for the for decades. So Steve. And that's given me a life full of enjoyments. And thank you for coming and doing this. Pleasure. Quick one. Right now, one of my sponsors on this podcast, who I absolutely adore, crafted the men's jewelry brand are having a sale right now up to 70% off a brand that's already incredibly affordable. If you ever see me wearing jewelry on videos in real life, it's crafted jewelry. This particular piece, these pearls here, are one of my favorite pieces to wear when I'm trying to wear a fashionable item. All of their pieces, I wear all of their rings. I wear all of their jewelry. And I did before they sponsored this podcast, I actually asked them to sponsor this podcast because I was such a big fan of the brand. I'm not somebody that rolls around and Rolexes and stuff like that. But I do want quality jewelry that isn't going to change color, that is going to be durable enough to keep up with me. That looks fashionable and that has a sense of meaning. And that's exactly what crafted has in their rings, in their necklaces, in everything they produce. I know the founders, I know how much they care. And if you're a man that often struggles to find a good place to buy good quality jewelry, that's not going to change color. That's not going to break. Crafted is the answer and it's incredibly, incredibly affordable. And they have a sale on right now, which they never ever do. 70% off. I implore you to go and check it out. For many years, people have been asking for a coffee flavored heel. And quite recently, heel released the iced coffee caramel flavor of their ready to drink heels. And I've just become hooked on it over the last couple of weeks. I've been on a really interesting journey with heel, which I've described and talked about a little bit on this podcast. I started with the Berry Ready to Drink that I moved over to the protein salted caramel because it's 100 calories and it gives you all of your essential vitamins and minerals, but also gives you the 20 odd grams of protein you need. And now I'm balanced between them both. I drink mostly the banana flavor ready to drink. I've got really into the iced coffee caramel flavor of heels ready to drink. And now I'm drinking that as well as the protein. Make sure you try the new ready to drink flavors. That the caramel flavor is amazing. The new banana flavor as well is amazing. And obviously, as I said, the iced coffee caramel flavor has been a real smash hit. So check it out. Let me know what you think on social media. I see all of your tags and Instagram posts and tweets about heel.

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