The man having lunch with me is a paedophile. Although at the time, I only know him as Max Clifford, the publicist for high profile celebrities like Simon Cowell and O J Simpson. A mutual friend has put us together to see if there’s any benefit in him representing me.
We’re in an expensive restaurant in Guildford Surrey, England. He tells me about his disabled daughter and the day trips he arranges for her school friends. We order lunch.
I ask him what he can do for me. He takes a sweeping look around the restaurant and asks me if anyone here knows who I am, I say no. He tells me that within a year, everyone in the restaurant will know who I am. It sends an excited but terrifying shiver down my spine.
How? I ask. He tells me how he puts clients together, finds mutual matches, creating fake news that gets people talking.
He says that newspapers will carry a story about how I am using hypnosis to help athlete Linford Christy, and how I am also helping one of the Spice Girls with stage fright. He tells me I will be photographed leaving night clubs with the Spice Girls and how I will be seen to be dating one of them, and who knows, it might happen anyway. I get another excited but terrifing shiver down my spine.
He seems like a nice guy, despite his reputation as a media manipulator, and I am touched by his stories about his charity work. But I have already decided that this isn’t for me… I’m out of my depth.
We finish eating and I get the bill. As I fumble with my wallet, he asks who’s going to pay for his services. I jokingly tell him that he is, with the income he will generate for me. He says it doesn’t work that way, he wants £10,000 a month up front, with a minimum one year contract.
We shake hands and I tell him I will be in touch. That’s the last that I see of him.
Several years later in 2014 he is convicted of sexual assault on underage girls and is jailed for eight years.
Last weekend he died while in prison. Will he rest in peace? I doubt it.