Manchester’s man about town, Dave Haslam, tries some straight-talking with Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell is a man with a shadowy resume: part-spin doctor, part-strategist and part-diarist. It’s impossible to discern the man behind the job (or the job for that matter) but as part of his ‘Close Up’ series, Dave Haslam will attempt to do just that. “It’s great for me because he’s already signalled he’d be happy to talk about the personal side of his life,” says Haslam, “and also his problems with depression.”
Campbell, as Tony Blair’s spokesman, was at the centre of British politics at a time when Britain made the ill-fated decision to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the interview in Manchester next week will also look at Campbell’s personal battles with depression and alcohol. As with previous ‘Close Up’ talks (which have featured such luminaries as Jarvis Cocker, artist Jeremy Deller and US author Jonathan Franzen), this event takes the form of an intimate, one-on-one interview – albeit one conducted up on a stage in front of a large-ish audience at the Royal Exchange.
It’s no surprise that Campbell is in Manchester: the event is timed to coincide with the start of the Labour Party conference here in the city, with the event itself co-hosted by the locally-based addiction charity, ADS (Addiction Dependency Solutions). It’s unlikely that even Haslam will get a man with such PR nous to open up fully, but you never know – he just might succeed in getting up close and personal.
‘Close Up’ featuring Alastair Campbell, Royal Exchange Theatre, 5:30pm, 30 September 2012, £12/£10 (all proceeds to ADS). Dave Haslam is also presenting a ‘Close Up’ event with Will Self as part of the Manchester Weekender (14 October).
Words: Hayley Flynn. Images: Alastair Campbell; the Royal Exchange Theatre.