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Brent Spiner interview - Exclusive
By our show-business correspondent
"Gil Godwyn"

A week later my boss, the Features Editor, called me into his office. "We've got a scoop, Gil. Get your act together - you're interviewing Brent Spiner at 15.00 hrs." The ground shifted under my feet (damn these earth tremors). Feeling slightly sick, I asked, "Will he be sending a "representative"?" "Don't be a bloody idiot - what would be the point of that?" barked my boss. I repaired to The Bugle's V.I.P. suite to await the great man's arrival. No time to prepare my questions, but an experienced reporter like myself should be able to cope with that minor drawback. My junior assistant appeared, carrying the tape recorder and notebooks and wearing a Data T-shirt I swear she did not have on earlier.
Mr. Spiner arrived promptly at the appointed time and we greeted each other. I noticed his handshake was firm and warm, and hastily retracted my cold, clammy paw! He was wearing a beautifully-cut dark suit and pristine-white, collarless shirt. His hair was immaculate and he looked every inch a movie star. I became acutely aware of my scruffy jeans and the curry stain on my sweater. It seemed to me that the room became charged with electricity the moment he entered. I admonished myself for being fanciful.
My assistant re-entered, bearing a tray of coffees. It wasn't Mr. Spiner's fault! Turning in his chair to thank her, he inadvertently subjected her to the full radiance of his engaging grin and liquid blue eyes. Spiner and I spent the next fifteen minutes on our hands and knees trying to mop coffee stains out of the pale green carpet, whilst the Bugle's C.M.O. attempted to bring my assistant out of a deep coma. Eventually order was restored. I set up the equipment myself, my assistant having been led away, moaning incoherently.
"Please don't be angry with her," begged Spiner. "I must have caught the tray when I turned round." I arched my left eyebrow at him; a tactic I normally employ to subdue recalcitrant intervieweees. Brent returned my gaze unflinchingly, and his eyes twinkled with merriment behind his specs. I gave up! I was not in this guy's league.
Fortunately, matters improved as the interview got underway and my questions flowed with the ease of the seasoned professional. Mr. Spiner proved to be an ideal subject, talking easily and coherently, and illustrating every point with graceful movements of his hands. My confidence ebbed slightly when I failed to keep up with several of his witticisms, but he was just too quick for me. A good reporter is never afraid to ask an awkward question (even when he has only recently come to grief on the very same issue). I framed my words with tack and diplomacy.
"Have you any idea why you were unceremoniously booted out of the Sunspot's world tour?"
Mr. Spiner lowered his eyes (the room darkened by a few watts) and murmured,
"I suppose they decided my voice wasn't up to scratch".
"Are you angry about it?"
He brought the lighting back up again and replied cheerfully,
"Oh, no. My Fam - er, the Sunspots are terrific guys. I love them all and they deserve their - uh - success and - er - fame."
(I made a mental note to do some research into the intriguing and oft-mentioned "Fam - er".) My next question was phased with the adroitness for which I have become renowned in journalistic circles:
"How does it feel to be transformed from a faceless, jobbing actor into a famous movie star? And how can you possibly explain it?"
Spiner's voice sounded dangerously silky -
"It's very nice, thank you. I like it. I put it down to my incredible talent and the exceptionally good taste exhibited by my fans."
I peered at him, imagining I saw his mouth twitch, but his expression was deadpan; his eyes wide and innocent. I had the annoying suspicion that this guy was running rings around me, and I didn't care for it at all. Nonetheless, and dodgy patches aside, the session continued smoothly for the rest of my allotted time. We parted on the best of terms, and Brent said he would look forward to reading my article. That firm handshake again (I remembered to wipe my hand surreptitiously on my pants this time) and he whisked out of the V.I.P. suite and away.
Neatly side-stepping a clutch of secretaries who normally won't give me the time of day, I retreated to my office and yelled for my assistant. The C.M.O. appeared, and informed me that she had been escorted home and placed in front of a TV set showing an episode of "The Outer Limits". Sensing my bewilderment, the C.M.O. said, "You wouldn't understand. It will help her - trust me!"
Sighing heavily, I got down to the task of transposing the taped interview to paper. I listened to it with growing amazement and worries about the onset of senile dementia. There was my own voice (God, did I sound that bad?) asking,
"And what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies and interests?"
The reply (in a voice like honey spread on silk) -
"I love sleeping and watching TV."
There followed a discussion about Brent's favourite programmes, during which he enacted an entire episode of "I Love Lucy", taking the parts of Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel in turn. Or could it have been a recording of the show? I was no longer sure of anything any more! The next bit was me attempting to probe into his private life (essential, as any good newsman will tell you) and Brent offering politely,
"I never talk abour 'Star Trek' or my private life."
There followed an enthusiastic Spinerlogue on the new film "S.T. - First Contact", during which he heaped praise on everyone connected with the movie, with particular reference to "Jonathan's brilliant direction." All his co-stars were paid glowing tributes, and he ended with "Data's pretty damn good too", accompanied by a chuckle.
I finally packed in around midnight and headed wearily for my apartment. Too late, I remembered that I had promised to take my girlfriend out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. Amends would have to be made, once I'd gotten rid of this mega-migrane!

Not long after, I received a package from Spiner's office, containing a signed photograph and a home-recorded cassette of him singing in the bath. "Just to prove I ain't so bad", said the handwritten note. 'Nice guy', I thought, shoving the tape in my jeans' pocket.
That night, having nothing better to do, I gave the tape a spin. I nearly fell out of my chair! There, amidst splashing noises, soared the purest, sweetest, most beautiful sounds I had ever heard in my life. I devoted the remainder of my evening to carting hugh piles of Pavarotti and Domingo albums out to the garbage. I placed Brent's tape reverently next to The King, and wondered how much I would get for it at auction.

Your Show-Biz Guru, Gil,
Signing off until next time
Sadly, this feature proved to be Gil Godwyn's "swan-song". Shortly afterwards he left our employ in order to devote more time to his girlfriend. Unfortunately, when he finally remembered the way to her apartment, it was to discover that she had left him to take a job in 'Make-up' at Paramount. Gil confessed himself "perplexed" over her decision.
'The Bugle' recently received a postcard from Gil, who has obtained a post as a cruise director. He says he is enjoying the challenge, in between throwing up over the side. I am sure Gil's devoted readers will want to join me in wishing him every success in his new career. Gil has promised us the occasional feature as guest writer, allthough I haven't actually heard from him since Sea Trek booked his ship for a convention.

by "Stephanie"