Are you healthy?
I don't get very ill, but if do I'm disastrous: I think I'm about to die. I do find myself concerned about the idea of developing life-threatening cancers.
Ever spent a night in hospital?
I had a gall bladder removed a little while ago by Professor Darzi, Gordon Brown's adviser on health. It used to sit on my desk in a little jar.
Do you worry about your weight?
I'm on a permanent diet. I eat like a fat horse, so I have to spend my whole time in a state of denial about food. You realise from the age of about 30 that you have to go on a lifelong diet.
How much do you drink?
I don't drink alcohol. I had hepatitis and had to stop for a year; after that I thought it would be silly to start again. I've given up a lot of things in my life, but alcohol is the most complicated. It takes a long time for you not to want a drink, but I don't have the slightest interest now.
Attitude to drugs?
I'm in favour of legalising drugs because their forbidden qualities encourage people to think they're having more fun than they are. Hanging above the drug culture is a sort of macho quality.
Are you happy?
No, not generally. I'm perfectly happy one hour and extraordinarily miserable the next and within five minutes hugely enthusiastic. I'm a very moody person. I believe it was the Institute of American Psychologists that decided that continuous small achievement is the key to happiness. If we could all go fishing and feel fantastic every time we caught a fish, that might be the solution to everything - but there'll always be a bigger fish.
How do you feel about cosmetic surgery?
I hate it. It's one of the greatest sins of our age. The idea of people using the surgeon to recreate appalls me. I've known supposedly ugly people who are extremely attractive and I've met really beautiful people who are repellent.
NHS or private?
Private: it's philosophical. Medicine has probably increased in its capabilities 100 times over, and those capabilities are important. We must have a national health service, but you'd never think of getting the carburettor on your car done on the state. The NHS is exploited and overused and has become an emotive issue. People spend all their money on houses; we should have spent it on our health. To say we can't have a two-tier system is to deny the ingenuity of human beings.
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