Most of the books I read around my subject (abusive behaviours at work) aren’t that much fun, so I take a break now and then…

I met her once whilst location hunting; it was literally like happening upon a sunbeam, a force of positive mischievous nature .

“My first brush with Hollywood, though, wasn’t until 1980 when I was called to audition for Warren Beatty for a small part as the secretary of the Communist Party. I didn’t even have a line but it wasn’t a bad role. The film was Reds, and it was about the life and career of John Reed, the American journalist and communist activist. Mr Beatty who, according to his biographer, has had sex with 12,775 women (a number he disputes), insisted that he could only meet me in his trailer at lunchtime. I knocked at the door, he said, ‘Come in.’ He then looked at me up, down, up, quite slowly and said, ‘Do you fuck?’ ‘Yes, but not you,’ I replied. ‘Why is that?’ he asked. ‘Because I am a lesbian,’ I said. He grinned and said, ‘Can I watch?’ I replied, ‘Pull yourself together and get on with the interview.’

I rather regretted what I’d said afterwards. For one thing it wasn’t accurate. We lesbians don’t do anything as simplistic as ‘fuck’, and for another thing it brought me down to his level. But he was trying to intimidate me and I wasn’t going to be intimidated. And it worked.”

I’ve seen it so many times people using their reputation or superior experience to intimidate others – I’m with Miriam; be polite but firm – it works!


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