Years ago I used to work on the newsdesk of the NME. It was very good fun.
Much of the brief was as you’d expect – ‘Make sure we get the news of that Oasis single FIRST!’; ‘What do you mean Granddaddy have given Melody Maker an exclusive?!’ But there was always the chance of a tip and a lead that could generate something more.
One of the people who rang me frequently was Peter Tatchell. He rang more or less every week. He was a tireless voice for gay rights a long time before the mainstream press were listening.
Initially, he was great. He could be relied on to deliver a useful line or two. But as time went on, he became more and more of a pest, increasingly trying to confect a story that felt more like a stunt. Hardly surprising from the man who attempted a citizen’s arrest on Robert Mugabe.
That was all nearly 20 years ago. I still think he knows the value of a stunt. But boy, is he brave.
Last week, he travelled to Moscow, on his own, to stand in the middle of the city and campaign for LGBT rights. He clearly knew that the world’s media was heading to Russia for the World Cup so there would be some attention, but he still ran the risk of arrest, and who knows what, by his actions. He did it anyway.