Transcript: Barbara Amiel: The Lady Black Tells All | Oct 21, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "The Lady Black tells all. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says SHE'S BEEN CALLED MANY THINGS IN HER MANY YEARS IN THE PUBLIC EYE: IT-GIRL. SOCIALITE. EDITOR. AUTHOR. BARONESS. COLUMNIST. WIFE. FOUR TIMES ON THAT ONE, ACTUALLY. BARBARA AMIEL'S NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHY IS A SURPRISINGLY SELF-DEPRECATING LOOK AT A LIFE LIVED IN THE SPOTLIGHT. OCCASIONALLY, A VERY HARSH SPOTLIGHT. THE 600-PAGER IS CALLED: "FRIENDS AND ENEMIES: A MEMOIR," AND IT BRINGS BARBARA AMIEL TO OUR AIRWAVES TONIGHT FROM THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL...

Barbara is in her seventies, with chin-length wavy brown hair. She's wearing a red blouse and a pendant necklace.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover is white, with the title in olive green.

Steve continues SO NICE TO SEE YOU.

Barbara says THANK YOU SO MUCH. TERRIFIC TO BE HERE.

Steve says YOU AND I, WE HAVE ONLY MET ONCE. WE BARELY KNOW EACH OTHER. BUT I THOROUGHLY LOVED THIS BOOK AND I KNOW YOU A LOT BETTER NOW, SO SHALL WE DIVE IN?

Barbara says LET'S DIVE RIGHT IN.

Steve says WELL, LET'S JUST START WITH THIS. YOU DID SAY IN THE BOOK YOU WERE QUITE RELUCTANT TO WRITE YOUR MEMOIRS, AND I GUESS I WANT TO KNOW FOR STARTERS, WHAT FINALLY PROPELLED YOU TO SAY YES AND DO IT?

The caption changes to "Barbara Amiel. Author, 'Friends and enemies.'"
Then, it changes again to "The memoir as payback."

Barbara says I WAS RELUCTANT BECAUSE I ALWAYS FIND THE MEMOIRS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T LIVED PARTICULARLY EXTRAORDINARY LIVES RATHER BORING, AND YOU GET THESE INCREDIBLE ADJECTIVES THAT REALLY MEAN NOTHING. AND THAT WAS MY GENUINE RELUCTANCE. I DIDN'T THINK I HAD DONE ENOUGH WITH MY LIFE TO WRITE A MEMOIR. WHAT PROPELLED ME REALLY IS I'M A WRITER AND WE USE EVERY WRITER, WHETHER FICTION OR NON-FICTION, USES SOMETHING OF THEIR OWN LIFE FOR THEIR WRITING. EVEN SOMEONE LIKE MURAKAMI WHO WROTE THE JAPANESE BIRD. PART OF THEIR REAL LIFE GOES INTO THE BOOK. AND SO MUCH WAS HAPPENING AROUND ME THAT IT WAS PARTLY A NEED TO HAVE A THREAD TO SANITY AND IT WAS PARTLY A NEED TO UNDERSTAND, AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, WAS I REALLY AS HORRIBLE AS EVERYONE WAS SAYING? BECAUSE I DON'T THINK PEOPLE KEEP SAYING YOU'RE HORRIBLE IF YOU'RE NOT. I MEAN, NOT... YOU KNOW, 100 JOURNALISTS CAN'T BE MAKING UP THE FACT THAT YOU'RE HORRIBLE. THERE MUST BE SOMETHING THERE. SO I DECIDED TO SIT DOWN AND WRITE.

Steve says LET'S GO THROUGH SOME OF THE STORY AND THEN WE CAN LET OUR VIEWERS DECIDE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER HOW HORRIBLE YOU ARE, OKAY? I DO WANT TO GO BACK TO ENGLAND, AS YOUR ACCENT SUGGESTS, YOU ARE FROM ENGLAND ORIGINALLY. NOT A WELL-TO-DO HOME. AND TWO PARENTS, IF I CAN PUT IT THIS WAY, WHO WERE CLEARLY TROUBLED PEOPLE. HOW DID YOU SORT OF MANAGE YOUR WAY THROUGH YOUR CHILDHOOD?

A black and white picture shows Barbara as a girl under the age of 10, with long hair in a braid.

The caption changes to "From London to Hamilton to Toronto."

Barbara says I DO THINK THAT IN THOSE DAYS, WHICH WAS THE LATE 1940s AND '50s, THAT CHILDREN REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT WHETHER THEIR PARENTS WERE TROUBLED OR NOT OR WHETHER THEIR LIFE WAS EXTRAORDINARY OR NOT. YOU JUST GOT ON WITH IT. SO WHEN MY... WHEN I CAME HOME FROM SCHOOL ONE DAY IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO, AND I THINK I WAS ABOUT 14, AND MY THINGS WERE PACKED IN A CARDBOARD BOX, I DIDN'T PUT THIS IN THE BOOK BECAUSE IT SOUNDED JUST TOO GHASTLY DRAMATIC, AND I KNEW THAT I WASN'T GOING TO BE STAYING AT HOME ANY LONGER, I JUST THOUGHT THAT THAT WAS A WISE DECISION OF MY STEPFATHER'S, BECAUSE MY MOTHER REACTED NEUROTICALLY FROM MY PRESENCE AND I DIDN'T WANT HIM TO BE UPSET ANYMORE. YOU CARRY ON. YOU FIND JOBS TO SUPPORT YOURSELF. YOU LOOK AT THE POSITIVE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE. NO RULES, NO PARENTS TO TELL YOU WHEN TO COME HOME, WHAT JOBS YOU CAN OR CANNOT TAKE. I THINK IN THIS COUNTRY, IN CANADA, YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND A JOB. I GRANT YOU THAT IT MIGHT BE MORE DIFFICULT AT 14 AND 15 TODAY THAN IT WAS THEN BECAUSE THERE ARE LABOUR LAWS, BUT I COULD GET JOBS IN DEPARTMENT STORES, I COULD COLLECT POP BOTTLES, I COULD DO ANYTHING. TODAY I'D PROBABLY GO AND GET A JOB AT AMAZON OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN THE DELIVERY ROOM OR I'D WASH DISHES. BUT IT WASN'T UNPLEASANT. I DIDN'T SIT HOME AND CRY...

Steve says WELL, OKAY. I'VE GOT TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT THEN. BECAUSE I'M IMAGINING YOU, AT THE AGE OF... I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WERE, 15 MAYBE, WHEN YOUR MOTHER CALLED YOU AND SAID... YOUR MOTHER SAID THIS TO YOU: YOUR FATHER'S DEAD. HE KILLED HIMSELF. HE WENT MAD. I EXPECT YOU'LL GO MAD TOO. I MEAN, WHAT DOES ONE THINK WHEN ONE'S MOTHER SAYS THAT?

Barbara says YOU KNOW, THE PROBLEM WITH DOING INTERVIEWS LIKE THIS IS THAT I HAVE SHUT MY MIND TO A LOT OF THIS, AND AFTER WE FINISH THIS INTERVIEW, I WILL GO INTO A CORNER AND PROBABLY CRY. I REMEMBER THAT MOMENT VERY WELL. I WAS LIVING IN THE HOUSE OF A GARAGE MECHANIC AND HE SAID THERE'S A TELEPHONE POLE FOR YOU DOWNSTAIRS, AND I LOVED MY FATHER VERY MUCH, AND MY WHOLE LIFE WAS CENTERED AROUND EARNING ENOUGH MONEY TO GO BACK TO ENGLAND AND BE WITH HIM AND BE JEWISH AGAIN, ACTUALLY. AND ALL I CAN DO IS THINK, OH, MY FATHER'S DEAD. WHAT WOULD ONE DO IF ONE'S FATHER WAS DEAD AND I SORT OF HAD THAT ABILITY TO DISTANCE MYSELF FROM ANYTHING UNPLEASANT. AND SO I LEFT THE GARAGE MECHANIC'S HOUSE, AND I WENT FOR A LONG WALK ON THIS COLD... I THINK IT WAS MARCH DAY, TRYING TO ASSIMILATE IT, AND I DID. I THOUGHT, NOW I HAVE TO CHANGE THE DIRECTION. I WON'T BE GOING BACK TO ENGLAND. THERE'S NO ONE THERE TO GO BACK TO. SO I MUST JUST GET ON WITH DOING THE BEST I CAN IN CANADA.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says AND WHAT THAT MEANT FOR YOU WAS EVENTUALLY GETTING INTO JOURNALISM. YOU WERE ON THE COVER OF TORONTO LIFE MAGAZINE, ITS FIRST-EVER ISSUE, I THINK. I WONDER WHETHER AT THE TIME YOU CAN RECALL BEING, WELL, DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY. YOU WERE YOUNG, GORGEOUS, ON THE COVER OF MAGAZINES, TRYING TO MAKE IT IN A MALE DOMINATED WORLD OF JOURNALISM. HOW WAS NEGOTIATING YOUR WAY AROUND ALL OF THAT? HOW DID THAT WORK?

A picture shows a copy of the Toronto Life magazine featuring a picture of Barbara in her twenties with her arms thrown open in the air and her hair moving in the wind.

Barbara says AGAIN, THERE MUST BE SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH ME BECAUSE I NEVER FELT THAT THERE WAS ANY KIND OF A GLASS CEILING, ANY KIND OF A PROBLEM WITH MEN, AND PERHAPS THAT'S THE GOOD THING ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD. BECAUSE ALL THE WOMEN IN MY FAMILY WORKED BACK FOR THREE GENERATIONS. BEING ON THE COVER OF TORONTO LIFE WAS NOT JOURNALISM. THAT WAS JUST STRAIGHTFORWARD PICTURE-TAKING. BUT GETTING INTO JOURNALISM, THERE WERE A COUPLE OF MOMENTS WHEN I WAS WORKING FOR THE CBC AND I DISCOVERED THAT I WAS GETTING LESS PAY THAN THE MAN I WAS TRAINING FOR MY JOB, AND I WAS REALLY IRRITATED WITH THAT. SO I WENT IN AND SAID TO THE PRODUCER, THIS IS WRONG, AND HE SAID, WELL, HE HAS A FAMILY TO SUPPORT AND YOU DON'T. AND I THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND I SAW THE LOGIC IN THAT. I NEVER HAD ANY DIFFICULTY, STEVE, IN WORK... IF YOU JUST WORK HARD... I APPRECIATE... I'M NOT SAYING IT WAS OKAY FOR ME, SO IT'S OKAY FOR EVERYONE ELSE. I'M JUST SAYING THAT IN MY CASE, IF YOU WORKED REALLY HARD, YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANTED TO GET AND I DID WORK HARD. I PLAYED, BUT I WORKED VERY, VERY HARD.

A black and white picture shows Barbara in her thirties smiling as she poses next to a huge film projector.

Steve says WELL, I HAVE TO SAY, YOU DON'T PULL ANY PUNCHES, NEVER MIND TALKING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE, BUT IN PARTICULAR WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT YOURSELF, YOU ARE VERY TOUGH ON YOURSELF IN THIS BOOK, AND ONE THING I LEARNED, WHICH I DID NOT KNOW BEFORE, IS THAT LORD BLACK OF CROSS HARBOUR IS YOUR FOURTH HUSBAND. I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THREE MARRIAGES BEFORE HIM, AND ALL OF THEM EVIDENTLY TOO PROBLEMATIC TO GET TO THE FINISH LINE. NOW, DO YOU REGARD THOSE MARRIAGES TODAY AS MISTAKES?

Barbara says YOU KNOW, I AM INCREDIBLY PHILOSOPHICAL, AND I DON'T MEAN TO BE PHILOSOPHICAL, BUT I JUST DON'T THINK YOU CAN REDO YOUR LIFE AND YOU LEARN FROM SOMETHING. I FOUND MY THIRD MARRIAGE INCREDIBLY DESTRUCTIVE AND PAINFUL, AND I RATHER WISH I HADN'T HAD TO GO THROUGH THAT. BUT IT TAUGHT ME A LOT. I WAS ALONE IN ENGLAND, MARRIED TO AN ABSOLUTELY CHARMING, INTELLIGENT MAN...

Steve says DAVID GRAHAM, YES.

Barbara says YES. AND HE WAS A 47-YEAR-OLD BACHELOR WHEN I MARRIED HIM. HE HAD EVERYTHING THAT YOU COULD WANT IN A MAN, FUNNY, CHARMING, INTELLIGENT, GOOD-LOOKING, SUCCESSFUL. AND THERE WAS PROBABLY A REASON WHICH I SHOULD OF WHY HE HAD NEVER MARRIED AT 47. IT WAS A MISTAKE IN ONE SENSE BECAUSE IT ALMOST DESTROYED ME... NOT QUITE. I'M JUST TOO TOUGH FOR THAT. BUT IT GOT ME BACK TO ENGLAND. AND I REALLY WANTED TO GO BACK TO ENGLAND. NOT BECAUSE I DIDN'T APPRECIATE WHAT CANADA HAD DONE FOR ME. IN TERMS OF JOURNALISM, EVEN THOUGH MY WRITING WASN'T LIKED IN CERTAIN AREAS, CANADA HAD BEEN GOOD FOR ME. BUT GETTING BACK TO ENGLAND WHERE DAVID GRAHAM WAS NOW RESIDENT WAS THE POSITIVE SIDE OF WHAT CAME OUT OF OUR MARRIAGE. AND THEN BECAUSE HE WAS NEVER AROUND AND I WAS ALONE, I HAD TO TRY AND REINVENT MYSELF IN TERMS OF ENGLISH JOURNALISM. I DIDN'T THINK I HAD A PRAYER BECAUSE I HAD BEEN READING ENGLISH COLUMNISTS ALL MY LIFE AND I THOUGHT THEY WERE FAR TOO CLEVER AND WITTY AND ERUDITE FOR ME. BUT, AGAIN, I WAS LUCKY. I WORKED, AND I GOT MY FIRST ASSIGNMENT AT THE TIMES ON A CANADIAN TOPIC BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT BRIAN MULRONEY COMING TO ENGLAND, AND IT WENT FROM THERE.

Steve says WELL, WHAT'S FASCINATING ABOUT THIS, AND PEOPLE WON'T KNOW THIS ABOUT YOU, YOU ACTUALLY, DESPITE HAVING MARRIED TWO FAIRLY WELL-OFF GUYS AND DAVID GRAHAM WAS A RICH MAN, YOU DID NOT DIVORCE WELL, I HAVE TO SAY. YOU DIDN'T COME AWAY FROM THESE MARRIAGES WITH VERY MUCH MONEY AT ALL. AND YOU GET INTO... I'M SORRY FOR BRINGING THIS UP HERE BUT YOU DO TALK ABOUT IT IN THE BOOK. YOU TALK ABOUT AN ABORTION THAT YOU HAD DECADES AGO. AND YOU WRITE IN THE BOOK: "I DID NOT KNOW THIS WOULD BE MY SINGLE CHANCE AT HAVING A CHILD." AND I WONDER ALL THESE YEARS LATER WHETHER YOU REGRET THAT DECISION ALL THOSE DECADES AGO?

Barbara says I DO REGRET IT. I REGRET IT DEEPLY. BUT, YOU KNOW, IF I LIVED MY LIFE AGAIN, I THINK I WOULD BE AS FOOLISH AGAIN. WHEN YOU'RE A YOUNG WOMAN, AND I WAS A YOUNG WOMAN, AND I WAS, YOU KNOW, HELL BENT ON GETTING A CAREER, AND AT THAT TIME I DIDN'T HAVE MUCH OF A JOB. I WAS THE SECRETARY TO THE HEAD OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS OR SOMETHING... IT WAS A SECRETARIAL JOB. AND I THOUGHT A CHILD IS SOMETHING I CAN'T SUPPORT AND IT'LL GET IN MY WAY. I THINK IF SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME THERE WAS A WAY OUT, IT COULD BE ADOPTED OR THEY COULD HELP ME FINANCIALLY, I MIGHT HAVE HAD IT. BUT PROBABLY NOT. I WOULD HAVE DONE EXACTLY THE SAME THING. DO I REGRET IT NOW? DEEPLY. BUT I'M NOT REALLY... I CAN'T BEAT MYSELF UP ON IT BECAUSE I KNOW I'D DO IT AGAIN. I ALWAYS SAY TO CONRAD, YOU KNOW, I'LL DIE AND THERE WON'T BE ANYBODY TO REMEMBER ME AND THERE WILL BE NO CHILDREN TO SORT OF HANG AROUND ME AS I BECOME INCREASINGLY INFIRM, AND I WON'T SEE THE WORLD THROUGH THEIR EYES. I'D LOVE TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF GRANDCHILDREN, FOR EXAMPLE, BECAUSE YOU SEE NEW THINGS ALL THE TIME. BUT THAT'S JUST A PART OF LIFE THAT WAS PART OF THE PRICE YOU PAID FOR BEING AS SELFISH AS I WAS AND AS SELF-OBSESSED AND DRIVEN.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says YOU MENTION CONRAD. CONRAD BLACK, YOUR HUSBAND. AND... WELL, I'M GOING TO READ THIS QUOTE: CONRAD BLACK HADN'T THE FAINTEST IDEA THAT FOR ME HE WAS EMBLEMATIC OF STUFFED SHIRT TORONTO. THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE A RINGING ENDORSEMENT FOR A GUY YOU'RE ABOUT TO MARRY. SO WHAT CHANGED?

A black and white picture shows a bus stop with a lit up ad featuring a picture of young Barbara and the title "The Sun has a new editor."

The caption changes to "Life as a socialite."

Barbara says I WASN'T ABOUT TO MARRY HIM. LET'S BE FAIR. I WAS EDITOR OF THE TORONTO SUN, I WAS LIVING IN CANADA, AND I WAS TRYING TO GET OUT OF THE LUNCH WITH CONRAD, ACTUALLY, BECAUSE HE WAS EMBLEMATIC FOR ME OF WHAT PETER NEWMAN CALLED THE CANADIAN ESTABLISHMENT AND I WAS NEVER INTERESTED IN BUSINESSMEN. I PREFERRED EUROPEAN INTELLECTUALS, THAT SORT OF MAN. I WENT ONLY BECAUSE MY PUBLISHER, DOUG CREIGHTON, INSISTED I GO. I THOUGHT HE WAS FAR TOO CLEVER FOR ME. I KNEW CONRAD USED LOTS OF LONG WORDS AND WOULD MAKE REFERENCE TO HISTORY. I HAD AN HONOURS BA AND DID GRADUATE WORK. I NEVER DID THE COURSES THAT COUNTED. AND HISTORY IS A COURSE THAT COUNTS IN LIFE. I TOOK PHILOSOPHY. YOU CAN'T USE PHILOSOPHERS AS DINNER OR LUNCH TABLE CONVERSATION. SO I WAS FRIGHTENED OF GOING TO LUNCH WITH CONRAD. AND I KNEW HE'D DRINK. AND I DIDN'T DRINK. AND I HAD SEEN ESTABLISHMENT PEOPLE WHEN THEY WERE DRINKING AND I JUST DIDN'T WANT THAT. HE WAS VERY PLEASANT. AT THE END OF THE LUNCH I THOUGHT, PHEW, I GOT THROUGH IT. AND HE WAS MARRIED. WHATEVER ELSE I AM, I WOULD NEVER DATE A MARRIED MAN. I JUST WOULDN'T. AND INDEED WHEN CONRAD, MANY YEARS... OR QUITE A FEW YEARS LATER, FIRST ASKED ME OUT, I THOUGHT HE WAS STILL MARRIED TO HIS FIRST WIFE, AND IT WASN'T UNTIL I WAS SATISFIED HE WAS LEGALLY SEPARATED AND SHE WAS WITH SOMEONE ELSE THAT WE BEGAN DATING. IF YOU'VE BEEN AN OUTSIDER IN SOME WAYS, THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS BE THE OUTSIDER WITH A MARRIED MAN WHOSE LOYALTY IS TO HIS WIFE AND FAMILY.

Steve says INDEED. AT SOME POINT HE DOES ASK YOU TO MARRY HIM, AND AGAIN, YOU TELL US IN THE BOOK...
AT THAT POINT, WHEN HE PROPOSED, YOU TWO HAD NOT EVEN SO MUCH AS KISSED. NOW, DID YOU FIND THAT A BIT ODD?

A black and white picture shows Barbara in her thirties, posing on a sidewalk with a clean-shaven man with short hair.

Barbara says I THOUGHT IT WAS EXTRAORDINARY. VERY STRANGE. I WONDERED IF THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM. AND ACTUALLY I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND HIS PROPOSAL BECAUSE... I LIKED CONRAD BY THAT POINT. YOU KNOW, WE HAD BEEN SEEING EACH OTHER BECAUSE I KNEW HE NEEDED PEOPLE. HE WAS LONELY. HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN WERE GONE. WHEN HE PROPOSED, HE USED SO MANY LITERARY TERMS AND SO MANY ALLUSIONS I WASN'T SURE IF HE WAS ASKING ME TO HAVE AN AFFAIR OR WHAT HE WAS DOING. AND THEN I TOLD HIM TO GO TO A PSYCHIATRIST BECAUSE CLEARLY HE WAS ASKING ME TO MARRY HIM ON THE REBOUND, AND THAT WAS NOT A GOOD THING FOR HIM. AND HE DID GO TO A PSYCHIATRIST, THE HEAD OF THE TAVISTOCK INSTITUTE. AND I SUPPOSE IT TOOK A FEW MONTHS OF ME GRADUALLY REALIZING THAT THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE TO HIM THAT I COULD GET DOWN MY GUARD, I COULD SEE THE REAL CONRAD. AND IT WAS... IT WAS QUITE A ROMANCE.

Steve says WELL, THE BOOK IS DEEPLY PERSONAL ABOUT YOU, OF COURSE, BUT IT'S ALSO DEEPLY PERSONAL ABOUT HIM IN SOME AREAS. AND I WONDER WHETHER OR NOT... I MEAN, I ASSUME YOU GAVE HIM THIS MANUSCRIPT TO LOOK AT AND GAVE HIM A BIT OF A VETO ON STORIES THAT HE THOUGHT WERE OVER THE LINE. DID THAT HAPPEN?

Barbara says NO. I WOULDN'T LET HIM SEE THE MANUSCRIPT UNTIL IT WAS IN THIRD PAGE... AT WHICH POINT IT WAS TOO LATE TO TURN BACK. I DON'T THINK HE WOULD HAVE VETOED ANYTHING. CONRAD IS AN EXTREMELY TOLERANT MAN. IF I SAT DOWN AND SAID TO HIM, "CONRAD, I THINK I'LL TRY TAKING SOME COCAINE TONIGHT." HE WOULD SAY, FINE, THAT'S ALL RIGHT, BARBARA, I'LL BE HERE TO LOOK AFTER YOU. BUT I MYSELF CANNOT DO THAT. I MEAN, THAT'S A SILLY EXAMPLE, BUT HE'S JUST AN IMMENSELY TOLERANT MAN. AND I KNEW HE WOULDN'T VETO ANYTHING IN THE BOOK, BUT AT THE SAME TIME I THOUGHT SOME THINGS MIGHT UPSET HIM. NOT THE REVELATIONS OF MY SEXUAL ESCAPADES OR MY VIEW OF HIM, BUT THE WAY I HANDLED HIS DIFFICULTIES. I WAS AFRAID HE MIGHT FEEL I HAD HANDLED THEM INCORRECTLY.

Steve says WELL, LET'S PICK UP ON THAT SINCE THAT DOVETAILS US NICELY TO WHERE WE WANT TO GO. LET US... OKAY, WE'LL ESTABLISH THE FOLLOWING. WE TALKED ABOUT THE FACT YOU DIDN'T DIVORCE, QUOTE, UNQUOTE, WELL IN THE PAST, AND THEREFORE YOU CAME TO YOUR MARRIAGE WITH LORD BLACK WITH VERY LITTLE MONEY AND SUDDENLY YOU'VE GOT THIS QUITE WONDERFUL LIFESTYLE, AND YOU DO, WE SHOULD SAY, YOU DON'T SHY AWAY FROM THE MOST FAMOUS QUOTE YOU EVER UTTERED IN THAT BOOK TO THAT VOGUE MAGAZINE REPORTER, I HAVE EXTRAVAGANCE THAT KNOWS NO BOUNDS. I'LL READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK AND ASK A QUESTION ON THE OTHER SIDE OF IT.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Simply tired of us." The quote reads "AS it was, I wat listing our errors and our offences as honestly as I could, to make sense of it all. I clearly had an offensive, smug and abrasive personality. We had been too blatant in our enjoyment of what Conrad called 'the preferments' of his position. There were just too many photos, too many pictures of us enjoying ourselves all over the place with important people. Hear Conrad on the radio. See Conrad being made a peer -and complaining about the loss of his citizenship. See Barbara prancing around on the social pages of The New York Times. Read her fey comments about extravagance and clothes that give Conrad's enemies an open sesame. People were simply tired of us: tired of our being and our bloody self-importance in the pronouncements we made verbally or in print."
Quoted from Barbara Amiel, "Friends and enemies." 2020.

The caption changes to "Justice overserved?"

Steve says I GUESS I WANT TO PICK UP FROM THAT AND SAY, DO YOU THINK THAT A LOT OF THE EVENTUAL VERY ZEALOUS PROSECUTION OF HIM BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES WAS IN PART, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE OF WHAT...

Barbara says ME.

Steve says OKAY, YOU. I WASN'T GOING TO SAY IT BUT YOU JUST SAID IT.

Barbara says LET'S NOT SHY AWAY FROM IT. BEFORE I ANSWER THAT, I'LL SAY I'M HAVING SOME DIFFICULTY WITH PUBLICIZING THIS BOOK BECAUSE I'M AFRAID THE SAME LOOP WILL START AGAIN. THERE'S TOO MUCH OF ME PUSHING THIS BOOK. THERE'S TOO MUCH OF ME ON TELEVISION. SO IT'S GETTING INCREASINGLY PAINFUL TO DO THESE INTERVIEWS. I'M JUST AFRAID OF STARTING THAT OFF AGAIN. I THINK THAT CONRAD WOULD PROBABLY HAVE HAD TO GO THROUGH THE SAME AWFUL TIMES AGAIN WITHOUT ME BUT I THINK THAT I STARTED IT OFF AND MADE IT SO MUCH WORSE. WHEN I GAVE THAT INTERVIEW TO JULIA REID AT VOGUE, WHO IS A WONDERFUL JOURNALIST WHO DIED JUST A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO AND SHE QUOTED IT ABSOLUTELY ACCURATELY AND THEN SHE WROTE LETTERS AND NEWSPAPERS SAYING SHE WAS JUST MAKING FUN OF HERSELF, BEGGING THEM NOT TO KEEP HITTING ME OVER THE HEAD WITH IT. BUT I DID MAKE IT. IT WAS ACCURATE. I DID SPEND THE MONEY. IT WAS AMAZING TO ME. I MEAN, I HAD NEVER HAD THIS FREEDOM. I HAD ALWAYS HAD TO EARN MY MONEY, WHETHER I WAS MARRIED TO SOMEONE WEALTHY OR NOT. I ALWAYS HAD TO LOOK OUT FOR MYSELF. AND SUDDENLY HERE I WAS IN THIS GLITTERING WORLD, AND ATTACHED TO PEOPLE WHO BY THEIR NATURE HAD THEIR PICTURE IN THE PAPERS. I THINK THAT MY EXTRAVAGANCE BECAME SOMETHING THAT OTHER JOURNALISTS COULD USE TO BEAT US OVER THE HEAD WITH. SO IT IGNITED A MEDIA FIRE STORM. AND THAT, IN TURN, CREATED OR ADDED TO THE ATMOSPHERE AROUND CONRAD. IT WAS A TIME, YOU'LL REMEMBER, WHEN AMERICAN PROSECUTORS WERE LOOKING FOR HIGH-PROFILE HEADS BECAUSE OF THE ENRON AND WORLDCOM BANKRUPTCIES. EVERYONE WANTED TO HAVE A CONVICTION TO GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL AS A PROSECUTOR. AND I THINK THAT THE MEDIA FIRE STORM AROUND US HELPED GET THAT PROSECUTION GOING. IT'S AN INTERESTING THING BECAUSE IT STARTED OUT NOT AS A BATTLE OVER HOW MUCH MONEY CONRAD WAS MAKING OR WHETHER HE HAD STOLEN MONEY, IT STARTED OUT SIMPLY... AND THIS IS REALLY THE BASIS OF THE WHOLE THING... AS ONE LARGE INVESTOR WANTING CONRAD TO SELL THE TELEGRAM, BREAK UP THE COMPANY, AND THUS REALIZE THE VALUE OF THE STOCK. CONRAD THOUGHT IT HADN'T REACHED THE POINT WHERE IT SHOULD BE BROKEN UP. PERSONALLY I JUST THINK HE DIDN'T WANT TO SELL THE TELEGRAPH EITHER. BUT THAT WAS THE BASIS. AND THE ONLY WAY THE INVESTOR COULD GET THE COMPANY BROKEN UP WAS TO GET CONRAD OUT OF THE COMPANY, BECAUSE HE HAD THE VOTING STOCKS, AND THE EASIEST WAY TO DO IT IN THAT HYSTERICAL ATMOSPHERE WAS TO ACCUSE HIM OF WRONGDOING. BECAUSE JUST LIKE WITH THE METOO SITUATION OR THE CANCEL CULTURE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING. YOU JUST HAVE TO SAY: THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG. AND THEN THE PERSON'S FINISHED.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says ONE OF THE THINGS YOU DEFINITELY LEARN AT A TIME LIKE THIS, AS THE CLICHE GOES, IS WHO YOUR REAL FRIENDS ARE. NOW, YOU NAME NAMES IN THE BOOK. LET'S NAME SOME NAMES HERE. WHO WAS GOOD TO YOU AND WHO WASN'T?

Barbara says MY ENGLISH FRIENDS WERE GOOD TO ME. MY FEW CLOSE GIRLFRIENDS WERE ABSOLUTELY STAUNCH. ART PEOPLE WERE STAUNCH. I WAS ASTONISHED BY ELTON JOHN WHO CAME TO VISIT ME ALONE IN THE HOUSE IN LONDON, NEVER HAVING CONTACTED HIM. HAVING BEEN TO DINNER WITH HIM A FEW TIMES. IN CANADA... I HAD LESS FRIENDS BECAUSE I HADN'T REALLY MADE THEM. I HAD BEEN SO BUSY WORKING...

Steve says WELL, YOUR HAIRDRESSER FIRED YOU.

Barbara says YEAH. YEAH, A LOT OF PEOPLE FIRED ME.

Steve says A VERY FAMOUS HAIRDRESSER. HE SAID "DON'T COME IN ANYMORE."

Barbara says I WAS TOXIC, YOU KNOW? YOU DIDN'T WANT TO BE WITH ME. AND BECAUSE I KNEW I WAS TOXIC, THE PEOPLE THAT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE HELPED ME, I WITHDREW FROM SEEING THEM. I WAS EVEN... I WAS A BURDEN TO MY ENGLISH FRIENDS BECAUSE THEY KEPT GETTING CALLED UP BY NEWSPAPERS OR TELEVISION PRODUCERS OR WHATEVER TO GIVE THEM ANECDOTES ABOUT ME. AND THAT GETS VERY TIRESOME FOR PEOPLE. SO THE PEOPLE THAT I REALLY DESPISE ARE NOT THE JOURNALISTS WHO WROTE BADLY ABOUT ME. THAT WAS THEIR JOB. THEY DIDN'T KNOW ME. THEY DID A RUN AT THE CLIPPINGS. I CAN'T BLAME THEM. AND I CAN'T BLAME THEM FOR FINDING THE FINANCIAL COMPLEXITY AND REALIZING WHAT WAS GOING ON. THE JOURNALISTS THAT I DON'T LIKE ARE THE ONES WHO ABSOLUTELY INVENTED THINGS. I WAS BAD ENOUGH. THEY HAD ENOUGH MATERIAL TO GO ON. THEY DIDN'T NEED TO INVENT STUFF. AND THOSE I DON'T LIKE. I LOATH THE LAWYERS. EARL CHERNIAK IS AN EXCEPTION. THERE WERE A FEW EXCEPTIONS. MY AMERICAN LAWYER I FINALLY GOT WAS WONDERFUL. OUR APPEAL LAWYER WAS WONDERFUL. BY AND LARGE, THE PERSON WHO PRESIDED OVER CONRAD'S HEARING AT THE SEC. THESE WERE JUST ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE PEOPLE. AND THEY UNDERSTOOD NOTHING. THEY READ NOTHING. THE ONLY PERSON I HAVE A LOT OF TIME FOR WAS THE LATE RUTH BADER GINSBURG BECAUSE SHE WROTE THE JUDGMENT THAT VACATED ALL THE CONVICTIONS AGAINST CONRAD, AND SHE SAID THAT THE JUDGE HAD INSTRUCTED THE JURY WRONGLY AND SHE TOLD THE APPEALS JUDGE THAT HE HAD CREATED NEW LAW TO CONVICT CONRAD. AND I REALLY MOURNED HER PASSING ON A NUMBER OF LEVELS.

Steve says I SHOULD ASK YOU, SINCE WE ARE SO CLOSE TO ELECTION DAY IN THE UNITED STATES, ABOUT... I CAN SEE THE LOOK ON YOUR FACE ALREADY, BUT HERE WE GO. YOUR HUSBAND AND I HAVE HAD SOME VERY WONDERFUL, ENJOYABLE, AND SPARKY CONVERSATIONS ABOUT DONALD TRUMP, WHO I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY MANY PEOPLE FEEL IS COMPLETELY UNFIT FOR THE JOB AND IT'S AN EMPIRICALLY PROVABLE FACT THAT HE'S A DISGRACEFUL HUMAN BEING AND WITH AN AUTHORITARIAN STREAK IN HIM. YOUR HUSBAND IS PARTIAL TO HIM. WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON DONALD TRUMP?

Barbara says WE HAVE SORT OF A TRUMP-FREE ZONE IN THIS HOUSE. AND I MEET MY HUSBAND EVERY NIGHT FOR FOX NEWS AND I BUSILY DO THE DISHES. MY TAKE ON DONALD TRUMP IS SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT. I THINK THAT IN SPITE OF HIS MANNER, WHICH I FIND ABSOLUTELY EXCRUCIATING AND I FOUND THE LAST DEBATE THE MOST HORRIBLE THING I'VE EVER WATCHED. IT REMINDED ME OF EVERY ABUSIVE HUSBAND YELLING AT EVERY WIFE THAT I CAN THINK OF. BUT I FIND THAT HIS POLICIES. I'D VOTE FOR HIM FOR TWO REASONS: I DON'T KNOW ANYONE ELSE WHO HELPED THE BLACK PEOPLE, AFRO AMERICANS, THAT I SAT WITH IN THOSE PRISON WAITING ROOMS. NOBODY ELSE HELPED THEM. AND HE WAS THE FIRST PERSON WHO HAS. IT'S EXTRAORDINARY BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT IN CANADA. HE'S BEEN THE ONLY PRESIDENT WHO HAS HELPED THOSE PEOPLE. AFRO AMERICANS ARE IN PRISON IN NUMBERS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE. THEY'VE HAD ROTTEN SCHOOLS. LIFE HAS JUST KEPT GRINDING THEM DOWN. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY TRUMP DECIDED EARLY ON IN HIS PRESIDENCY THAT HE WAS GOING TO MAKE... HACK INTO THAT AND REALLY START THE PRISON REFORM THAT NOBODY ELSE DID. BUT HE DID. AND HE SET UP OPPORTUNITY ZONES. SO I TAKE THAT REALLY AS A REALLY REMARKABLE THING TO DO.

In a black and white picture, a young Barbara dines with a young Donald Trump and other men and women at a lavish table.

Steve says DO YOU HOPE HE GETS RE-ELECTED?

Barbara says WELL, YOU KNOW, THIS IS DIFFICULT. I SUPPOSE I COULD JUST NOT SEE AMERICA UNDER A PRESIDENT THAT IS AS CHALLENGED AS JOE BIDEN AND WHOSE POLICIES I THINK HAVE NEVER HELPED THE LOWER CLASSES, AND I THINK WOULD WRECK THE AMERICAN ECONOMY. I MEAN, IF I WERE AMERICAN, FRANKLY, I'D STAY HOME ON ELECTION DAY. IT'S JUST A VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TIME FOR AMERICAN VOTERS.

Steve says EVEN THOUGH TRUMP PLAYS FOOTSIE WITH WHITE SUPREMACISTS AND MILITIAS AND THESE TYPE OF THINGS?

Barbara says HE DOESN'T. HE REALLY DOESN'T. I THINK HE'S IDIOTIC IN NOT BEING MORE CLEAR, HE HAS CONDEMNED THE KU KLUX KLAN AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS. IT'S A STREAK OF STUBBORN PLAN TO GO ON ABOUT IT. ANYONE WHO KNOWS HIS EMPLOYMENT POLICIES WOULD KNOW THAT HE ISN'T. THERE'S A CURIOUSLY ADOLESCENT QUALITY ABOUT HIM THAT GOES HAND IN HAND WITH AN ABSOLUTELY INSTINCTIVE BRILLIANCE IN POLICY. IT'S A VERY ODD COMBINATION. BUT TO QUOTE MY HUSBAND, WHO I OFTEN DO QUOTE, CENTRAL CASTING DOESN'T GIVE YOU THE KIND OF PRESIDENT YOU NEED FOR BAD TIMES. AND AMERICA WAS HAVING BAD TIMES AND IT DIDN'T THROW UP AN FDR, IT DIDN'T THROW UP A JFK, CAN THREW UP DONALD TRUMP AND HE'S NOT CENTRAL CASTING'S IDEA OF A GREAT PRESIDENT, BUT HIS POLICIES HAVE BEEN, BEFORE COVID, EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL TO ALL CLASSES OF AMERICANS. I THINK HE WAS DISORGANIZED ON COVID. I DON'T KNOW THAT ANYONE ELSE WOULD HAVE DONE MUCH BETTER BECAUSE CLOSING THE BORDERS TO CHINA WAS A PRETTY IMPORTANT THING TO DO. THE TAX BREAKS TO BILLIONAIRES, I THINK HE GAVE THEM TO CORPORATIONS, AND THAT INCREASED JOB PROSPECTS. BUT I AM NOT AN ECONOMIST. I CAN'T TELL YOU ABOUT THAT.

Steve says NO, I JUST REMEMBER HIM WALKING INTO MAR-A-LAGO AND LOOKING AT HIS BILLIONAIRE FRIENDS AND SAYING I MADE YOU A LOT RICHER TODAY.

Barbara says THAT'S THE KIND OF THING HE WOULD SAY. IT'S AWFUL. IT'S LIKE NAILS ON A BLACKBOARD.

Steve says LET'S END UP ON THIS. I'VE GOT TO SAY, THE VERY END OF THE BOOK, YOU WRITE: "I'M GOING TO TRY TO ENJOY THE REMAINING TIME LEFT TO ME AND BUGGER OFF TO THE WHOLE DAMN LOT OF YOU. WE'RE STILL HERE. YOU LOST." AND I GUESS THE QUESTION I HAVE EMERGING FROM THAT IS: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU THROUGH THIS BOOK AND OTHERWISE TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT BARBARA AMIEL AND CONRAD BLACK CAN TAKE THE BEST PUNCH THAT SOCIETY HAS TO OFFER AND THEY CAN GET UP OFF THE CANVAS AND GET BACK AT IT?

Barbara says I DON'T THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR ME TO SHOW THE WORLD. IT'S IMPORTANT FOR ME TO TELL CONRAD THAT I'M ALL RIGHT. WE'RE HERE. BECAUSE, YOU SEE, HE HAS NO PROBLEMS. HE FEELS THAT HE WON. HE FEELS THAT HE WAS ON A MISSION, THAT THERE WAS A PRINCIPLE, AND HE SURVIVED IT BECAUSE PEOPLE WANTED HIM TO BE ABSOLUTELY FLATTENED AND NEVER BE SEEN AGAIN. AND WHEN I SAY THAT AT THE END OF THE BOOK, IT'S REALLY... IT'S REALLY A VOW OF CONFIDENCE IN MY HUSBAND. IT'S A FEELING THAT I DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS ANYMORE. WE'VE GONE THROUGH 17 YEARS OF THIS. WE'VE MISSED 17 YEARS OF NORMAL LIFE TOGETHER, OF FREEDOM, TO THINK ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN LAWYERS AND MONEY AND SURVIVAL, AND BUGGER OFF, EVERYONE, I'M GOING TO ENJOY MY HUSBAND NOW.

Steve says WELL, YOUR HUSBAND WAS THE FIRST-EVER GUEST ON THIS PROGRAM 15 YEARS AGO, AND I AM DELIGHTED...

Barbara says IS THAT TRUE?

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

Steve says THAT IS TRUE. AND I AM DELIGHTED THAT... WELL, IT TOOK US 15 YEARS TO GET YOU HERE BUT I'M GLAD IT FINALLY HAPPENED. SO THANK YOU.

Barbara says I'M THRILLED. THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED.

Steve says "FRIENDS AND ENEMIES: A MEMOIR" BY BARBARA AMIEL.

Watch: Barbara Amiel: The Lady Black Tells All