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I began working at the FT at the end of 1997. These days I cover California, Hollywood and political and economic issues as they relate to the western US.
Most bizarre part of your journalism career?
I interviewed Pelé a few years ago and when the interview was finished and I went to shake his hand. He stood up to give me a hug and his trousers fell down.
Career highlight to date?
Interviewing Hugo Chavez and Oliver Stone at the presidential palace in Caracas last year was pretty good. And I had lunch with Angelina Jolie recently – quite a highlight.
Top three tips for success?
You need a good, up to date network of contacts and an ability to write quickly and cleanly in house style. And you need to be able to sell your stories well.
First CD/tape/vinyl that you bought?
First vinyl was “We Close Our Eyes” by 1980s one hit wonders Go West.
Your first concert?
A Manchester band with a hammond organ and very bad haircuts called the Inspiral Carpets.
Recommend a book?
The Keith Richards biography is great.
Most embarrassing moment?
I got roped into doing a hotel industry conference shortly after I moved to LA and they had this horrible California/beach theme with seats made of surf boards and plastic palm trees on the stage where I was seated. The conference host introduced me, in a very “Bill and Ted” voice, as: “Here is Matt Garrahan of the bodacious Financial Times, dude.” It was excruciating.
That someone will find out I’ve been winging it for the past 14 years.
If you were Prime Minister/President for a day, what would you do?
If I was president, I’d build a subway system in Los Angeles. The car obsession here is a big bore.
Motto for life?
You’ll Never Walk Alone (with thanks to the mighty Liverpool FC)
Tell us a joke…
A million guys walk in to a Silicon Valley bar. None of them buy anything. The bar is declared a rousing success.