John Gibson: Ladies, do listen now to Jackie!

Well worthy of inclusion in the Gibpress File, an occasional series. My collection of vintage snaps from the North Bridge vaults. Jackie Collins was in fine fettle for our dinner one-to-one in an Edinburgh hotel.

By John Gibson
Tuesday, 25th October 2011, 12:57 pm

She put me at ease right away. “When men hear of a woman sticking up for women’s rights they automatically expect her to be old, fat, ugly and lesbian and they’re surprised, often resentful, when they see me.’’

I found her pleasanter, more forthcoming than her big sister Joan, a previous interviewee. We’d met to gab about her latest novel, Chances.

“Why isn’t there a naked man on page three?” Jackie asked. “I want equality. It’s amazing how many men’s fantasy is about two women together. That’s what my friends tell me.

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“If sometimes you get the feeling I’ve a jaded view of men you’re absolutely right because many of them do have double standards. If husbands do it, why don’t we do it too. Or ‘do it back’ if you like.’’ Ensuing potboilers included The World is Full of Divorced Women.

She had just finished Hollywood Wives. “I studied them at close range My parents sent me there in the footsteps of Joan and I was an actress for a few years. But I always considered myself at that time more of an out-of-work writer.”

Another theory when we met was that Jackie Collins knew all about men. She put me to rights on that. “It’s not looks, it’s a brain first. That’s my absolute priority in a man. And if you’ve a rapport with an intelligent man with a sense of humour it’s terrific.

“My relationship with my husband gets better all the time since we married 15 years ago. I’ve improved him enormously.”

She was still working on naked males for Page 3 when last we met.