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Gay Times October 12 - Issue 411

Scott Mills

He’s a Radio 1 DJ, GT columnist, Ugandan gay rights documentary-maker-turned-activist and interviewer of popstars. And now you can add to the Scott Mills list: auto-biographer

With his mix of boyish (but not sexist) banter, gentle piss-taking and fun-poking, Scott Mills has won over millions of listeners. It’s been a life-long journey to his current position on primetime Radio 1, from his humble front room broadcasts to his mother, and every turbulent step of the way has been documented in his first autobiographical book, called Love You Bye.
“I had no idea what to call it, and it’s boring ‘My Story By Scott Mills’,” he tells us one late afternoon after his show. “So I just thought the majority of people that are buying this will be listeners to my show, I thought it would reconnect with the audience that listen on a daily basis. And they say it [Love You Bye] back to me now. It’s become a thing on the show, and people shout it in the street.”
What’s refreshing about chatting to Scott is how unpretentious and self aware he is. “It’s a weird name for a book,” he admits, “‘cos it sounds quite final. Like I’m about to go somewhere or die. But it’s just a thing off the show, ‘cos I had no idea what else to call it.”
Now normally I would ask about coming out, being gay at Radio 1 and all that jazz. But Mills has cleared all these (and many other infuriatingly direct and insensitive questions) up in his book, with a clever little structural device. Frequently Asked Questions. Things people text into the show, like ‘are you gay?’ and ‘who boffed Kesha?’. There’s another device he uses, which I’m TOTALLY going to steal:

Things I’ve Learnt (About Scott Mills)
#1 His boyfriend sends him roses.

Turning up to our interview, I’m laden with empty sweet jars (no points for guessing why). Scott on the other hand, in his other hand, has a bouquet of beautiful red roses from his boyfriend. “He’s from Essex,” he explains, “where they buy presents for everything. I’ve noticed this. If it’s your birthday, you get a big present. If it’s Monday, you’ll get a present. If it’s anything. If you’ve had a hard meeting, you’ll get a present. Not just him. Generally, ‘cos I’ve got a lot of friends from there, and they generally all just give you presents all the time.” Which is strange. When I get flowers, I assume they’ve done something wrong.
“It’s kind of a bit guilty conscience, isn’t it? But no, I don’t think he’s done anything,” Scott laughs, “But it’s just nice, yeah.”

Things I’ve Learnt (About Scott Mills)
#2 Some people don’t know he’s gay.

Seriously. “I think there are some listeners that still don’t really know, even though it’s really out there. And especially now this book’s out, it’s really out there,” he says. “In fact, I still get tweets going ‘I just found out you’re gay!’. It’s like ‘really?!?’ I need to put it on Newsbeat or something.”
To massively paraphrase (okay, misquote) him, he’s a rubbish gay. I did finger quotes. But I think that’s part of Scott’s charm, that he isn’t a screaming queen.
“I am quite rubbish. I am quite messy, I’m a bit of a boy boy in a way. I mean, there are things where people go ‘yeah, he’s gay’, like some of the music that I like and things that I watch on TV, or films, particularly. If you saw my collection of films, you’d be like ‘yeah, gay’. But I’m not any good at the things you’re supposed to be good at.” He laughs, “Whatever that is. Do you know what I mean?”
Yes. Everyone who has stepped out of the closet hasn’t found their life suddenly filled with rainbows (or pink shit). Or the sudden magic ability to dress better.
“A lot of people aren’t that camp, and are quite crap at being gay but are. And because they’re like me and they just keep quiet, they’re not going to go shout it, are they? They just get on with their lives. But I get a lot of emails from kids who are coming out – especially after the Uganda thing and when I came out years ago – saying it’s quite nice to have someone like me, and I’m quite proud of that, really.”

Words:Bob Henderson
Image: Leonard Thomas

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