NEWSWEEK: Doctor Blix, how confident are you that Iraq is serious about disarming?
BLIX: Fucking hell.
NEWSWEEK: ...I'm sorry?
BLIX: Again, again with Iraq.
BLIX: All the time, all the time with Iraq, and what are Saddam's intentions. I am a person in my own right, you know. Don't you want to ask me something else?
NEWSWEEK: Well, people are interested in...you are very much a pivotal figure in the, uh...you're at the centre-stage of history, and
BLIX: You think that's all I am? You think that's all I do, traipse around Iraq looking for weapons? You think I am the Johnny One-Note here? You think that's my life, to mooch round the desert bugging people for anthrax?
BLIX: I am for many years known in Sweden for my works, you know, and I am concerned that the rest of the world has this perception that I am known for this one thing, this goobering around in the desert as the patsy of these vast forces of history.
NEWSWEEK: Perhaps if we could just begin by
BLIX: Maybe when you people think of Hans Blix you think, 'Oh, that is that man who goobers around in the desert searching for things which people have hidden from him', but that is not the real me. I have many strings to my bow. I do not just have this one wrinkle of nosing around places counting bacilli, and it is degrading to pretend otherwise.
NEWSWEEK: Right. I'm sure that
BLIX: It is not Hansi the one-trick pony here, you know, forever hanging around in the desert like a spare bollock and reporting to people on things I have seen, I have many other interests.
NEWSWEEK: Well, Iraq is on people's minds, and if you could talk about that first perhaps we could then, uh, segue into, who is this man in the news, who is the real Hans Blix?
BLIX: This I cannot say, who is the real Hansi Blix, for I am a man of many facets, you know, I am this protean being, this renaissance man, and it is starting to concern me that on my gravestone there will be 'He cacked around in the desert looking solemn'. It is not in my nature, you know, to loiter round deserts looking like my kokkenshvungen dropped off.
NEWSWEEK: Okay. I hear what you're saying. But
BLIX: I am not a solemn man. With my friends I am something of a cut-up, you know. It's hurtful, you know, the assumption that I can only talk on this one thing, this matter of tooling round in the desert in a fuck-off great jeep telling people to dismantle weapons. You are not even subtle about it, there's no pretence, no small talk, no chit-chat, no 'Hello Hansi how you doing', it's just straight in with this one thing you want me for. I feel so used.
NEWSWEEK: All right. Tell me about Hans Blix, then.
BLIX: No, you don't care, you don't want to know, you just want to know if there's going to be a war. Fine. That's your loss. Because I am not just this one thing, this man who plays hide and go seek in the desert, I have many many pots on the boil.
NEWSWEEK: That's great, I really
BLIX: You think, you know, I am a small boy and I have this dream, and I come running home to my mother and say 'Mumsy, Mumsy, when I grow up I am going to dildo around in the desert looking under camel-shit for little germs and playing hunt-the-missile with a genocidal maniac'?
NEWSWEEK: Well, perhaps I'll come back when you're, er
BLIX: Oh! Oh! See, you go, you go! No-one is interested in Hansi as a human being, my achievements, my books, my recipe for pyttipanna
NEWSWEEK: No, I just remembered something I have to
BLIX: I have had a No. 1 record in Sweden, you know