Judson was not some young novice. He was a highly experienced newsman who’d been the Times UK correspondent throughout the second World War, who was renowned as a fearless interviewer and who had interviewed many famous people including Adolf Hitler.
This interview can be seen on Dont Look Back.
BD: Are you going to see the concert tonight? HJ: Yes.
BD: Are you going to hear it? HJ: Yes.
BD: Okay, you hear and see it and it’s going to happen fast. Now, you’re not going to get it all, and you might hear the wrong words, and then afterwards, see I can’t... I won’t be able to talk to you afterwards. I got nothing to say about these things I write, I mean, I just write them. I got nothing to say anything about them, I don’t write ‘em for any reason. There’s no great message. I mean, if, you know, if you wanna tell other people that, you know, go ahead and tell them but I’m not going to have to answer to it. And, they’re just going to think, you know, what’s this Time Magazine telling us? But that, you couldn’t care less about that either. You don’t know the people that read you. HJ: Ah...
BD: ‘Cause you know, I’ve never been in Time Magazine and yet this hall’s filled twice, you know, and I’ve never been in Time Magazine. I don’t need Time Magazine... and I don’t think I’m a folk singer. You’ll probably call me a folk singer but, you know, the other people know better ‘cause the people, you know, that buy my records, listen to me, don’t necessarily read Time Magazine. You know, the audience that subscribe to Time Magazine? The audience of the people that want to know what’s happening in the world week by week. The people that work during the day and can read it small, right? And it’s concise, and there’s pictures in it.I mean, those kind of, you know, those... a certain class of people. It’s a class of people that take the magazine seriously. I mean, sure I could read it, you know, I read it. I read it on the airplanes but I don’t take it seriously. If I want to find out anything I’m not going to read Time Magazine. I’m not gonna read Newsweek. I’m not gonna read any of these magazines, I mean, ‘cause they just got too much to lose by printing the truth, you know that.
HJ: What is really the truth?
BD: Really the truth is just a plain picture.
HJ: Of what? Particularly
BD: Of, you know, a plain picture of, let’s say, a tramp vomiting, man, into the sewer You know, and next door to the picture, you know, Mr Rockefeller, you know, or Mr C.W. Jones, you know, on the subway going to work, you know, any kind of picture. Just make some sort of collage of pictures which they don’t do. They don’t do. There’s no ideas in Time Magazine, there’s just these facts. Well, you know, which too are switched because even the article which you are doing, the way it’s gonna come out, don’t you see, it can’t be a good article. Because, the guy that’s writing the article is sitting in a desk in New York, he’s not, he is not even going out of his office. He’s just going to get, all these, ah, 15, you know, reporters and they’re gonna send him a quota you know
HJ: That’s not me...
BD: No, he’s going to put himself on, he’s going to put all his readers on, and you know, in another week we have some space in the magazine. But that’s all, it means nothing to anybody else. I’m not putting that down because people have gotta eat and live, you know, but let’s at least be honest about it. You know, I mean sure, let’s say, let’s say...
HJ: I just don’t, I don’t know that you are giving me...
BD: I know more about what you do and you don’t even have to ask me how or why or anything, just by looking, you know, than you’ll ever know about me, ever. I mean, I could tell you, I could tell you I’m not a folk singer and explain to you why, but you wouldn’t really understand. All you could do, you could nod your head, you would nod your head.HJ: You could be willing to try, and...
BD: No, I couldn’t even be willing to try because, it is, you know, it would be, it’s, you know, there’re certain things which... every word, every word has its little letter and big letter.HJ: Your friend had the right word – pigeonhole.
BN: No, no, it’s not important...
BD: No, it’s not pigeonhole, it’s not the word at all. You know, every word has its little letterand big letter, like the word “know.”HJ: Yeah.
BD: You know, the word know, “k-n-o-w?”HJ: Yeah.
BD: Okay, then you know the word know, capital “K-N-O-W”?HJ: Yeah.
BD: Like, each of us really “knows” nothing.
BD: Right? but we all think we know things.
BD: And, we really know nothing.
HJ: But you’re saying you know more about what I do...
BD: No, I’m saying, I’m saying, I’m saying... [BN: No, no, no.]]
BD: I’m saying that you’re going to die, and you’re gonna go off the earth, you’re gonna be dead. Man, it could be, you know, twenty years, it could be tomorrow, any time, so am I. I mean, we’re just gonna be gone. The world’s going to go on without us.
BD: All right now, you do your job in the face of that and how seriously you take yourself, you decide for yourself.
BD: Okay, now I’ll decide for myself. Now, you’re not going to make me feel unhappy by anything you print about me or anything, you know, or anything like that. It’s just, it couldn’t, you know, you couldn’t offend me. And, I’m sure you know I couldn’t offend you. And so all I can hope for you to do is, uh, all your ideas in your own head, somehow, wherever they are...
HJ: Do you care about what you sing?
BD: How could I answer that if you’ve got the nerve to ask me?HJ: Well then you, how could you...
BD: I mean, you’ve got a lot a lot of nerve asking me a question like that.
HJ: I have to ask that.
BD: Do you ask The Beatles that?
HJ: I have to ask you that because you have the nerve to question whether I can.
BD: I’m not questioning you because I don’t expect any answer from you. Do you think somebody wouldn’t go see somebody if they didn’t want entertainment?
HJ: Of course not.
BD: Who, now who wants to go get whipped, you know, and if you do wanna go get whipped, hey, aren’t you really being entertained?
HJ: All right... So fine.
HJ: It’s all right.
BD: Okay. So, if you think anybody that comes to see me is coming for any other reason except entertainment, really.
HJ: They’ll tell you they’re all coming for different reasons.
BD: Well, who cares what they tell you. Who cares what anybody tells you.
HJ: Well, they think they, they think they know why they’re doing it.
BD: Well, do you know why they’re doing it?
HJ: I know some of the things they say...
BD: People say all kinds of things...
HJ: Uh hummm.
BD: And you have to sort of... to weed it out. Can you weed it out?
HJ: Well, that’s what I’m trying to do.
BD: Yeah, well, you see, you have to learn but I can’t teach you how to weed it out.
HJ: Yeah, I didn’t say that I couldn’t do that, I said I don’t mean that.
BD: Yeah, well you know, I have no idea. First of all, I’m not even a pop singer.
HJ: You think you have a big audience?
BD: I don’t know. I have no idea.
HJ: Well, you appeal to your audiences in some sense as a pop singer. Well, you know, even if it’s Caruso he’s, uh, you know, appealing to a popular, you know, this is a...
BD: But, he’s a pop singer... and I’m just as good a singer as Caruso... Have you heard me sing? Have you ever heard me sing?
HJ: I like Caruso better.
BD: Ohhh... well, you see right there now, right there we have a little disagreement. I happen to be just as good as him... (laughter) a good singer, have to listen closely... (laughter) but I hit all those notes and I can hold my breath three times as long if I want to.