[Both interviews are only partially online. This post is a compilation of excerpts.]
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.”
Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills has suffered from chronic anxiety, depression and panic attacks all his life and was first prescribed antidepressants at 16.
'I had to miss lots of school,' Scott, 38, tells Now's Dan Wootton.
'I couldn't face it. I didn't see my friends.
'I'd sit on the sofa all day and not talk to anyone. Even going to the shops became overwhelming.
'There's a history of depression in my family.'
Scott's mum always said he was in the wrong job.
'But I think a lot of DJs are like that,' he says. 'Chris Moyles is a really shy person, for example.
'But for me it became a really crippling part of my life.'
Scott's boyfriend Mitch died of a drug overdose after they'd only been going out for a few months and he dealt with the pain by drinking.
'I was 26 and we spent every minute together. He was from Wales and so funny,' [...]
'It was truly awful. I'd been to the Brits. After my Radio 1 show, the police were waiting for me.
'They told me he'd died. I couldn't process it. As it dawned on me, it got worse and worse and worse.
'I started smoking that day and I haven't stopped since.
‘I felt everything was bleak. I had no friends. My flatmate Fraser was the only person I saw.
'I was presenting the early show, so I'd wake up at 2.30am, do the show, come home and go back to sleep.
'Then I'd wake up in the evening and drink two bottles of wine or a bottle of spirits in front of the TV. It was a way to escape.
‘One morning I went on air drunk. That could have been a massive f***-up for me. Even I would’ve sacked me. But thank God for Radio 1 – they knew about Mitch and why I was having a bad time. It was a proper wake-up call.’
Good friend Robbie Williams has helped Scott through his tough times.
'‘It’s stayed under the radar because that’s how I wanted it, but Robbie was someone I could talk to about my drinking.
'He's knocked all of his problems on the head. I found talking to him very comforting.
'I see so much of myself in him - my insecurities, not knowing if you're good enough, the depression and the alcohol.'
Scott Mills has admitted to being "scared" of Chris Moyles when he first joined Radio 1.
The afternoon host however also said that he never thought Moyles was mocking him for being gay.
"I was quite scared and overwhelmed by him," Mills said of working alongside Moyles.
Asked if he thought Moyles had laughed at his sexuality, he added: "I didn't, but only because I knew him.
"He can come across as homophobic, but it's because he's so not that he thinks it's okay to say some things. People can take it the wrong way."
Mills added: "I dreaded hosting the show before or after him because of what he was going to say. So I went in one day and said to him, 'What's your problem?'
"When I confronted him he was an absolute puppy dog. It's all an act for on air. He stopped after that."
The DJ also admitted that it was "like a punch in the stomach" when Greg James took over his Drivetime show.
Of whether he would have replaced Moyles at Breakfast had he left sooner, he said: "If he'd left it earlier it would've been me. But he held on and that time for me has gone. I've had enough time to accept it."
Mills said of Moyles's actual replacement Nick Grimshaw: "Out of all the new people on Radio 1, Nick's my favourite. He really makes me laugh. I'll continue to fill in for him when he starts."
Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5