House of "Mouse"

Rum and Monkey hadn't sent me on a proper interview in over a year, and I was getting nervous. Interviewing - properly, at least, in the Rolling Stone / Rum and Monkey mould - isn't like riding a bike. You forget things; the little facial ticks you used to employ to get an emotional response from your target, for example, or the etiquette regarding touching their knee. (Interviewers traditionally touch their subjects' knees. It is, in fact, a sexual thing.)

I was worrying about this in the foyer of a hotel in Paris while waiting for Justin to show up. He is a consummate entertainment professional, by which I mean he's late for everything and eventually he'll be ostracised by the establishment for inhaling cocaine from a prostitute's armpit. But for the moment, he's the next big thing, and I'm excited to meet him. I want to be the best damn interviewer he's ever encountered.

A mere six hours after I show up, he saunters into the bar, backwards. He flings his hat at a stand across the room, and I watch with awe as it triple flips into place. With a shrill "hee-hee unh", he rhythmically sits next to me and shoots a sly grin straight out of the vice squad newsletter, and he's up again, dancing with twelve scantily-clad women who seem to have come from nowhere. They're very sweaty and could probably use a wash.

Having demonstrated to me that he is, in fact, the King of Perv-Funk, he sits down beside me and the interview begins properly.

RUM & MONKEY: Good evening, Mr. Timberlake! How are you this evening?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: I'm very well, very well, very well, unh hee-hee. Got a groove going on, I wanna do it with you baby.

R&M: ... pardon? You'd like to do it with me?

JT: Sorry, sorry, hee-hee. I can't help it. I bump and grind and get into the dirty funk all day, and it's hard to wind down. You understand. Or you would, if you were a filthy grind machine like me. Unh.

R&M: I understand. I'm actually a bit of a funk machine myself.

JT: Really? When did you last get down and do it 'til the break of dawn?

R&M: Thursday.

JT: Dirty.

R&M: So how does it feel? This time last year you were still the curly-haired moppet from N*sync. Now you seem to have left all that behind; you've split up from Britney Spears and become the least wholesome pop star since Michael Jackson.

JT: Hey, man. I absolutely do not take child stars to bed with me. Unless they're cute. Unh, hee-hee, funk, wibble wibble!

R&M: I see. Do you have any comment for the critics who claim you're just trying to emulate Jackson's startling success?

JT: Break it down. Ohh! They can make their own mind up, unh, I don't really mind. All I know is that I'm not trying to be Mr Jackson. Ho-ohhhhh!

R&M: How was the break-up with Britney Spears?

JT: Fine. It's not like Britney's real anyway. She's just a construct of the music industry and the public's collective imaginations. Freak, hee-hee!

R&M: You're actually clinically insane, aren't you.

JT: Unh! No, I just want to feel the love, grinding our bodies until the sun shines where the sun don't shine. Hee-hee.

It was at this point that Timberlake began humping my leg. I left the hotel shortly afterwards, partially because I was in a confused daze, and partially because I really needed to change my pants. That would be the last time I had any contact with the mop-haired funk confection; however, a couple of days later a publicist phoned me to apologise.

"He's kind of randy," she explained. "It's not his fault; it's what happened to all the kids at the Disney Club. 'Mouseketeer' and 'Magic Kingdom' are both euphemisms, and I'm afraid I'm not prepared to say more than that." She advised me to take some shots, made her excuses and hung up.

All very confusing. I tried to get in contact with the Disney Corporation headquarters, located on Mount Evil, but they declined to return my calls. Indeed, I was prepared to leave the story be and move onto pastures new when a representative of Britney Spears company sent me a telegram:

This is entirely off the record STOP Disney pumped mouseketeers with steaming jamba STOP now they red hot love machines STOP greasy, greasy perv funk STOP expose story to the world STOP do not publish this telegram END

I was left with more questions than answers. Steaming jamba? Were the Disney Corporation in fact just the world's largest paedophile ring? Was Justin Timberlake's dementedly high pitched perv-funk dancing session just the tortured psychological response to a lifetime of servitude to his middle-aged, suited masters? Was it all just a cynical attempt to make the world's thirteen year olds shake their thang to the corporate product?

I intended to find out.

Next time: Inside the Nasty Nasty 2D Love Factory.

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