Revealed: secrets of the celebrity census forms

'Census form my Aunt Fanny ­ how naive do you think I am? This is just another journalistic stunt'
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The Independent Online
This Sunday is Census Day, the day we all have to fill in our census forms whoever we are, no matter how high or low.

This Sunday is Census Day, the day we all have to fill in our census forms whoever we are, no matter how high or low. Yes, we've heard a lot about how the man in the street will be grappling with this ordeal, but what about the great and the good, the celebs, the famous? They've all got to do it ­ but how are they going to manage?

To find out, I have been getting in touch with some of the foremost figures of our time to ask them how they'll be dealing with Census Day...

Jeffrey Archer: Actually, reading the census form has given me an idea for a story. I mean, we all have to give our profession, right? Well, clearly I personally put down "politician, writer, peer, millionaire". No problem there. But what if I were a criminal? What would I put then? See the problem? There are thousands of criminals in Britain, none of whom can own up to what they do! All of them will have to invent unreal jobs and other lives to cover up their real line of business! So what I propose to do is take a single criminal and watch him inventing a facade for himself...

Salman Rushdie: Can you imagine what it would have been like if the Census had taken place during the years I was hiding from the fatwa? There I was, sheltering from the assassin's bullet, and along comes a form asking me to say exactly where I live and who I share the house with. I live at No 2 Edgar Mansions, I say, and share it with two burly policemen. My religion used to be Islam, but now it's a bit more complicated than that... No, no, it doesn't bear thinking about.

The Queen: It's very difficult. Who is my employer, for a start? Or is a queen self-employed? How on earth do I describe my work? Which of my many houses shall I be in on Sunday? What if I go from Buck House to Windsor that day? Do I put down both? And how many rooms has each one got? Does anyone honestly know? Of course, when it comes to it, I shall get someone to do it, or perhaps just copy what I wrote 10 years ago, but you mustn't think it's a piece of cake being queen. Just making the point.

Sophie Wessex: Oh, come on ­ how naive do you think I am? Do you really think I am going to be taken in again? Census form my Aunt Fanny ­ this is just another journalistic stunt masquerading as a census! Believe me, one bit, twice shy! I'm not getting caught again! This is one form I won't be filling in. Get lost.

Anne Robinson: Census? No, thank you. I never answer questions. I only ask them. Now I'm off to America. Goodbye.

Tracey Emin: I want to make my census form into a work of art, so apart from writing down in it the name of everyone I've ever slept with, I'm also going to use it as part of my daily life ­ use it for mopping up spills, cleaning up after the cat, etc. Then I'm going to sell it for thousands of pounds. The Census is meant to be about the way we live now, right? Well, you're going to be able to smell the way we live on mine!

Peter Mandelson: I used to have a big job and no house. Now I have a big house and no job. Oh, well.

P-Y Gerbeau: As I am French, I don't have to take part in this Census, but I just wish to point out one thing. The Dome is the largest modern structure in Britain. Yet nobody actually lives in it. Therefore the Dome will not appear in the 2001 Census. It has been written out of history by Tony Blair. I just mention it. Au revoir, mes amis.

Sir Christopher Bland: All a bit awkward, really, as I have already filled in the census form and now I have changed job! Still, I suppose "Chairman of BT" is very much like "Chairman of BBC", and if I change it carefully in ink, they probably won't even notice.

Andrew Motion:

I have been looking at my census form.

"What do you do?" ­ they ask.

"Who are you? Where are you going?

What do you believe in?"

We have been asking ourselves

these questions

From the day we were born

And never found the right answer.

What makes them think we will find it

on 29 April?

Maybe we shall all go to prison

For not knowing the truth.