|Image: Sam Churchill|
Did anyone notice the funny faux pas in yesterday’s post? “I’ve never actually been to Cornwall, Devon…” Gee, how I laughed when I noticed the English county confusion I caused.
I thought for today’s post I would do something a bit different. While reading yesterday’s Telegraph I found a series of questions asked to Matthew Wright in an interview and I thought I’d give it a go.
What would you normally be doing if you weren’t talking me?
Writing my next blockbusting piece of fiction.
Is there a phrase you use all the time?
“It’s all eggs, bacon, beans and a fried slice.”
Do you have any hidden talents?
I am an expert fake faller. I’ve fallen out of lifts in posh hotels, up against shop windows, down stairs or in the street while crossing the road.
Describe the house you grew up in
Semi-detached 1960s build overlooking fields and a golf course, with a dam just visible in the distance and the lights of Paisley over the hill. I grew up with two younger sisters who I soon learned how best to annoy much to my delight, then put up with their scheming ways as they sought their revenge. My parents still live there but my old room is now my dad’s office/cinema.
What did you want to be as a child?
One of the main things I wanted to be when I was young was a journalist. I knew I liked writing and thought that seemed like a good career move to make. Things never worked out that way, though, although to some extent the work I’ve done in the music industry may class me as some form of amateur.
After a work experience week at Scottish Homes in Glasgow many years ago, I wanted to be an architect. I worked in an office with some great people and some great banter. The bloke that mentored me was called Ken Collins who designed parts of the Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988. It was never a serious idea, though, and probably all hit the fan anyway when I accidentally set fire to the building.
Name a book, song or movie that changed your life.
Book: Hand to Mouth by Paul Auster. I’ve spoken of how this book sparked me into my writing life after it struck a huge chord. Auster remains one of my favourite authors of all time but it was that book that opened me up to the realisation that I wanted to write, not as a journalist, but as a creative writer. It told me I could do it. The rest, as they say…
Movie: High Fidelity changed my life. Starring John Cusack and directed by Stephen Frears, I saw it on its release in 2000 at the GFT in Glasgow. It was a special showing with a Q&A session with the director. It spoke to me through its musical theme and then taught me a lesson. It made me realise that I wanted more out of life than just chasing girls and getting pissed. Later that year, I met my wife to be. I maintain if I hadn’t seen the film my attitude wouldn’t have changed, ergo, no wife or family today.
Song: Three songs changed my life but there was one in particular that kicked it all off. When Baggy Trousers was released by Madness in 1980 it was an awesome moment and when that was followed up by Ghost Town by The Specials in 1981 I knew just who I was: a ska loving, nutty freak. But the song that really started me down the road of punk and ska came in the form of Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury and the Blockheads in 1978—I was only 5 years old and I still remember getting sent out my P1 class for head butting the wall while singing the song. Ian Dury remains one of my major influences to this day.
What advice do you wish you’d received when you were younger?
I received lots of good advice but never really took much of it on board until I was older. I wish I’d learned to have more patience like my mother always told me. But then there was her other piece of advice, which was to be good and let who will be clever—I still live by that one. It was based on a Rudyard Kipling poem and passed on through from my Gran.
What one thing would you save if your house was on fire?
My family. Other than that my photographs I suppose but I can live without anything else. It’s all replaceable.
What’s your greatest regret?
That I never went to Australia in 1999 when I had the chance.
If you could meet anyone from history who would it be and what would you ask them?
Robert Louis Stevenson. I would ask him for a reference.
* * *
With my wife out on business last night, it was left to me and my daughter to entertain ourselves. We settled on The Pink Panther Strikes Again and a pizza. Ridiculous, I know. I ordered the hottest thing they had. MELTDOWN: THE REVENGE is not to be sniffed at, with all kinds of spicy meat, jalapenos, herbs, spices, chillies and layered with mustard and spicy cheese.
To be honest I didn’t enjoy it that much and I paid a huge price this morning. Unable to get off the throne, I missed three buses to work and almost cleaned us out of loo roll. I ended up having to get a taxi to work.
I received the publication date for my poem to appear over at Every Day Poets. THE FINAL NAIL will be published on Tuesday 14th September so get subscribed!
Note – house was built early 1971 and we moved in on Fair Monday July 1971. Also, I thought one of the big influences in your writing was The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. You wrote an essay at Primary school verbatim but the teacher obviously had not read it and marked your work “Excellent”.
I forgot about the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy! Mind you, I only discovered it through Uncle Robert’s cassette tape. I never read the books till much later. x