What music are you currently listening to a lot?
Loads of Gruff Rhys. Musically and lyrically he’s just totally top. Touching, witty , melodic, groovy, totally excellent. Plus we were just on tour with him in the US.
Vinyl or MP3?
MP3 (offline NOT streaming). But when it’s an album I am very much in love with then obviously vinyl as I do find it sounds better – I just don’t think we have enough room in the world for everyone to make loads of vinyl records, all the time, all day every day. I actually just really love listening to tapes if I’m honest.
What have you read, watched or heard recently that was over-rated?
Almost certainly. I’m always slagging things off. But you know what? I can’t think of anything right now!
Nothing Important by Richard Dawson. Bone-shakingly beautiful music and lyrics.
Recommend a novel …
Tehanu from the Earthsea series by Ursula K Leguin. An amazing piece of work about many things, but for me it expresses very well what it is to be woman.
What’s the last film you saw in a cinema?
Il Sol Dell’ Avvenir [A Brighter Tomorrow] by Nanni Moretti. Really great, I loved it.
What has been your most formative cultural experience?
Yowzers. A big one. Well probably the Glastonbury festival. It had a huge effect on me as a teenager. And it stuck. Mind blowing to witness a huge, ephemeral city slowly grow out of nothing and then in a matter of days disappear to nothing again. The organisation and cooperation and post-apocalypse skills required for such a feat are mind boggling. But humans can do it! Glastonbury is the proof. People can build and work and tidy everything up responsibly together. People can look after each other and organise huge important moving arts festivals. And don’t even get me started on the circus that happens there. World-class, world-shatteringly beautiful and skilled. Circus performances pretty much always move me to tears – makes me want to dedicate more time to learning post-apocalypse skills and helping people access the arts.
Blur or Oasis?
What’s your go-to YouTube video?
Tim Hunkin. He’s such a brilliant man and inventor and engineer, and has all these excellent videos about how things work. In the 1980s he had a TV series called The Secret Life Of Machines and more recently he’s done a series on his YouTube channel called The Secret Life Of Components. Essential viewing. Everyone should watch this. Brilliant videos for all the family.
If you’re a gamer, what’s your current favourite?
I like board games, dice games and card games. My current favourite is a dice game called Cee-Lo that guitarist Austin Nevins recently taught me.
What haven’t you managed to get around to yet but will when you have the time?
The book People First Economics. I’ve had it for such a long time and never gotten round to reading it.
Swallows And amazons, the one made in the 1970s. Beautifully filmed. Beautiful children. Beautiful Lake District. It shaped me more than I care to mention. The sense of fun and honour and decency and responsibility that those kids have, man. Shocking. I think Nancy Blackett is one of the main role models in my life.
Irvine Welsh or Robert Louis Stevenson?
What was the most memorable recent theatre show you saw?
La Chaleur by Madeleine Fournier. It was at the Centre National de la Dance in Paris, and the performers were moving around in these complicated and intricate ways whilst singing incredible Purcell vocal arrangements and wearing really great shorts and socks.
Steve Buscemi. He’s an absolute heart-throb and an amazing actor and excellent human being. He’s got the whole range, lovely sweetheart all the way to terrifyingly scary monster. Total Babe.
Recommend a TV box-set …
Northern Exposure. So much wit and wisdom and brilliant characters to fall in love with forever.
Who or what do you always turn off?
Right-wing bias in the media. I mean, almost fair dos if it was fifty-fifty left-wing/right-wing.
But it just isn’t these days. It’s gross when you get some racist, right-wing plonker getting interviewed and having their say without anyone pointing out how awful they’re being. The TV/radio has to go off immediately. I will not waste my ears on that nonsense.
At the moment Jackie Fabulous. Her presence and wit and sharpness and nonchalance, just excellent. She’s just excellent.
Recommend an album …
Nouvelle Anormal by Belvoir. Amazingly great French duo. Banging tunes. Right on politics. Totally top.
If you’re a fan of graphic novels, what’s the best one you’ve ever read and why?
Driving Short Distances by Joff Winterhart. It’s so beautiful and quietly eloquent, and maybe quite understated and very touching and moving and funny. It usually makes me cry and laugh and cry whenever I read it. I cannot recommend it enough.