Friday, April 27, 2007

Interview With A FiL

While perusing Mini-Obs, I noticed that Dearest Natsthename had a chain interview going. You know, someone sends you a few questions, then you answer them on your blog or else you and your descendants will have four millennia of bad luck, your dog will get scrofula, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will move into your living room.

Anyway, I felt game for a bit of an inquisition, so I asked Nats craft five questions for me. Thanks Nats! And here they are:

Q: Reach way back into the memory here. What is the first occasion you can recall being proud of an accomplishment?

Let's see, I'll have to rummage around a bit; there's a fair bit of clutter in the old cerebral cupboard. Dum de dum... What's this? Just dust off the cobwebs here and... Oh my, I'd forgotten about that. I can't believe I actually snogged -- er, hang on FiL, focus on what youre doing. Hmm, that milk crate looks promising... Ah, found it!

I was in first grade. Our teacher, a rollicking barrel of a lady from Guyana named Mrs Edwards, had asked us to write a story about going on vacation. I remember carefully printing out the first line: "It was Friday afternoon and Jane was helping her father pack the car." That line, plus whatever I wrote subsequently, impressed Mrs Edwards sufficiently that sent me off to show it to the Principal. To this day I clearly remember both standing (somewhat trepidatiously) in her office while she read it, and the warm swell of pride in my chest when she told me that she thought it was extremely good.

Q: Program the soundtrack to the movie of your life. What songs are in it?

Oh gosh, that's a poser. If we're building a film around songs, then I think we're talking a three-hour epic. Possibly a trilogy of them. But I'll be good and limit myself to a dozen tracks that do an adequate job of telling "The Story of FiL."

Donny & Marie Osmond - A Little Bit Country (buy here)
I remember eagerly awaiting the one night every week that I got to stay up a whole half-hour later to watch the "Donny and Marie Show." This song just rocked my little seven-year-old world. Oh, and I fancied Marie something rotten.

Kiss - Room Service (buy here)
Don't ask me why, but someone gave me Kiss's "Dressed to Kill" album when I was eight and I just thought it was the coolest thing EVAH. I wanted to be Gene Simmonds and to do that tongue thing. Alas, Kiss soon fell out of favour, but I must admit that they have been rehabilitated in my musical pantheon after I rediscovered their early oeuvre a few years back and found it actually rocks.

Sex Pistols - Bodies (buy here)
The band, the album, that changed it all for me. After several years of frankly unsatisfying wandering in the wastes of MOR rawk, once in high school I bought Never Mind the Bollocks at my local record emporium. Though I was displaced in time and space from the seminal events of 1976-78, the first play marked my Year Zero. Johnny Rotten instantly became my (anti-)hero. I now knew how things could be.

The Jam - Strange Town (buy here)
Ah, Paul Weller, another hero. Righteous punky modness by the bucket. I am forever grateful to Dearest Bishakh (hey, if you're in the audience, take a bow!) for introducing me to Messrs Weller, Foxton, and Buckler. Shame that old Paul descended into the depth of wooden-beady dadrock. And whatever you do, don't mention "The Reunion."

Billy Bragg - Help Save The Youth Of America (buy here or e-here)
The Big-Nosed Bastard from Barking did more than anyone to shape my world view. And he continues to do so today.

Bauhaus - Stigmata Martyr (buy here or e-here)
Woooo, scaaaary stuff, kiddies!! I'll let you in on a secret: goth is really loads of fun! And it provides great accompaniment for bizarre rituals in basements. And, on endless repeat, for sophomore years spent moping about that girl who now that you look at it would have been totally inappropriate for you anyway. Er, that last bit wasn't much fun, actually.

Daniel Johnston - Casper The Friendly Ghost (buy here or e-here)
A good chunk of my university days were spent DJing at the mighty WGTB. That time saw my musical horizons expand by an unprecedented degree. And the magical, troubled Daniel Johnston was a key expander.

Carter USM - The Only Living Boy In New Cross (buy here)
I moved to Britain during the heady confluence of Britpop, baggy, and acieeed. Carter USM sorta brings it all back to me. But I don't look good in lycra.

Neil Young - Harvest Moon (buy here)
This here's Dearest Wife's and my courting song. Aw, shucks...

The Hives - Hate To Say I Told You So (buy here)
After Growing Up And Getting A Proper Job (TM), I sorta lost my mojo. I think it fell out of my suit pocket somewhere between Fulwell train station and Canary Wharf. Then The Hives grabbed me by the lapels and stuffed another one in my mouth. Thank you, Howlin' Pelle Almqvist.

The Faint - Agenda Suicide (buy here)
Listen to this. Then watch the video. This was my existence. The Faint saved my life.

Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country (buy here or e-here)
It's not all crash, bang, rammy tuneage round FiL's way; there's always been a twee element lurking about. Honest. But I will admit that of late the ratio of "strum-strum-la-la-la" to "ONETWOTHREEFOURBLAAAARGH" has been increasing. And I do think this is in some part due to the hop, skip, and jump we made over to Vancouver. Three hours of commuting per day down to 30 minutes. Shoebox living swapped for space. Smog traded for sea air. The only downside has been the loss of proximity to our Dearest, Dearest Friends - you know who you are, and we miss you fiercely. Come on, emigrate, you know it makes sense...

Tom Waits - Innocent When You Dream [Barroom version] (buy here)
I've made it known that this song is to be played at my funeral. Which I expect and hope won't be for a loooooooooooong time yet!

Q: You have won a free week-long vacation for yourself, your wife, and your kids to any spot in the world, but you have to leave in 20 minutes and you get to take one suitcase. What's in it?

Do we have to take the kids? Sigh, alright then...

We're off to Namibia, me for the second time, Dearest Wife, Darling Daughter, and Little Man for the first. Our bag is a backpack, and it holds not much: three changes of underwear and socks apiece, a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a fleece for each of us, lots of sunscreen, a water bottle, a big pack of Wet Wipes (indispensible in arid climes, let me tell you), a roll of toilet paper, a first-aid kit, and a camera. We will wear our hats and sturdy boots.

When we land, I will try not to cry with joy at being back. By day we will wander across the ancient Namib desert, marvel at the stately rock formations, admire the industrious tok-tok beetle, congratulate the chameleon on his cleverness, ponder the peculiar quiver tree, and revere the thousand-year-old welwitchia plants. At night, we will sleep in the open under a limitless, inky-black sky sprinkled profusely with shimmering, diamond-dust stars. And they will understand why I fell so deeply in love with this land in such a short time.

Q: Who always makes you laugh?

Always? Always?? Without fail??? That'll be Matt Lucas. In all his guises --from "He's A Baby" George Dawes to chavvy Vicky Pollard to the frightening Bubbles DeVere -- he never fails to make me howl with laughter. Yes, I love the Python gang to bits, but I will admit that some of their work fails to tickle my funny bone. Matt Lucas, on the other hand, has not missed yet.

Q: What is your favorite swear word?

Favourite as opposed to most often used? That'll be "arse." Such a satisfying, all-purpose word. with just a hint of absurdity that takes the nasty edge off. But according to Dearest Wife, the most used work is "fuck."

Memo to self: less "fuck," more "arse."

So, if anyone feel stirred to continue the chain (remember: dog, scrofula), ask nicely via comment or e-mail and I'll devise five searching questions for you. You'll then answer them and either post them on your very own blog, or else pop them down in the comments section below, should you be blogless. Finally, you'll invite others to be interviewed by you, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Who needs Oprah when you've got us??