A few weeks ago I was honoured to be invited to take part in an interview with Bee Halton, as part of her The Bee talks with… feature.
Well, I’m only now getting around to answering Bee’s questions and today you can discover what information she managed to wheedle out of me.
The questions all seem quite straightforward but, given my tendency to ramble, it’s anyone’s guess how long this will take, so I’d better get on with it…
1) How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?
This is the sort of question that makes me wonder how honest we are about ourselves, because I immediately think of the way I am described by the people who know me; loud, verbose, opinionated, arrogant, immodest, sarcastic, the (not always complimentary) list goes on… At least that was generally the case, before I began writing Diary of an Internet Nobody, but recently I’m getting dangerously used to seeing words like “creative”, “talented” and even “artistic” being applied to me. Now, although I’m more than willing to accept the praise and plaudits of my peers in the blogging community, not even I (with all those aforementioned, uncomplimentary, but probably accurate characteristics) am comfortable using those terms to describe myself, not out loud anyway. So I think I’m going to have to go with somewhere in between, something along the lines of; inventive, persistent, determined, intelligent, (or at least clever, which isn’t the same thing, but it’s a convincing impression) friendly, generous and…oh alright, immodest, sarcastic and verbose, too.
2) A fun fact about you?
Hmm, I’m not sure what constitutes a fun fact, but I was once nearly eaten by a drunken vegetarian at a party.
3) What made you write (draw, blog, paint, make music…) in the first place?
Oh, that’s an easy one. A friend of a friend who I met on Facebook (the irritatingly talented Mr Darmon Richter, writer of the highly successful Bohemian blog) encouraged me to start blogging, after I’d helped promote his work on social media, just over four years ago. I had no idea or plan for what I was going to write, (and still don’t) except that I would have no constant theme and that I would stubbornly insist on creating all original content on the blog, using only my smartphone (both of which mission statements remain true to this day) and it seems to be working ok so far.
The fiction came about, I suppose, because I had always been an avid reader and love a well-told story. Although having said that, it had never occurred to me to even attempt writing fiction until, out of curiosity, I decided to take part in Linda G Hill’s regular feature, Stream of consciousness
Saturday Sunday, setting myself the challenge of writing a short story for each of her weekly prompts on the spur of the moment.
As for all the other threads on the blog; the photography, video, animation and music, they too are a direct result of my introduction to the wonderful world of Google’s Android™ system. It’s amazing what you can do with a phone, few apps, a bit of imagination and the computing power of something you would have needed to carry around on a forklift twenty years ago. The fact that I’ve enjoyed taking pictures and have been an obsessive music fan since I was a teenager probably didn’t hurt either, but I have no actual musical knowledge or training and rely on the marvels of modern technology to make up the shortfall between my ingenuity and any genuine ability to carry a tune.
4) Which author/painter/musician… has influenced you and why?
I’d probably say that, style-wise, I’m most influenced by the sadly late, but extremely great British writers, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, both of whom had such a palpable love of language and how it can be made to inject humour into almost any situation. I also like the way Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino use non-linear storytelling to create suspense and mystery, so I try to incorporate that into my writing, too.
Musically, I’ve always had a very eclectic taste; ranging from rock, prog and metal, through punk, pop, dance and indie, veering wildly into jazz, folk and electronica, the latter of which is what was the biggest influence on me, when I first began mucking about with sequencers and loop making apps on my phone. Bands like Yello, Kraftwerk and New Order are old favourites, while more experimental artists like Crystal Castles and Aphex Twin have also informed some of my more abrasive attempts at audio creativity.
As for actual art, (drawing, painting, sculpture, etc) I have no aptitude for that whatsoever, choosing once again to resort to 21st century gadgets in order to bring my artistic visions to life.
5) What is your favourite book/painting/song?
I’m fairly sure that anyone who has ever heard more than one song, read more than one book, or seen more than one painting will tell you that’s an almost impossible question to answer, so I’ll just pick one of each from the air, in no particular order of preference:
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
6) Your writing/painting/ music making ritual (if you have one)?
I sit down, I start writing, I see what happens. That’s about it, really.
7) Your secret “sin” when you write/draw/make music?
It’s a secret, you’re right.
8) Do you suffer from artist’s block and if so, what do you do against it?
This is very rarely a problem for me, because I only write when I want to (which is almost all the time now) and I’m never short of something to say, however nonsensical it might be. Whether that’s a good enough reason to keep on writing it down is another matter, but I continue to enjoy doing so nevertheless, because it gets more enjoyable each time.
9) Your advice for apprentice creatives?
Another easy one; DO IT!
Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can. Start a blog, (as I keep telling my friend Biff, who has so many stories, he already has enough material for about a hundred blog posts. Come on Biff, I know you’re reading this…) take some photos, paint a picture, form a band, even if you think you’ll be no good at it.
Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know how much fun you’re missing out on, or find out what hidden talents you might have.
So, there you have it, as much random information about me as you could possibly wish for.
Thank you, Bee, for inviting me, it was a most thought-provoking experience. Here are a couple more of my musical selections to play us out…