Arts Q&A: Crime Writer Brian McGilloway on Billy Joel, Tom Waits and James Bond
1. When did you first think about a career in writing and what were the first ones?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, so it wasn’t really about making a conscious decision for a career, but more about having a compulsion to write that I had to satisfy and which then turned into a career. .
2. The best concerts you’ve been to?
Tom Waits in Dublin, 2008. Tom Waits does so infrequently so getting the chance to see him live was amazing. His live show is such an experience – very stripped down in some ways and as Vaudevillian as one would expect from his music. Gorgeous.
Jamie Cullum in Derry as part of the Jazz Festival a few years ago. He’s a brilliant live performer, bouncing off the stage and buzzing with energy. He had the audience on their feet from the start.
Hans Zimmer in Dublin. I’ve been to this concert twice – first with a friend of mine, then with my brother and my oldest son, Ben. I think Zimmer is a great film composer anyway and the live experience with a full band, orchestra and choir en masse was amazing.
3. Fancy wedding / anniversary group?
The Divine Comedy. I have seen them live more times than I can remember. It’s become a bit of a family tradition now that my sister, brothers and I are going together, so DC would be the obvious choice here for a family reunion.
4. What record would you take to a desert island and why?
Billy Joel is The Stranger. Scenes from an Italian restaurant? Vienna? Or Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours. Or Radiohead‘s OK computer. It would change depending on my mood.
5. What about the book you would take?
The name of Umberto Eco’s rose. It would withstand several re-readings. ?
6. The three best films?
The Godfather – a classic. We were in Sicily a few years ago and visited Savoca where some scenes were filmed. It hardly changed.
The Dark Knight – I love superhero movies anyway, but this one does it all right.
Skyfall – I’ve always been a Bond fan. I saw this in London. When he revealed the old Aston Martin in the halfway garage, all the cinema started to cheer. The last time I saw this reaction was at the end of Rocky 4 and I was 11. I was still 11 years old.
7. The worst movie you’ve seen?
I only remember coming out of a movie in my life – VI Warshawski, when I was 17. It was a first date so the movie didn’t really matter anyway. I haven’t seen him since. We didn’t make it on a second date either, so it was a disappointing experience.
8. Favorite authors?
Too many to name, but I’m going to stop reading anything to pick up a new James Lee Burke novel.
9. The sport you like the most and the best team?
Rugby. My son, Tom, started playing a few years ago and I took him to practice. In fact, someone asked me to help out, take out cones, etc. and two years later I had completed my qualification and was coaching a youth team for the Strabane Rugby Club.
10. Ideal vacation destination?
Lake Garda. We have been several times and this is the one place the whole family patiently waits to return when allowed to. ?
11. Do animals hate it?
Selfishness. People take nothing and give nothing back to the community.
12. Which is your favorite:
Having dinner? Irish Stew. My mom and dad made stew on Saturday lunchtimes during the winter when we were kids. I have fond memories of watching Airwolf while eating stew.
Dessert? Ice cream. Simple, clear.
To drink? Tea. I drink a lot of it while writing.?
13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?
My wife, Tanya.
14. Is there a God?
Yes I think so.
Inspector Ben Devlin’s new novel by Brian McGilloway, Blood Ties, is now available. Brianmcgilloway.com