- 27 Nov 23
As Irish writer Paul Lynch scoops the Booker Prize 2023 for his remarkable novel Prophet Song, we're revisiting his Mad Hatter Q&A – originally published in Hot Press earlier this year...
Who would be the last person you would invite to your birthday party?
Anyone who ever closed down a cinema or bookshop.
Who would be the first person you would invite to your birthday party?
Currently living? Michael Haneke.
When the will to power fades, decline sets in.
Giant Steps by John Coltrane.
Depending on the day, Blood Meridian/ Pedro Paramo/ As I Lay Dying.
Depending on the hour, Vertigo/Tokyo Story/The White Ribbon.
Right now, within contemporary literature, it’s Jon Fosse
It might well be the louche and insouciant Elliot Gould.
Grant Green. I walked into Tower Records in 1997 and heard ‘Windjammer’, the stonking opening track from Live At The Lighthouse. I now have almost all his LPs and there were more than a few.
Most embarrassing moment of your life?
There was an historical monument on the top of a steep hill beside my school in Donegal. As I puffed my way up that hill on a bicycle, an entire bus load of German tourists turned and gave me a round of applause. I wanted the ground to open.
I don’t drink so much anymore, but a dry gin martini used to do the trick.
The Sopranos has the texture of great cinema.
Favourite TV personality?
I don’t really watch TV though.
Favourite item of clothing?
My black suit, followed by my dressing gown.
Most desirable date?
Grace Kelly in Rear Window, though by now she looks like Norma Bates in Psycho.
Favourite method of relaxation?
If you weren’t pursuing your present career, what other career might you have
Having my first novel Red Sky In Morning published in London.
Not getting a single review in the UK for that book. It was baffling, though you get over such disappointments fast in the book world.
Your concept of heaven?
Sitting in the hot tub at Delphi resort in Mayo, watching cloud shadow pass over the mountains.
Your concept of hell?
What would be your dying words?
Pass me the ___
To speak French. To play good jazz on the guitar. Oh how I have failed.
Period of history you’d most like to have lived in and why?
Late 1950s, NYC, drifting through the jazz clubs. Coltrane, Davis, Monk, Green, Mingus, Evans, etc, in the flesh. The greatest concentration of talent in the history of music.
If you weren’t a human being, which animal would you have chosen to be?
Steppenwolf. (That which I part am).
If you were told that the world was ending tomorrow morning, how would you react/what would you do?
Buy a box of fags.
Your nominee for the world’s best-dressed person?
I had a man crush on Don Draper for a time. The world used to know how to dress before we all took to leisure wear.
Favourite term of abuse?
Dying. I faced that last year. Still here thankfully.
Humanity’s most useful invention?
Humanity’s most useless invention?