Barkskins by Annie Proulx. I am reading The Brendan Voyage’ by Tim Severin too.
A couple of weeks ago I curated the 3rd Big City Folk Festival in New York. We had 23 acts I really admire, spread over two days.
Despite the mayor warning everyone to stay at home because of a heatwave it was a great success.
I still buy CDs. I listen to them primarily in the car. There’s a great record shop, Music Matters, down the road from us in Brooklyn. I always try to stop into Plugd Records when I am home in Cork. Also, there are various record shops in places I pass through touring, that I love to go and kill time during the day.
I do use Spotify and iTunes too, but where possible I try to buy from directly from artists or use bandcamp.com and cdbaby.com which offer better percentages for artists.
Mick Flannery sent me five songs from his forthcoming album and it is nothing short of phenomenal. It comes out in October. I’ve been enjoying the Case/Lang/Veirs record. That’s a collaboration between Neko Case, Laura Veirs, and KD Lang.
‘Mid-Term Break’ by Seamus Heaney. I remember reading that maybe in first year at school and being devastated by it. Musically, REM, The Frank and Walters, James, Nirvana helped me daydream my way through a lot of homework.
The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one): Leonard Cohen at Kilmainham and Glastonbury in 2008. It was his first tour in 15 years and my first and second time seeing him live.
We don’t have television but watch stuff online. When I want a bit more terror in my life I’ve been enjoying Happy Valley and Broad Church. When I want to laugh, the Cork cartoon Martin’s Life is truly priceless.
I tune into RTÉ for sports and occasionally to hear the wonderfully varied selections from the likes of the Creedon Show, the Late Date etc. WFUV is best for music in New York. I listen to a lot of podcasts too.
Leonard Cohen, Nirvana, and I’d abuse my power and put myself on the bill so I could meet them.
Your best/most famous celebrity encounter: I met Bruce Springsteen on the street outside an open mic I was hosting in Manhattan a few years ago. He was incredibly friendly and stayed and chatted for ages. I was with a friend from Meath and they were talking about Slane. I jokingly added, well, you’ll have to play Cork next time. He did play Cork next time. I like to pretend that that’s why.
Doc Martin boots. I have dragged them through hurricanes, blizzards, across the mountains and cobblestone streets, from San Francisco to Romania. They tend to last about two years. I wear them till they fall apart and when they finally do, I marvel at the fact that I have outlasted another pair.
I have a very basic flip phone, as I am trying to keep the internet out of my pocket. However, I also have an iPad mini, that was a gift from a 70-year-old fan.
I use that for everything from responding to these questions, recording song ideas, maps, podcasts, tour blogs, TV, radio.
You are king for a day— what’s your first decree? Hand over power to Ger Wolfe.