As a sort of role reversal Christmas experiment, we at Sun 13 (or at least Banjo and I) thought we would subject ourselves to our own set of 13 Questions. Not that we expect anyone to particularly care or be interested in our answers, but I remember Christmas Special editions of magazines when I was a kid doing this kind of thing, so I thought we could give it a go.
Our 13 Questions features are meant to be a light read, the kind of thing you can flick through over a morning coffee or on the train, a quick hit kind of thing. But they also seem to reveal some new information about people and without them we may never have known about Captain Sensible‘s first memory, Paul Simpson getting irate with Basil Fawlty in Sainsburys or Mogwai‘s last holiday.
Anyway, here’s Banjo giving it a shot, surely one of the first signs of an impending breakdown. Read on to find out more about him meeting Mark E. Smith, being in love with social media and surprising shop assistants.
1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
“At home at the beginning of my Christmas break. I’ve only had three weeks off this year as there didn’t seem much point in taking more just to stay at home and do nothing. On the plus side I’m carrying two weeks over to next year so, assuming all goes well, I can make up for it and go away somewhere hot for a month.”
2. How have you been coping with the lockdown?
“Same as everyone else, ups and downs. It was such a massive wrench from the norm that it took some getting used to, but now I’ve been living like this for 9 months I quite like it and it will probably be weird returning to what was normal before, if we ever do.”
3. What do you have planned for Christmas?
“I’ve got far too much wine, beer and spirits in so that should take care of most of it. I’m quite a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas, so I like to watch at least one version of A Christmas Carol, eating mince pies and having a selection box for breakfast. I miss catching up with friends and having boozy afternoons in the pub with them, but I’m hopeful we’ll be able to catch up on all that kind of thing soon.”
4. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“I think I’ve been lucky in this respect, as everyone I’ve interviewed for Sun 13 or Getintothis have been lovely. I was very nervous before I spoke to John Lydon, but he couldn’t have been more charming if he tried. Dave Haslam is an absolute gent and interviewing Peter Hook was like having a chat down the pub with a mate.
I know the saying goes that you should never meet your heroes, but I must have been luck so far as nobody has left me feeling disappointed. Even a brief exchange in a club with Mark E. Smith in the ’90s was met with smiles and handshakes.”
5. Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out.
“If I could only recommend one it would be Etherwood. He’s a drum & bass producer, but he is to my mind the greatest living artist creating music today.”
6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“Never. I love social media. Facebook has reunited me with so many old friends and, more than that, has allowed me to keep in touch with them through casual updates, which means that we’re all still part of each other’s lives all these years later. I’d feel lost without it to be honest.”
Meeting Rowland S Howard: A rambling tale of ambition, meeting your heroes and vodka & lime
7. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“I think I’ve lived a mildly hedonistic lifestyle for a long time, so I’m lucky that I have a surfeit of good night’s out to choose from down the decades.
“My first New Year’s Eve at Voodoo is probably the high water mark of my clubbing experiences. Everyone was up for it, everyone was in a good mood and everyone was on the same buzz. It’s kind of ruined New Year’s Eve for me ever since then, as nothing will top it.”
8. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
“I don’t really feel guilty for liking any kind of music. I remember in the ’80s walking into a record shop with a Mohican and a leather jacket and asking for a Shalamar 12”. The shop assistant behind the counter seemed quite surprised, but I bloody love Shalamar. My record collection is hopefully proof of this, as Kylie albums sit next to Killing Joke on my shelves and they all get played.”
9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“There are a few things I’d like to change, but I worry that if I warned my younger self against them it might alter the course of life and I wouldn’t be where I am now. And I quite like where I am now.”
10. When were you last told off?
“I don’t know, it would be some time ago. Maybe it’s because of lockdown or maybe I’ve become too nice and need to do some risky shit again.”
11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“Well until recently I have always been of the opinion that the best time for music is right now, but I’ve been organising my MP3s lately and grouping them by decade. I have to say that the ’90s folder probably has the best music.
“There was an awful lot going on in the ’90s, we had Public Enemy’s finest hour, the shoegazing scene, the techno years, Glastonbury, Ibiza sunsets, clubbing and dancing and talking with good friends long into the following day.
“There is plenty of really excellent music being made today, but I’d be quite happy to go back and do the ’90s again.”
12. What band or record changed the course of your life?
“Where to start. I’ve had my life changed by music more times than I can remember. Buying God Save the Queen by Sex Pistols was a genuinely life changing moment for me, but so was seeing The Birthday Party, The Smiths and Joy Division or going to Ibiza for the fist time.
“That’s what music does, it changes you. It influences what you do, who you see and who you are. Pretty much every record I’ve ever bought has changed my life.”
13. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to everybody who has read one of our posts or followed us on Facebook or Twitter.
“We’re very passionate about what we do and the music we listen to and the fact that people are prepared to read our views and musings, sometimes thousands of you, means the world, it means that we’re not just shouting into the void and that we are hopefully connecting with people and carrying on the tradition of letting music change our lives as discussed above.
“I hope we can carry on doing this for a long time and you have my utmost respect and gratitude for being a part of that.”