When I interviewed Ian Moore, British stand-up comedian and author of the very funny book A la Mod, he was busy packing to go on holiday in Nice. His wife had given him strict instructions to go back and pack again as he’d put at least 7 pairs of shoes in the case for a 10 day trip. Ian is a Mod, it sounds a bit like confessing to being a member of AA and for Ian it is an obsession… being a mod means a significant investment in fashion (often tailor-made suits) even when you live in the middle of rural France like Ian does.
So, while he was trying to decide what couldn’t possibly be left behind when a Mod goes to Nice, I asked him some questions…
What were you terrible at when you were at school?
Art! I’m hopeless at drawing; I can’t draw for toffee, not good when you’ve got kids and your four year old asks you to draw something, looks at it and then looks at you like you’re an imbecile. Languages too, rubbish at languages though I’m almost there with my French, I’m getting lessons off my middle son (he’s 8 years old), when he gives up he’ll probably pass me on to my 4 year old to take over the teaching…
The hardest part of writing a novel is ….
Coming from being a stand-up, you know if it’s good or bad within 0.4 of a second when you perform, but writing, although equally lonely, you have to wait weeks, months to get results, it’s slow in the publishing world.
If you could have dinner with a French character – living or dead, who would it be?
Hmmm. Language would be a problem (I say to him, just pretend it isn’t). Okay, Coluche (famous French comedian and actor Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci) because we share a comedy background and he was so great… or Gerard Depardieu, I know he’s Russian now but he’s got a strident opinion, France is a launching pad for arguing… and he loves food… and he comes from nearby… and I love Cyrano de Bergerac!
If you were to cook for Gerard Depardieu – what would you cook?
Ribs! I’d spread them with spicy plum and rhubarb chutney that I’d make myself. I don’t eat a lot of fruit, too messy for a Mod.
Desert Island book – if you could only take three books to a deserted island what would they be?
Bird Song by Sebastian Faulks, it’s such a gorgeous, beautifully written book, the humanity is exceptional. I read it when I was back in England, I went to meet my wife after work and waited for her in a really rough pub and finished the book there, I just started weeping… reading in a rough pub is bad enough, weeping too – nearly got the crap beaten out of me.
Complete stories of Sherlock Holmes, I love Sherlock Holmes stories!
What a Carve Up, Jonathon Coe. I’m a voracious reader… I read this when I first came out to France, it’s powerful, well written and right on the money, it was depressing when I came to the end of reading it, I didn’t want it to end.
If I listen to music when I write I usually put on…
Everything and anything pretty much. If I’m writing I prefer instrumental music, I love jazz, not trad jazz but mod jazz, Booker T and the MGs, music from the 50’s and 60’s..
When I’m thinking I like to play music REALLY LOUD! Sinatra, Dean Martin, northern soul, nothing is off limits as long as its loud enough, I’m getting really into early Rod Steward at the moment and a new band called First Aid Kit!
My guiltiest pleasure is…
Clothing! (I tell him I don’t think he feels guilty at all so it doesn’t count. He tells me that he would feel guilty if his children went without food for a week so he could buy a coveted suit). Okay, lunchtime rosé… although my mate, comedian Alun Cochrane, says rosé is a breakfast drink really!
If a film director sees this interview and decides to make it into a film who would he get to play you and Natalie?
Morgan Freeman would play me! Or Martin Freeman, I’m always being mistaken for him so if Morgan’s not available, it would have to be Martin!
Natalie… hmmm, early career Demi Moore, Audrey Tatout maybe… petite brunette… or Pauline Scales in ‘wit’s end Sybil Fawlty mode’ or Joy Adamson…
When the film A la Mod hits the silver screen – how do you think your friends and neighbours will react to your fame?
Same as now I think! Utter confusion and misunderstanding about me being a Mod and a stand-up comedian! I think they’d be quite proud though, a few of them, they like the life we are trying to set up here, people are confused about the way I dress but I get more hassle in the UK!
And then off he goes scratching his head in bewilderment at what he can possibly not take to Nice in his suit case…
Review of Ian Moore’s very funny book A la Mod: My so-called tranquil family life in France