Arts Q&A: Colin Bateman on Robert Harris, Bruce Springsteen, D-Day and Derry's Ports

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, writer Colin Bateman

Best-selling Bangor crime novelist, playwright and screenwriter Colin Bateman

1. When did you think about writing as a career and what were your first steps into it?

From a very early age – but never imagined it would happen. My route in was via my local newspaper in Bangor – they gave me huge licence to write what I wanted and cause some local mayhem.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

The Clash at the Ulster Hall. I have a soft spot for Bruce Springsteen, and I really enjoyed Derry band Ports when they played in Bangor last summer.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

The Rezillos.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

Badlands by Bruce Springsteen.

5. And the book?

It would be bits of loads of books. The first chapter of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller was the first piece of writing that really made me laugh.

6. Top three films?

It's easy to get tired of films through watching them too much. Didn’t think I ever needed to see The Godfather again because I knew it so well, but I got completely sucked in again recently. I've also a soft spot for When Harry Met Sally. And also The Longest Day – my dad was in the second wave to hit the beaches on D-Day, so it’s kind of personal.

7. Worst film you’ve seen?

Can't say – I may have to work with some of these people.

8. Favourite authors?

Present company excluded? I like the Robert Harris thrillers, and was heavily influenced by Robert B Parker's private eye novels.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

Football, and Liverpool FC, obviously.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Haven't been on one for about five years – but do enjoy Florida.

11. Pet hate?

People who use poo bags for their dogs, and then leave the bag lying in the middle of the footpath. I mean, what is the point?

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Hard to beat a nice steak.

Dessert? Banoffee – for years I thought it was an old Irish word, until someone pointed out if was a form of banana and toffee.

Drink? I am addicted to a health drink called Pepsi Max.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

You’re implying I have friends? I just have rivals.

14. Is there a God?

There must be – Champions League Final, 2005.

:: Colin Bateman's drama Bag for Life is back on the road this spring; it will be performed at Bangor's Space Theatre on April 22 and Letterkenny's An Grianán on May 10. The Bateman-scripted film The Journey, about the political relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, is on general release on May 5.

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