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Arts Q&A: Robin Ince on Nick Cave, Rik Mayall, Eddie Izzard and 80s snooker

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, English comedian, actor and writer Robin Ince

Stand-up comedian and Infinite Monkey Cage podcaster Robin Ince brings his new show to Belfast this month

1. When did you think about a career in comedy and what were your first steps into it?It would have been when I first saw Rik Mayall, though The Goodies were a love of mine too. I always wanted to perform but never thought I would. My first step was writing a revue for the last day of school.

2. Best gigs you've been to? Hannah Gadsby's Nanette was not the funniest show I've ever seen, but few stay with you for so long. Rarely has something considered to be stand-up been so powerful. I left not knowing if I wanted to burst into tears, vomit or just slump on a chair. Another favourite is Eddie Izzard at the Greyfriars Kirkhouse in Edinburgh in 1990, talking about the Muhjaddin eating treacle pudding under their beards and why God made it so hard for salmon to have sex.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, of course.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island? Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's White Lunar.

5. And the book you'd take to a desert island? If I am ever going to read James Joyce's Ulysses, surely it will be then.

6. Top three films? End of the Affair, Odd Man Out and Magnolia.

7. Worst film you've seen? None.

8. Favourite authors? Kurt Vonnegut, Emile Zola and Janna Levin.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? I like watching darts and snooker. I got into snooker watching Jimmy White in the late 80s. There is an existential anxiety mixed with a fragrance of whisky that I find alluring.

10. Ideal holiday destination? Deal in Kent. I am a lover of the English seaside town with just the right amount of good ice cream and faded glamour

11. Pet hate? Dogmatism as well as my addiction to social media

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Lentil soup and an extensive cheeseboard.

Dessert? Some sort of pear covered in caramel, that you can crack with a spoon.

Drink? Pale ale.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? When it comes to building dens in the wood, I am hard pressed to think of anyone better than my son to accompany me.

14. Is there a God? Not for me, but maybe for other people, as Alan Moore writes in From Hell: “The one place gods inarguably exist is in our minds where they are real beyond refute, in all their grandeur and monstrosity."

:: Robin Ince performs his new stand-up show, Pragmatic Insanity, in Belfast's Black Box on Tuesday January 16 at 1pm and 8pm as part of the Out to Lunch Festival. For full programme and tickets visit Cqaf.com

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