Arts Q&A: Joe Lindsay on The Smiths, Beastie Boys and his ideal holiday destination

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, broadcaster Joe Lindsay

Radio and television presenter Joe Lindsay

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

I did a great media course in BBC Northern Ireland called CSV. I just wanted to be an editor, but the great Mike Edgar (former music presenter and BBC executive) had seen something in me and gave me an opportunity to be the film correspondent for the Across The Line show in the 1990s. The rest just followed on from there and I love my jobs, be it television, radio or DJing.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

My first gig was The Smiths in the Ulster Hall in 1984 and it absolutely changed my life. I always loved music but after that, it was an obsession. And every time I've seen Bowie (three times), Prince (nine times) or Nick Cave (eight times), they've been transcendental.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

A band I love at the minute called L'Epee. They are an amalgamation in a way of two of my favourite bands, The Limiñanas and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, also featuring actor Emmanuelle Seigner. It's very groovy, psyche French stuff.

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

The album that still intrigues me, delights me and is so varied and layered and would keep my spirits up on a desert island would be the Beastie Boys masterpiece from 1989, Paul's Boutique.

5. And the book?

The complete works of PG Wodehouse. The feckless, gormless and privileged Bertie Wooster always saved from his own mistakes by the loyal, resourceful, highly intelligent gentleman's gentleman Jeeves, who gracefully manipulated every situation for Bertie's, and indeed his own, advantage. Beautiful writing and surprisingly doesn't age at all.

6. Top three films?

The Odd Couple, directed by Gene Saks, Wild At Heart by David Lynch and my all time favourite film, Night Of The Hunter, starring Robert Mitchum. A critical and commercial failure at the time, it has been rightly re-evaluated as one of the greatest American films in the history of cinema. I's a dark tale of peril and murder and faith. Every single frame is exquisite.

7. Worst film you've seen?

I was a full-time film correspondent for BBC for over a decade so I've seen some awful garbage in my time. Showgirls, Timecop and Battlefield Earth to name just three. But you need to experience the bad to appreciate the good. A film that I'm very much in a minority in my loathing is True Romance, starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. It is the most obvious example of Quentin Tarantino's homage/theft of greater films for an audience with no frame of reference.

8. Favourite authors?

Hunter S Thompson and William S Burroughs, two writers who reshaped the landscape of literature in their own fields and whose works still blow my mind. A recent favourite is Max Porter. His debut novel Grief Is A Thing With Feathers is a wonderful, sad and strange exploration of grief and how it affects those left behind.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I'm a big fan of kick-boxing and have been fortunate enough over the years to train with the amazing legend that is four-time world champion, Billy Murray. My local team is Cliftonville. I worked at Solitude as a kid and it's been a presence in my life to this day.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Rhodes and it's neighbouring island of Symi. It's an incredibly quaint island – sort of place to retire and eat shrimp all day.

11. Pet hate?

Entitlement, ignorance and intolerance.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? I love seafood big time, especially squid/octopus, fish like red snapper, pollock and I'd highly recommend eel.

Dessert? Ice cream or gelato.

Drink? Red wine.

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

My eight-year-old dog Lola. Most adorable dog you'd ever meet.

14. Is there a God?

If there is, I'd like a word with him/her about the point of ear/nose hair.


Joe Lindsay is one of the hosts of travel review show Getaways, which continues on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday at 7.30pm, and also available on BBC iPlayer

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