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Arts Q&A: Joshua Burnside on Bjork, Stephen King and walking out on Brad Pitt

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Co Down singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside

County Down musician Joshua Burnside was the 2007 winner of the Northern Ireland Music Prize

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

I wanted to be a rock star pretty early on in my childhood, but never took the idea of making a career in the music industry seriously until I left university. I started putting on gigs, booking tours and putting out records. It was all very DIY for a few years.

2. Best gig you’ve been to?

The Books, in Manchester in 2010; The Felice Brothers in Glasgow a few years ago and Bjork at Electric Picnic was a good’un.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

My favourite voice in the world is Andrew Bird, so I would have him on lead vocals, Steve Gadd on drums, Danny Thompson on double bass, the Beirut guys to fill in with brass and extra percussion, Andy Irvine playing all sorts of instruments, Joanna Newsom on harp and vocals, sharing lead vocals with Bird.

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

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, the second album by the American indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel.

5. And the book?

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

6. Top three films?

Miller’s Crossing, Groundhog Day and Calvary.

7. Worst film you’ve seen?

That’s a hard one. I walked out of the cinema once, watching Troy – that one with Brad Pitt as Achilles.

8. Favourite authors?

Cormac McCarthy, Kurt Vonnegut, Oliver Sacks and Stephen King.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

Tennis and my top player is Roger Federer, the king of tennis.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

I would like to go to Japan at some point.

11. Pet hate?

Does not getting free alcohol on a long haul flight count as a pet hate? I’m not a good flyer, so I tend to self-medicate to calm the auld nerves.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Fish and chips, baked beans, mushy peas, some white bread to make chip-butties with and some brown sauce for dippin'.

Dessert? A nice Scotch, like Talisker or Lagavulin

Drink? See above.

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

My oldest pal is called Rory and we’ve known each other since primary school.

14. Is there a God?

Lord only knows.

:: Joshua Burnside is currently the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival artist in residence and is playing a variety of support gigs across the festival, which runs from May 3-13. To view the full line-up and to buy tickets visit Cqaf.com

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