Arts Q&A: Mick Flannery on Bob Dylan, Cormac McCarthy and Anais Mitchell

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, singer-songwriter Mick Flannery

Cork singer-songwriter Mick Flannery performs at Belfast's CQAF next month

1. When did you think about a career in music and what were your first steps into it?
I thought about a possible music career ever since my aunt Yvonne game me a compliment about my singing and guitar playing. I think I might have been 12 or 13 and in secondary school, where there is already a lot of talk about "the rest of your life". I started to mess around with writing songs and by the end of school I decided I wanted to do a Music, Management and Sound course in Cork. There I got more good feedback and learned a lot, so I kept going.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?
Anais Mitchell in Coughlan’s Bar in Cork. The crowd was nearly exclusively musicians and singers and by the end they were all accompanying what was already a great gig. Another stand-out gig was Bob Dylan at The Point, Dublin about 20 years ago. Bob was on form, all his improvisations really worked and the versions of songs were sometimes better than original recordings. I remember not believing how good it all was.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?
Janis Joplin.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?
Bob Dylan, Bringing it All Back Home. It’s Alright Ma is one of my favourite songs lyrically. I’d have plenty time to learn it all off.

5. And the book?
Maybe a good boat-building book. I like Annie Proulx’s Close Range. Or else Cormac McCarthy’s The Border Trilogy.

6. Top three films?
The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men for endless quote farm, and True Romance.

7. Worst film you’ve seen?
Any one where they kill the dog. Which ironically includes No Country For Old Men.

8. Favourite authors?
Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy and John Steinbeck.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?
I used to keep up, but don’t any more. If Messi is playing soccer I’ll watch it.

10. Ideal holiday destination?
Anywhere family and friends are is good with me. Maybe some booze also.

11. Pet hate?
Power-trip bouncer/security guards.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Some kinds of curry, not the one I make myself.

Dessert? Cheesecake.

Drink? Whiskey sour.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?
Bob Dylan is my best friend, he just doesn’t know it yet.

14. Is there a God?
I’ve heard there’s a few, but I’ve never met one.

:: Mick Flannery will perform at the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast, on Wednesday May 8 as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. Also performing is special guest, Mo Kenney. For tickets and full programme visit

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