Weekend Q&A: Simon Goldrick - Everything interesting in life is theatre

Jane Hardy

Simon Goldrick (49) is the new head of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Events at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

How do you unwind at the weekend?

I've always tried to work as hard as I can during the working week, relax when not at work. We are lucky to have quite a large garden at home in Cushendall. During lockdown, we dug new beds with new planting, a good idea at the time but they now need redoing. I find it relaxing cooking something Italian, maybe a risotto. Or an Indian dish; I subscribe to the Keith Floyd school of cooking, so there's always a glass open. I play opera too.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

I grew up in Southport outside Manchester in the '70s and '80s. The music scene was everyone from Happy Mondays to the Stone Roses. On Saturdays I'd head off on my bike and not reappear until sundown, exploring the Peak District and Manchester nightlife and seeing Man City play. Teenagers then had a freedom my children, James and Lola, don't have. It's important to have a wide definition of culture. Cooking's a theatrical act, especially if I anger my family blaring out Verdi. Everything interesting in life is theatre and in my job one of the key things is to inject as much theatre and passion into the work for residents and visitors at venues like the Theatre at the Mill and Castle Antrim Gardens as you can.

Is there a must-listen weekend radio programme or podcast?

I'm a sucker for Desert Island Discs, and will be tuning in to Bono as I like hearing about anybody who's made a difference.

Have you a must-watch TV programme or Netflix?

My wife Colette and I binge watch box sets, like most people, and were big fans of Succession with Brian Cox - I remember his performance in Richard III with Ian McKellen at the Grand Opera House.

Is Sunday still special?

That's a really interesting question. I did theology at Oxford and grew up in a quite religious Roman Catholic family, if one can say that. Sunday morning was going to church. It is a different day. At Oxford, the beauty of the architecture and ever-present music made me realise the church service was, again, a type of theatre, but maybe pointed you in the right direction.

Have you a favourite eatery or is it a takeaway?

Blank on the Malone Road in Belfast has a set tasting menu, based on locally sourced food, and I can honestly say even though I lived in London for 15 years, I've had the most sublime cooking I have ever experienced here.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

I used to feel apprehensive, check emails etc, but these days I channel my inner Dylan Thomas.

Jane Hardy

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