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Arts Q&A: DJ Rick O'Shea on Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and becoming a writer

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, RTÉ broadcaster Rick O'Shea

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

As a broadcaster I entered a competition when I was 15, I lost. Then when I went to college I did some student radio. I've been doing it as a job since I was 19 years old. I've written since I was a teenager too but it's only in the last year or two that I've been asked for pieces to include in anthologies. The one in The 32 is the first of those I'm genuinely proud of.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

Any of the outdoor Springsteen's in Dublin in the last 10 years. He never disappoints. The Planxty reunion in Vicar Street in, I think, 2005. And New Year's Eve 2019 at the Village Vanguard jazz club in New York was magical.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

I've been married twice and never had a band. Actually I don't do big birthday parties either. I mean if you want to know who I'd like to play in a room just for me, Sinatra in around 1965-66 would be great.

4. The record you would take to a desert island?

Probably Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks, released the year I was born. But my thoughts immediately turn to how I'd get electricity to play it on that island.

5. And the book you would take to a desert island?

This is always the worst question. I read and read for a living (somewhere between 65 to 85 books a year) so if I only had one, a giant collection of short stories would be nice.

6. Top three films?

I could watch Groundhog Day, When Harry Met Sally and Brief Encounter on a loop.

7. Worst film you've seen?

Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice was skull-crushingly dull. The only film I ever paid for and willingly left because I was bored was Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream.

8. Favourite authors?

Well now this is a minefield, given my job. I can't, because I'll leave so many people I love out... sorry.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top teams?

I pretty much only watch football when Liverpool or Ireland are involved. I have a vague sense of stuff going on in other sport, but I never watch really. I know almost nothing about baseball but I've been to stadia twice in the US and had a ball both times.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

I've been to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan since 2015 and loved them all in a way I wouldn't have thought possible.

11. Pet hates?

Hate's a really strong word; I try not to. I get bugged from time to time by people with a lack of empathy for others, rich people who have no sense of the world works for everyone else, anyone who tries to make the world a worse place generally, and men who drive aggressively.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Anything made in a nice restaurant on a Saturday night.

Dessert? A 99 ice cream on Dún Laoghaire pier.

Drink? I've been known to have the odd craft IPA...

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

I know it sounds like a cliché, but there's always truth in them. There's only one person I would willingly see seven days a week and who knows everything about me and I'm married to her.

14. Is there a God?

No. I'm an atheist, so until someone has some cold hard proof of any kind that there is a magic man in the sky.

:: Rick O'Shea presents weekdays at 10am on RTÉ Gold and hosts The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1. His short story Two-Word Terms is contained within The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working-Class Voices. It is published by Unbound and available now.

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