Arts Q&A: Performer Stephen Beggs on REM, Bob Dylan and Psycho

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Belfast performer Stephen Beggs

Stephen Beggs will be appearing in Pigeon and Plum's Vaudeville Circus from December 2-18 at Belfast's Lyric Theatre

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

I was first in a play when I was 10 years old - a production of Macbeth. It ended up being performed in the Opera House and I was well and truly bitten. Later, I did a theatre studies degree and have been working away ever since.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

Kate Bush in Hammersmith a few years ago, because I never thought I'd ever get to see her live - it was a dream come true.

REM in the Olympia in Dublin in 2007 - a 'live rehearsal' in an intimate venue. Brilliant to see such a big band in an experimental setting.

The Cure in Hyde Park in 2018. Celebrating 40 years of wonderful music. Every song a fan could wish for and an amazing setting.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

The Velvet Underground - the original line-up.

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

Bob Dylan's Love and Theft. A near-perfect album by the great man, including one of my all-time favourite Dylan songs Mississippi. I never get tired listening to it.

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

Just Kids by Patti Smith. I first encountered it whilst on tour with a show in Canada. It's one of the most moving things I've ever read. Perfectly captures a time and place and the unique relation between Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe.

6. Top three films?

Psycho - perfect Hitchcock. You notice new things about it every time.

Wild At Heart - David Lynch. Reminds me of turning 16. I was a bit obsessed with this film at the time and it's still a cracking watch.

Paris, Texas - Wim Wenders. It looks amazing and the two central performances from Nastassja Kinski and Harry Dean Stanton are fantastic.

7. Worst film you've seen?

The movie version of The Avengers (not the Marvel one) – because it was pointless trying to recreate the perfection of the original Steed and Mrs Peel.

8. Favourite authors?

David Sedaris, John le Carré and Clive James.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I'm not really into sport, although I do like watching cricket.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

I have a hankering to go to Universal Studios in America to see the house from Psycho, but as I don't fly any more this may remain a dream.

11. Pet hates?

Rude people.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Curry - preferably a saag paneer.

Dessert? Not a big fan of dessert - rather have the cheese.

Drink? Nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc - or a pint of Guinness.

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

My wife Jenny - we met at university and she's still putting up with me.

14. Is there a God?


:: Stephen Beggs will be appearing in Pigeon and Plum's Vaudeville Circus from December 2-18 at Belfast's Lyric Theatre. The Lyric's Naughton studio will be transformed into an opulent Victorian music hall with a contemporary punk rock twist as 12 acts take to the stage in an evening of circus cabaret.

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