FirstWord CATHERINE CZERKAWSKA
Playwright and novelist Catherine Czerkawska’s career has gone from strength to strength since she stopped ‘watering her Dylan Thomas adjectives’. Just don’t ask her if she’s ‘still writing’. Here she reveals her love of Lennon, linen and lace
First record you ever bought ‘Twist and Shout’, The Beatles. It was the EP. Couldn’t afford the Please Please Me LP on my pocket money. Last time you cried My son’s graduation. He got an Hons BSc in Maths from Glasgow Uni, and I cried from sheer maternal pride.
First thing you do when you’ve got time off work Spend time with husband and good friends, drink wine, watch movies. In summer, it would be gardening. Or sitting in the garden, drinking wine with friends.
Last great meal you cooked My cooking is erratic. ‘Great’ is perhaps not the word. Probably something Italian.
Last meal on earth – what would it be Gigha scallops, cooked in olive oil, with lemon and black pepper. Huge green salad. Fresh wholemeal bread and butter. Chilled white wine. Panna Cotta with vanilla bits. Lots of coffee,
preferably Java. And a nice Island Malt (probably Laphroaig) to finish. Last extravagant purchase you made A box of antique linen and lace at auction and I know I paid too much, but it’s wonderful.
First crush John Lennon. I’m still in love with John Lennon really. Last book you read Espresso Tales, by Alexander McCall Smith. I find him gentle, funny and thought-provoking. Also, I want to take Bertie home with me and give him a proper childhood.
First great piece of advice you were given It was about writing: ‘Stop watering your Dylan Thomas adjectives and watching them grow.’ I can’t remember who gave it though. Last time you were star struck I don’t meet many real stars. Probably when Michael Gambon was in my dramatisation of Ben Hur. And he was charming. Jamie Glover and Sam West were both in that production too. I was VERY star struck throughout.
First time you realised you were famous I don’t think I am. Writers are slightly famous for a bit, then sink into obscurity again. Unless they are JKR or Ian Rankin. People ask: ‘Are you still writing?’ This is probably the most irritating and insulting question you can ask any writer.
First thing you’d do if you ran the country Forbid the media to print any more overblown scare stories. And stop sanctimonious politicians and other ‘experts’ from preaching at us about how they think we should conduct every area of our lives. First song you’ll sing at karaoke I NEVER sing at Karaoke.
Last time someone criticised your work Really criticised, as opposed to helpful comment, which is always welcome, was a review of my play Burns on the Solway for the Oran Mor. He used the words ‘soap opera’ in no very complementary way, thus insulting most of the fine actors in Scotland as well. But I’ve forgiven him. Honest. Hope he likes this one better.
First concert you ever attended Billy Connolly, when he was one of the Humblebums with Gerry Rafferty. It was at Prestwick Bathing Lake on a freezing cold night. They sang ‘Everyone’s gone to Dunoon’. First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning Work, whatever I’m writing now.
Last thing you think of before you go to sleep Work, whatever I’m going to be writing in the future. ■ Catherine Czerkawska’s play The Secret Commonwealth is part of the new A Play, a Pie and a Pint season at Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Sat 6 Feb. www.playpiepint.com
WeLike The things making our world just that little bit better
■ The hardier/more foolish souls at List Towers are already anticipating Spring: there’s a lot of enthusiastic customised t- shirt action happening round these parts at the moment (underneath our eight jumpers each, of course). Our particular favourites are Edinburgh designers Van Der Sloan (www. vandersloan.com), with their specially-fitting face- 2 THE LIST 4–18 Feb 2010
photo range (pictured), and design-your-own shirt site TeePay (teepay.com). We’re also dead impressed by new site Bandcamp, a David to MySpace’s seriously out- of-touch Goliath, offering bands an easy-use space to promote and sell their music online themselves, without having to tangle with the Murdoch machine. ‘Mon the revolution!
News that Universal Studios is opening up a Harry Potter themepark in Florida is meeting with a bit of a baffled shrug, though. OK, it sounds so stunningly immersive that even the most hardened Hogwarts- hater would be won over, and we hate to come over all Winston Churchill on yo’ bum, JK, but what about good old Blighty, eh?