Marc helms Certificate X every Sunday from 1pm to 3pm. Want to know what's going on in the film world? This is the show for you.
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Questions, Questions, Questions....
Your chief characteristic?
I’m quite round, and I shout a lot. Imagine a Mr Man with a beard. Bingo.
Your idea of happiness?
Going through a second-hand bookshop, next door to an old second-hand record shop and an old man’s pub, all of which are run by Keeley the glamour model.
Your idea of misery?
Spending time in any of those “not-quite-a-nightclub” bars around
Your favourite virtue?
Politeness. In all it’s many wonderful forms.
Your biggest flaw?
My clothes. I hate clothes. I have photographs of me at school in 1993 wearing items of clothing that I still wear today. I wish we all had to wear uniform boiler suits, like in Mao’s
For what fault have you most toleration?
Failure. Samuel Beckett once said “Try. Fail. Try again. Fail better.” Magic.
What was your worst ever job?
Back in 2003, I directed a music video for a single called Minted by the snooker player Jimmy White, who was a genuinely lovely guy. It was part-financed by a terrifying South London family who had fingers in a lot of “pies”, and I spent every day going to the car-wrecking yard they owned, sitting on a sofa in a Portacabin, being told I was getting to direct a song that would go straight to Number One, so I’d better get the video right. The only one of them I wasn’t scared of was arrested for importing heroin two weeks in. In July, the single went into the charts at 137, making just £16.50. I was never paid, never called back, and had to change my phone number.
What would your favorite occupation be?
Writing long, comprehensive books about obscure music acts that faded away and no one got round to rediscovering yet.
Where would you most like to live?
Primrose Hill or
Where do you live now?
Finchley Central, on the seventh floor of a block of ex-local authority flats. If anyone from Primrose Hill or
Which characters in musical history do you most dislike?
The ones who resent their back catalogue, and disparage the people they worked with to create that great music. Paul Weller, most of the non-Brian-Wilson Beach Boys and Roger Walters all fit that bill. So does Morrissey, but I don’t include him as I think he’s great.
Which characters in musical history would you like to be?
Serge Gainsbourg. Cigarettes, booze, chicks, effortless cool, and a long, varied career. Plus, he spoke French fluently. That’d be useful to have.
Your favourite album ever? (yes, I know it’s impossible, but try dammit)
Argh. Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left,
Who’s your favourite DJ?
Out of the ones I’ve never worked with, Danny Baker when he was on GLR and Radio 5.
What was the first single you bought? (and be honest about it)
Hey Mickey by Toni Basil, from an electronics shop on the Tottenham Court Road. I didn’t know what the song was, but I liked the look of the lady on the cover.
…and you first gig? (ditto)
Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium. I was 13, and my dad bought two tickets off a man in an off-licence. Kim Wilde supported, so she’s technically the first.
Your favourite qualities in a band/musician?
Humour and, failing that, experimentation. It’s known as the Mark E. Smith Principle.
Your favourite author?
Arthur Bradford. Since 2002, I’ve read his book, Dogwalker, every other month, and it just never stops being jaw-droppingly amazing. There’s a story about a slug the size of a loaf of bread in a car glovebox, and every single time I pick up a loaf of bread, I think of that slug.
Your favourite film director?
Guillermo Del Toro. Imagine he was your dad, telling you bedtime stories. They’d be phenomenal.
Your favourite hero or heroine in real life?
Sir Nicholas Winton – the British Schindler. A man who, with no benefit to himself, took matters into his own hands during WW2, and personally saved the lives of hundreds of children – and didn’t even mention what he’d done (even to his own wife) for fifty years, thinking that he only did what any one else would have. She found a load of paperwork about it in the attic when they were both in their late seventies.
What three songs would you have played at your funeral?
Nick Drake, Way To Blue. Neil Young, Only Love Can Break Your Heart. Gonzo in The Muppet Movie, I’m Going To Go Back There Someday. Genuinely, irony-free, that’s one of the most beautiful, moving songs you’ll ever hear. They’re going to cry at my funeral, the bastards.
What is your present state of mind?
Just been thinking about my funeral. Thanks for that.
….and your motto is?
Nobody died. It’s fine.