Like I’m In Vanity Fair: Doing the Proust Questionnaire

Doing the Proust Questionnaire, because I can.

Clare, 5th August 2007.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
There is no such thing, and I’m not made for anything approaching it. Great music makes me happy.

What is your greatest fear?
Mediocrity. Always mediocrity.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Alexander The Great, who never let anything trivial like people, nations or boundaries get in the way of a dream.

Which living person do you most admire?
Robert Plant, who sat astride the planet as a young man before being faced with awful tragedies… and came out of it as a real grown up who doesn’t give a shit what any of us thinks, who can see through the bullshit and laugh at it. And who is a stone fox.

Currently see also: Bob Dylan, Peter O’Toole

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Listlessness, the lack of ambition and confidence that keeps me stuck in this room instead of conquering the world – the thing that separates me from Alexander The Great.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Bigotry and dishonesty, which technically is two things, but I find they’re not as separate as you might think. Dislike people by all means, but if you can’t find anything better than skin colour or religion or the ‘what’ of who a person is, you’re not looking hard enough.

What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty and honesty, which is also two things, but I find the two generally come together. I require friends who are honest enough to point out my idiocy and nonsense, but who stick by me just the same.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Gag me with a spoon” used to be one of the big ones, but I find I use “for fuck’s sake” quite a lot along with variations on the word ‘scuff’.

What is your favourite journey?
Wandering through Dublin on foot when the sun is shining, stopping at the Liffey, Trinity College quad, up Grafton Street to O’Neill’s for lunch, then to see Philip and then ending in St Stephen’s Green before going to Gallagher’s Boxty House for dinner. That’s not just my favourite journey, but my idea of a great day.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Modesty, which turned out not to be the same thing as humility. Be yourself, be honest and unapologetic about it.

On what occasion do you lie?
I try not to, which loses me fans, I’m sure. Generally I lie only to preserve a person’s feelings.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My own neglect of myself.

What is your greatest regret?
That I’ve already wasted twenty-five years observing… but more than that, I regret not really talking to my grandmother about herself and her life.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Rock and roll music, almost any old way you choose it. Boys and heroes come and go, crushes die and romance fizzles, but rock and roll is forever and ever.

When and where were you happiest?
In a past that wasn’t mine with people I never met that didn’t really happen.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Whatever it is that sent me to the outskirts of living, observing the rest of you but never quite participating fully. I like my life, but it’s not a way sane people would choose to live.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
So far, not dying.

What is your most treasured possession?
I’m not sure, you know. Photographs of the people I love. Everything else can be replaced, more or less.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Feeling unloved. Been there, done that, got the fatalistic attitude.

Where would you like to live?
A house full of books and movies and photographs on an island in Lake Corrib, County Galway. A garden full of vegetables, chickens and maybe even a goat (called Paddy McGinty, naturally). A place where I can be alone when I need, and yet where people can come. Where I can lose myself in the rain and the dark earth.

Then again, I’d like to live in Florence for awhile.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Sarcasm, probably.

What is your greatest extravagance?
The musical instruments I buy and then don’t learn properly.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
I only require two things: greatness, and the desire to love me entirely as I already am.

Who are your favourite writers?
Harper Lee, who blew the back of my head off with To Kill A Mockingbird, WB Yeats who makes my heart ache and soar at the same time. Also Philip Lynott, who could turn a phrase like no other person alive, whose bardic, romantic nature never got truly crushed by heavy metal.

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Atticus Finch and Robin Hood.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Jim Morrison and Errol Flynn, who lived their lives as they chose and without apology. Philip Lynott, who tried to do the same. Ava Gardner, who made being the most beautiful woman to ever live the least of her great qualities. Robert F Kennedy, who could’ve changed the world. Also John Lennon and George Harrison.

What is your motto?
Honour and Honesty. Everything else comes from these things.

Vanity Fair: The Proust Questionnaire

Clare, 5th August 2007.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
There is no such thing, and I’m not made for anything approaching it. Great music makes me happy.

What is your greatest fear?
Mediocrity. Always mediocrity.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Alexander The Great, who never let anything trivial like people, nations or boundaries get in the way of a dream.

Which living person do you most admire?
Robert Plant, who sat astride the planet as a young man before being faced with awful tragedies… and came out of it as a real grown up who doesn’t give a shit what any of us thinks, who can see through the bullshit and laugh at it. And who is a stone fox.

Currently see also: Bob Dylan, Peter O’Toole

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Listlessness, the lack of ambition and confidence that keeps me stuck in this room instead of conquering the world – the thing that separates me from Alexander The Great.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Bigotry and dishonesty, which technically is two things, but I find they’re not as separate as you might think. Dislike people by all means, but if you can’t find anything better than skin colour or religion or the ‘what’ of who a person is, you’re not looking hard enough.

What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty and honesty, which is also two things, but I find the two generally come together. I require friends who are honest enough to point out my idiocy and nonsense, but who stick by me just the same.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Gag me with a spoon” used to be one of the big ones, but I find I use “for fuck’s sake” quite a lot along with variations on the word ‘scuff’.

What is your favourite journey?
Wandering through Dublin on foot when the sun is shining, stopping at the Liffey, Trinity College quad, up Grafton Street to O’Neill’s for lunch, then to see Philip and then ending in St Stephen’s Green before going to Gallagher’s Boxty House for dinner. That’s not just my favourite journey, but my idea of a great day.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Modesty, which turned out not to be the same thing as humility. Be yourself, be honest and unapologetic about it.

On what occasion do you lie?
I try not to, which loses me fans, I’m sure. Generally I lie only to preserve a person’s feelings.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My own neglect of myself.

What is your greatest regret?
That I’ve already wasted twenty-five years observing… but more than that, I regret not really talking to my grandmother about herself and her life.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Rock and roll music, almost any old way you choose it. Boys and heroes come and go, crushes die and romance fizzles, but rock and roll is forever and ever.

When and where were you happiest?
In a past that wasn’t mine with people I never met that didn’t really happen.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Whatever it is that sent me to the outskirts of living, observing the rest of you but never quite participating fully. I like my life, but it’s not a way sane people would choose to live.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
So far, not dying.

What is your most treasured possession?
I’m not sure, you know. Photographs of the people I love. Everything else can be replaced, more or less.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Feeling unloved. Been there, done that, got the fatalistic attitude.

Where would you like to live?
A house full of books and movies and photographs on an island in Lake Corrib, County Galway. A garden full of vegetables, chickens and maybe even a goat (called Paddy McGinty, naturally). A place where I can be alone when I need, and yet where people can come. Where I can lose myself in the rain and the dark earth.

Then again, I’d like to live in Florence for awhile.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Sarcasm, probably.

What is your greatest extravagance?
The musical instruments I buy and then don’t learn properly.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
I only require two things: greatness, and the desire to love me entirely as I already am.

Who are your favourite writers?
Harper Lee, who blew the back of my head off with To Kill A Mockingbird, WB Yeats who makes my heart ache and soar at the same time. Also Philip Lynott, who could turn a phrase like no other person alive, whose bardic, romantic nature never got truly crushed by heavy metal.

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Atticus Finch and Robin Hood.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Jim Morrison and Errol Flynn, who lived their lives as they chose and without apology. Philip Lynott, who tried to do the same. Ava Gardner, who made being the most beautiful woman to ever live the least of her great qualities. Robert F Kennedy, who could’ve changed the world. Also John Lennon and George Harrison.

What is your motto?
Honour and Honesty. Everything else comes from these things.

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