Great conversation with the author of ‘Conversations With Friends’ and ‘Normal People’ full of energy, insight and revolutionary socialist verve.
[00:00:00.27] You haven't heard of the show, I can tell you about it.
No, I haven't.
[00:00:04.01] So the show is called "Born Optimistic".
I have read about it.
[00:00:07.05] You've read about it?
[00:00:08.07] And the first question I ask people most of the times, sometimes I don't ask it first, but is where do you sit on the optimism spectrum? Are you an optimist?
Oh, I'm going to answer this now?
[00:00:20.19] Yeah, we're live, well I - Because I'll put in the intro and the outro, I'll _ (that).
Okay, okay, okay, great, okay, sorry.
[00:00:25.19] No, no.
Yeah, that's a good question, for myself, I think I have an almost, like, recklessly naive optimism about my life, like, I always think that everything will turn out well for me personally which is, like, (great) because I think it gives the ability to embark on projects and stuff that I might not be able to do if I was convinced they would never work or if I felt, sort of, pessimistic from the outset, but then also obviously can be difficult because when things don't go well it's, like, a complete shock to the system, like, What, to me!? Didn't work out for me!?" so no, I think I'm very optimistic about - Yeah, and, I mean, I enjoy optimism, I enjoy believing that good things are going to happen even when it's, sort of, clear that they - I want to believe the Tories aren't going to win a huge majority in the UK election and I know they will, but I still enjoy believing that they won't so I get a lot out of optimism, yeah.
[00:01:25.07] How do you think the world views optimists?
I think people are encouraged to be optimistic, yeah, and I think, like, every so often you get articles in the Guardian saying 'Optimists live longer.' or whatever, I think there is a general, sort of, acceptance that it's better to be optimistic, better for oneself, not, you know, not philosophically better.
[00:01:45.19] Because it's funny you use the words 'naive' and 'optimism' together because, for me, optimism and even adulthood is all about is all about trying to preserve naivety for as long as possible and sometimes, when people talk about naivety and optimism, it's almost like a stick to beat optimists with as well.
Yeah, well, that's true, yeah, oh, and definitely, in a political sense, any time you suggest that it might be possible to do better than the current system or that there are possible better alternatives to the status quo definitely you're accused of being naive, (I did a stick), in a sense that I think it's related to optimism, any optimism about human nature or the possibilities for civilisation is very much not rewarded and it's seen as not, like, (quote*) 'common sense', you know, that kind of - and I think there's a stranglehold of what's considered common sense which is actually a deeply pessimistic, sort of, and in itself is a form of ideology, you know, it's, like, _, those ideas appeal for a reason.
[00:02:50.10] But common sense, in a way, is kind of shared wisdom? Like, lessons learnt the hard way through time?
Yeah, but then who decides what lessons we've learnt, you know, I mean, we all look at the same history, but who decides what we take from it? I mean, you can conclude that things have happened because of some, sort of, timeless, universal human nature that abides in all of us, that means we're always going to have, you know, war or famine or starvation or whatever or you can say 'Well, history created these circumstances and therefore we have agency to try and, you know, to try and build better alternatives.' and I think the idea of a timeless, universal human nature that creates these problems is ultimately a very pessimistic belief.
[00:03:36.15] Yeah, and, I mean, I'm an optimist, but I believe that most badness in the world can be traced back to fear within people and I think that's a pretty basic _.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but the question on the social level is where is that fear coming from, how is that fear engineered and who benefits from that fear, you know? And so, those are - Yeah, and I think it's perfectly, you know, consistent with an optimistic worldview to probe questions like that because you're doing it from the perspective that other things are possible, you know, you haven't already closed off the possibility that we can do better.
[00:04:18.09] How do you process (through _), how do you know yourself what to be afraid of, what not to be afraid of, what to fear and what not to fear?
I don't have a very fearful life, I don't really think about fear very much and then when I'm afraid of things I just tend not to think about them very much.
[00:04:41.11] Were you always an optimist? Do you ever remember, kind of, going 'This is what I am.' or 'If I'm this way life will be better or different.' or is it how you've always been do you think?
Yeah, that's interesting and I definitely think (like people's) - It's so tough to know what goes into the formation of a, like, a personality or a collection of tendencies in a person. I don't know that I could say that I was born with any particular tendency so how is it formed I don't know, I mean, probably that - Probably something to do with my education and feeling like things are quite easy for me and then when you have that from _ (age) you start expecting like 'Everything is going to be easy, I can do anything!' and, obviously - But, I mean, and that's fine up until the point where you start getting knocked back and then the question is can you (weather) that and still bring the same sort of optimism to new situations and, I mean, and that's the real test so - But I think probably had something to do with, yeah, I mean, being - Feeling like the - Because obviously (in) your childhood, you spend most of your time in school which is kind of bizarre and so however you perform in school or (how are) your experience in school is that's going to be very formative for you as a person in how you interact with the world and public institutions so yeah, probably having a fairly easy time of it educationally meant that I was set up for quite an optimistic existence, but that just drawing _, I mean, I have no idea if that was actually what it was, you know?
[00:06:05.01] Well, it's interesting that it's the first thing that you mentioned so, obviously, you feel it is so what was it about your education that you feel instilled this can-do attitude within you?
I don't know, just, I suppose, I find everything easy so then when things are easy you have a sense of mastery, you know what I mean? Like, obviously that _ quite quickly because the stuff you're doing in (junior infancy) literally is very easy so when you start doing stuff that's a bit more intellectually challenging, you have to, you know, acquire a different skill set to deal with it, but yeah, I don't know, just the sense that it was possible to learn huge amounts of new information to assimilate them and to feel like I had control over them. I think just if you're someone who is interested in, like, you know, reading and ideas and stuff, the fact that childhood is so focalised around the experience of education, particularly like this fairly narrow form of academic education, probably rewards you hugely as person, maybe not so much if you're not that way inclined which I think is probably quite cruel then, that we force people into such a narrow system, but I think, for me, it was just, yeah, it was rewarding in certain senses.
[00:07:20.01] It is pretty cruel, but it's the kind of system we're stuck with for now. So you worked it, you thrived within it.
Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't even say I thrived, it gave me a certain impression of myself which is probably still in there, like, I probably still have a vision of myself that was in part formed by that early experience, but not necessarily that I've thrived, I found _ school very, very boring, like, mind numbingly boring, but it was the fact that it was boring to me made me feel like 'Oh, this is easy.'
[00:07:57.27] Yeah, 'I've got better things to do with my mind, I've got all these books to read, I've got a high stack of books so the quicker I get this homework out of the way the quicker I'll get on to that.'.
Yeah, yeah, but then very quickly 'I'm actually not going to do the homework because I don't need to do it, I'm just going to read my books instead!' so then I was never like - It was not like, you know, getting (six hundred) and leaving or anything (I wen) - Not that I wouldn't been capable of doing that necessarily, but I definitely wasn't trying because I didn't care.
[00:08:23.15] And you were cool with that?
Yeah, I didn't care. At that point I was very just exhausted by the whole concept and I felt like I had really - I had really rationalised it to myself, like, I really did not believe in anything _ system and then once you've (discovered that that) then you're good to go.
[00:08:38.22] That's brilliant, that's pretty rebellious though.
No, I mean, I still (sat) my exams, yeah, I mean, I wasn't that rebellious, I wasn't that cool.
[00:08:45.25] At what age did you realise that you wanted to be a writer?
I was always writing, I was always writing, I think before I could even physically write on paper I used to, like, compose poems that I would recite to my family, I mean, again, (they're very bad, like, dogeral) but. It was always part of my life and I had always written fiction and I had always written poetry so there was never, like, time when I thought this wouldn't be the, you know, part of my life. There also wasn't a time when I thought 'This is going to be my career, I have to do this professionally.', that never entered my head, really, and I just always knew that I would be writing no matter what _ and then if I could just write and not do anything else that would be preferable.
[00:09:31.10] So what kind of age are we talking about, like literally there was never dreams of anything else?
Oh, there is loads of dreams of other stuff, it's just that I never thought that I wouldn't be writing, I always thought that no matter what I did I would always have that, you know, in the background if necessary, but I couldn't imagine sort of navigating the world without having recourse to writing stories about it so yeah, it was always there, I mean, like, I was interested in other things, but never as much as I was interested (in art), yeah.
[00:10:03.23] And when did you write your first - I'm assuming this novel that's about to be published or it's probably actually out now by the time this show goes out, I'm assuming it's not the first novel you wrote. I don't know why I'm assuming that.
Yeah, I wrote one when I was fifteen, but it was, like, it was - It wouldn't really count, like, it wouldn't, you know, it wasn't really a novel, like, it was a collection of _ that added up to the size of a novel, but, you know, didn't really engage with the form as such.
[00:10:35.28] But at the time you felt like you've written a novel?
Yeah, I felt like _ finish my novel and I don't think like I edited it or anything, I think I just like finished it and then never looked at it again so I obviously wasn't that deeply attached to it, but you know, and then there was a long intern period of about, yeah, obviously about 10 years where I would write sort of - I wasn't writing short stories, I was writing long beginnings of novels and then abandoning them and then they'd be in my documents folder and I take them out and look at them again, but they never get finished and then finally I started writing this book when I was twenty three and finished the first draft in a couple of months and that was, yeah -
[00:11:11.09] Wow, so it's the first novel you've considered a novel from start to finish that you haven't - That you've gone back to.
Yeah, yeah, that I've actually worked on and tried to put some form into, yeah.
[00:11:22.23] So, I assume, you know, all this time when you were growing up and you were into writing and it's how you expressed yourself and processed the world that everyone around was supportive of that as a concept.
[00:11:34.06] Like it wasn't -
No, yeah, my parents _ be really big readers and would have had a home full of books and very encouraging of me reading and, like, I mean, I'm sure they probably find it quite curious _ such a weirdo, but no, they were very, very supportive, my family very supportive and, like, you know, the teachers and stuff, I mean, I wasn't, like, the easiest student to deal with because I never did any work at all so I certainly got a little bit of pushback from the school as you would expect because I didn't, like, literally refused to do anything, but mostly I think there was like even in that circumstance people were very - They recognised that there was a reason I wanted to do my own thing, you know, so I think that people were, even at that level, supportive even though I was also getting obviously a bit of disciplinary action.
[00:12:23.02] So what kind of year in secondary school did you down tools and go 'I'm doing my own thing.'?
From the age of about - In primary school, (at the) age about nine I would anything to avoid homework.
[00:12:33.03] From that young, wow.
I was not doing it and then secondary school was complete joke, like, I wouldn't bring books on with me at all, like, I refused to so at one point _ principal I'm not, not, not doing it. I would do my homework for English, but for the other subjects not, yeah, yeah. I know, I sound like I'm bragging now about what a cool kid I was in school, I'm not at all, I'm just being honest.
[00:12:52.03] It shows great force of will.
Well, I was an extremely willful person, yeah.
[00:12:58.02] Wow, that's amazing, I can just imagine how (flunked) your teachers must have been, you know, 'This is girl is obviously bright, what's wrong with her?'.
Yeah, I guess it was kind of unusual because I think the way the system is designed, obviously, it's kind of like if you're, you know, bright and academically inclined you kind of - It's just assumed you will want to, like, push yourself to get into medicine or whatever and that never had the slightest appeal for me. That is kind of, like, 'I don't actually need to do any of this, there is no point in me trying to get loads and loads of points _ I don't want to, like, I don't care.' _ I haven't said that _ I didn't get a terrible _ but I didn't do any work.
[00:13:38.22] But you, basically, got enough points to do arts in Trinity and that's all you wanted?
Yeah, English - Well, I actually didn't get my first choice, I applied to do English and sociology in Trinity which I didn't get and then ended up getting my secondary choice which was just pure English and I was pleased with that, you know, that was fine.
[00:13:55.18] But was that - Like, going to college was - The English bit was what attracted you to it?
Yeah, and I still am really interested in sociology, I wonder how my life might have turned out even slightly differently had I studied that, but I was very - I mean, I loved studying English, I loved studying English in Trinity, yeah, and it was such a privilege to be there and it's a very weird environment, Trinity, and I have mixed feelings about the social aspect of Trinity College and also its presence as an institution in Ireland, but -
[00:14:31.19] Well please explain because this is second nature to you, but not -
Yeah, I think, like, coming from Castlebar and having led, like, just a normal life you go to Trinity and you encounter, like, well, I encountered a class that I had not realised actually existed in Irish society, like, this sort of upper crust, sort of Ireland's version of an aristocracy, kind of, and I was, like, not really prepared to - I didn't really understand that that was a thing and I found it a little bit (oppressive), like, it was very difficult to break in to that sort of social clique and in retrospective I'm not sure why I wanted to, I felt really convinced that I had to make, sort of, some impression, like I have to achieve something or accomplish something while I was in college and I was really involved in university debating.
[00:15:27.14] Which society?
Oh, the hist. Just to give you some background, I was the number debater in Europe back in 2013.
[00:15:37.22] Oh, my God, wow.
So I was very dedicated to debating as a pursuit for a while and, obviously, debating attracts a very diverse range of people, but among them certainly a privileged class of people who went to private school in Dublin and did debating in their private schools and come from very wealthy backgrounds and so that sort of social milieu was quite alien to me and I found it difficult to engage with.
[00:16:06.28] Probably added to your drive though.
Yeah, I mean, obviously, I'm a very competitive person.
[00:16:13.08] But even as a culchie coming to Dublin you're an outsider to begin with, you have no network, you have no friends, you're literally, literally a complete outsider, you know, you come to Trinity and you're confronted with these people, you're an outsider - I went to DCU and I was an outsider, but you're an outsider regardless so you're going to have that extra fight in you.
Yeah, and I think it's - I was the only girl from my school that year who came to Trinity so there was literally no one, no girls, that I knew so I was - Yeah, I was _ and obviously, like, there's loads of people in Trinity, loads and loads of culchies as well as me, it wasn't like I was the only one, but I was the only person I knew so it was difficult and yeah, I guess I felt like a, I don't know, like a chip on my shoulder is probably too strong (in term), but I felt, like, a sense that - I desired to prove myself in some way which, looking back, I really don't know why.
[00:17:02.29] But, you know, to reach - You became the queen of the castle, top debater in Europe, if there was a montage in a movie of your life about your rise to the top of the debating pile what would be in that montage?
That's definitely way, way, way overstaying it, you're making it sound like it was kind of glamourous, it was super not glamourous, it was - I mean, like, university debating is like what very competitive people do who can't play sports, you know, because they're too physically inactive or whatever.
[00:17:35.06] I debated.
Oh, did you? Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to change my -
[00:17:42.21] But I peaked in, like, fifth year in the secondary school.
Okay, okay, yeah, I know, we never did school's debating so it was a whole new world for me when I came to college. It was really not glam and it was just like very, sort of, going, spending weekends away and like, you know, Limerick or DCU or we're going to a university in England to do weekend competition and just, like, just _ like you're always tired and you're always complaining about how hungry you are and then you're doing these debates that you really don't care about or know very much about and then, you know, you gradually do that for a couple of years and then you get very good at it and then, yeah, and then there was the European Championships which were in Manchester that year, but sometimes are in relatively _ but not that year, that was in Manchester.
[00:18:27.06] What was the topic that you won on, can you remember?
Oh, I didn't actually win, I should emphasize, so there is a ranking which is separate from the who wins the final so overall ranking, I was ranked the number one, but I did not win the final debate.
[00:18:42.03] Did you come second?
There is no second, you either win or you don't.
[00:18:46.12] Was that harsh?
Oh, I mean, it's okay.
[00:18:48.26] But you bowed your head and you've said that, it's like you're feeling the pain again.
I mean, once we got to the final and everything it was kind of - You felt like you basically done all you could do so not winning was a bit _ it's like 'That's a shame.', but, you know, having been knocked out in a quarter or a semifinal would've been more difficult because you would've felt you didn't get that, you didn't even get a shot to try and win, but anyway, yeah -
[00:19:15.07] And were you the toast of the hist, did you show those aristos what you were capable of?
Absolutely not, no, I ran for auditor twice and lost both times. No, I was not particularly well (awed).
[00:19:30.08] Running for auditor must have been an eye-opening experience.
Yeah, it was truly horrible, one of the worst decisions I've ever made. It was just silly and it was my own hubris and I wouldn't have been very good at it, I'm not a natural leader of people at all, I just wanted to be sitting in the corner reading or - But yeah, and it was and that's one of the times that my natural optimism led me astray like, you know, my inborn conviction that everything was going to be fine for me was, obviously, proven incorrect.
[00:20:04.01] But you ran a second time.
Yeah, I know, yeah, I know, glutton for punishment.
[00:20:08.20] No, but, obviously, you know, again, drive, I mean, I'm, kind of, thinking 'Here's two people talking about the hist in Trinity.', we know what we're talking about, for people who have no idea what we're talking about, can you - How do you explain the hist in Trinity?
Oh, I'd rather not, but -
[00:20:27.15] Don't give them any more _
Yeah, exactly, then never _ enter your head.
[00:20:31.26] Okay, well, if we could just say this much that for debates the men wear formal attire (it's really) _
No, no, they don't _ black tie, no, they wear full suits.
[00:20:40.28] They used to. Is that _
That's the _, yeah, and now they wear full suits and women have to wear dresses and it's all extremely formal and, I mean, it's always - It's one of these student societies that's always sort of bragging about how old it is and how far it goes back and they have all these celebrity guests and so it's, kind of, I mean, for people who are involved in it it's a huge deal and it's very prestigious and for people who aren't involved in it it's just another student society (like this).
[00:21:06.06] Pretty pompeus.
Very pompeus, yeah, and again, that's another - I mean, that's Trinity, you know, that's a very much a defining feature of student life in Trinity, you're going to encounter a lot of pompeus people and pompeus institutions.
[00:21:20.28] But this whole thing of 'Trinners for Winners!' and the pompeus seem to thrive beyond Trinity though, like, so Paddy Cosgrave who set up the Web Summit, who was involved in one of those societies, he was _ Phil -
I think he might have been Phil, I honestly don't know.
[00:21:35.18] He was the head of one of those, but whenever he set up the Web Summit for the first few years he only employed people who had headed societies in Trinity, that was his filter, you know, so if you rise to the top of Trinity you can work for me.
I find that, sort of, problematic on a number of levels, obviously.
[00:22:00.22] Please explain.
No, I mean, I think there is real - And it's something that I wasn't conscious of growing up in Castlebar, like, how dominant privately educated Dubliners are in Irish public life, I think overall something like 7% of the country are privately educated at secondary level and in Trinity it's like over 30% so it's just like there is a real - And it's like - And it's the 30% that you (hear from) so there is a real, sort of, dominance of people who come from on a national level, really like rarefied sort of class of people, but I think they enter an environment where they feel like their upbringing is the norm and I don't think Trinity really challenges that, I don't think people come from private school very entilted sort of silver spoon background get to Trinity and then their eyes are open and they realise 'Oh, the world is a _ place.', like, I think it has a coddling effect on people who come from that background.
[00:22:54.00] But the whole reason for that whole system is to maintain wealth and keep it within families surely so why would they change it?
Well, indeed, why would they? That's why those of us who don't come from enormous wealth have to change instead. Yeah, I mean, you see all that, you see that at every level society where there isn't trench power, the people tend to come from classes that will not favour the restructuring of power clearly, you know?
[00:23:25.00] So, Frances, the narrator and I would call her the main character of 'Conversations with Friends' describes herself as a revolutionary socialist. Do you feel like you're a revolutionary socialist?
Oh, yeah, bigtime, yeah, yeah, definitely I'm Socialist, Marxist, yeah, I would say Communist, yeah, I think the way that - I think living in a world where we know we have enough wealth to feed everyone and then we know that people (aren't) dying literally, you know, in poverty for lack of material resources, I cannot stand by that, I just don't believe in that system and I think that's a moral axiom that, kind of, _ appeals to most people, I think if you put that to most people they think 'Yeah, that's not fair.' so then the question is just how do we design a system whereby we don't have to stand by what we all consider to be morally wrong.
[00:24:27.05] And how do we get from A to B, what's your vision?
That's the question.
[00:24:32.26] (Well the whole - Even the moniker) revolutionary socialism, the whole concept of revolution, I mean - You mentioned in passing Corbyn earlier, I had to laugh, I mean, Bernie Sanders, for me, fell slightly to the right of Bertie Ahern and he was _ some kind of crazy somewhere in Ireland that's kind of normal, Jeremy Corbyn does feel quite to the - I don't even believe in left or right anymore as concepts anyway, but do you think we're on a path to change?
We're certainly on a path to change, but what kind of change? I honestly think it's like - I mean, I agree, we've reached this kind of complete breaking point, literal capitalism is essentially dead, no one really is - I mean, okay, you had Macron's victory in France, but that was essentially - I mean, I think most are certainly a huge proportion of those who voted for him -
[00:25:37.11] But he is so wishy-washy anyway.
Yeah, I know, but I mean, people voted for him because they wanted to stop an authoritarian fascist from winning so that's not really an endorsement of his ideology, that's just trying to prevent her from -
[00:25:50.12] But do you actually believe in politics and voting and politicians?
Well, no, that's what I was about to get into, I mean, other than that I think you see basically across the board the traditional forms of center right and center left politics just being rejected and so what happens then is right wing obviously swing way to the right and so we hear nativist fascist rhetoric from relatively mainstream right wing leaders now and then the question is what do the lefts do? The center left is dead, no one is voting for them anymore, and so we have to come up with -
[00:26:26.06] What do you do in your daily life or when you even walk into the polling booth, like, what can you -
As an Irish person?
[00:26:33.23] As you, literally you, how do you react?
Obviously, I vote for - I mean, when I vote, I vote for the most left wing candidate, you know, I look up, whatever, do one of those little tests where you -
[00:26:47.15] Do you vote in Castlebar or in Dublin?
I, actually up till now, have been voting in Castlebar so I have to change my - (I can't remember) -
[00:26:53.09] So who was the left-wing option in Castlebar, this is the (ladder).
There isn't - I mean, no, I shouldn't say there isn't because I need to go back and do my research, I'll probably get an angry letter now from a lovely independent TD.
[00:27:02.17] I mean, Castlebar is the powerbase of P. Flynn.
Yeah, and Enda Kenny.
[00:27:09.06] (Had been to) Kenny's? In Castlebar?
Yeah, Enda Kenny is from Castlebar, yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:27:12.12] Oh, my, so a hardly revolutionary territory.
No, not, indeed not, no, and is associated traditionally with some of the most, sort of, reactionary, kind of, like anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage and so, but I think that is changing, I think it has changed hugely and I know, people I went to school with are definitely, you know, want change, serious change in Irish society, but the question is how can we -
[00:27:36.04] You know, I think politician's greatest weapon is the fact that we all have busy lives and whenever the crap hits the fan all they have to do is duck down and wait for it to blow over because we have other things to do, that's kind of their modus operandi really, isn't it?
It is and I mean particularly in Ireland you have essentially two major parties who are going to lead, who are, in the foreseeable future going to be _ government and they're ideologically identical, they're exactly the same so they just have to wait for each other to make mistakes and then get voted out so then the next one can come in and then they pretty much identical mistakes because there's nothing different about them, they're just managers, they just want to manage the country like you would manage a small business, you know, they don't actually have any politics as such, I mean, they have deeply capitalistic politics, they want to benefit obviously huge businesses like Apple.
[00:28:26.17] But are they not (us)? You know, when I was - You and I are from Middle Ireland, I'm from Ballinasloe, you're from Castlebar, I worked for ‘The Late, Late Show’, we spoke about Middle Ireland all the time and, for me, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who I'm not huge fan of, they feel like Ireland to me.
They don't to me, I have to say, they don't to me at all and I think this is increasingly visible in certain ruptures like so you had the Citizens' Assembly which was a delay in tactic that the government themselves devised, right, they don't want to deal with the issue, kick it out to the Citizens' Assembly, then you get the citizens who've been subjected to whatever five weekends of loads and loads of expertise, yeah, and medical, legal, scientific, whatever, and then they come up with a perfectly reasonable program which will put us in line with pretty much any other country in Europe in terms of abortion provision and then suddenly the two major parties are no longer interested in the results of these recommendations, they don't want to know because their voting base or however they conceptualise their voting base is not really in line with what citizens want and I'm curious as to why I think you saw the same thing with the National Maternity Hospital scandal, like, I think ask any average Middle Ireland person, they're going to go 'Oh, that's a bit weird, this order of nuns own the government money for a redress scheme and we're giving them a hospital, what's going on there?' and yet you had both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, I mean obviously Fine Gael, but you had Fianna Fáil as well refusing to say that there was anything wrong with this decision.
[00:29:49.09] But what can you do about it, what's your reaction to that because, for me, a big part of the show is, like, you see things happening around the world, in your own world, what to do about it? How to react to it? Like, literally, I mean, in the menusha of your existence how, what can you do, what's your plan or, you know, you said you did the surveys to see who you should vote for which I think is amazing, it's amazing to use the data and you see who you should vote for, do you think this data will eventually bring us a whole new wave of politicians? See, I deeply mistrust all politicians because it's a job I would not wish on anyone, it's such a horrible tough job and I think because of that it attracts certain types of people, I would not do it, would you be a politician?
[00:30:40.17] So the problem is that most people don't want the job so the people that are willing to do this job that nobody wants are the ones who end up doing it.
Yeah, but then that means either they're drawn by a sense of deep conviction and passion about what they do which I think is the case for some, I think that probably is the case for people like Clare Daly, you know, that is what - Because it's not like a hugely powerful position to be in, to be an independent TD who's scene is just constantly, you know - It's not a position of incredible power to be an independent TD looking after your constituency and then also having a national profile so you would hope that people who are drawn are either drawn from that sense of actual conviction or are, in the case of, obviously, almost anyone who belongs to a major party by the idea of the ministerial pension, kind of.
[00:31:36.13] Or people who like being at the center of things. I was in the Student Union with Clare, she was the president when I was in college.
Oh, I didn't realise you have been.
[00:31:45.16] Yeah, she was Student Union president at DCU. I'm pretty mistrustful of anyone who puts themselves forward fundamentally.
I don't share that, I don't share that scepticism, I don't feel sceptical of someone like Jeremy Corbyn or - I don't think these are power-seeking people, you know? They're people who have dedicated their life more less to just quiet sort of public service, not really being out for any particular -
[00:32:11.08] So what does Corbyn represent to you?
I mean, I don't want to sound like I'm - I mean, again, obviously he is a politician who is only, you know - Like you, I share a natural scepticism of anyone who has been incorporated into the establishment to such a degree that they spent their lives in politics, particularly in the UK where like, you know, it's a still an imperial country, an imperial power, but having said that, I think that - I don't agree that necessarily anyone who wants to be involved in politics must be some kind of weirdo, I mean, we're all weirdos, but I think it's still possible that people genuine convictions would want to spend their lives in that way even if they know they're going to be living a life of total compromise and -
[00:33:00.02] So the thing that - So revolutionary socialism is fundamentally _ odds with capitalism.
Yes, yeah, yeah.
[00:33:09.05] But I feel that commerce is moving much faster than politicians all over the world and I think we're getting to a place where politicians are becoming irrelevant because they're not able to keep up with the business so how do we - So I think a lot about co-operatives and all this type of stuff and how you motivate people and how some people work harder and are more get-up-and-go than others and other people don't so, in a post-capitalist society, if that is what you dream of, how are people rewarded for their effort? How does that work, how do you reward those who are willing to make sacrifices that other people aren't willing, how does that work in your - And I'm not saying you have all the answers, I'm just curious as to what kind of world you envisage?
Yeah, I envisage a world, like, first of all, I mean, it still remains an open question how much work actually needs to be done because in Western countries the vast majority of people work is not socially necessary, they're working in, like, PO or in the humanities _ (all) great, that's fine, I'm not complaining there, but I'm just saying, like, you know, if it really came down to having to organise a society would that work be, sort of, necessary for our civilisation to continue, like, ultimately no, so then how many of us are doing jobs that are required for the wheels to keep turning and then if it's, like, relatively small percentage why are the rest of us doing these jobs all the time? I'm genuinely curious as to how we've set up - And this is in the West, obviously, not in developing societies that are agrarian or whatever and that have totally different models of work and why it is that we've set up societies where everyone has to work, you have to have a job and if you don't you really, you know, it's very, very difficult to eke out any kind of living, but the job that you have can be something completely, sort of, totally unnecessary, like -
Yeah, totally makie-upie, you're just pushing papers around all day and if you didn't show up to work for two weeks nothing would happen, no one's life would be fundamentally changed, right? It seems like we've got this almost moralistic vision of work where you have to work and the rewards for it (can be) quite great, like people who work in any of these professions, advertising or whatever, can be making huge salaries and not actually really doing anything as such and the punishment for not working is really severe, like if you don't have a job you are lazy, you don't deserve to have a good life and I find that that contradiction mostly exists at the level of morality, it's not really to do with how our economy is organised because we could eliminate all advertising immediately and there would be no real effect on our daily lives. I think we have this attachment, a deeply moral attachment, to the idea that everyone needs to get up in the morning, everyone has to work, you know, that's life, you just have to do it and, I mean, for me it's obviously curious because, as a writer, I was considered unemployed until I got a book deal and then I was considered employed, but I was doing the same thing every day all day, my life didn't change at all, but suddenly, I'm, like, oh, a writer, you know? But I'm exactly the same as I was before so I'm just sceptical of the idea that, you know, some things are work.
[00:36:29.05] But you have found something that fulfills you and you've been that way for many years which is incredible and you're touching a couple of things there, I think fulfillment, the whole future of work, this promise of a shorter working week, universal income and I think the answer to all of the things you're talking about is this massive balloon of makie-upie money that's been captured by a tiny percentage of the world's population and I think if you just pop that balloon and got rid of all that makie-upie money and everything else went on as normal I think we'd probably do okay as well.
I agree, yeah, I think so.
[00:37:07.06] But how do we get to that place?
Revolution, that's the bit where we need to -
[00:37:12.12] But as somebody with two children it's kind of interesting how - One of the - Let's say it's hard, but when you're parenting it ceases being about yourself and you have responsibilities for the first time in your life which is really weird feeling, it's really odd that you end up being literally care-free to not be care-free. Pregnancy, for me, is almost like this kind of inbetweeny world that all prepares you for these things, obviously, I wasn't prepared, but the timespan, and I agree with every single thing you're saying, but then I still have to do stuff and be part of stuff that has got absolutely nothing to do with anything you're saying and to do this kind of _ of responsibility towards children and that is, basically, again Middle Ireland, middle aged conservative and I think that's pretty far from revolution.
Yeah, but I'm really interested in the idea of, like, children and the revolution, if you will, because presumably we want to have a society in which people feel free to have families and to spend time with their families, looking after their families and even from a dire capitalistic point of view children are the next workforce, right, so we actually have to have them because _ there's not going to be any workers in the next generation so -
[00:38:50.20] (There will be) robots, we don't need workers.
Well, that's true, yeah, yeah, we don't know. I mean, maybe, maybe we can all just stop, (but) if you'll bear with me, let's say that we do need to have a next generation workforce. Within that _ then it doesn't make sense to me that having children is not considered a form of work, I mean, you're raising the next generation of - So it's actually one of the most, along with, say, farming, is one of the most basic economic practices, you're raising the next generation of laborers.
[00:39:22.06] Yeah, but yet as the society we don't reward parents and it's a very costly pursuit.
This just blows my mind, I cannot understand it, people are, like, I mean, and obviously you hear this particularly with women, are not only not rewarded, but are punished for having children in their careers, right, it's actually seen as taking away from their contribution to the economy is the fact that they've created another human being, right, that's a demerit for them and then two actually pay for childcare is, like, this gigantic cost for most families and it puts huge, enormous economic strain on them, but, to me, the idea of punishing people for a practice that our society would literally grind to - completely grind to a halt without I find, economically, fascinating. Why? Why do we do that?
[00:40:07.21] But then, to get to your - What's that book that's out at the moment, 'The Utopia for Realists', have you seen that book?
I haven't read it actually.
[00:40:15.06] Oh, it's brilliant, it's really, really good, but I don't think many people would disagree with the revolutionary socialist utopia. How do we get there? And that's the thing. And when I'm asking you what can you do in your daily life what I'm also asking what can we all do in our daily lives, it's like people can barely recycle, you know, and people think they're great when they put something into the green bin without even rinsing it and that makes people feel good, like, most people don't really do much about anything except get on with the daily business of life because everyone is busy and overloaded and stressed and under pressure so this revolution, what form does it take, where does it come from, how does it come about, do you think, for example, what date is the UK election?
The 8th of June.
[00:41:07.28] The 8th of June. This show goes out in the 5th of June, it's a Monday I do believe. If Jeremy Corbyn wins the UK election which I actually personally believe is a possibility as well.
Wow, thank you for saying that.
[00:41:23.01] I do believe it and I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is one big massive sleeper operation, that's actually what I believe, I believe this is been planned for a long time and he's been funded up the _ by _ because _ is backing anything, (that's an anything), but I actually do think it's classic, it's textbook stuff what's going on now and it's textbook stuff how he's been written off and it's classic stuff, we saw Hilary Clinton fall into the same trap, but if Corbyn (is) to win this election is that revolution?
No, I think that's one - That's a positive step, I think, what you would hope to see if that happened. I think the actual cost of Manifesto came out yesterday and so what you would hope to see if those kind policies were put in place is that you remove that what you're talking about, that pressure that prevents people from politically engaging with their own lives, that constant sense of financial anxiety and scrabbling to make ends meet that prevents people from actually being able to think about the political circumstances, what you would hope is that a sort of social, a democratic socialist government of the kind that Corbyn is proposing would just allow people time to actually breath and think about what kind of society they want to live in, to give them enough financial security and health security and things like that, know that their children are going to be up to good college if they want to and things like that, that removing that kind of predatory anxiety would give people a chance to engage with their communities and build, you know, grassroots political organisations that right now is _ people fundamentally can't really do because we're living under austerity and even people who are relatively comfortable often feel like their situation is quite precarious. So that's what you would hope, that it would be like a stepping stone that would give people a little bit of room to articulate.
[00:43:19.13] Have your two failed runs for auditor in Trinity put you off the idea of ever running for election again?
Oh, God, yeah, never ever, ever, ever, I would never put myself forward for anything, I'm surprised I even wrote a book because I really don't like putting myself out there, I really don't like that at all, but, kind of, has to be done if you're going to make art, you, kind of, have to let people look at it or read it or whatever.
[00:43:44.12] You'd be quite happy if people didn't have to read it?
No, I think people have to read it, I just - I mean, I think people HAVE to read it, I think it should be illegal not to read it. No, I think part of the, you know, the artistic process, the final part is, you know, giving in to the reader and so it's great if people do read it and then everything that goes with that is, obviously, part of trying to get the book right there and telling readers that it exists and stuff and that's all fine, but it is just quite divorced from sitting with the text and writing which is kind of what I want to and is what I think I've - It's why I'm here, is because I'm good at doing nothing, it's not because I'm good at doing this thing, you know, but this is the thing I'm doing so -
[00:44:33.11] The talky bit.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, I didn't have to pass an interview to get the book deal, it was just like it's a good book and now, suddenly, you have to go and do all these things you're actually not at all good at so it's a strange job in that way, it's a strange role, having to fulfil this dual thing where you've proven yourself at one aspect, but you haven't proven yourself in any way at the other aspect and you're just thrown into it.
[00:44:56.01] What do you want the book to achieve, what's its job?
Well, you know, to begin the revolution, obviously.
[00:45:04.21] (Oh, wise) _ I'm a hundred pages in so I have this sense that I don't know what's going to go off, but you're setting the scene for something.
Yeah. I mean, it's an interesting question what any book is supposed to achieve and I don't really know how to answer it even though, obviously, I did English in university, I was probably supposed to think about that a bit.
[00:45:29.08] But revolutionary socialism, I mean, because it was really funny, so I'm reading and kind of going 'Is Frances based on Sally?' and obviously straight away she is.
Yeah, well, I mean, I think all four of the main characters so it has, kind of, four main characters, but Frances is, obviously, the narrator, I think they're all, sort of, based on me, I think they're all, kind of, reflections of my psychology in one way or another. I definitely identify with them all quite closely at various points.
[00:46:03.06] I was being so literal there, okay.
No, I mean, and it's fair enough, there are certainly aspects of Frances that I do closely identify with, but others, I think, not so much.
[00:46:11.13] So Bobby, Melissa and Nick.
[00:46:13.06] Because I thought, for me, Nick was the aristo people you were talking about.
Yeah, yeah, he is, but then Bobby, kind of, is as well and I think Frances is both wary of people from (that) sort of privileged background, but then also very fascinated by them and she wants to be around them so she has that, sort of, conflicted approach to money and wealth which I think a lot of people have and I probably have so - I mean, this is the thing, like, when you ask what the book is, what I wanted to achieve, I feel like there are ideas in the book, but if I had wanted to make a case for something I would have just written an essay like, you know, Manifesto or whatever so that's not what I was trying to do, but that's not to dismiss the ideas that are in there.
[00:47:02.14] It's very unpretentious I find.
Oh, thank you.
[00:47:05.14] I find it very - I was there, kind of, going 'This is a very easy read, but it doesn't feel dumb.'.
Thank you. Yeah, it's certainly not, sort of, high flown literally prose, it's not like a lyrical - It's written in a conversational style and I think part of the reason is because _ quite a few e-mails and text messages and stuff in the book and I think when you're used to communicating like that, sort of, on a daily basis that comes to feel like your voice or certainly for me, I write so many e-mails and I communicate with people textually all the time that that feels like me writing so then for me to, like, switch over into some sort of high flown lyrical register feels really like unnatural and almost pretentious and that's not how I (feel) reading other people's writing because people have beautiful lyrical prose and it's - I can't believe myself when I'm doing it, I'm like 'That's (not how) you talk like!', you know?
[00:48:04.16] But you're not one of those writers that make your head hurt when you're reading it, when people are trying to show 'Oh, look how cleaver I am, I'm really, like, doing summer salts here.' and it, kind of, got me thinking about when you're writing a book do you need to know where it fits in? Are you made aware of that or? You know, so I'm reading it on PDF, I don't have a finished book, I have a vague idea of what the cover is like, but when you walk into a bookshop so much of your perception of a book is where it's filed, what the artwork is like, the shape of it, the colours used, so I'm reading your book in this beautiful vacuum where I have no idea what I'm supposed to think of it, I have no idea who I'm supposed to be.
Yeah, that's really good to think.
[00:48:56.29] So when I walk into Hodges Figgis when it's out or whatever, I'll see it in a certain place alongside certain books aimed at the person who likes those things, I have no idea who that is.
[00:49:07.29] And do you know who that is? Were you aware of that when you were writing it, I mean, how does all that work?
Obviously, I'm a big reader, as I think any writer is, and so I think probably your writing is shaped by what you read and loved so if you have a particular kind of book that you read a lot of and really love you will find yourself not writing like another author, but writing within that kind of - Yeah, I don't know what the word is, it's not 'style', it's not 'genre'.
Yeah, like within a - Or, like, with a set of concerns or with a particular outlook - No writer is such a unique individual that they can't ever be compared to another so you're always going to have influences that are, kind of, clearing your text and I think those are really what dictates, you know, as you say, the eventual, sort of, whatever it is, packaging or marketing of the book is going to be influenced by what kind of books have been like this in the past and that's going to be influenced by who you are reading and there is no way to write without influence, writing is - You're using human language so it's never clean, you know, you're always taking up from someone else.
[00:50:20.26] I'm going to say something now that may seem terrible, I don't know why it may seem terrible. So reading the book in bed last night, my partner asked me what I'm reading and I explained to her what it is and she's like 'Do you like it?', I'm like 'Yeah, but it's very easy to read, it's just really easy.' and then she said to me 'Maybe it's chick lit.' and I was like 'What? What?' and then that felt like - It was almost like - And then all of those things I was talking about - I would never have picked that and I didn't know and then it made me think all these things I was just been asking you about and is that a dirty word, is that a horrible expression, is it a demeaning expression?
No, I don't think that that's what the book is, but I don't think it's an all demeaning - (In so far as like it's also now the) detective book, that doesn't mean detective books are bad or that I don't like them, I actually like them a lot, but I don't think that the book fulfils those generic constraints. Is it a young adult book? Well, no, you know, it's about young adults, right, in some sense it just doesn't fulfil whatever those generic terms are and I think equally it just doesn't work as a piece of - I should read up on whether writers who write romance disparage the term 'chick lit' because if they do I shouldn't use it because I have great respect for that genre, but I don't think that it fulfil those -
[00:51:49.20] I'm going to finish the book, I'm going to keep reading it and I'm delighted that I've read it or that I'm reading it, but it's just interesting and all that stuff is, like, it's like _ about architecture, it's got nothing to do with the actual experience of reading something and putting your head in this world that the author create, but it has a lot to do with how these works get to us.
Yeah, absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah, and I think the marketing of a book and how it's - Like you say, where it is in the bookshop and what kind of cover it has and stuff is going to dictate so much of the reader's response and I'm sure of the critical response as well and maybe if I had been with a different publisher or, you know, they would've seen this book as belonging to a particular genre and it would have had a very different cover and it would have had very different copy describing the plot and very different quotes from very different writers on the back and that would totally determine at least the first thirty - You know, maybe by the time you're half-way through the book the book itself has, sort of, taken over, but certainly you're initial reading experience is very much determined by it.
[00:52:53.05] And you've written the exact same thing and it's like you say what you did for a living, you're unemployed one day and you're a signed author the next, nothing has changed except the _ put in. The book, at times, makes me feel a bit voayeristic and it's, kind of, odd, you know, as a forty-four year old man reading about the sex life of - What age is Frances?
She is twenty-one.
[00:53:18.27] Reading about the sex life of a twenty-one year old girl? Woman, sorry, sorry, oh, my God. I may (edit _). So forty-four year old man reading about the sex life of twenty-one year old woman and you're like 'Should I be reading this? This feels intimate.'.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you mean, yeah, and in the book that I'm working on now, my second book, it follows two characters over the space of four years, but it begins when they're eighteen and that, for me, is like 'Wow, these guys are kids.', I mean, they're so young and it does feel strange to - Like, when I'm writing it doesn't feel strange because I feel like I'm just emersed in their little world and I, kind of, understand what's going on for them, but to step back from it and think like - Like, they're, you know, _ children to me, certainly I don't have any friends who are eighteen, like, that's the (end) so, yeah, I know how it is, it's funny and I imagine it will grow stranger and stranger for me further I get away from Frances because when I wrote the book, as I said, when _ first draft I was twenty-three so I was basically her age, you know, I mean, she is twenty-one so okay, I had two years to kind of throw myself back into that mindset, but it wasn't a huge leap. Now I'm getting closer to Nick's age and that's, obviously, a big - In the book, that's such a big age gap, but like, obviously, as times go by I inevitably get -
[00:54:39.28] Nick's is thirty-two?
[00:54:41.20] I need to go 'Nick is a kid!', like 'What!? Thirty-two!?'
Yeah, he is, and that's another funny thing is that I think I kind of knew that and then the more, obviously, the more time goes by the more I know that that Nick and Melissa, the married couple in the book, are very young, very young, but Frances and Bobby who are twenty-one and who are, obviously, adult women feel like younger and more, kind of, interesting when they're with this older couple and the older couple, obviously, feel more, kind of, mature and glamourous when they're with these extremely young college students, but in fact, they're not - You know, they're all just young, you know, the young people.
[00:55:20.28] Am I supposed to find Bobby a bit annoying?
People say that, yeah, people find Bobby annoying, but then some people like her, I don't know, I think she is so much like me, I'm annoying so yeah. It's funny, people have very different responses in terms of whether they like characters or not and that seems to be like a common thread for people who have read it so far is that rather than responding to, you know, the language or plot or whatever, I think people's first most visceral response tends to be whether or not they liked Frances and whether they liked Nick and Bobby and it's very varied, some people really do and some people really don't and it doesn't always _ with whether they enjoyed the book, some people can say 'Oh, I liked the book, but I didn't like any of the characters.' which to me is, kind of, mystifying, but it's fair enough.
[00:56:08.02] But it's mad that you say the four characters are different aspects of yourself as well.
[00:56:11.05] So you're writing the book back when you were twenty-three and literally having conversations between different aspects of your own personality?
I think that's all writers can do, you know, you can't - You're moving these people around, you're manipulating them, you're ventriloquising them, you give them all their dialogue so where is it coming from? It's all coming from you, I mean, you can say 'Oh, this character is really based on whatever.' but, ultimately, that's not fully honest even if it's based on someone else, it's always based on a combination of that person and you because you have to give them the psychology that they have in the book and that can only ever be your interpretation of someone else's psychology at the very most so I do think, in a sense, that those were - Yeah, they're, like, staged dialogues between one part of my psychology and an another, but I also think that's inevitable, that's all that you can do, you know?
[00:56:59.16] One thing - So even though there's a lot, as you say, messaging based exchanges in the book, one thing that's very noticeable by its absence in the book I feel are social networks.
You mean like Facebook and -
[00:57:11.29] Yeah, well, there's no - Social networks don't exist in the world you've (presented).
Like social media?
No, they don't, they don't use Twitter or anything.
[00:57:21.29] Or Facebook or Snapchat or (whatever).
No, they use instant messaging so I guess that could be Facebook chat or it could be G chat or something, it's never specified. Part of the reason I did it is just like I don't want to give free advertising to some corporation, they don't need it and I think if I say 'instant messaging' everyone who is reading it will conjure up an image, it's not going to confuse anyone, but also I think it's really difficult to make the use of social dramatically interesting because it's quite a passive thing for most of us who use it, it's kind of like you sit on your couch and you're scrolling and you could be seeing really interesting stuff, but it's not dramatic and so to get to the meat of the drama you really needed to be a personal interchange though like e-mails or instant messages and so I kind of just bypassed the whole - Yeah, I think just because it would be tricky to make it work and then, like, what are they going to be worrying about, how many followers they have on Twitter and stuff _ get to complicated.
[00:58:18.24] Because you're good on Twitter.
[00:58:20.20] I like your tweets. Is that, like, part of your job?
No, no, I have that Twitter account for ages, since 2008 or something and I haven't changed the way that I tweet since I got the book, I think. No, if I had to start doing it in a work way I would rather close it down because I don't want to become like a - I don't want my work and my person to become one, you know, if that makes sense, that's just my personal Twitter account and it's not like a work thing. It's strange being a writer in that sense because it's not like having an ordinary job, you know, I mean, if you work in a restaurant or you work in retail _ didn't expect you to use your personal _ as a part of your work, you know, you just go to work and then when you finish work that's it and being a writer you, kind of, feel like everything that you do is in some way feeding into or working of your status as a writer which is, kind of, weird, like, I'm just a completely ordinary person who also has done this, written a book, and so the whole idea that people even want to talk to me about my life and stuff I find, kind of, puzzling, and not like unpleasant, but just strange because everyone has a life, I'm not specific in any way for having had like a childhood, definitialy everyone has had one so it feels strange that just because I've done this thing which I did in my spare time while I was doing masters or whatever that suddenly this has elevated me to the status of someone people want to talk to.
[01:00:03.07] Who knows stuff.
Yeah, but I clearly don't have any expertise in anything, you know?
[01:00:09.00] Yeah, but you're, literally, putting yourself out there to suffer the slings and arrows, you know, but that says a lot about you, that you're doing that and this comes back to the get-up-and-go and I didn't even ask you who educated you, whoever those teachers were, was it, you know, nuns or laypeople or old girls or mix or whatever it was, they were part of putting this into you, your parents, your families, you had this get-up-and-go and you're willing to reveal personal thoughts and theories and -
Yeah, oh, definitely willing to reveal my _ and _, very much so.
[01:00:47.22] And to what end?
And to what end indeed? Well specify that question.
[01:00:58.10] Why do you do it? Is it a compulsion?
You mean why do I write?
Just because I wouldn't have a (clue height and) not do that, I just wouldn't - Like, I literally don't know what I would do with my time or, like, my mental time walking down the street I have no idea what other people to be thinking of, I'm always thinking of, you know, my thing I'm writing at the moment or the next thing I'll write so I genuinely would feel completely bereft psychologically, I would have oceans of time and absolutely nothing to do, (I don't know) if I'd had to take up some kind of very complicated hobby, maybe I'd learn bunch of new languages or something.
[01:01:39.29] Watch boxsets.
Yeah, I mean, I watch stuff, you know, I have a very normal life, but I just - That's my thought time is taken up with that so if I didn't have that to put thoughts into, yeah, and I would feel quite like lost without the ability to put words together on paper and try to, like, capture something, I would feel like all the material of my life which _ be like 'Oh, you can't use that.'.
[01:02:12.28] How many books ahead do you see?
I have no idea, I don't know.
[01:02:16.23] But you're writing one book, you seem to hint there might be a notion of the one after that.
No, at the moment no, just writing the one that I'm writing and I don't know what will come after that. I hope, I mean, my dream for my life would be I just write novels, (that I) write a novel every three years or whatever and that goes on indefinitely, perhaps that will be the case, but then perhaps it won't. Maybe I'll only have, you know, three books or whatever.
[01:02:44.16] Well, it, kind of, depends as well if enough people buy them to allow you to have the time to do it.
No, that doesn't depend because if I had to go and do something else for my full time job that would be fine, I would still write novels, that wouldn't stop me. Whatever I had to do additionally to writing the books it would have no bearing on whether _ wrote the books.
[01:03:07.18] Do you know what I'm really looking forward to, I love time passing and in about 20 years time seeing your role in Irish society.
Oh, God, that's a bit of a - Yeah, that's an _ way to put it. I don't think I'll have a role in society as such, I think I'll have (my) mild-mannered introvert reading a book somewhere.
[01:03:27.18] Well, I think, of the top of my head, Roddy Doyle has a role in Irish society, all of these people are a part of our consciousness and a part of informing our morality and our aspirations and our direction.
Nerve-wracking stuff, yeah.
[01:03:43.06] (On that note).
Thank you very much.
[01:03:43.04] Thanks so much for your time. So this interview, apart _ for the radio shows, also for Totally Dublin magazine so I feel, just for them, I should probably ask you - They haven't asked me this, but I just had a talk, like, places you like around Dublin, any restaurants, bars or places that you particularly -
Yeah, sad thing about Dublin is, I love Dublin, but sad thing about Dublin is it's really hard to spend time in Dublin City without spending money, there is really nowhere you can go that you don't just have to pay to be there and that bothers me, I wish we had more, sort of, public, communal spaces where people could, like, sit and read or whatever without having to pay €4 for a coffee or something, but I do love Dublin having said that.
[01:04:36.15] But you've got _ Chester Beatty or Trinity.
Oh, yeah, and I love the National Gallery, yeah, Trinity is a funny one because you can go in there, but I think a lot of people who didn't go to Trinity feel like you can't so it feels like it's almost an enclave even though, actually, you can just walk in off the street, there is nothing to stop you.
[01:04:53.00] I feel a listicle coming on - 'Great places to hang out in Dublin without spending money'. Okay, so what's on our list: Trinity College, Chester Beatty, National Gallery, National Library -
The Hugh Lane.
[01:05:02.20] The Hugh Lane, that's five, let's get ten to make it a proper listicle.
Yeah, where else is there?
[01:05:10.13] Do you ever hang out in shopping centers, but not spend money?
No because there is nowhere really to sit, is there?
[01:05:15.21] _ sit upstairs the Steven's Green on their little benches, they have the little benches there.
Do they? I never go in there.
[01:05:20.08] So we're up to five in our listicle, well, that's five, it's that all there is?
Yeah, I think. I mean, there is the parks and stuff, but with Dublin's weather they're bit unreliable (on a day like) today.
[01:05:31.07] In Iceland, people who have their shit together a little bit more than us, they have big enclosed communal spaces where people can hang out when the weather is not good.
[01:05:37.14] We haven't wised up to that.
No, and we should, and it's fine, you know, I mean, it could be somewhere you could get coffee or lunch, but you just don't have to do that to be allowed to sit there.
[01:05:48.21] Yeah, it is a bit odd, we're a bit odd like that in general, I think the rights of the individual, we haven't really gotten to that place yet, but we're coming off a backstory, you know.
I hope so. That's definitely true, there is a lot of backstory there.
[01:06:03.19] For coming off, but we can do our mini list, a minicle or something, they didn't ask me for that, but I just thought of it.