Cult Q & A: David McAlmont

❉ Music and more with ‘cathedral pipes’ himself, Mr David McAlmont.

He’s worked with everyone from Bernard Butler, David Arnold and Courtney Pine to Jools Holland, Clifford Slapper and Guy Davies (Fingersnap), and is the powerhouse singer of whom journalist Taylor Parkes once commented “One day he will open his mouth and a cathedral will fall out”.

Yes, it’s singer, writer and art historian David McAlmont’s turn to submit to a light grilling as the latest incumbent of the Cult Q & A hotseat. So without further ado, let’s crack on!

What were you like at School?

Mystified.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Michael Jackson.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

I’d ask him for advice. He had a lot to handle.

What are your best and worst qualities?

I don’t believe in best and worst qualities.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Washing the dishes at a fancy restaurant in Piccadilly.

Who were your heroes growing up?

The Mole defeating the Pike.

What do you consider to be the single greatest piece of television ever?

Margaret Thatcher leaving Downing Street in tears.

Monty Python: is it funny?

If you’re amused by the sense of humour of self-satisfied public school boys.

What was the last film that you watched?

Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

What film could you watch every day?

I wouldn’t impose that high risk level on my favourite movies, but I have watched Do The Right Thing, All About Eve, There Will Be Blood, Bullets Over Broadway, Some Like It Hot, Aliens, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy an obscene number of times.

What’s your favourite film soundtrack?

Either The Sound of Music or Saturday Night Fever.

Which four actors would you like to see in film together and what genre?

Rocco Steele, Zeb Atlas, Zak Spears and Bobby Blake: Porn.

Which film, book or record last disappointed you the most?

Crime & Punishment.

Which record would you recommend and lend to a friend.

Wretch 32 – Liberation.

Which record wouldn’t you let out of your sight?

Richard Harris reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

Which book would you save if the house was on fire?

I wouldn’t muck about trying to save one book. I’d shove a bookcase through the window. Does my passport count?

What’s your definition of making something cult?

Making something boutique.

What are you reading at present?

I’m researching Silenus.

So what have you written for so far?

The Guardian. TimeOut London. Headline Magazine. The Quietus. The Huffington Post.

Inspiration: James Baldwin.

Who has inspired you over the years?

James Baldwin. Harvey Fierstein. Julia Cameron. Cornel West. Kahlil Gibran. Eden Ahbez.

What’s the best bit of advice anyone has ever given you?

Shhh…

Who has had the biggest influence on your career and how has that person changed your life?

My Middlesex University drama lecturer who said that I shouldn’t waste my time studying Performing Arts when my musical career was starting to happen.

Do you think it’s true you should never meet your heroes?

You meet the right ones.

What would you like to be your epitaph?

He had it large!

We are at a bar, what are you drinking?

Well, that rather depends on the bar.

What are you three favourite cities?

San Francisco. Bristol. Seville.

What do you do to chill out?

A boombangabang action movie first thing in the morning with coffee.

Is there anything unique about yourself that you would like your readers to know?

I have no idea. What have I got that they haven’t?

What element of your work gives you the most satisfaction?

The applause.

What has been the most rewarding project in your career and why?

A degree in Art History, taken to stock up the inspiration reserves. They will never be lacking again.

What is your favourite part of the collaborative process?

The way that a conversation between two musicians in a room can mushroom into an unofficial anthem for marriage equality in Ireland.

In the wake of  David Bowie’s passing, you participated in the Union Chapel tribute concert and more recently appeared on Clifford Slapper’s BowieSongsOne album. As a singer and a songwriter, how would you estimate Bowie’s legacy?

I would urge people to find what Paul Mason said on Channel Four News the day the news of Bowie’s death was announced. Nobody has said it better.

You’ve participated in Paul Burston‘s Polari Salon events on a few occasions. Can you tell us a little about what that’s been like?

It’s a great salon. Writers read their words in an inviting environment. Everybody present is there because they enjoy hearing the word read. Paul is an affable host, unobtrusive host.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

There’s always something or other.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Doesn’t one Google these days? 😉


❉ You can catch David McAlmont live with Horse McDonald at the Hideaway, London on 13-15 July 2017 in ‘Showtime presents: Dusty and Shirley’. Click here to book tickets

❉ David will be appearing at Polari: The LGBT Literary Salon at Bradford Lit Fest in July.

‘Bowie Songs One’ was released on 3 March 2017 and is available to download from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify with physical CDs available to purchase from www.bowiesongs.com

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