a short site about The Divine Comedy

Q Questionnaire

When The Divine Comedy were "becoming more like Alfie", who, many people mused, could said Alfie be? Alife Bass? Alfie Conn? Sadly, there is no question about "Alfies" of any kind in the Q Questionnaire. Off you go, hook nose...

How the devil are you?

I'm devilishly well, thank you very much!

What was the first gig you went to?

U2 at Croke Park in about 1987. Which is weird, because it was a huge gig to start off with. It was fun. I remember coming away from it thinking, How am I going to top that? Of course, it was quite easy. I went to see REM the following year and they were much better.

If you weren't a rock'n'roll star, what would you be?

In the gutter, because all I've ever done is to prepare myself for pop stardom. I can't do anything else, I've never had a proper job in my life. Perhaps I could get away with painting shop signs or something, because I'm quite nifty with a paint brush.

What is your most treasured material possession?

It's not mine yet, but when me dad dies, he's got a lovely grand piano that's been in the family as long as anyone can remember. It's where I learned to play the piano, so it's probably my most treasured material possession—to be.

What is the worst record you've ever recorded?

Either a dodgy EP from 1991 called Timewatch, on which I sound like a chipmunk, or My Lovely Horse, which isn't actually on a record but was written for Father Ted as a Eurovision entry and will come out over my dead body. People keep asking me to release it, and one day it will come out but I'll have to be dead.

When did you last cry and why?

I was a bit pissed off when I broke up with my last girlfriend, because I really thought it was, you know, nice, what we had together. Thank you. Oh well, it's her bad luck.

What's your poison?

A nice glass of port after a nice three-course meal, with a nice fag.

Who was the last person you punched?

My partner in crime, Joby Talbot, who arranged the songs on the upcoming new album. It was in Bristol last year, a rather drunken evening. He was meant to have brought some Christmas presents for me to give to my niece the following day. He left them behind and I was a bit annoyed, so I punched him. I don't know if I made contact, but he was quite taken aback, and so was I! I hadn't thumped anybody since school.

What characteristics do you think you've inherited from your parents?

On my father's side, my ears, which protrude; my nose which is big and hooked; and musical genius. From my mother (with irony), a healthy sense of realism.

What's in your pockets right now?

Four pounds fifty, a snotty handkerchief, and a bunch of keys with a little Indian for a keyring—it used to have a banana, but it fell off. Oh, and a small elephant.

What was the last record you bought?

Born Slippy, Underworld. Fantastic.

Do you like reggae?

Not generally. But there's a fellow called Elvis DaCosta who I've duetted with and who is currently in the act of making an album, and he's just fab.

What are you most likely to complain about in a hotel?

The porn channel not working.

What is your culinary speciality?

Boiled egg with Marmite soldiers and a glass of grapefruit juice, plus a vitamin pill. That's what I have every morning, and it's about all I can cook.

Pick five words to describe yourself.

Short. Socially inept. Optimistic. Forgetful. Genius.

What's the punchline to your favourite joke?


What's your greatest fear?

Waking up in the morning and finding that I'm actually painting signs on shop fronts and not a pop star because it was all a dream.

What is your most unpleasant characteristic?

Picking my nose, and perhaps eating it afterwards when nobody's looking.

What is the greatest film ever made?

I was totally bowled over the other night when I was watching Short Cuts, but I don't think I would want to watch it again. So it's probably Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Can you recite a line of poetry?

No, I can't. I just don't know any poetry, and I don't really like it. People keep sending me poems and imagining that I'll love them. The reason I'm a musician is that I don't like words on their own.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Probably Nimrod, by Edward Elgar. It's very moving. but it would have to be a lovely big colliery brass band. No popular music, it's all drivel.

What turns you on?

Pictures of naked ladies, romping.

Have you ever been arrested?

No. I've not had many run-ins with the police because I'm such a coward. But it was rather dodgy when we were squatting in a tower block in Camberwell and the bailiff came round with his heavies. He threatened police action, and even though everyone was telling us they couldn't do anything and that we should just stay where we were, we were out of there in a flash.

Happiness is...

Taking a nice springer spaniel on a long walk through the countryside.

Where are you off to now?

Shopping. I'm going to buy myself a nice pair of gloves, because it's a bit nippy round me little fingers, and an answerphone, and a pillow. I've only got one pillow on my bed and it's too far down. I need a bigger pillow.

Cheers, big ears!

David Roberts
Q Magazine 03/1997