The 70-year-old playwright and producer was born within the docks space of Belfast, began out in neighborhood theatre at Turf Lodge and has now been writing performs for over 30 years. He has two daughters, Grainne (33) and Briege (31), and three grandchildren, Conan (15), Lana (10) and Tiernan (4).
: Do you are taking common train and if that’s the case, what?
A: I would not say I take common train – I’ve rebelled in opposition to routine all my life. However I stroll within the Valley Park a few occasions most weeks and I used to be very energetic within the backyard all summer season. I turned my massive entrance garden right into a mini model of Botanic Gardens with nice huge beds surrounded by pure stone partitions and with a seated space. I by no means would have believed a road urchin from the docks would turn out to be an skilled stone wall builder.
Q: What’s the worst sickness you’ve got had?
A: I had a coronary heart bypass 12 years in the past. I am at present ready on a mind bypass! However what is much worse is that I’ve everlasting ache in my decrease again space. It began about 10 years in the past and it is getting worse. Docs do not know what it’s so it appears like I am the one individual on the planet to have this situation, in any other case they’d have been in a position to diagnose it by now.
Q: How wholesome is your food plan?
A: Blended, however I do not suppose it is too unhealthy. I do not eat breakfast however round lunchtime I eat porridge on a considerable base of chopped-up fruit three or 4 occasions per week or banana on wheaten toast. For essentially the most half I gave up pink meat years in the past and attempt to keep away from processed meals. My deal with is the gorgeous contemporary fish and chips from the Captain’s Desk on the Carnmoney Highway and a weekend chocolate social gathering for my grandchildren, Tiernan and Lana (who keep over and wreck my home).
Q: Any unhealthy habits?
A: Laziness. I bear in mind studying about songwriter Paul Simon saying he would minimize the grass, clear the kitchen or watch soaps on TV earlier than he would go to the piano. I am a lot the identical in terms of writing performs.
Q: Do you drink and smoke and if that’s the case, how a lot?
A: I by no means smoked however used to drink within the John Hewitt bar most Friday nights. I by no means touched drink the opposite six days besides at a particular operate like a gap evening. For the reason that coronary heart bypass, I started to naturally drink much less and fewer to the purpose now the place I do not drink in any respect – besides possibly the odd glass of wine once I’m out and about.
Q: Do you are taking dietary supplements?
A: I simply began one – magnesium. I already take sufficient prescribed tablets per week to maintain the pharmaceutical business in wholesome earnings. Once I meet up with outdated mates at weddings or wakes, we verify with one another what number of tablets we’re on.
Q: How do you are taking trip?
A: Studying and the backyard. I learn for about an hour each evening in mattress earlier than sleep. I am at present devouring books on the World Warfare Two jap entrance. Think about, all of us grew up pondering it was the Individuals and the British who beat the Germans. Not so – it was clearly the Russians. Truth: on the western entrance, the Allied forces confronted 28 German divisions whereas on the jap entrance, the Russians confronted and destroyed 228 divisions. Neglect Patton or Montgomery, the person who actually defeated the German undertaking was the wonderful Common Zhukov.
Q: How effectively do you sleep?
A: It chops and modifications. Typically effectively and typically, due to the ache, very badly.
Q: Do you are concerned about getting outdated?
A: No, as a result of I am already there. Regardless of enjoying five-a-side soccer till I used to be 50, I am unable to run for a bus now. There is not very a lot to suggest getting older, besides in the course of the pandemic I have been lifted and laid by my daughters, Grainne and Briege.
Q: What’s your go-to product that retains you feeling wholesome?
A: The backyard. It does every thing for me, retains me fit-ish, lifts my spirits, permits me to be artistic and provides me nice pondering time. My subsequent play is known as The Massive Arab. It is about my father who struggled between writing poetry and residing the existence of a dock labourer. He was recognized to brawl within the pubs of Sailortown on Thursday evening after which sit in the home writing poetry on Friday evening. As I remodeled my backyard over the summer season, I used to be figuring out the play in my head, scene by scene, blow by blow.