Variations On The Proust Questionnaire #1: Jeffrey Lewis

Siobhán Kane grills Jeffrey Lewis ahead of his gig in The Grand Social on July 18th.

Over the next few months, I am going to ask a few musicians (those who I have interviewed before) variations of the Proust Questionnaire. I started doing them through the Writers Festival a few months ago, and some of the answers were funny and insightful, though sometimes it doesn’t work. It is based around the answers Proust gave in 1890, when he answered a “confessions” book called An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, etc.

Jeffrey Lewis is one of the music interesting of music-makers at work today, with records like The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane (2001) to his loveletter to the band Crass – 12 Crass Songs (2007), and 2011’s A Turn in the Dream-Songs. His work is a mingling of lo-fi sound and wry lyricism, in some ways influenced by the world of comic books he loves so well. Comics are his other passion (his BA thesis was on Watchmen), and he disseminates this love wherever he can; from collaborating with The Mountain Goats on their artwork for Heretic Pride in 2008, or evolving his own Fuff series, to creating some ‘Illustrated Histories’ of countries and historical events for his live shows, which are always interesting, brilliant, different.

1) What is your idea of happiness?
Getting good work done.

2) Where would you most like to live?
Right where I’m living. It’s just the wrong decade.

3) What is your favourite virtue?

4) What are your favourite qualities in a man?

5) What are your favourite qualities in a woman?

6) What do you most value in your friends?

7) What is your biggest weakness?
Doing email interviews.

8) What do you enjoy doing most?
Good art.

9) What is your most marked characteristic?

10) What is your idea of misery?
33-question email interviews.

11) If not yourself, who would you like to be?
Jimi Hendrix.

12) What is your favourite colour and flower?
Green and venus flytrap. I must amend my previous answer to now read “34-question email interviews.”

13) What is your favourite bird?

14) Who are your favourite writers?
Donovan, Virginia Woolf and Alan Moore.

15) Who are your favourite poets?
Immortal Technique and Professor Louie.

16) Who are your favourite artists?
Rick Veitch, Daniel Clowes and Joe Sacco.

17) Who are your favourite musicians?
Simeon, Syd Barrett and Eve Libertine.

18) Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in fiction?
Timothy Hole of A Small Killing and Ripley in Alien.

19) Who are the heroes and heroines in your life?
Professor Louie (the rapper not the Woodstock guy), Woody Guthrie, Tuli Kupferberg, Poly Styrene.

20) Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history?
Emma Goldberg, Ghandi, Phil Ochs. 

21) What is your favourite food and drink?
Lemonade and pretzel dip.

22) What are your favourite names?
Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Rammellzee.

23) What do you most dislike?
Myself for procrastinating by answering three dozen questions while I have work to do.

24) Which historical figures do you most dislike?
Adolph Hitler and the person who invented interview form-letters.

25) What event in history do you most admire?
Martin Luther King Jr.’s bus boycott, Gorbachev’s perestroika/glasnost, the White Rose anti-Nazi movement. 

26) What social movement do you most admire?
Non-violent direct action.

27) What natural gift would you most like to possess?

28) How would you like to die?

29) What is your present state of mind?

30) What is your biggest pet peeve?
I’m not sure if it’s interview form-letters or myself for doing them.

31) Which fault in others do you most easily tolerate?
Asking too many questions. 

32) Which fault in yourself do you most easily tolerate?
Answering too many questions.

33) What is your motto?
“Answer any and all email interviews, or die trying!”

Jeffrey Lewis & The Rain play The Grand Social on Thursday July 18th.

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