First Word: Catherine Czerkawska

  • The List
  • 1 February 2010
First Word: Catherine Czerkawska

Playwright and novelist Catherine Czerkawska’s career has gone from strength to strength since she stopped ‘watering her Dylan Thomas adjectives’. Just don’t ask her if she’s ‘still writing’. Here she reveals her love of Lennon, linen and lace

First record you ever bought
‘Twist and Shout’, The Beatles. It was the EP. Couldn’t afford the Please Please Me LP on my pocket money.

First film you saw that really moved you
A black and white film of the ballet, Giselle, when I was about five. I suppose my parents thought it would be good for me. In the event, it was so sad that I howled the cinema down, and had to be taken out!

Last lie you told
Now why would I tell you that?

First movie you ever went on a date to
I honestly can’t remember. It must have been totally unmemorable.

Last time you cried
Son’s graduation. He got an Hons BSc in Maths from Glasgow Uni, and I cried from sheer maternal pride.

First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
Spend time with husband and good friends, drink wine, watch movies. In summer, it would be gardening. Or sitting in the garden, drinking wine with friends.

Last great meal you cooked.
My cooking is erratic. ‘Great’ is perhaps not the word. Probably something Italian.

Last extravagant purchase you made
A box of antique linen and lace at auction and I know I paid too much, but it’s wonderful.

First crush
John Lennon. Still in love with John Lennon really.

Last book you read:
Espresso Tales, by Alexander McCall Smith. I find him gentle, funny and thought provoking. Also, want to take Bertie home with me and give him a proper childhood.

First great piece of advice you were given
It was about writing: ‘Stop watering your Dylan Thomas adjectives and watching them grow.’ I can’t remember who gave it though.

Last time you were star struck
I don’t meet many real stars. Probably when Michael Gambon was in my dramatisation of Ben Hur. And he was charming. Jamie Glover and Sam West were both in that production too. I was VERY star struck throughout.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Forbid the media to print any more overblown scare stories. And stop sanctimonious politicians and other ‘experts’ from preaching at us about how they think we should conduct every area of our lives.

Last meal on earth – what would it be
Gigha scallops, cooked in olive oil, with lemon and black pepper. Huge green salad. Fresh wholemeal bread and butter. Chilled white wine. Panna Cotta with vanilla bits. Lots of coffee, preferably Java. And a nice Island Malt (probably Laphroaig) to finish.

First song you’ll sing at karaoke
I NEVER sing at Karaoke.

Last time you exploited your position to get something
Trying to help my son get a job in the video games industry.

First time you realised you were famous
Don’t think I am. Writers are slightly famous for a bit, then sink into obscurity again. Unless they are JKR or Ian Rankin. People ask: ‘Are you still writing?’ This is probably the most irritating and insulting question you can ask any writer.

Last time someone criticised your work
Really criticised, as opposed to helpful comment, which is always welcome, was a review of my play Burns on the Solway for the Oran Mor. He used the words ‘soap opera’ in no very complimentary way, thus insulting most of the fine actors in Scotland as well. But I’ve forgiven him. Honest. Hope he likes this one better.

First three words your friends would use to describe you
Cheerful, easy-going, hospitable.

Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
Probably shoes. Usually is. Or a handbag. But don’t think I would ever regret a handbag, whereas shoes can be a bit fraught.

First concert you ever attended
Billy Connelly, when he was one of the Humblebums with Gerry Rafferty. It was at Prestwick Bathing Lake on a freezing cold night. They sang ‘Everyone’s gone to Dunoon’.

Last time you bought someone flowers
Myself (sad, or what?).

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning

Work, whatever I’m writing now.

Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
Work, whatever I’m going to be writing in the future.

Catherine Czerkawska’s play The Secret Commonwealth runs at Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Sat 6 Feb.

A Play, a Pie & a Pint: The Secret Commonwealth

The 2010 PPP season debuts with Catherine Czerkawska's exploration of 17th century beliefs, centred on son of the manse Robert Kirk who wrote a factual account of fairies. Ticket price includes a pie and drink. Doors 12.30pm on Monday, noon the rest of the week.

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