First Word - Tom Conti interview
Capitalising on his silver fox status, the distinguished acting career of Paisley-born Tom Conti continues to flourish. Here he reflects on hate mail, opera and moistness
First record you ever bought
Stokowski conducting Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, which featured in a movie I had just seen called A Hundred Men and a Girl.
Last time you were chatted up
Last week, in a bookshop. (40, gorgeous, shapely, dark hair and eyes).
First film you saw that really moved you
Probably Scott of the Antarctic; when Oates left the tent, sacrificing himself to save the others, saying ‘I’m just going outside. I may be some time.’
Last lie you told
The answer to question two.
First movie you ever went on a date to
Don’t remember. Too busy with the bra clasp.
Last time you cried
A moistness came the other day, as it always does when I read the line in Romeo and Juliet when, after the children have died, the Prince says ‘A glooming peace the morning with it brings. The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.’
First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
Since I’m an actor, being off work is hardly a rare occurrence so the question is somewhat inappropriate.
Last great meal you cooked.
Last night. Pretty good spaghetti with aglio, olio, and peperoncino.
Last extravagant purchase you made
A DVD projector. Fanbloodytastic.
Pamela McMasters from Redcar in Yorkshire. Met her on holiday in Inverness. I was nine, she, twelve. I fell totally in love with her; well, it’s the older woman thing, isn’t it? I knew her for a day.
Last book you read
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, the last of the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Don’t miss this amazing yarn – and the extraordinary Miss Salander.
First great piece of advice you were given
From my father: ‘Don’t believe priests!’
Last time you were star struck
1993. Jenny Seagrove slapped my face every night for six months.
First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Radically reduce taxes. Allow the people to drag the country out of recession by success. The government is hopeless at managing our finances so let us manage our own. We’ll grow back into a nation of responsible people instead of the browbeaten infants we’ve become.
Last meal on earth. What would it be?
Bacon, eggs, sausage and tomato – twice!
First song you’ll sing at karaoke
Perish the thought!
Last time you exploited your position to get something
Not a good idea. Being known does help, generally, but the question ‘Do you know who I am?’ is best left to the Gestapo.
First time you realised you were famous
The arrival of the first ‘hate mail’. You’ve got to be known to provoke that kind of loathing.
Last time someone criticised your work
I’m an actor, for God’s sake; it’s bloody endless.
First three words your friends would use to describe you
Opinionated x 3.
Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
Twenty years ago. A slightly ‘fashionable’ green suit. Put it on, took it off immediately and have been meaning to take it to a charity shop ever since. Maybe tomorrow.
First concert you ever attended
An opera, Aida. I think I was about eight.
Last time you bought someone flowers
Two weeks ago.
First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
Why am I still tired?
Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
Where shall I put my left arm?
● A Closed Book is released on DVD, Mon 22 Feb.