First Word - Jo Clifford interview
NB. In our email newsletter, Something for the Weekend we managed to indicate that Jo Clifford's play Every One was on at The Traverse. It is on at The Lyceum until 10 April. One of Scotland’s most successful playwrights Jo Clifford has spent a lifetime kicking against trends. Here the incurable romantic discusses going on a date to see Death in Venice, spending her pocket money on Beethoven’s Fifth and running screaming out of Oklahoma
First record you ever bought
Beethoven’s Fifth. I was in my horrible school uniform and felt very small. And very scared to go into the shop. But the man in the shop took me so seriously, and was kind. I still have that record.
First film you saw that really moved you
Oklahoma. I was just a little boy and had to be taken out the cinema screaming. (The nightmare scene had scared me).
Last lie you told
I never tell lies.
(When I typed that last line).
First movie you ever went on a date to
Death in Venice. (I was never romantic that way).
Last time you cried
Ten minutes ago when my lover left.
First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
Last great meal you cooked
Stuffed pierogi (cream cheese dumplings stuffed with mushrooms). They were blissfully gorgeous: not, however, as blissfully gorgeous as the person I cooked them for.
Last extravagant purchase you made
A huge and beautiful painting by Helen Jackson for my living room wall.
A girl called Melanie who I so wanted to be.
Last book you read
Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse.
First great piece of advice you were given
‘Never do what you should. Do what you truly desire.’ (Winifred Rushforth).
Last time you were star struck
I don’t get star struck.
First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Scrap Trident: use the money to improve social justice; create a sustainable economy; support the arts. And a million other things besides.
Last meal on earth – what would it be
A glass of pure water
First song you’ll sing at karaoke
I’ll never sing anything at karaoke. Ever.
Last time you exploited your position to get something
My daughter lost her job as an usher in the Traverse. This was years ago. I used my name to get her reinstated.
First time you realised you were famous
I haven’t really had that moment yet. And it’s all a bit beside the point. The point is to be able to go on writing.
Last time someone criticised your work
I expect half a minute ago.
First three words your friends would use to describe you
I don’t know: but I hope they’d be nice.
Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
A dress I thought was gorgeous. But wasn’t.
First concert you ever attended
Beethoven’s Fifth: at the Colston Hall, Bristol. The boarding school teacher who organised these outings saved my life.
Last time you bought someone flowers
I don’t want to tell you. But the Lyceum bought me some LOVELY ones for my birthday.
First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
The one I love.
Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
As above. And forever.
Jo Clifford’s play Every One is on at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, until Sat 3 Apr.